Since the digital nomad lifestyle is synonymous with long-term travel, it’s important for nomads to pack a lot lighter than they would for a standard vacation. With this list as a guide, you’ll be able to narrow down what’s most necessary for your travels, and feel confident in leaving out less practical items.
Your complete digital nomad packing list
Technology is critical to digital nomads since you’ll be using it for work and to stay connected with loved ones back at home. While it might be tempting to bring all sorts of gadgets with you, there are really only a few things you’ll use most often.
If you’re investing in a new laptop before you head out, be sure to consider its weight and dimensions in addition to its operating abilities. Since space is at a premium, look for a laptop that is lightweight yet functional, and won’t take up too much room in your luggage.
Most of us don’t leave home without our smartphones, let alone leave town! You’ll obviously want to bring your smartphone, and possibly even a second phone in the event yours is stolen, broken, or lost. If applicable, figure out your international phone plan prior to departure, as well.
If you’ve ever traveled outside the U.S., you know electrical outlets look different depending on where you are in the world. For those visiting more than one country, a universal plug adapter is best. Choose one you can use anywhere, for both grounded and ungrounded plugs and outlets.
4. External hard drive
External hard drives offer so much peace of mind when something inevitably goes wrong with our devices. Backup your work and travel photos on a regular basis, so you can feel confident all your efforts and memories are stored safely.
5. External battery
An external battery is essential for travelers who use their phones frequently throughout the day, as our batteries often drain a lot faster than we realize. With an external option, you can stop worrying about battery life and simply plug in when you start running low.
When it comes to clothing, it’s good to pack versatile pieces that are suitable for work and play. Since you have limited space in your suitcase, choose multipurpose garments that’ll allow for both day and nightwear.
1. SiteSee Jumpsuit
The SiteSee jumpsuit is an instant favorite -- it’s a polished look for afternoon meetings, but it can effortlessly transition into after-work wear, too. With a silhouette that’ll flatter every shape, this jumpsuit should be a staple in every nomad’s wardrobe.
2. VETTA Girlfriend Shirt
This lightweight Tencel top is sure to be worn over and over again, since there are so many ways you can style it. Wear the buttons in the front or back, tuck it in to accentuate your waist, or tie it up for a more cropped fit. Whether at work or at leisure, there’s no wrong way to wear it.
3. KOTN Culotte Trousers
These high-waisted, hip-hugging trousers feature a slight crop and an A-line flare for a chic, pulled-together look. Pair them with a cute flat or mule for the workday, and then wear them out with sneakers when you’re exploring on the weekend.
4. Sotela Midi Dress
This medium-weight linen dress is easy to maintain, making it a great option for girls on the go. With a luxe feel and beautiful drape, this piece is optimal for any season -- style it on its own in the summer, or pair it with boots and a cardigan in the colder months for year round wear.
5. Patagonia Marsupial Pullover
Patagonia is known for creating durable pieces appropriate for a variety of climates, and this pullover is no exception. It’s lightweight but warm, making it the perfect layer for cool spring nights or crisp fall days, and a great addition to any nomad’s carry on.
Just like the clothes you travel with, your footwear should be versatile enough for all occasions. You’ll need to consider the weight of your shoes while also prioritizing quality since you don’t want them falling apart while you’re out on the town.
1. Allbirds Tree Runners
Having comfortable walking shoes is a must when you’re traveling, as you’re likely to put in a lot of miles exploring so many new places. These trainers from Allbirds are lightweight, breathable, and silky-smooth, making them ideal for everyday wear or even off-road excursions.
2. Everlane Crossover Sandal
In Everlane’s words, these sandals have ‘the ease of your summer flip-flops with the polish of your favorite flats.’ Featuring a tapered square toe, flexible footbed, and double-folded criss-cross straps, you’re guaranteed added comfort and fewer pesky blisters (win-win!).
3. Rothy’s The Flat
These shoes from Rothy’s are carefully crafted from repurposed water bottles, making them a lovely sustainable choice to meet your nomadic needs. With a ‘zero break-in period,’ The Flat is ready to accompany you on any and all adventures right away.
4. Nisolo Slip On
This casual, minimalist mule was originally designed as a house slipper, but was upgraded with extra structure for when you head outdoors. The unlined leather upper lets these shoes pack flat for easy travel, making them an excellent companion to the digital nomad lifestyle.
It’s wild how some of our smallest items can cumulatively weigh us down. When it comes to packing toiletries, err on the side of ‘less is more,’ since you’re probably able to restock the essentials regardless of where you are in the world.
1. Shower items
It’s typically easiest to purchase small tubes for your shampoo and conditioner that you can refill as you go (as opposed to lugging around full-size bottles). Similarly, purchase smaller (replaceable) versions of your soaps and scrubs, since bigger items are a pain to tote around.
2. Hair care
Again, purchasing travel-size hair care products will take up less space in your bag. Don’t forget to pack a brush or comb, hair ties and bobby pins, serums or sprays, dry shampoo, and a microfiber hair towel for faster drying when you get out of the shower.
3. Skin care
A solid skin care regimen is super important, but even more so when you’re traveling; when you’re visiting different climates, your skin will need a little extra attention. Be sure to bring your favorite face wash, moisturizer, facial toners or oils, and a good sunscreen for daily use.
4. General hygiene and health
Everyone’s routine will look unique, but in general, you’ll need a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, menstrual products, medications or supplements, and eye care (for contact lenses). As this all varies on the person, pack whatever it is you need to feel clean and stay healthy.
Whether you’re bringing a purse, a backpack, or a weekender bag, your carry-on can store some of your most important items right at your fingertips. A well-stocked carry-on is necessary for nomads who want to be prepared for wherever their travels take them.
1. Water bottle
Investing in a reusable water bottle will not only help your wallet, but it’s a small step in saving our planet, as well. Look for a stainless steel bottle (like this one from Byta) that’ll hold hot and cold beverages and can be used at airport fill stations with ease.
It’s smart to keep your passport in your carry-on, since you’ll need access to it at several points on international trips (keeping it in a checked bag could really cause issues going through customs). If you want to add a little flair to your passport, look into buying a personalized case!
3. Noise-canceling headphones
Planes can get noisy, but so can co-working spaces and coffee shops, so saving up for a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones may serve you well. These headphones can help you sleep better on a long flight, and will also help you stay focused in a crowded workspace.
4. Travel pillow
Speaking of sleeping while you’re in the air, a travel pillow can go a long way in achieving some quality shut eye. Look for one that’s lightweight, compact, and can wrap around the straps of your bag (like the Trtl pillow), so you can minimize space without sacrificing comfort.
5. Hand sanitizer
Long travel days can leave you feeling less than clean, but using hand sanitizer is a quick way for you to freshen up. Steer clear of germs (and do your part not to spread them) by keeping a small sanitizer or disinfectant hand wipes in your carry-on at all times.
No matter where your digital nomad life leads you, there are certain things you’ll want to bring along to make sure you have the best experience possible. By following this packing list, you’ll have what you need to perform your job, to stay healthy, and to have a beautiful time on your journey.