Ready to set off on your adventure as a digital nomad, but don’t know what to bring with you? In this digital nomad packing list we will tell you everything you need to consider for working remotely from the road.
I have worked as a digital nomad across Europe and Asia, working from cafés, hotels, hostels and Airbnbs. I’ve worked on tropical islands (Sanya), modern metropolises (Hong Kong) and across Europe from Sicily to Slovakia.
In this packing list for digital nomads, you’ll learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for that dream of working anywhere in the world.
*Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, which means should you click and purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Digital Nomad Packing List Items
When booking accommodation check that it will suit your needs for working. A good WIFI connection is essential for any digital nomad.
Some things to consider
- Strong WIFI signal
- A desk
- Quiet workspace (party hostels are not great for this)
Airbnb is a great option for remote workers. You can check in advance if it has WIFI, check reviews, and many advertise specifically to the digital nomad market. I have just booked a one-month stay in Croatia to live and work.
I have used, and continue to use, the following to book accommodation on my trips.
Passport and Visas
Be sure to check the entry requirements for the place(s) you plan on working. Many countries now offer a specific visa for Digital nomads, with Georgia being one of the best countries with great tax benefits.
A Good Backpack
A good backpack is an essential item on any digital nomad packing list. You’ll need to consider space for clothes as well as work equipment like your laptop and other devices, cables, chargers etc.
You can check my list of the best budget backpacks for more info on choosing the right one for you.
Ensure you have a padlock so that you can keep your belongings (relatively) safe while travelling on trains and buses.
It would be very difficult to work remotely without a good laptop. Some hostels have computers for guests to use, but if you need to work, as all digital nomads so, then you will need your own laptop.
When thinking of purchasing a laptop, the weight will be a primary concern as you will be taking it with you everywhere (well, almost).
My own Lenovo is very powerful and has huge storage which is great for keeping my photos, however it is a little cumbersome and I will be looking at downsizing to one that is lighter and easier to pack.
I’m not much of a techie, so you can check this guide for some of the best digital nomad laptop options.
This really goes without saying, but a good phone is essential if you plan on working remotely. Using the portable hotspot to connect to the web means you can continue to work regardless of a wifi connection.
Some things to consider when choosing a phone
- Includes WIFI hotspot
- Good battery life
- Dual sim card storage (so you can keep your home network and add a local sim)
Local Sim Card or Good Roaming Data Plan
On a recent trip to Italy, I invested €25 on a local Vodaphone sim card with 300GB of data. This allowed me to work continuously for three weeks while on the road.
However, in hindsight I think the charge was a little high, so look for the best deal possible. Also speak to your provider at home to see if they have any good roaming deals.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
When using your phone and laptop abroad you’ll want to ensure your connection is safe (especially true if using online banking).
A VPN keeps your connection hidden from scammers and hackers, but is also useful if you want to use location-specific streaming services such as Netflix.
ExpressVPN are one of the best and cheapest on the market and have over 160 server locations around the world, keeping your connection safe with fast internet speeds.
Many digital nomads work in the creative industries and as such a good camera that has the ability to produce video is a great addition to the digital nomad packing list.
I have just purchased the Nikon B500 (an upgrade from the S9900) which is a great all-rounder with fantastic zoom capabilities, hand-steady function, HD video and the ability to upload your pictures and video straight to your phone/tablet through the app.
It’s always good to backup your work, so saving files and photographs to the cloud makes a lot of sense while on the road.
Check out TechRadar’s list of the best cloud storage providers.
Currency: US Dollars / Euros / Local
It’s always handy to arrive somewhere with some of the local currency, or at the very least US dollars or Euros.
Try and have small denominations so you can pay for things like water, bus tickets and so on before you find an ATM. This is especially true if you plan on working and travelling off the beaten path.
If you will be spending any length of time away then travel insurance is a must. I’ve been caught out before in Thailand and had to pay hundreds of dollars in medical expenses when getting sick there.
Our partners at SafetyWing offer travel medical insurance for digital nomads. They cover people in more than 185 countries and offer flexibility to start the insurance even on the road.
2 x Universal Travel Adapters
I recently made the mistake of arriving in Bratislava, Slovakia without a European adapter. My laptop is Chinese and I had a UK adapter, but completely forgot I would need another for mainland Europe.
I wasted a morning trawling around the city looking for the right adapter so I could continue to work. Don’t make the same mistake.
It’s best to have at least two adapters so you can charge your phone and laptop separately. Many on the market come with additional USB charging which is very useful.
A power bank is a great addition to any packing list, but especially so for the digital nomad. This will enable you to keep your phone/tablet charged where you might not have access to a power supply (such as on a bus or train).
- Swiss army knife (check local laws and customs before travelling)
I’ll not comment on what clothes to pack as this will be down to your personal preference. However take into consideration the climate of the place(s) you will be living and pack accordingly with light clothes for warm destinations and plenty of layers for cold.
Be sure to bring any medication you are on, with a supply to last the duration of your planned stay and ideally beyond in case of emergency.
Being a digital nomad can be intensely rewarding. There is nothing like being able to work from anywhere you choose, be is a desert island or cultural hotspot.
Now you know everything that should go on you digital nomad packing list, the only question should be “where to first”?
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