The world of Digital Nomadism is beginning to grow as more people switch to remote working. If you have decided to take your office on a location independent journey and think the Digital Nomad life is for you, you really need to make sure you have the right gear. If you are carrying your office around the world, you need to make sure it’s well protected and ready to set up at your next location conveniently. Keeping your bag organised and as light as possible is very important, so simple and practical items are the way to go.
In order to create this list of top digital nomad items, I’ve drawn from personal experience, conversations with clients and nomad colleagues as well as leaning on expertise from Stephen Gary, co-founder of Flashpacker Co. Flashpacker Co is a travel gear provider specialising in matching travellers up with the perfect items for them, and Stephen has over 5 years experience as a digital nomad travelling all across the world while working online.
Full disclaimer, I am an affiliate partner with Flashpacker Co and do receive a small revenue share percentage from sales of any of these items. BUT I’m also passing along the savings to you guys so that you can save 20% off anything in the Flashpacker store when you use code: HEAD4HORIZONS.
Here are 12 items every Digital Nomad should travel with.
1. Laptop Backpack
A great laptop backpack is an absolute must-have for digital nomads. Your laptop backpack is essentially your mobile office, protecting your work gear and keeping you organised and on task. Backpacks with padded, and especially floating, laptop sleeves are a huge plus in keeping your laptop safe from bumps and bruises while on the road. Additionally, look for a pack with plenty of separate organising pockets to keep your items easily accessible.
2. Portable WiFi/ Data SIM hotspot
The first recommendation will be to connect to good WiFi, but this may not always go to plan. Stay connected even if your accommodation WiFi is not up to scratch. As a backup there are two options for providing yourself with good WiFi while on the road.
- Portable WiFi device
There are a few Portable WiFi devices on the market now all with varying data plans. Skyroam is a great option for a portable WiFi device. You need to purchase the device then depending on how much data you need, simply pick up a day, monthly plan or pay per GB, then connect up to 10 devices. This works in 135+ countries. This is great for couples or friends travelling together.
- Local Data SIM card
This can be used either in your smartphone which will allow you to hotspot to your laptop. If you need more than 1 device connected at the same time you can get yourself a Hotspot device. Simply place the local Data SIM in. You will then have created your own hotspot which multiple devices can connect to.
3. Laptop Power Bank
Keep your electronics charged wherever you are with a mobile power bank. No one wants to leave their favorite square or street side coffee shop to find an outlet when their electronics are dying. Using a power bank can extend your days out and about by doubling or even tripling your mobile battery lifespan. There are many options for cell phone power banks, but digital nomads will find it extra helpful to splurge on a laptop power bank. This will allow you to charge larger devices like laptops and tablets and will provide more charges to your smaller devices as well. Whether you’re on a train journey or at a coffee stop, you never know when inspiration will hit.
4. Portable Laptop Stand
Working in different locations means not every desk is going to be comfortable or good for your posture. Working from a laptop all the time can cause serious neck and back pain as you’re constantly looking down. A portable laptop stand helps you maintain a comfortable and healthy working posture. Look for a stand that is light, durable and that folds into a compact carrying form to fit comfortably in your backpack.
5. Travel Adapter/Voltage Converter
International travellers know that not every country uses the same plugs or even the same voltage amounts. Many modern electronics have a built in voltage converter, but when you’re travelling with your livelihood you can’t be too careful. A travel adapter and voltage converter is a necessity if you are travelling around multiple countries. A global plug adapter means you’ll always have the plug and voltage adapter you need, while keeping your bag light, organised and preventing the need to carry multiple adapters when travelling through different countries.
6. Electronics Organizer
Living out of a backpack means you can occasionally lose things. Staying organised while traveling gives you peace of mind, and can be key to staying productive when you’re away from home. Working on the road or in an exciting new place can be difficult enough. Searching through your bag for your headphones or for the cable you need to plug something in can seriously interrupt your focus. An electronics organiser will keep you organised and focused so that you can comfortably set up your mobile office anywhere. At home or in the office a cluttered workspace can cause a cluttered mind, and this is equally true working and travelling in an unfamiliar location. Find an electronics organiser that can keep all of your necessary items at your fingertips.
7. Backup Headphones
Wherever you’re working, from cafes to Airbnbs, a great pair of headphones help keep you in the zone and away from noisy distractions. Minimalist bluetooth headphones like airpods are an easy choice for digital nomads as they are lightweight and don’t take up much room in your pack. Unfortunately, batteries die, things break and items get lost on the road. Experienced digital nomads travel with a backup set of headphones to ensure the challenges of being on the road never disrupt their workspace. A pair of wired headphones means you won’t have to worry about connectivity or ensuring that they’re charged. Not to mention they’re great for in-flight entertainment on planes and trains.
8. Luggage Lock
We’re all a bit guilty of being too trusting when we’re travelling. As nice as it is to brush off the risk of theft, when you’re working while travelling you often have very valuable possessions with you that need to be protected. Grab a luggage lock to keep pockets securely closed as you travel or to lock down your possessions when you have to momentarily step away from them.
9. Waterproof Pouch
As a digital nomad, travelling isn’t necessarily a holiday, but work and play can often get blurred together when you’re out exploring. We’ve all taken the odd video call from the beach or replied to an email mid hike. When you’re adventuring, but still need to stay connected, make sure your phone or tablet is safe with a waterproof pouch. Depending on how you’re using your electronics, you may need something that allows you to operate a touchscreen through the case. Or a hard shell protective case may be sufficient when there’s a risk of your devices getting damaged. Either way, a waterproof pouch is perfect for rafting, hanging by the beach, or hiking to a waterfall.
10. Packing cubes
Along with your electronics, keeping your other items and clothing organised will allow you to find things in your pack much more easily when you are travelling from place to place. Using packing cubes can save you from emptying the whole contents of your backpack everytime you need something. There are tons of types of packing cubes and where you’re going and what you’re doing can change which packing cubes are best and how to pack them.
11. Water Bottle
When you’re working at a coworking space, a coffee shop or mountain top having a large, insulated travel water bottle can be a lifesaver. Save your wallet (and the planet) when you don’t have to buy single use bottles. Not to mention, many countries don’t have potable tap water. If you want to continue cutting down on single use plastic, water purifying tablets or a filtered water bottle can save you money and plastic. Just fill up your trusty bottle with tap water and the tablets or filter will create safe drinking water.
12. Compact or Packable Daypack
You don’t want to bring your full laptop backpack with you all the time. Your laptop backpack should be padded making it heavier, and larger so that you have room for your laptop, camera, notebooks and anything else you need for working. But If you’re headed out to explore the city, going on an excursion or just hitting the beach, a compact daypack is a much better option. Just bring the essentials and save your professional pack for the office.
Now You’re Ready to set out as a Digital Nomad
With this trusty guide you will be able to set up in any location knowing your gear is properly protected and you can get on with some work. Now you are kitted out with all the best items, time to pack your mobile office in your backpack and get on the road.