Do you ever dream of ditching your desk and run your business while travelling?
You already see yourself there- white sand beaches, palm trees and the long evenings spent sipping cocktail and watching the sunset… Sounds dope right?
But do you really think you are prepared to join the community of digital nomads?
Living out of a backpack, squeezing your life into that one tiny bag, living the life of minimalism…Scary?
Worry not amigos, we are here to help you.
Now lets see,
What is the ultimate digital nomad packing list?
You ultimate packing list must include the following travel essentials:
- The perfect backpack
- Sleeping essentials
- Photo and video
To help you with your digital nomad packing list, let’s start with a little test that you can do at home.
The perfect backpack
Get the biggest backpack you can find (80 l is good) and fill it with bricks or whatever you want but it has to be heavy. Take a 2 hour long subway ride during rush hour and every two stations, fight your way out of the train. Wait for the next one but before you enter the train, let 10 people pass to mimic those locals who will squeeze in front of you. Once you’ve done that, rent a small motorbike and ride it around with a friend sitting behind you but still carry your backpack. You can add a few shopping bags full of groceries between your legs. It will become pretty obvious that the number one rule of a digital nomad packing list is: a small backpack!
You may also notice that driving around with a helmet that’s too big for you and that keep sliding in front of your eyes, it is hard to find your way around. Luckily you planned ahead and you have in your pocket a secret weapon: Maps.Me. Download your map before you go out and it’s guaranteed you’ll never get lost.
I’ll give you two options:
First one: empty your flat of everything except one cupboard and bring bunk beds in. Crank up the heat to a minimum of 30 °C and invite 20 young strangers to sleep at your place for a week. The mattresses you sleep on should be no thicker than a slice of bread. Get someone to repeatedly sting you with a needle in the night to simulate the mosquito’s attacks. After a few days of this you will soon realise that you need at least three things: A sleeping mask (because your neighbours are watching game of thrones at three o’clock in the morning), ear plugs (because the walls are shaking thanks to the snoring guy that sleeps next to you) and mosquito repellent (because when you turn on the light to look for that bloody mozzy, it hides until you go back to sleep). An option is also to bring a small sleeping bag to try to make the mattress a bit softer.
Alternatively, choose a stormy day and pitch a tent in your garden during a downpour. To make it more realistic, throw a few stones under the tent and invite your snoring dad to sleep with you. You will soon come to the same conclusion and realise that you need to add a head torch to your digital nomad packing list.
And when your back can’t take it anymore, just go check out room at Airbnb. It’s a superb alternative to crowded hostels. There’s a room for every budget in there and you often get to meet cool local owners. Good stuff!
Go into your wardrobe and choose 3 t-shirts and 3 pair of shorts only. You are allowed as many underwear as you want but no more than 10. Wear these clothes and only these ones for at least one month. Of course you are not allowed to use your washing machine but only the laundromat that is 2 blocks away. If it is winter, you can take a single pair of thermal underwear and a single pair of trousers. I am sure you will notice that clothes get dirty real fast but also that you can wear the same ones surprisingly long. The trick? Hand washing powder and fast drying clothing. After all, no one said that living out of a backpack was easy. The true digital nomad packing list includes items to stay clean in all circumstances.
Get rid of everything in your kitchen except the electric kettle, one bowl and a spoon. Eat only instant noodles, chips and cookies as long as you can. When you can’t take it anymore go out and eat kebabs and falafels but pay three time the price to represent your utter ignorance of the currency rate. Conclusions? Add a small camping stove, a pot and a camping cutlery like the Spork to your digital nomad packing list 2017 because even though camping Bolognese doesn’t taste like your grandma’s, it still feels good to eat homemade food from time to time. And don’t forget to add to your digital nomad checklist XE Currency. Very useful when you are on a budget!
After eating all that crap food you may notice that your stomach doesn’t cope very well. On top of that you might still be soaked from pitching your tent under the rain. Maybe you are also sleep deprived thanks to the snoring guy and the heater on full power. This can take a toll on your health. Add to that the infected mosquito bites and you come to the realisation that your digital nomad packing list should include essentials such as: pain killer (I take paracetamol) and disinfectant (I use Betadine). There is only one emergency situation I know that needed urgent self-medication: virus poisoning. Once you get the nasty bug, you may start to vomit many times in a row without the possibility to re-hydrate yourself. This can be really serious depending on how far you are from health care centres. I have at all times anti vomiting suppository in my digital nomad packing list. These are prescription medicine that got from my doctor back home. All other health care necessities can be purchased on the road as necessary
And now that you know if you can survive in the hostile environment of budget travelling, let’s see if you can work in it. You are a blogger, a travel photograph, a web designer or a programmer and you want to establish a mobile office? Luckily, you still have some place in your backpack to fit everything that you need and improve your digital nomad packing list.
