Last Updated on September 20, 2023
Embracing the digital nomad lifestyle can be exciting and liberating, but it also comes with its challenges. Mastering the art of packing is crucial when you’re living the digital nomad life.
I mean think about it: you can’t just toss some things in a bag and boom, you’re on your way. A digital nomad has to be smart about what they take with them and what’s better left behind.
After all, digital nomads have to fit their entire lives into a digital nomad travel backpack or a suitcase. No one wants to be hauling around bags from place to place, so it’s important to bring only the essentials.
As a digital nomad going on seven years now, let’s just say I know a thing or two about what a digital nomad’s packing list should look like.
I take at least eight international trips a year and I promise you: I’m not hauling around three check-ins and a carry-on. I keep it simple but practical!
You need one that has everything you need yet only the absolute essentials.
In this comprehensive digital nomad packing list, we’ve curated a list of essential digital nomad gear and quick packing strategies to make the most of your limited luggage space.
So let’s dive in and discover how to pack like a pro for your digital nomad journey using this complete digital nomad packing list!
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- Essential tech gear for digital nomads includes a reliable laptop, smartphone with an international plan, chargers & power banks, travel bags & organizers, and more.
- Clothing essentials for digital nomads include mix-and-match clothing, layering techniques, and shoe selection.
- Productivity tools and software needed by digital nomads include VPN services, cloud storage solutions, and time management apps. Packing tips such as prioritizing essential items also help maximize efficiency when traveling.
Essential Tech Gear for Digital Nomads
In today’s tech-first world, staying connected is more important than ever. And especially as a digital nomad, your livelihood depends on your ability to work remotely and stay productive while on the move,
Living the digital nomad life means your work and livelihood aren’t confined to the traditional office cubicle space. Instead, your success relies a ton on your ability to adapt and remain efficient while you’re constantly on the go.
Therefore, having high-quality tech gear that isn’t gonna crap out on you is one of the most important investments any successful digital nomad could make. Some essential tech gear for digital nomads include:
- A laptop
- Your smartphone
- Portable chargers
- Power banks
- Camera (if you’re a content creator)
Having reliable equipment ensures you can stay connected and get your work done no matter where your travels take you.
Digital Nomad Laptop
Best laptop for digital nomads: Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
Your laptop is the heart of your digital nomad office, making it one of the most important pieces of digital nomad gear you’ll own. A laptop with a long-lasting battery, lightweight design, and durability optimizes productivity while traveling.
A laptop stand can be a game-changer for your posture and comfort, especially when working for long hours in coworking spaces.
Don’t forget the laptop cleaning cloth to protect your screen from scratches and damage caused by sand and other particles during your travels.
The 2023 MacBook Air is a popular choice for many digital nomads since it’s lightweight yet powerful, but remember to carry a portable charger for those times when you’re far from a power outlet.
International SIM Card (Cell Phone Service)
Best eSIM for digital nomads: Airalo Local & Regional eSIM
Another key piece of equipment for a digital nomad is being able to stay connected to the web when you’re on the go. Trust me: landing at the airport with no cell service makes everything a struggle, including getting to your hotel, finding lunch for the day, etc.
Staying connected and having access to useful apps while traveling is vital for productivity and navigation, and Airalo is an absolute gem that solves this in one sweep.
Instead of having to buy multiple physical SIM cards or another cell phone, Airalo allows you to connect your phone to the local service providers just about anywhere you go. All you have to do is visit their site, create an account, enter the details of where you’re traveling, and boom. You have an eSIM to use when you land.
Chargers and Power Banks
Best for portable charger digital nomads: Anker PowerCore Portable Charger
There’s nothing worse than running out of battery power when you’re in the middle of an important task or trying to navigate through a new city. Therefore, investing in a portable power bank/charger is pivotal for digital nomads.
Consider the Anker PowerCore+ with its 26,800mAh battery capacity and 30W high-speed charger to keep all your devices charged and ready for use.
An electronics organizer can also be a lifesaver, helping you keep all those cords, chargers, and tech accessories organized and protected during your travels.
Travel Bags and Organizers
Choosing appropriate bags and organizers is fundamental for digital nomads to maintain organized and accessible belongings. A suitable digital nomad bag should have enough space to accommodate all your essential items, be comfortable to carry, and provide convenient organization and access to your belongings.
In addition to your main carry-on luggage, having multiple bags or organizers for different purposes can help you maintain organization and convenience with your possessions.
Best backpack for digital nomads: Nomatic Travel Pack 20L
An all-in-one, roomy carry-on backpack is much needed for comfortably carrying all your belongings and traveling as a digital nomad. The 20L Nomatic Travel Pack is a popular choice for its size, comfort, and capacity. It doesn’t hurt that it’s good looking too.
When selecting a digital nomad backpack, consider the size and capacity to ensure it can accommodate all of your essential items while still meeting airline carry-on luggage requirements.
Best packing cubes for digital nomads: Amazon Basics Travel Cube Set
To maximize space and maintain clothing organization in luggage, packing cubes are invaluable to a digital nomad. By compressing and organizing your clothing into individual cubes, you can save space and keep your garments clean and wrinkle-free.
