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The Ultimate Digital Nomad Packing Guide: Travelling as a Digital Nomad is very different to travelling as a backpacker. Suddenly it’s not all about cramming as many bikinis and hippie trousers into your backpack as possible, it’s about carefully packing your laptop, chargers, adaptors, and all the other gadgets you need to get your work done on the road.
Of course, bikinis still feature – what’s a digital nomad without a little beach down-time?! But to succeed as a remote worker on the road, you need to get your packing game on point. I’ve been travelling for most of 2017 now as a Digital Nomad, successfully running my business on the road and out of a backpack.
When starting out, I would have loved for someone who’s been travelling and working to tell me exactly what obstacles I’m going to encounter on the road, and what I should pack to make my travels as comfortable as possible – both for work and leisure!
My Ultimate Digital Nomad Packing Guide:
If you’ll be running a business from the road, of course you’re going to need a laptop to do it! Many cafes, hotels, restaurants and public spaces now have free wi-fi with a decent connection, so pack your laptop to be able to work anywhere, and at anytime. Laptops are also extremely light-weight these days, with a quality all-rounder such as the Acer Chromebook weighing just 3.5lbs.
Tip: The biggest mistake I made before setting off was disregarding just how heavy my 5 year old laptop is. It’s chunky and really weighs my bag down – a real inconvenience if you’re travelling with just a carry-on bag like me! If you have the savings to invest in a new, light-weight laptop for your travels, I would urge you to do so…
When you’re on the road, you’ll find that your possessions get dirtier a lot quicker – sand from the beaches, and dust and grime from travel and exploring quickly accumulate, so it’s a good idea to protect your laptop when it’s not in use. I use this Arvok Canvas Laptop Sleeve and I love it.The design is great, the inside is super soft, and the sleeve also came with a free additional pouch to put my mouse in! Just make sure you order the right size for your laptop.
Related: 8 Ways to Fund Your Travels Around the World
A Good Pair of Headphones
As a digital nomad, you’ll be spending a lot of your time in cafes and bars. It’s great to get out of your accommodation and see a little of the local area even while you’re working, but this does mean opening yourself up to noises and distractions.
A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones are the answer to this. They don’t even need to cost a lot! I got this pair of Ailihen foldable over-ear headphones from amazon for just £12.95 ($16) and they’re great – I can plug them in and drown out the hustle and bustle of any cafe I’m in and focus on my work.
If you’re working from your laptop the majority of your time, a wireless mouse can be a really useful alternative to the touchpad which can take more time and be a strain on your wrists. This Wireless Mouse from SOWTECH cost me just £5.99 and 3 months in, I haven’t had to replace the battery yet!
No digital nomad packing guide would be complete without a mention of a travel cushion! A travel cushion is a really versatile piece of gear to have with you on the road, can can come in handy whether you want a bit of comfort while working, or if you have to deal with a long uncomfortable bus ride to your next destination.
I love this Purefly Travel Pillow because it inflates at the touch of a button, meaning when you’re done with it you can deflate and pack it into the free pack-sack provided to fit compactly in your bag.
A small, inexpensive addition to your luggage, but essential for any digital nomad who needs to charge their gadgets wherever you go! Pick up a few universal travel adaptors to make sure you can charge your laptop and phone no matter where you choose to travel to.
I got this little GorillaPod Tripod for Christmas before my trip, and it’s a great gadget for taking quality photos on the road – especially if you want photos of yourself, or are into timelapses and videoing. For just £16.99, I think this is a great gadget for any digital nomad that is interested in photographing their trip, and it’s small and compact enough to just fit in a side pocket of your backpack for as and when you need.
Packing cubes are featured on nearly every ‘Essential Travel Packing List’ article I’ve ever read, and after travelling with mine for nearly 3 months, I can say without a doubt they’re a must-have for digital nomads too!
These AmazonBasics packing cubes are budget friendly, and they are invaluable in helping to keep my clothes organised while we’re on the road – we even have a specific laundry cube!
Even if you’re a sun-chaser, chances are you’ll encounter rain on your travels. We’re in Asia right now, but we’ve seen more rain than sun the last few days (don’t worry, that’s going to change soon!). Our rain jackets have come in really handy, and pack up small enough that they’re not an inconvenience when not in use.
Personally, I have a North Face Women’s Resolve Jacket, which is definitely on the pricier side, but if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll know that clothing is one thing I’m willing to invest more in to get better quality back. A much more budget-friendly alternative is a Pack Away Jacket that packs into it’s own pocket for a compact packing option.
If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you’ll be spending more time in Air BnB accommodation than hotels and resorts as it’s a far cheaper option.
(Use my Air BnB Sign Up Code here to start finding great accommodation deals all over the world.
I’ll also receive £15 travel credit when you take your first trip, so we’ll be helping each other out!)
That means you probably won’t have beach towels provided for you! These microfibre towels are the perfect light-weight option to throw in your pack for beach days or even if you happen to be somewhere with no towels provided! I love our Dock and Bay Towels because they’re large and patterned just like a normal beach towel so you can blend right in when on the beach!
We live in our flip flops these days, whether we’re by the beach, or just hanging out in our apartment. They’re a great footwear choice that really reduce the bulk of your luggage too, so if you’re a digital nomad or just setting off for a bit of travelling, do not forget your flip flops! You can’t go wrong with a quality pair of Havaianas.
Of course, this digital nomad packing guide could be never ending depending on the type of work you do, the way you travel, and where you go. These are just a few items that we’ve used and that have made travelling as digital nomads a whole lot easier.
What are your must-have items for a trip around the world? Have I missed any essentials for your digital nomad packing guide? Let me know in the comments below!