The Ultimate Digital Nomad Packing List
Packing for your digital nomad adventure is a lot different than packing for a week vacation to Cuba. There are way more variables that you need to consider to ensure that you’re not missing out on essential items when you’re working on the road. Since you’ll be working remotely and moving around a lot it’s important that you’re properly prepared, since one small item, like a plug adapter, can completely throw off your game.
You won’t necessarily have the luxury of popping back “home” to pick up something you forgot, and you will find that you end up needing things you may not have expected, like a copy of your birth certificate. On top of that, there are items that will just make your experience easier.
Some digital nomads have a home base, but many do not. Some nomads prefer to stay in warm locations, while others are living in many different seasons throughout the year. These factors all impact what you’ll need to pack when you set out on your journey. But there are some standard items that every digital nomad shouldn’t embark without.
It’s time to pack, but you don’t know where to start. Luckily, you landed in the right place! Here is our ultimate digital nomad packing list, so you can feel confident you have everything you need!
First, let’s start off with the essential items for your digital nomad packing list. These items are absolutely critical for you to pack for your digital nomad adventure.
What’s the difference between a nomad and a digital nomad? Well, the digital part. More often than not digital nomads work remotely from their laptops, so in order to maintain your lifestyle, you’re going to need your laptop. Along with this, make sure you pack everything your need for work such as a mouse, external hard drive, external keyboard if necessary, and of course, the charger.
We also recommend a quality laptop case. Since you’ll have to bring your laptop in your carry-on it will get thrown around a lot and you need to make sure it’s adequately protected. Another good investment is a laptop stand, which positions your laptop at the best angle for your neck, which is super important when you’re spending long hours staring at the screen.
A functional day pack
As a digital nomad, you’re going to spend a lot of time on the move. You might be basing yourself in Lisbon for the next 3 months, but will likely do weekends away, or day trips and excursions. On top of that, you’ll be out of the house every day going to coworking spaces or cafes and will need something to carry your laptop and other daily essentials. A good day pack is absolutely key for the digital nomad lifestyle. You want something that is lightweight, comfortable, and functional. And if it’s waterproof, even better!
Look for a backpack with comfortable and adjustable shoulder straps, a laptop sleeve, and lots of pockets to store documents, hard drives, snacks, and other items. Check out this 35L YETI pack for inspiration.
External power bank
Digital nomads rely on their devices more than anyone. Your phone dying when you’re lost in the middle of a new city is not ideal. And if you’re working from a café with no power outlets and in the middle of a client, call the last thing you want is for your laptop to run out of juice. An external power bank comes in handy for both these situations and more. You don’t want to be on a bucket list day trip only to realize you have no battery to take pictures. Investing in an external power bank will literally save you huge amounts of stress in multiple situations so you should definitely include it on your digital nomad packing list.
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Universal travel adapter
Different country, different socket. One of the most common issues nomads have when traveling is the fact that countries have different power sockets. You don’t want to buy new devices or cords everywhere you go, so a universal travel adapter is a great option. Bear in mind that different countries also have different voltages. So, before you plug your device into any outlets make sure that it can handle both 120V and 220V. If so, then a standard adapter will do the trick. If not, then you will need to get a voltage converted, or risk frying your device.
Copies of important documents
When you are traveling, taking your passport around with you on a daily basis is a risk. It’s the most important document you have as a digital nomad, and losing it or having it stolen in a foreign country can be a nightmare. But there are many occasions when you might need your passport or other important documents in your digital nomad life, such as renting an apartment or renting a vehicle. On top of that, it’s always good to have a backup of all your documents just in case something happens to them.
Make sure you make copies of the following documents and store them on your phone and computer:
- Driver’s license/identify card
- Travel and medical insurance
- Relevant papers from your bank
Since you’ll have your whole life with you in your suitcase minimalism is important, especially when it comes to your clothing. It can be hard to determine what clothing items are essential and which to leave behind, especially if you have no home base. Choosing functional clothing options that can be worn multiple ways is a great way to save space in your pack and reduce the risk of overweight charges.
Pack a good pair of durable sneakers and a few staple pieces of clothing like jeans and some plain shirts that you can mix and match.
Obviously, a lot about the clothes you pack will depend on where you’re going. If you have a home base and are traveling somewhere in warm weather for a few months, then you don’t need to pack a scarf and boots. But if you have your winter and summer wardrobes with you at all times then you’ll have to be more strategic with the pieces you choose.
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Other things to add to your digital nomad packing list
While these items might not be essential, they will make your digital nomad life a lot easier.
A portable Wi-Fi hotspot
Without a Wi-Fi connection, you can’t work. There are some places where it might not be as easy to find Wi-Fi as others. While some towns might have cafes or coworking spaces, others may have nothing at all. That’s why a portable Wi-Fi hotspot will be your best friend as a digital nomad. They basically work like mobile routers and allow you to set up an internet connection wherever you are using the connection from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
With some of the portable hotspots, you may need a SIM card for the country you are traveling to. We recommend investing in one with built-in SIM technology, so you won’t have any connectivity issues.
Waterproof document pouch or wallet
When you’re constantly traveling from country to country you never know what kind of weather you might encounter. If you get stuck in the rain with your backpack it’s inevitable that your stuff will get wet. Something could spill in your bag, or you could simply knock over a beverage onto important documents or onto your cash. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and storing your documents in a waterproof document pouch or wallet will ensure they are protected. Also, many countries have not yet switched to the new plastic bills and if your cash gets wet it may end up unusable. Sometimes when you travel you can’t solely rely on credit cards, which don’t work everywhere. Especially not in a Thai smoothie stand.
Reusable water bottle and container
It might seem excessive to bring your own container around as you travel the world, but we promise it will come in super handy. When you’re on a long bus ride, working in a coworking space, or out on a day tour you’re going to need to eat! Bringing your own food in a container not only helps you save money, but it helps you to reduce your plastic consumption. You can also use your container to pack up extra food for takeaway from a restaurant.
A reusable water bottle is a no-brainer for your digital nomad packing list. Water is the nectar of life, and you need to make sure you always have some on hand. Again, this helps you be a more eco-conscious traveler and stops you from buying plastic water bottles. You can also get reusable water bottles with built-in filters, which is super valuable in countries where you’d rather not drink water straight from the tap.
Eye mask and earplugs
These almost made it onto the essentials list, since getting a good night’s sleep as a digital nomad is incredibly important. An eye mask and earplugs are especially useful if you are spending a few nights in a hostel or shared bedroom, or if you live on a noisy street. As a digital nomad, you likely book a lot of accommodation in advance, and don’t necessarily know how loud your building is until you arrive. Plus, an eye mask and earplugs will be a godsend on long overnight flights.
While you don’t need to carry an infirmary with you, these items are nice to have:
- Nail clipper
- Pain killers
There’s nothing worse than showering the morning of your flight and having to shove a soaking wet towel into your suitcase. Regular towels can take hours and hours to dry, which isn’t very practical when you’re traveling all the time. Plus, when your wet towel is crammed into your suitcase it won’t have the chance to dry in there either and will just make all your other clothes wet. A quick-drying, microfiber towel will dry up very quickly so you can pack it and be on your way.
The ultimate digital nomad packing list
These are the staples that every digital nomad needs to begin their remote work and travel lifestyle. From essential items that you absolutely need to those that will make your life less stressful, this list has it all! There are of course more items you can take on based on preference like a professional camera, GoPro, or even snorkel gear if that’s something you love to do. But as long as you have these basics, you’re good to go!