When selecting packing cubes, consider lightweight and durable options, such as the Nomatic compressible cubes, which offer superior quality and durability. Amazon Basics is a great affordable option to get you squared away.
Keeping cords, chargers, and other tech accessories organized and safe while traveling necessitates an electronics organizer. Look for organizers with compartments and pockets to accommodate:
- other small items.
Ensure the organizer is lightweight and compact, making it easy to fit in your digital nomad backpack or carry-on luggage without taking up much space.
Clothing and Footwear Essentials
For digital nomads, versatility in clothing and footwear is paramount. Selecting items that can be easily mixed and matched can help you create a variety of outfits with a limited wardrobe, saving valuable luggage space.
In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose versatile clothing and footwear options and share some tips for layering techniques and shoe selection to help you pack like a pro.
Mix and Match Clothing
By packing easily mix-and-match clothes, you can form multiple outfits from a limited wardrobe, thus optimizing the efficiency and versatility of your luggage.
A capsule wardrobe consisting of basic and timeless pieces that can be easily combined is recommended for digital nomads. Choose garments that can be easily paired with each other to create a variety of looks, and opt for neutral colors and brands like Athleta and Prana for their versatility.
For digital nomads, layering clothes is a sensible approach to adapt to fluctuating weather conditions and conserve luggage space. Start with a base layer like a pair of jeans and mix and match travel clothing essentials, such as t-shirts, for layering.
Cotton t-shirts are an ideal choice for versatility and can be easily layered to create different looks depending on the weather conditions and activities planned.
Best Shoes for Digital Nomads
For digital nomads, the key is to strike a balance between comfort, style, and functionality when choosing footwear. It’s recommended to pack two pairs of shoes: one for daily use and another for more formal occasions or specific activities like hiking.
Consider factors such as the type of terrain you’ll be encountering, weather conditions, and the activities you plan to participate in when selecting the right shoes for your digital nomad journey.
Personal Care and Health Items
Looking after your well-being while traveling is vital for succeeding in the digital nomad lifestyle.
In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of packing essential personal care and health items, such as toiletries, first aid kits, and travel insurance, to ensure you stay healthy and comfortable throughout your journey.
Packing the right items can make a world of difference in your overall journey experience. Let’s face it: toiletries are expensive.
Toiletry Bag Essentials
To maintain personal hygiene and grooming routines on the go, a well-stocked toiletry bag is imperative. Essential items for a digital nomad’s toiletry bag include:
- Any other personal care items deemed necessary
Additionally, a tech pouch or cable organizer could be beneficial for keeping electronic accessories organized. Consider packing a travel-sized toiletry kit for added convenience and to save space in your luggage.
First Aid Kit
Best first aid kit for digital nomads: General Medi Mini Kit
To take care of those minor injuries and health issues while traveling, a compact first aid kit is a necessity for digital nomads. Look for first aid kits that include essential items such as:
- disinfectant pads
- pain relievers
Having these basic supplies readily available can make a world of difference in your comfort and well-being during your travels.
Best travel insurance for digital nomads: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance
Securing travel insurance is key to protecting oneself against unexpected medical costs and other travel-associated risks as a digital nomad. Travel insurance can cover:
- Medical expenses
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Trip interruption
- Lost checked luggage
- And more
SafetyWing is a cost-effective option designed specifically for digital nomads. Coverage cost varies based on age range but starts at around $45/mo.
Productivity Tools and Software
Beyond packing the appropriate camera gear and digital nomad essentials in their digital nomad backpacks, digital nomads also need trustworthy productivity tools and software, as well as reliable digital nomad equipment for efficient and secure work while on the move.
To help with this, a digital nomad gear list can be a valuable resource for digital nomad packing.
In this section, we’ll discuss essential productivity tools such as VPN services, cloud storage solutions, and time management apps to help you stay organized and manage your workload effectively on the go.
Best VPN for digital nomads: NordLayer VPN
For digital nomads, a reliable VPN service is a must.
- Safeguard data and access geo-restricted content over public Wi-Fi networks
- Stream movies
- Secure sign-on capabilities
- Access more economical flights
VPNs offer additional benefits that can enhance your digital nomad lifestyle.
NordLayer VPN is a reliable and secure option for digital nomads, featuring a “kill switch” to prevent IP address exposure in case of VPN connection loss.
Cloud Storage Solutions
Cloud storage services enable digital nomads to store their files securely and access them from anywhere, thus minimizing the need for physical storage devices. Some of the best cloud storage solutions for digital nomads include:
- Acronis Cyber Protect
- Google Drive (my favorite)
- Microsoft OneDrive
When selecting a cloud storage solution, consider factors such as cost, storage capacity, security features, and ease of use.
Time Management Apps
With time management apps, digital nomads can stay organized and manage their workload effectively on the go.
Some popular time management apps for digital nomads include Trello, Asana, and Clockify, which offer features such as task organization, project management, and time tracking.
