While you could browse any packing list on the internet, as a digital nomad, you will have a specific way that you’ll need to pack.
That’s where this digital nomad packing list comes in.
The list that I’ve put together accounts for traveling to multiple cities, countries, or regions while not carrying too much.
Throughout this guide, I’ll cover what you should pack when traveling to other countries in addition to what you’ll need when working in a public place like a cafe or on the beach.
What To Pack When Working Away From Home
If you’re staying at a hotel, hostel, or any other form of accommodation, you won’t want to carry all of your belongings when visiting a cafe or wherever you’re working for the day. So here’s a list of digital nomad gadgets you should pack when you’re out and about.
Laptop + Adapter
Unless you do all of your work from a phone or tablet, you’ll need a laptop and a way to charge it. But, of course, the type of laptop you’ll need depends on the kind of work you’re doing.
If you’re editing videos or doing design work, I recommend a Framework laptop or a newer MacBook. However, if you’re writing or doing administrative work that doesn’t require top-tier computing, you could honestly use any computer.
I recommend getting something that supports newer operating systems (OS) unless you run Linux. That’s because newer OS will support updates for longer, which means your device will be at less risk of succumbing to cyber attacks.
Power Adapter and Cable for Cell Phone
Letting your phone run out of battery while you’re out is dangerous because it can leave you without a way to contact emergency services if something terrible happens. That’s why you should always carry a power adapter and a working cable for your phone. Moreover, you will want to take every opportunity possible to charge your device.
Whether you’re on a bus or sitting in a restaurant that happens to have a USB or power socket.
Speaking of ways to charge your devices, if you can’t find any plugs where you’re working, you’ll want to bring a power bank to ensure your phone stays charged. Or, if you have a power bank with enough battery, you could charge your laptop without a plug outlet.
A YubiKey is a hardware security key that offers the most secure means to sign in to your accounts. Instead of receiving a text message or an email to log into your accounts, you’ll need to plug in your security key and tap it.
Using a two-factor authentication device like YubiKey eliminates most vulnerabilities that would otherwise give hackers or those who employ social engineering tactics a way into your account.
Carrying this device on a keychain safeguards your accounts and reduces the likelihood of account hijacking.
I use this device daily and wrote an in-depth review of it.
Decoy Wallet & Phone
No matter where you visit, there’s a 1 in 943 or 1 in 14 chance that you’ll be the victim of a robbery if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. So instead of losing your money and information, consider figuring out how to reduce your chances of getting robbed. Or minimize the damage.
One way to reduce the amount you lose is to carry a wallet and phone that you don’t care about. That way, if someone robs you, you can give them a “wallet” that has a few bucks and expired cards. From there, you’ll have a chance to flee, or they may let you go. Meanwhile, you don’t have to worry about canceling credit cards and having to get a new ID card.
Headphones or Earbuds
Unless you prefer listening to the ambiance in the place you’re working, you’ll want to pack something that’ll allow you to listen to autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), music, or whatever else while you work.
You can choose wired or wireless headsets, headphones, or earbuds depending on your preference. However, if you get headphones or headsets and are visiting a humid area, you will want to cover your headphones with plastic when not using them. Otherwise, the coating on your ear cups will peel, and you’ll likely notice mold or mildew growing on them.
Carrying a laptop stand and using it for your setup can prevent your laptop from overheating and place your device’s screen closer to your eye level.
Moreover, since your computer isn’t on a table, your device will have more protection if you accidentally spill your beverage.
The only laptop stand I can recommend in confidence is the Rain Design 10032 mStand.
These are optional and aren’t required; however, they may make your life a little easier while working away from your accommodation.
Wired or Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
If you’re using a laptop stand, you’re going to hurt your wrists by curling them to reach your laptop’s keys and touchpad. So, I recommend investing in a high-quality wired or wireless mouse and keyboard.
I prefer using wired because it means fewer devices to charge. For my setup, I use a Ducky One 2 wired keyboard and a Contour Design Unimouse. While these are huge, I simply don’t feel comfortable using any other device after spoiling myself with these.
The Unimouse has performed wonders on my wrist, meaning that I no longer have wrist pain. And the keyboard is robust and can handle me slamming my keys whenever I type.
