The profession that didn’t exist 5 years ago is now the buzzword on every millennial’s lips. And for good reasons! Flexible working environment. Ability to travel. Autonomy over your work. Doing something that you love from the convenience of the latest café. The only true requirement for your office around the world is having a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Yet the biggest misconception of being a digital nomad is that you’re life is a vacation. It’s not; it’s your job. While the teasing glimpses of the beach may be visible from your co-working space, you have work to get done and only bringing your laptop isn’t going to cut it. You have to have the right materials and resources available to keep your operation moving smoothly.
Packing a tight and concise mobile office may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t get bogged down by bringing all the extras. Here are the 10 essentials that every digital nomad should pack:
Noise Canceling Headphones: These will be the best investment you make when working on the road. You can turn even the noisiest coffee shop into a quiet library setting just by putting a quality pair of noise canceling headphones on like these ones. Plus you can still rock out to your music when you’re wandering around your latest city or watching a movie on the in-flight entertainment system. Don’t leave home without packing this.
GoPro Hero5 Camera: With a name you trust in adventure travel photography, this is GoPro’s best camera yet! Its sleek design takes up barely any room in your bag, and the GoPro Hero5 version doesn’t need an additional waterproof case to protect from damage. This little guy will be the perfect companion to capture your digital nomad adventure, so make sure you pack a spare battery or two.
Lightweight, Versatile Clothing: When packing for extended periods of time – which is typically the norm for a digital nomad – variety isn’t the spice of life. Unfortunately for those travelers who like multiple outfit changes a day, you aren’t on vacation when you’re a digital nomad and fashionable is kicked out for functional. You need to pack resourcefully and conscious of any extra weight that will slow you down in your working adventures. Pick versatile clothes made out of lightweight material that are wrinkle resistant, and be okay with doing laundry more often.
Multipurpose Travel Adapter: You need a way to keep all your gadgets in working condition, so power is key. Trust me, you’ll want a travel converter with multiple USB plugs like this one with 2 USB plugs plus the universal socket. No matter what country you’re in, it will cut down on the amount of charging time when you need – so you can charge your phone, camera and laptop all at the same time – and still be able to enjoy your current destination.
Non-glare eBook Reader: Curling up with a good book is one of the best ways to unwind after a long day’s work, so don’t let the fact that you’re a digital nomad inhibit that. With a simple eReader like the Kindle Paperwhite which battery charge last weeks, you can enjoy thousands of books at your fingertips and don’t have to worry about bulky paperback books. With a non-glare screen, unlike tablets, you can read in the sunshine or use the built-in light to make reading at night a cinch.
Travel Sleep Kit: When you find yourself on the road or not in the nicest sleeping location, you’ll be thankful that you packed a sleeping kit like this one. With an eye mask, earplugs (or use your noise canceling headphones instead) and travel pillow, even a row of seats at the airport can be turned into your next bed. Choose a travel sleep kit that has a carry bag so nothing gets lost in your pack.
Cable Organizer Sheet: Nothing is worse than spending painstaking time untangling all your cords – especially when your laptop is blinking the low battery sign. Don’t tempt fate, and instead invest in a cord organizer with adjustable bungee straps to keep all cords, cards and memory sticks in place. This one zips flat so you can see everything at a glance.
Portable Laptop Stand: While effectively anywhere can be your mobile office space, it can be a challenge to create the perfect “desk” setup. Digital nomads swear by this Roost laptop stand for the ultimate laptop to desktop working experience. By propping your laptop up on this stand and using a remote keyboard and mouse, you can turn your laptop screen into a display and work more efficiently. Win-win!
External Hard Drive: Since being light and nimble is the name of the digital nomad packing game, many nomads will opt in for the MacBook Air due to its sleek design and minimal packing imprint. However, with limited RAM and memory, using an external hard drive like this 1 TB portable drive will keep all your documents, templates and photos from slowing down your Mac or can serve as a reliable back up in case something happened to your laptop.
The Perfect Bag: Now that you have all your digital nomad essentials compiled, you need something to pack it in. Finding the best travel backpack isn’t hard with all the different models on the market. Look for one that makes sense for your travels, and at the bare minimum has plenty of compartments to keep your tech organized and separated from your clothes and toiletries. The ultimate work-life balance is a bag that you can still carry onto a plane!