Personally, I use Asana to manage, well, just about every aspect of my life. I use it for my client work, my W2 job task management, day-to-day activities, and even for the content planning of the blog.
These apps can help you stay on top of your tasks and deadlines (like that client delivery that was due yesterday) and ensure you remain productive and efficient throughout your digital nomad journey.
Travel Accessories for Digital Nomads
Numerous handy travel accessories exist that can boost the overall travel experience for digital nomads.
In this section, we’ll discuss some of these accessories, such as universal travel adapters, quick-dry towels, travel pillows, and sleep masks, to help you get the most out of your digital nomad lifestyle.
These accessories can help make your travels more comfortable and convenient. Universal travel adapters are essential.
Universal Travel Adapter
Best universal travel adapter for digital nomads: Ceptics World Travel Adapter Kit
For digital nomads, a universal travel adapter is a necessity for charging devices in different countries with diverse power outlets. Make sure to choose an adapter that is compatible with:
- European power outlets
- North American power outlets
- Australian power outlets
- UK power outlets
This will ensure you can stay connected wherever your travels take you.
Having the right adapter is needed to stay connected while on the go, point blank period. Invest.
For staying clean and saving space while traveling, digital nomads will find a quick-dry towel incredibly practical. These lightweight towels dry quickly and are pretty absorbent. This makes them perfect for digital nomad folks who need something quick and reliable to stay clean and dry on the go.
When selecting a quick-dry towel, consider factors such as size, material, and design to find the best option for your needs.
Travel Pillow and Sleep Mask
During long journeys like flights or bus rides, a comfortable travel pillow and sleep mask can aid digital nomads in resting and sleeping better. The Trtl neck pillow, Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow, and Calpak Neck Pillow are all excellent options for providing comfort and support during your travels.
Pair your travel pillow with a light-blocking eye mask, such as the Pilot Plans eye mask or the EZ Travel Pillow and Eye Mask, to ensure you can get the rest you need to stay productive and energized throughout your digital nomad journey.
Tips for Packing Like a Pro
Efficient packing is an art. With appropriate tips and tricks, you can maximize luggage space and lighten the weight of your belongings.
In this section, we’ll provide practical advice for prioritizing essentials, rolling vs. folding clothes, and utilizing empty spaces in your luggage.
As you pack for your digital nomad journey, prioritizing essential items and avoiding overpacking is key to saving space and lightening your luggage. Focus on packing only the items you truly need, such as:
- travel accessories
Eliminate any non-essential items that might weigh you down or take up valuable space in your luggage.
Just make sure to check the local weather where you’re flying to. After all, no one wants to be that person who packs long-sleeved shirts and jeans for a ridiculously hot and humid country.
Rolling vs. Folding Clothes
A simple but effective packing tip is to roll, rather than fold, your clothes. This method helps save space in your luggage, reduces garment wrinkles, and ensures you look your best, even when living out of a suitcase.
Some items, like those bulky sweaters you can’t part with, are probably better off folded instead of rolled.
Utilizing Empty Spaces
To maximize luggage space, get creative in using empty spaces. For instance, small items like socks, chargers, or toiletries can be stored inside shoes or other vacant spots in your luggage.
By making the most of every inch of your luggage, you’ll be able to pack more efficiently and ensure you have everything you need for your digital nomad journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most essential tech gear items for digital nomads?
For digital nomads, having a reliable laptop and an unlocked smartphone with an international plan are essential tech gear items.
This tech gear allows digital nomads like yourself to stay connected to the internet while you travel, allowing you to work remotely and access important info on the go. It also makes a world of difference when it comes to staying connected with the fam back home.
How can I save space and reduce wrinkles in my clothing while packing?
Rolling your clothing instead of folding it can save space and reduce wrinkles in your garments when packing.
What type of cloud storage solutions are recommended for digital nomads?
For digital nomads, iDrive Personal, Backblaze, Acronis Cyber Protect, Sync, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive are all recommended cloud storage solutions.
Why is it important for digital nomads to have a universal travel adapter?
Having a universal travel adapter is essential for digital nomads to stay connected as they can charge their devices in different countries with varying power outlets.
This ensures they stay productive and connected no matter where their travels take them.
What are some useful travel accessories for digital nomads?
Essential travel accessories for digital nomads include a universal travel adapter, quick-dry towel, travel pillow, and sleep mask – ensuring comfort and convenience on the go.
These items are absolutely essential for digital nomads who are constantly on the go and need to be prepared for the highs and the lows. A universal travel adapter ensures that your phone and devices are charged wherever you go, while a quick-dry towel is perfect for those times when you need something for a quick clean.
From essential tech gear and versatile clothing to efficient packing tips and useful travel accessories, this ultimate digital nomad packing list covers everything you need to make your digital nomad journey a success.
As you travel around the world living off WiFi hotspots, just remember that packing the right way not only saves you space and hassle but also helps you stay productive and on your toes through all those ups and downs that come with a digital nomad lifestyle. You know what I’m talking about.
Hope this packing guide has been helpful and enjoy your travels to come!