One of the popular statements commonly attributed to digital nomad is work from anywhere and see the world. Isn’t that the dream? But is it that easy to become a digital nomad? Even if you are a digital nomad, what are the necessary equipment to make working from anywhere work for you?
I’ve been an instructor, writer, manager, teacher, and traveler for over six years, working for a variety of companies and local businesses while traveling across cities.
I’ve done it all with little more than my laptop, my traveling equipment, a few gadgets and a cup of coffee: such is the life of a digital nomad.
The exponential growth of faster computers coupled with wireless internet connectivity, and perhaps, an increasingly fluid life and work culture have enabled thousands of professionals to travel the world while still pursuing and developing their careers – in some instances traveling the world because of the nature of the work at hand. Hence, a lot of digital nomads can work from just their smartphones with a few equipment and attachments.
The common question, therefore, remains How do these digital nomads balance their lifestyle? What is the essential equipment to balancing world travel and short-term relocation, if there is, with a successful career?
I have asked some of the travel experts, colleagues, and friends the exact equipment they often use to get the job done, because, while it has always been difficult to work from wherever you want, you don’t want to waste half your day looking for Wi-Fi, packing bags or camera. You must always be with your wardrobe which contains all the necessary accessories such as a laptop, back-bag, and travel gear.
They are some of the travel equipment to make your work flexible and combine your travel dreams with upping your professional experience to truly enjoy the flexibility and freedom of the open road.
Digital nomads and their traveling equipment
Packing! It is never a rocket science. Whether you are looking for the best nomad packing list for your long-term travels or packing for a week vacation, minimalism is important. However, packing can be the most difficult part of a remote worker lifestyle. Deciding what to take with you or leave behind, what to wish you’d brought with you and the best equipment for the journey, it is really a daunting task for some professionals who earn while traveling.
Let’s assume we already know what to bring when we are going for a short-term holiday or a weekend trip. But what do we need to pack or leave behind when we want to work while traveling? What are the things to consider for the selection? Especially when we will be on the road for some weeks, months or even years? This article tells you the ultimate digital nomad packing list; what is needed for the new lifestyle and other things to leave behind.
Obviously, it is not possible to pack for every single occasion. It is not. You can’t bring equipment for a hike up to the Mt. Everest, clothing for hot beachy areas, and your gadgets to work online with you. No one can carry all that!
When you want to leave for your new digital nomad lifestyle, perhaps you will have too many things to take along with you. Some professionals suggest selling what you don’t need or keep it somewhere for the time being.
Consider the following digital nomad packing list as a guide and get the ideas of what is needed for your remote work lifestyle.
Firstly, one of the most important decisions to make is to determine what will carry all your equipment. Like a lot of travelers do suggest, it is ideal to go for a combination of a big primary backpack and smaller secondary bag for your day to day use. In reality, a smaller bag size imposes a limit to what you can bring but apart from the advantage of less weight and bulk on your shoulders, a smaller size secondary bag means being able to pack and freely move with ease and speed. Imagine breezing through buses, passing through planes with just a single and simple bag, and squeezing through subways.
Yes, this is the first of many; it is the first on the list of every digital nomad. Alternatively, you can also go for a suitcase but depends on where you want to go and the way you want to spend your travel parts. Whereas it’s ultimately not a problem to roll your suitcase in most modern cities with great pavements but could also be a nightmare in some rural areas without the appropriate infrastructures such as good roads. Irrespective of the reasons, however, the backpack should be light, preferably with a maximum weight of 13kg. This is usually most women’s choice, but men should look for something like that too.
Many digital nomads like to take a laptop bag. Others would prefer a fashionable handbag. Evidently, a backpack with a laptop compartment is desirable. Why? Because it keeps your laptop safe and you have enough space for all of the other carry-on stuff. Once you are already settled, it offers a great daybag for weekend excursions or hiking trips; there is nowhere you can’t take your big backpack to.
Stuff Sacks / Packing Cubes
Choose any of the two options since both versions keep your luggage organized and help you to save enough room for other stuff. Some stuff sacks and packing cubes are even waterproof.
The chosen shirt should be crease-resistant, durable, comfy, and lightweight. I’d recommend taking different materials and styles (t-shirts, tank tops, etc.) with you. Ensure to combine the colors easily with the rest of your wardrobe.
A fleece and/or a sweatshirt is also essential and must be included in your travel equipment. Most experienced digital nomads often go for many layers, instead of one really large and warm hoodie. With several layers, you can choose different wears for different weather conditions and can combine it more easily.
Some swear on a rain jacket; others don’t bring event it. It’s all your choice. But If you are traveling to an area with heavy monsoon rain, you’ll get wet no matter what; you will dry soon anyways if it is just a bit of rain. In essence, sweatshirts are usually very cheap to get and don’t weight much.
These include the types of pants that you can easily put on when going for hiking trips. There are many of such in the market such as the trail pants for women and convertible pants for men. Board shorts and leggings can also be used as they are comfy and durable: portable and look more fashionable.
Pants / Dresses
These include a fashionable and long pair of pants you can wear during your flights (cold aircon), including some skirts and shorts or dresses for your everyday life. Don’t bring too many as you can get clothing like that on every corner.
Can you imagine the packing list of a digital nomad without a laptop? I’d always recommend going for a laptop that is light, super powerful, and portable. (Although the majority of the digital nomads go for a MacBook Air). Nevertheless, for those who prefer windows or are on a smaller budget, your choice of laptop should depend on the kind of remote job you are going to do. A video editor is a must for a virtual assistant. Over all, the demands should be minor photo editing, office package, and online communication.
This also depends on the reason of your traveling. A lot of people might prefer a Samsung S8 or an iPhone 7.
But to be honest, if you only need the basic apps for working online and traveling, you can go for one of the Chinese competitors such as the Xiaomi or Huawei. In addition, make sure that your smartphone is unlocked because you will likely buy a new SIM card in your newfound place.
With the availability of quality cameras with high resolution that come with our smartphones, a lot of nomads don’t have an extra camera with them. However, if you are still going with one, it is suggested to opt for a type that would make your journey more amazing.
It is also important to mention headphones. Don’t forget to take one while traveling. The noise canceling headphones are especially a game-changer when you are working from a busy cafe or airport. Likewise, a quality integrated microphone is also essential since you are probably going to make calls to your family and friends, business partners, and clients.
In conclusion, I would say pack less! As a digital nomad, the best thing is to travel with carry-on luggage only. This will save both your time and money since you won’t have to pay for check-in luggage and wait at the baggage claim. Also, you can simply put it under the seat in flights and buses and therefore keep an eye on your equipment. Moving from the public transport, day tours to hotels… simply grab your bag and off you go. That makes things much easier!
This is not the complete list of the travel equipment for a digital nomad; you can extend this list and add things like an inflatable neck pillow, a wireless keyboard, and a laptop stand.
I hope this digital nomad packing list gave you some inspirations, advice, and ideas on the essential equipment you need to begin your new lifestyle. In any circumstance, don’t stress out too much. As long as you are with your credit card and passport, you will probably be able to get the rest somewhere along the way.