So you’ve just bought your ticket to your destination, you’re about to embark on your greatest adventure yet—but what to bring? How do you strike the balance between packing light enough to avoid a back injury, while still bringing all the comforts you’ll need? Not to worry, we’ve done the research and created a list of the essentials so you don’t have to.
For all you digital nomads, read on to learn what to bring and what to leave behind in the ultimate digital nomad packing list!
How Do I Decide What To Bring?
Of course, in an ideal world, you would own a bag like Mary Poppins, able to pack everything but the kitchen sink in there without it weighing more than a feather. No such bag exists and sadly, your space is limited and you’ll end up regretting bringing things that you’ll never use.
Remember: The digital nomadic lifestyle is about freedom and flexibility, so a minimalist mindset is key when packing. Also, if you stay in a furnished apartment, you likely can leave many of the things you would otherwise want to bring such as a coffee maker or towel.
The Bare Necessities
Knowing how to become a digital nomad requires a sense of minimalism. Think of the bare essentials you’ll need and go from there. Remember, you can buy the stuff you think you might need once you’re on the move, so you’ll only have to carry it if you really need it. Second, think about what bag you might bring.
Depending on the lifestyle you’re choosing for yourself, and how many times you’ll be at an airport, it might be wise to buy an all-inclusive travel backpack. This backpack will be able to hold everything you could possibly need, including your clothes, essentials, and work hardware (computer and extra monitor, if need be). Additionally, if you pack light enough, you’ll be able to use your bag as a carry-on rather than having to check it every time you board a flight.
Plenty of these travel backpacks now come with designated pockets for secure items like your passport and wallet. Check out your local rec store to find the gear that best matches your itinerary.
We’ve managed to distill everything you’ll need as a digital nomad into one handy list, so you don’t have to. This is not an exhaustive list, but the essential items needed for the nomad life:
- Your Laptop – Aside from clothes or a toothbrush, this is the most essential piece of equipment you’ll need. It’s your gateway to the rest of the world and your only means to work and earn money. Consider weight as well as performance when choosing which laptop to bring (in regards to the latter, performance will always be dictated by the type of work you plan on doing).
- External Hard Drive/Memory Card – The coveted hard drive. It’s the kind of thing you’ll need in case something inevitably goes wrong and you lose your priceless photos or work on the road. If someone steals your laptop (or if you lose it) and your data isn’t backed up to a cloud, then at the very least you can keep all your data local and transfer it over in case of a nightmare.
- Portable Charger – This is an essential tool for digital nomads on the move. Though you may currently always find yourself within reach of a socket, the reality is that not all places are set up like this. There is nothing worse for a digital nomad than being at the mercy of your battery life. Safeguard your battery life with a lightweight portable charger, and buy yourself a few more hours of work time.
- Smartphone – If for some reason you are somewhere without wifi, you can use your smartphone as a hotspot. Your smartphone can also double as your travel camera, so you have one less item to pack.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones – For all those times you’ll have to work in distracting environments, headphones are a must. Part of experiencing the nomad lifestyle is being out of your comfort zone. But when you’re trying to focus in a place you’ve never been before, noise cancelling headphones become your personal work haven. If you have to operate in crowded coffee shops and cafes, then you’re going to want to be able to silence the world around you.
- Universal Travel Adaptor – Essential to power all of your hardware, without it you’d be lost. Consider bringing two just in case, as these tend to be more expensive to buy abroad. Be sure to research where you’re going, to ensure that you’re buying the right one. Of course, universal travel adaptors can be purchased in most cities especially in the best places for digital nomads, but it’s always best to be prepared!
- Clothing– The key is to pack light. Wherever you go will likely have a place to do your laundry. Many furnished apartments, like Landing’s, should come with a washer/dryer combo either in-unit or on-site.
- 5-7 T-Shirts or Tops – Consider bringing some neutral colors such as black, navy, or gray. Not only do they conceal stains easier, but they’re also much easier to match with too. For warmer climates, tank tops are a must-have too.
- 1 or 2 Long-Sleeve T-Shirts – Long-sleeve t-shirts are handy to have for a bit of warmth and can be used as a layer under a sweater if necessary. They tend to pack down pretty small too.
- 1 or 2 Sweaters or Cardigans – Great for layering up when it gets too cold. Always comforting to wear on those lazy days and long-haul flights.
- 1 or 2 Pairs of Shorts or Skirts – These shorts or skirts should be both casual and comfortable. These can be used in various settings and what they might not offer in style, they do in comfort.
- A Pair of Athletic Pants – For working out when you’re in a new city, to being in your most comfortable garb at work, a pair of athletic pants are a wonderful addition to your digital nomad wardrobe.
- A Bathing Suit – Whether it’s the ocean, lakes, or pools, wherever you’re going, you always want to have a bathing suit.
- Rain Jacket – Depending on where it is you’re going, you’ll want to have a rain jacket. Either a light windbreaker or a heavy-duty raincoat, it’s imperative that you stay dry in wetter climates.
- Baseball Hat or Beanie – Depending on the climate you’ll be traveling to, a hat is always useful to offer some protection from the sun or the cold. This is especially true if where you’re going is sunny, as it’ll help mitigate the chances of sunburn.
- Footwear – Shoes are usually a nuisance to pack. Consider limiting your options to a pair of sneakers and then some flip flops. Should you need additional footwear, you can always buy it while you’re in your new city.
- Toiletries – This may be the most difficult one to pack as bottles tend to be weighty and cumbersome. It’s also a good idea to place your toiletries in a separate plastic bag within your main bag to minimize the risk of spills. Be sure to check if your place of stay will have some of these items. You may be able to skip packing toiletries, as some furnished apartments, like Landing’s, have lush toiletries included.
- Important Documents – You won’t get very far without these. It’s worth keeping paper and digital copies elsewhere too in case of emergency. It’s also wise to send digital versions of your documentation to people you trust. Should you need them, they can then send them to you from afar.
Quick Packing Tip: When it comes to making space in your bag, consider rolling all of your clothes. If you roll them tight enough, you’ll have an easier time fitting them next to each other.
You’re Almost Ready To Go!
With your ticket booked and your bag packed, you’re almost ready for your big adventure. There are just a few other things to keep in mind before you head off. Be sure to have some savings put away in case of emergencies. The life of a digital nomad can have its ups and downs, so it’s a good idea to have a safety net should you need it.
What’s most important is that you’re able to work from afar. Prioritize your work essentials and the rest you can figure out wherever it is that you land.
Up, Up, and Away
Now you know everything you’ll need to embark on the digital nomad lifestyle. While it may be tempting to pack all the comforts of home into your suitcase, it simply isn’t practical to do so, nor will you need to. Stick to the packing tips in our digital nomad packing list and you’ll have all the gear you need to make your adventure a success.
For tips on finding housing while you’re on your adventure, check out our relocation housing guide, which gives you all the necessary info about apartments, month to month leases, and more!
With places like Landing, all you’ll need is your essentials because all of the comforts of home will be provided in your furnished apartment. Pack light, travel easy, but experience all the comfort and amenities you need with one of our fully-furnished apartments.
World Packers. Becoming a digital nomad: jobs, perks, and pitfalls. https://www.worldpackers.com/articles/becoming-a-digital-nomad-jobs-perks-and-pitfalls
Pack Hacker. Digital Nomad Packing List.
Travel Fashion Girl. The Ultimate Digital Nomad Packing List for Women. https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/digital-nomad-packing-list/
World Packers. The Worldpacker’s digital nomad packing list. https://www.worldpackers.com/articles/digital-nomad-packing-list