Optimal setup for programming and travel

Mykola Lytvynchuk
3 min readJan 27


I’m a Java developer with almost 15 years of experience. This year I had to travel a lot while working. It included 11 countries and even more cities, co-workings, offices, flats, and hotels.

My initial setup consisted of the laptop (ThinkPad T480), mouse (Logitech MX Master 3), and noise-canceling headphones (Sony XM4). This was fine for the first period but eventually, I started to feel pain in my neck and spine due to the fact, that laptop’s monitor is located lower my head by a significant margin. So I constantly looked significantly lower than usual.

Since that moment, it was obvious, that setup is a critical thing and I have to change it.

As for the laptop itself, mouse and headphones I haven’t had any complaints. ThinkPad T480 is pretty light and robust with a small charger. So it is easy to move with it and I don’t need to worry about scratches, damages or water spills. Logitech MX Master 3 is an awesome productivity mouse, which could work on any surface, so the mousepad is not required. Also, it could be charged once in 4–6 months, so no need to worry about a charger. Sony XM4 is one of the best noise-canceling headphones, which allows working in any environment and it is pretty comfortable for long hours of work.

Going back to the issue with the laptop’s monitor, which was lower than natural. It was 2 solutions: use an external monitor (not possible on the road) and leverage the laptop higher. So to leverage it, I used a light foldable aluminum laptop stand holder from Ugreen. Using this holder, in the highest position, I was able to add 15 cm to the top of the monitor.

It helped me to reduce tension in the neck but introduced another small issue: it was hard to type on the laptop’s keyboard, so I had to use an external.

I’d use something compact, light, and with a Bluetooth connection like Logitech MX Keys or Keychron K3. But as a fan of mechanical keyboards, I choose KBD67 Lite. It has a compact layout, is lightweight because is plastic, and has a carrying case. The only downside is the lack of Bluetooth connection, which is ok for me because it makes it lighter.

I’d suggest to anyone, who plans to travel and work a lot and does not have the option to use an external monitor, to add to your carrying case a foldable laptop holder and light keyboard of choice.