Planning for digital nomadism travel is unlike arranging for a typical getaway. Digital nomads are challenging how people work by proving that it is possible to travel and work at the same time.
For people who live from their backpacks, it can be tricky to choose the essentials to carry while still making themselves favorably mobile.
Seasoned nomads will tell you to pack light and take only what is needed. Granted, all gear lists will vary from nomad to nomad, but several basic items will make your adventure more enjoyable.
Why You Need a Nomad Packing List?
Beginner digital nomads will often overpack or under-pack, which is understandable because you can never fully anticipate what is awaiting you in your destination. You are bound to experience varying climates, impromptu adventures, and other unplanned activities along the way.
A nomad packing list makes you prepared for most of these, although you will need to customize the list to your preferences.
Must-have Gear for Digital Nomads
You will need to carry important technology with you to make it easy to work on the road. The essentials to consider include:
1. Resistant & Waterproof Backpack
The rise of the digital nomad trend has resulted in a demand for luggage systems that support a lifestyle blend of work and travel. As a digital nomad, your backpack will become your most reliable companion when traveling. It carries everything you require and should qualify as a carry-on in flights because it will hold your valuable possessions.
The first criteria to consider when choosing a backpack is its weight. It should be lightweight enough to avoid weighing you down, but still functional for a life on the road.
All travelers deal with unexpected weather, and you will often be caught up in rain when exploring different places. Popular tropical destinations like Bali experience torrential downpour and thunderstorms, particularly in the monsoon seasons.
A waterproof backpack is advisable if you do not want to end up with wet clothes and damaged electronics. Some bags come with a rain cover that you can use to keep them dry.
A good backpack keeps your items safe from theft with functional safety features. Look out for things like hidden compartments and concealed zippers.
Your backpack should support quick transitions between work and travel and support the exciting adventures you engage in.
2. Light & Powerful Nomad Laptop
Digital nomads rely on their laptops to work even when they are in the most remote places. Nomad laptops are a bit pricey, but it is the most critical link to your clients. It is advisable to get a high-quality model to produce compelling work.
You want a light laptop because you will be carrying it around most of the time. Some nomads prefer to buy ultrabooks, which are known for their thin, sophisticated, and light design.
Brands like HP, Dell, ASUS, and Lenovo have released ultrabooks models that can handle a lot of workloads. In practice, a laptop tailored for travel should not weigh more than 3.5 pounds and should have a screen size of 13 to 15 inches.
The kind of work you do will guide the processing power you need. Do you interact with graphics, 3D objects, and programs like photoshop? Do you keep multiple tabs open at the same time? Do you stream 4K videos?
Do you prefer to store information in the cloud? If you just use your computer for writing tasks, you can use only a decent model. While the Intel Core i5 works for most nomads, you may need the Intel Core i7 for complex tasks. The operating system on the laptop should also be compatible with most software in your field.
Another consideration to make is the battery life of your preferred model. Depending on your destination, you may end in areas without a nearby plug socket. Missing deadlines is the nightmare of every nomad, and you especially want to keep rather than lose clients.
Optimal nomad features on a laptop do not come cheap, and you can even spend close to $2,000 for a high-quality model. Invest in a model that serves your current needs and which can accommodate upgraded tasks.
3. Good Smartphone
Smartphones may be less complicated than laptops, but you still need a reliable model. Batter power is among the top considerations to make when you are always on the road. You want 24/7 access to functions like emails, browsing, and invoicing.
Digital nomads often have to choose between expensive and affordable smartphones, considering that they may end up lost or stolen. The good thing is that you can get a fairly-priced one nowadays that functions well.
When it comes to the age-long debate between iOS and android, the choice comes down to preference. Both ecosystems have suitable devices that will fulfill your needs.
A two-sim model is often recommended because you do not have to remove your primary sim card when you get into a new country. You can simply insert the pre-paid one that you buy when you get into a new destination. This feature is necessary when you have purchased international data plans with your main sim and need the convenience of accessing your applications.
A good nomad smartphone should also be equipped with a decent camera to capture all your exciting adventures along the way.
4. External Hard Drive
An external hard drive will help you to conveniently backup your work, which you can access even when you do not have internet.
You will need to estimate the amount of storage you will need while taking into account the length of your trip. You will be okay with 1TB of storage, but will probably need more if you store a lot of large files. A photographer who backups raw photos, for example, will need a lot of storage capacity.
An ideal hard drive for the savvy nomad is small and lightweight. Thanks to technological advancements, you can find models that are the same size as smartphones.
The hard drive should also be able to withstand the wear and tear of constant travel, but you can buy a padded case to keep it protected. You will mainly be interested in a durable hard drive if you engage in extreme activities like camping and hiking.
