It feels good to have everything you own by your side. The comfort that comes with staying at home is addictive. It gets you wanting to pack everything you like as you travel the world. However impossible this is, you can still be comfy with few belongings when on the move.
As a digital nomad, you must know what you want to have and what you actually need. I love taking juice, so I brought my blender with me on my first trip to travel the world. That was kind of dumb, I know. Now I am naturally a minimalist when it comes to packing.
The skills I have gathered over the years will surely help you out, although not entirely. You will be better off if you omitted what you can do without from my list and fix your essentials. Let’s do this!
Normally, two bags are enough for me. This is excluding all those bags-within-bag I might be having. It is the number one digital nomad rule of travel – travel light. A simple carry-on for all the clothes, shoes and toiletries will do.
As for the electronics and important documents, I use a secure backpack. I leave these two bags at the hotel room and unleash my 15L daypack to hit the road with. Ensure you have the right bags; they should be sturdy, light and easy for you to access.
If you like to walk with your purse, pack it too. Ensure that your camera’s lenses are well protected in a separate soft pack to avoid scratches. I like to put my money and cards in the money belt. Talk of playing safe.
The part of packing where I have to choose clothes to carry and those to leave used to be the trickiest. I mean, how was I supposed to leave a whole wardrobe behind and go with just a bag-full? Now, I just look back and wonder if what I was lacking was better problems to worry myself with.
Pack for a week’s wear to keep your luggage lightweight. In place of cotton, you can bring along socks, t-shirts and underwear made of merino wool. The material is breathable, antibacterial, wrinkle-free and odour-resistant. It also dries up fast.
Below is a list of clothing you should consider packing;
- 3 pairs of socks
- 3 pairs of shorts (swimming shorts/ yoga shorts/ board shorts)
- 7 underwear
- 3 Pants (put on one on the day of departure)
- 3 tank tops
- 3 T-shirts (have at least one Icon-Speak t-shirt to help you in case of a language barrier)
- 2 shirts (buttoned to the bottom in case of official meetings)
- Dresses and skirts (two of either or one of each)
- 1 Sweater/ versatile jacket
Your footwear should be as simple and comfortable as possible. Packing your best five pairs of high-heeled shoes and luxurious sandals will not help you move any faster. It is hectic. Have your simple rubber or leather sandals for walks at the beach and relaxed evenings at the hotel.
In case you go hiking, carry hiking shoes or Blundstone Boots. They are also convenient for long walks or rough roads. Flat shoes that you wear in your normal days are good to use; just ensure that they are easy to wash, breathable and durable.
It is not just you; we all tend to forget to carry some of the most essential items to a journey like a toothbrush or a comb. Good thing is that you can purchase those on arrival in most places. To be well-prepared for your tours, however, pack the following essentials.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap (organic, liquid and multipurpose soaps are the best)
- Body lotion
- Insect repellent
- Inflatable neck pillow
- Water bottle
- Travel towel (if you cannot use a sarong)
- Hair ties (2 or so)
- Electric beard trimmer
- Nail cutter
- Wet wipes
- Makeup (mascara, lip balms and pons if you like)
- The Diva Cup
You will definitely need a tech gear or two as a digital nomad, and maybe too many of them. Photographers and journalists will need a whole bag specifically for work electronics. As for me and all other regular digital nomads, the list below works just fine.
Pack a laptop that can store power for log when charged and is lightweight. Also, ensure that it can easily connect to Wi-Fi and is compatible with your phone and other electronics. Invest in the best you can get and confirm that it can support software you use for your work.
Ensure you have purchased the best smartphone you can afford. If it has a good camera, music player and supports necessary applications necessary for your travel, take it. You will realize that a god phone will eliminate the need to carry separate video players and cameras among other electronics. I like my iPhone 6 for that.
Portable BT speaker
These are usually small and can use the same charger as your smartphone. Your yoga sessions and beach picnics are a lot more interesting with a BT-enabled speaker.
It is a good electronic for you if you like reading. It is high time you stopped carrying around bulky novels if you can get yourself the Kindle PaperWhite.
In case you cannot keep buying bottled water, carry the Steri Pen to purify your tap water. It is so small it could fit in your side pockets.
Well, the phone may not be enough for you. Bring along your camera with its right lenses for the best shots.
Other necessary electronics you should carry along include:
- Laptop and phone chargers
- BT-enabled mouse
- Earphones/ Headphones
- Power Bank
- External Hard Disk Drive
I am positive that every digital nomad needs the items I shall list below. You are an exception if you are the president and you have everything taken care of for you in the various countries you visit. For the documents, make copies of each and pack them separately. Leave some copies at home in case you lose them abroad.
- Travel Insurance
- Boarding pass
- Bank and credit cards
- Identification card (ID)
- Money (in common currencies like £, $ and local currencies)
- Sim cards of visited countries
- Your business cards
In this digital world, use your smartphone to make your travels stress-free. Several Apps have been developed that are convenient for the digital nomad. The following are just but a few.
- Google maps – to display the map of your location and give you directions to your desired destination
- Google Translate – to overcome the challenge of a language barrier
- Uber – you can order a cab online at fairly cheap rates
- Airbnb – to help you rent a room to stay in during your tour
- Spotify – for you to listen to all sorts of music worldwide
- Dropbox – to backup all important files and documents
My husband also has a list of foods he must travel with. If your happiness depends on it, carry it whatever it takes (as long as it is all legal). His must-have edibles are;
- Turmeric (say goodbye to inflammation)
- Coconut oil (he literally uses it for cooking, body oil and hair oil)
- Black tea
- Chewing gum
There is really no particular packing list in the world that will suit your specifications perfectly, except your very own. Make a point of customizing this guide and own it. You cannot go wrong.
I am positive that if you pack carelessly for your trip, you will check several bags at the airport at affordable fees and still have a memorable experience away. Who can stop you when you have money to blow and energy to carry heavy luggage around?
Either way, have a good time at home away from home.