Let’s start with a little training. Take your mum’s laptop and the cheapest smart phone on the market and once again pitch your tent in your garden during a downpour. Once you are safely inside the tent, try to connect to any of your neighbour’s connection. If the networks are protected, go to your neighbours and kindly ask them for their password. If they refuse to give it to you, walk around to pick up the dodgy signal from the gas station 1 mile down the road. And if that still fails, walk into a hotel like you own the place, sit down by the pool and ask bather the password. Or go to a cafe with Wifi and drink 7 coffees while trying to upload huge videos and photos on your blog. All of this has to be done on limited battery of course.
For your phone, go to a mini market (no mobile phone shop allowed) and buy a prepaid sim card. This has to be done in sign language to simulate your complete inability to speak the local language. Then go to a place where there is almost no signal and try to create a hot spot. Again upload huge videos and photos on your blog. In addition, bury your phone in the sand for a while and throw it on the floor a few times.
I think you get what I’m saying. When you make your digital nomad packing list and you wonder what gear to pack, don’t forget to include an anti shock case for your phone and a water proof bag for your precious computer. As with everything else, your gear has to be small and light. Apple products are good for these purposes: long battery life, light weight and tough.
If you value your personal data, a “must have” app is hide.me. This VPN makes you absolutely anonymous while you surf on the internet and protect your from hackers or data snoopers, even if you are on a public WiFi network.
Photo and video
In addition to your digital nomad packing list you might want to add a camera. I carry 2 gopro‘s because I often make action video projects. They are tough and small and make great footage. My digital nomad checklist also includes a camera to take pictures. I carry one from Sony but each person has their preferences so it pays off to try a few and see which style, weight and set up fits you.
You will need a whole range of cables to charge and connect things. Keep it to a minimum, one set of cable is fine but take good care of it. Once it breaks down, the next apple store might be hundreds of kilometres away… I keep mine in a hard case so that they do not bend too much.
Other things to pack
In addition to all of this, there are also a few items in my digital nomad packing list that are very useful in all situations:
Duck tape- This can get you out of many situations! The sole of your shoe is worn and unglued? Duck tape. Your tent is ripped? Duck tape. I even heard about a guy on a cycling trip that fixed his bike frame with the stuff until the next town 30 km away!
Cable ties- Same as above. It doesn’t get much better than this to fix random stuff
Pegs for clothes- Obviously to keep clothes from flying away your clothes on a windy day but also for setting up a shade on the beach.
Letherman Knife- The Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool is the ultimate digital nomad essential. I carry one at all times. It has gotten me out of a ton of sticky situations!
Congratulations!! You passed the test!
Now you know all the secrets of living the digital nomad life. Whether you are a traveller jumping from one country to the next at the speed of light or a more chilled out one stopping for weeks in the same place, there are dreams about travelling and there is reality… But often reality surpasses dreams! It’s worth it guys! Go for it!
You can find below a sum up of my recommendations for the digital nomad checklist 2017.
|My digital nomad packing list 2017||Product||Price||Top recommendations|
|Transports||40 l backpack||72.99 ?£||Osprey backpack|
|48.41 ?£||Lichfield Cullen Tent|
|Clothing||Lightweight clothing that can be layered|
Pants and shorts
Sandals and shoes
|27.99 ?£||Travel t-shirt|
|22.30 ?£||MSR pocket rocket stove|
|Health||First aid kit including:|
Water filtration system
Tooth paste and tooth brush
|375.49 ?£||Go pro HERO 5|
|11.99 ?£||LIFEVENTURE RFiD Document Wallet|
|68,90 ?£||Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool|
No matter if you prepare for a short holiday or a round the world trip, packing is a bit of an art form that you will master with time. Your packing list will depend on your personal choices and the limits of your comfort zone but there are some essentials that you simply can’t do without!
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