Every full-time traveler needs to have essential digital nomad gear in their pack to not only travel but to work-and-travel. If you are traveling out of a backpack like we do, it’s even more imperative that you boil down your items to only the essentials.
After over a year on the road working and traveling full-time, we learned a few things about the items that we absolutely needed and the items that are luxuries.
In this article we’ll focus only the essential digital nomad gear to help you minimize the size of pack to carry-on only!
Essential Digital Nomad Gear Item 1: Computer
A computer is a no brainer when it comes to digital nomadism, it’s the most essential digital nomad gear you will need! You will be making your living online, so a laptop is imperative to your living and surviving on the road. But not all computers are made equal and depending on what kind of work you will be doing, then you may need a different computer all together.
In general, all digital nomad computers should have:
-Fast Processor: For when you need to have multiple tabs and apps open at once
-Long Battery Life: For when you don’t have a charger or are working on a long flight
-Light Weight: So your pack is as light as possible
-Lots of Memory: So you can store tons of travel photos without compromising your docs and apps
The goal of this section is to share with you the lightest and most compact options on the market that will give you the best bang for your buck depending on your profession.
Here are our top choices:
1. Macbook Air
Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Battery Life: Up to 12-hours
Weight: 2.75 pounds (1.25 kg)
Memory: 128GB to 1.5TB SSD storage
Processor: 2.2GHz or 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7
Battery Life: Up to 10-hours
Weight: 4.02 pounds (1.83 kg)
Memory: 256GB to 1.5TB SSD storage
3. Dell XPS 13
Processor: 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8500Y
Battery Life: Up to 8-hours
Weight: 1.24 kg (2.7 pounds)
Memory: 256GB to 512GB SSD storage
We are personally Apple users. We love and recommend Apple products to all our digital nomad friends and following.
Your computer is essential digital nomad gear you should not skimp on. Make the investment and buy a good computer that is sure to get the job done and you will thank yourself later.
Essential Digital Nomad Gear Item 2: Phone with a Good Camera
Your phone is also a no brainer when it comes to a digital nomad career. You will use your phone to keep in touch with clients, book flights and hotels, move around, and so much more. If you choose not to bring a camera with you on your trip, we advise getting a phone with a great built in camera so you can take lots of photos to remember your travels.
In general the essential digital nomad phone has the following:
-High storage for apps, docs, and photos
-Great camera to take quick hand-held pictures
-Unlocked so you can purchase travel sim cards in various countries
-Ability to have a hotspot in case you need to connect to wifi
Keeping these ideas in mind, here are our favorite essential digital nomad phones:
Apple’s premium flagship phone is very expensive, but the high cost results in a fantastic phone that iOS users love. This phone is lightning fast and both photos and videos look amazing on this device.
2. iPhone 8+
Our current phone of choice because it provides great value for the price. The camera is fantastic and can shoot 4k video.
The Google Pixel 2XL is one of the top android variations you can get on the market. There are many reviews stating that the camera performs better than Apple phones. If you are an android user, definitely check out this device.
We also chose to have iPhones instead of android options because the various ways Apple products streamline our workflow.
Essential Digital Nomad Gear 3: Charging Adapter
If you are traveling outside of the country, you’re most likely going to need an adapter to charge all your essentials.
Our favorite adapter is the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter. Here’s why we recommend this adapter to you over others:
-Lots of plugs can charge all your devices at once, plus your friends’ devices
-2.4 and 1 A USB charging options will charge your phone and smaller devices with lightening speed
-The built in extension cord makes it easy to charge with plugs from a distance
-It’s durable and hard to lose. It’s a tad bigger than typical small adapters which are easy to forget and lose on your travels
Essential Digital Nomad Gear 4: Portable Charger
What do you do when you’re out all day exploring with your phone and then all of a sudden it dies? A portable charger is perfect for days when you plan to hit all the sights and you know you’re phone will need extra juice to get you around town and see the sights.
There are tons of portable chargers on the market. Here’s our top three picks:
The Jackery Bolt comes with a lightning and micro USB attached, so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting cables again! It can provide up to 1.5 charges for your phone at a rate of 2.4A.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 provides the best weight to mah ratio of most portable chargers. At only 0.4 pounds it can charge your phone a little over two times up to 2.4A.
The RAVPower 26800 PD is a best of a portable charger. With PD (power delivery) you can charge certain products like iPhones extremely fast. It can charge up to three devices with two standard USB outputs and one USB C port. This is a great product for people with devices such as the Nintendo Switch or certain laptops that require a 30W charger.
A VPN is a virtual private network that connects you to web servers in countries around the world. VPNs redirect your web searches that hides your IP address and encrypts any data sent or received. In addition, some websites like Netflix are blocked or altered in various countries, so a VPN can allow you to access those blocked sites and data.
We use NordVPN because they have very strong encryption and great connection with 5000+ servers in 60+ countries. They have amazing deals, especially if you are willing to buy in for 1-3 years. Over our 8 months of travel we have had no issues using NordVPN and it has allowed us to even catch up on our favorite series, Game of Thrones!
There are so many electronics that you could bring on your next adventure, but parring them down to the essentials is key to travel light and work efficiently. We believe the 5 items that you need to work on the road are a laptop, phone, charging adapter, power bank, and VPN. Take a second to think about your workflow and then decide what you really need on your trip.
What else do you think is a fundamental piece to a digital nomad’s travel tech?