The device should also be reliable, as the last thing any digital nomad wants is to have a faulty hard drive in areas where repair shops are scanty.
5. Good Power Bank
A reliable power bank is another gear that a digital nomad should invest in. The models are primarily rated on capacity measured in milliampere-hours (mAh), which describes the number of times the device will charge a phone until its power reserves are depleted.
At the very least, it is recommended to get a model that has a capacity of three to four times your smartphone. For a digital nomad however, this capacity can prove to be little if you are off the beaten track. A model with a capacity of 20,000mAh will charge your phone multiple times.
Power banks are also compared on the basis of conversion losses. While high-quality models will typically have losses of 10%, cheaper ones can have as much as 30%. A charger that has quick speeds will generally have higher conversion losses, and you have to decide if this is a trade-off you will make.
The USB ports that come with power banks have a maximum output, and the charging speeds will be slower once you add other devices. You need to determine if the ports are rated for the gadgets you have.
Powerful smartphones will need powers of 2.4 amps or higher, and charging speeds should be at least 2A or 2.4A. Some power banks provide ultra-fast speeds with Qualcomm Quick Charge.
The charging time of different devices should also be considered, and high-capacity kinds will generally take more time to be fully charged. Some current models allow for passthrough charging, where they can charge other devices while recharging.
An ideal power bank should be convenient to use while traveling. You want a compact model that will keep your devices charged while still being easy to carry.
When it comes to safety, it is advisable to choose grade A lithium-polymer series instead of lithium-ion batteries. Another essential feature is Inbuilt protective circuitry (PTC) to guard against power outages, current surges, and short-circuiting.
6. Charging Adapters
Different destinations will have varying plug sockets, and it is frustrating to find that the travel adapter you carried with you is not usable. Some hotel rooms will only have one socket, whereas a digital nomad takes multiple electronics with them.
Look for a charging adapter that works in many countries, and one which can support multiple charging through plug and USB sockets.
7. Electronic Cables
You will also need reliable electronic cables to ensure your devices are functioning at all times. Some essential cables include a USB-C cable, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a micro-USB cable.
8. Durable Headphones or Earbuds
Digital nomads need to strike a balance between work and travel. When it comes to getting down to business, you will find that the convenience of noise-canceling headphones is priceless.
Opt for headphones that have an inbuilt microphone to support seamless communication with clients. Some models can support Bluetooth for hands-free communication. Good quality headphones can be bulky, and you can consider carrying earbuds instead.
How Much Weight Should You Carry with You?
Digital nomads need to be concerned with weight because they fly a lot. Different airlines will have their weight stipulations, and you can end up paying a lot for extra luggage.
Weight limits for carry-ons in European airlines mostly varies between 17.6 to 22 lbs. While some airlines can have higher limits, it is advisable to work with 22.lbs, even for North American airlines. Standard dimensions for carry-ons in North American airlines are 22 × 14 × 9in.
Packing light will mean leaving some stuff behind, but you can choose to include checked-in baggage and carry more things like a more considerable amount of liquids. Keep in mind, however, that carrying more luggage will weigh you down.
What Should You Avoid Bringing with You?
It is easy to overpack clothes as you try to visualize different scenarios in your destination. With limited space, however, you will need only to pack basic clothing by carrying pieces that will suit most occasions.
You will also need to keep toiletries at a minimum, and again find stuff that do more than one job for example a shampoo and conditioner in one bottle.
Choosing shoes can be tricky, especially if you intend to engage in extreme pursuits like hiking. You will mostly need a durable pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals. Wear the heaviest shoes when flying to reduce the weight of your luggage.
Aim to carry only the necessary medications, since you can always present prescriptions to get any other medicine you require in your destination. Most digital nomads will advise you to book fully-furnished houses so that you eliminate the need to carry extra things like cooking gear.
Other Things You Should Bring with You
It is advisable to carry an extra Credit or Debit Card just in case some are not accepted by the ATMs and stores in your destination.
Another tip is to pack an extra smartphone. Your primary phone can get stolen or lost, and you do not want to be stranded.
A paracord has many uses, which makes it a perfect minimalist item. It can function as a clothes and tents line and can come in handy during fishing. You can also use the cord to lash your backpack to a motorcycle. Additional items to keep in your kit are superglue and duct tape.
Pro Tip: ensure all your electronics are running on the latest software. Applications will make your journey easier as long as you ensure they are updated.
Thinking of becoming a digital nomad? This millennial lifestyle has perks that include Instagram-worthy adventure. Beginners will find it challenging to pack just the essential things and leave out the rest.
The most vital thing you need is technology, which means a lightweight laptop, smartphone, hard drive, power banks, and their associated cables. These items will need to fit into a backpack that should be light enough to make constant travel comfortable.