We have all seen the pictures of the laptop lifestyle and trading next to the pool, now it sounds nice but is it realistic? The answer is yes and no, it all depends on what you feel you need to be successful. I personally enjoy using 3 big screens and coming to the same spot everyday to place my trades. You on the other hand might only want a laptop and a spot on the couch, if this works for you then there is a good chance that the laptop lifestyle might be your ticket to success.
#1: A Reliable connection
Day trading is all about speed, if your internet is slow or lagging then this could cause you to run into large amounts of slippage. Slippage is common regardless if you have a fast connection but only gets worse the slower your connection is. If you are traveling then you will most likely be using WIFI, depending on where you are staying or what part of the world you are in the WIFI could be extremely slow! You should always run a test on the WIFI to see what types of speed you are getting before placing any trades.
It is always suggested that you bring some sort of Ethernet cable to plug into the modem if you have access to one. This will at least help your connect be a little more reliable and you wont have to worry about any WIFI interference when you are trading. Next you should always have some sort of back up connection, this could be a wireless plan from a provider or a hot spot on your phone, remember one is none and two is one. You don't want to be stuck in a trade and have the internet go down always have a back up and make sure it is easy to connect.
A reliable connection can make the difference if you are going to be profitable or not, always check to see what the internet connection is like when planning your next trip. This can be both a pro and a con depending on your situation.
#2: The proper equipment
This will be entirely up to you on what you need for trading. I personally like to have a large desk and a few larger monitors when trading from the office. I normally use a minimum of four charts and it is much easier to place trades when I have all my charts spread across multiple screens. I also like to have a battery back up when trading. This insures that my computer,screens and internet has power for the next 15 minutes. This allows me to close out of my trades before I run out of power. When Trading on the road I use a much smaller setup and make sure my NinjaTrader work space is configured to fit the screen I am using.
The proper equipment for me when traveling is a small battery backup, I have two additional hot spots that I use encase the internet goes down. One is my phone and the other is a small hot spot from Verizon, here is the link for more information. Next I use an 17.5" HP laptop with an SSD, this laptop is strictly a backup laptop and is only used for trading while traveling. If I will be staying for an extended amount of time I will bring one of my 32" monitors. Last but not least is a proper desk, I for one do not like to sit on the couch and place trades. When looking at where to stay I normally make sure there is some sort of desk or office space.
All these items are my personal preference and what works for me might not work for you. When planning you trip make sure you have everything YOU need to be successful!
#3: Be realistic
If you are going on a family vacation and staying with multiple family members it might be a little difficult to spend 5 hours of the day sitting in front of the charts. Not to mention finding the proper space that allows you to get into the zone. Remember the whole reason you are trading is to leverage your money and not your time. Spend an hour or so trading in the morning and then go out and enjoy the day. Trading needs to be looked at as a way to make money and not be tied to a 9-5 every single day.
All these are subject to your own judgement, now it my look "cool" to be trading by the pool but are you really setting yourself up to succeed?
Patrick Mullin | Gorilla Futures Founder