Waterproof Notebook and Writing Utensil
If you’re a pen-and-paper type of person, don’t get a notebook that can succumb to water damage. Instead, invest in a waterproof journal like Rite in the Rain. I’ve used these, and they actually repel water and other fluids like sweat or grease.
Digital Nomad Packing List for Travelers
This packing list is for you adventuring through your own country or abroad. Moreover, I’ve fine-tuned this list enough to ensure that you’re packing light yet have everything you need to prepare you for undesirable scenarios.
The most important and best equipment for digital nomads is a laptop, laptop charger, and backpack. Without a backpack, we can’t transport our gear. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you select the best bag possible.
To choose a new backpack, first, consider where you’re shopping.
If you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, opt for an outdoor-specialty store rather than a typical department store. That way, it’ll be easier to get one-on-one help.
With the help of a salesperson, have them measure your torso—from your hips to the base of your neck—to help you figure out what size backpack you need. Of course, you could also do these measurements at home.
If you’re at the store, ask the salesperson if you can stuff 20 lb (a little over 9 kg) into the bag and try it on. Afterward, try on the bag, adjust any straps, and walk around a bit. Is it comfortable?
If so, now you need to ask yourself if it has all the features you need, some include:
Extra compartments: suitable for security—especially if they’re internal pockets.
Compression straps: they tighten around your bag to help minimize your gear’s movement.
Strap cover: it’s like a pocket for your straps. These allow zippers to cover your straps when not in use. They’re helpful if you don’t want your belongings snagging on stuff.
You could purchase rain covers separately to protect your belongings from water damage. However, some bags include them.
Most bags include internal metal frames; however, make sure that your pack does. These frames help distribute the weight of your gear.
Since you can buy any toiletry you’ll need at your destination; I recommend purchasing travel-sized bottles or solid toiletries. Some solid toiletries that you’ll want to get include tooth powder, soap bars, and shampoo bars.
Otherwise, I recommend packing the following toiletries unless you can find a powdered version of them:
- Sunscreen: prevent the sun from damaging your skin and potentially causing skin diseases later in life
- Moisturizer: always moisturize your skin
- Eye drops: it may be harder to find good eye drops depending on the country you’re in
- Deodorant: some countries may not stock much deodorant
- Condoms: you may have a difficult time finding quality condoms overseas, so I recommend bringing as many of these as possible
Reusable Water Bottle
Save money on water and carry a reusable water bottle or two with you. I say two because you could use one when buying drinks at cafes to potentially save money by bringing your own container.
The bottle material to go with depends on your needs. Plastic is lighter, ideal for you who walk a lot; however, chemicals can potentially leak into your drinks. Metal is excellent for insulating your drinks and doesn’t weigh too much, but you may have a faint metal taste.
Glass is my favorite because it is easier to clean and doesn’t affect the taste of my drinks, but it’s a pain to carry due to its weight and fragile nature.
Apparel will take the bulk of your luggage. Moreover, what you’ll need depends on where you’re going. If you’re visiting somewhere cold, pack Techwear—lightweight clothing that’ll keep you warm—or other heavyweight clothing.
However, if you’re staying in a hot place, pack shorts, skirts, or whatever prevents you from suffering in the heat.
If you’re traveling long-term, you’ll want to pack as lightweight as possible. That means either packing a pair or two of clothing and purchasing what you need at your destination or buying only lightweight apparel that you can shove in your bags.
These items include anything essential to your lifestyle. Whether it’s prescription glasses, medication, contact lenses, or whatever else. Other miscellaneous items that I recommend packing include:
- Copies of your travel documents
- Plastic bag to store dirty clothing
Also, you’ll need essential items like your original travel documents, unlocked smartphone, passport, cash, accommodation information, and ATM cards.
Don’t Venture Into the World Unprepared: Use My Digital Nomad Packing List
If you’re a digital nomad and are packing for your adventure, don’t skimp on the items that I’ve listed above. Also, remember that you’ll need to pack light. Finally, while doing this may leave you exposed to nightmare scenarios like theft, ensure that you have money set aside to buy yourself out of trouble.
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