Building online businesses and becoming a location independent entrepreneur has its perks. At the top of the list for most people is the ability to travel the world while working from your laptop. We recently wrote about the top 10 co-living & co-working communities around the world, and since we here at A Better Lemonade Stand are a remote team that enjoys travel, we wanted to dive into our favourite minimalist travel essentials for digital nomads. The nomad gear in this post are some of our personal favourites and also come highly recommended by others in the digital nomad community.
Great gear can make or break your experience as a travelling digital nomad. Some gear is literally going to take you to and from each destination, keeping your few possessions safe, whilst other gear is going to make your travels easier so you can enjoy each destination to the fullest. Nevertheless, this nomad gear is practical, high-quality, highly recommended and essential for your travels.
Let’s dive into our digital nomad packing list below.
1. AER Carry On Backpack
Checking your bags at the airport sucks. It takes longer to check in, it takes longer to get your bags at your destination and, to top it all off, you run the risk of the airline losing your bags. This nomadic travel bag is a versatile carry-on backpack designed for the smart traveler. Dedicated compartments for your travel essentials and technology keep you organized and ready for any journey. As winner of the Carry Awards 2017 Best Carry-On Backpack, this bag is a must have for digital nomads.
2. Unbound Merino Wool Travel Clothing
Let’s chat about nomad clothing. Yes, nomad clothing is actually a thing. In particular, Merino wool clothing is perfect for nomads because Merino wool is antibacterial, odour resistant, dries fast, doesn’t wrinkle and helps regulate your body temperature.
Unbound creates stylish, simple, Merino wool apparel that can be worn for weeks or even months – without ever needing to be washed. That means you can ditch the big suitcase because you’ll have fewer articles of clothing to cart around and it’ll all fit in your carry-on. For the digital nomad who likes to travel as light as possible, these Merino wool pieces are essential.
3. Packable Down Puffer Jacket from Uniqlo
No matter where in the world you go, the nights are likely to get cold or rainy. For this reason, a high-quality and versatile jacket is absolutely essential. This down-filled jacket from Uniqlo offers great protection from the wind and rain, and it’s also surprisingly warm. The best part is that it’s able to be rolled up and stored in the pouch that comes with it, ensuring that it takes up as little space as possible in your carry on or in your backpack on the go. No need to carry around a heavy-weight jacket (unless you’re going to particularly extreme climates!) when this one can do the job just as well and take up much less space.
4. IconSpeak Shirt
Perhaps one of the most clever t-shirt designs created in recent memory, pick up a t-shirt from IconSpeak to help you communicate with the locals no matter where you are. Languages may not be universal, but often times we can figure out what others are trying to say based on pictures, and these t-shirts from IconSpeak come with 39 of the most essential travel icons so you can break through any language barriers and get directions to wherever you need to go.
Including universally recognizable icons for Wi-Fi, coffee, food, lodgings and washrooms, to name a few, the IconSpeak t-shirt can be one of the best things you wear on your travels. IconSpeak even offers t-shirts designed for specific cities that include the particular landmarks and attractions of that location which may be more helpful for you if you’re heading to one or two destinations in particular.
5. All Birds Shoes
No matter where you travel, you’ll most likely be doing a lot of walking, so having a great pair of comfortable and lightweight shoes is important. Allbirds is a fairly new company that makes wool shoes with a very lightweight rubber sole that are insanely comfortable to wear all day.
While wool shoes may not sound that appealing, they’re also made of Merino wool which, like we discussed above, is great for temperature regulating, moisture wicking and has none of the scratchiness that other blends of wool have. Produced in a selection of styles and classic, minimal colours, these shoes will keep you stylish and comfortable no matter where in the world you’re going.
6. Backup Battery/Powerbank
It’s Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and most likely at the worst possible moment. We depend so much on our cell phones and the feeling of 5% battery when you’re far from home and in unfamiliar territory is enough to make even the most well-travelled nomad even a little anxious. A backup power bank can give you several full cell phone charges and save you in a pinch, and for that reason it’s a must-have on our list of essential nomad gear.
This particular one is the size of a lipstick and has an average rating on Amazon of 4.3 stars based on 25,000 reviews. It easily connects to your phone via your standard charging cord, it charges fast so you won’t be left hogging the hostel power outlets for too long and when you head out the door just toss it into your backpack, purse or pocket until you need it. It’s easy, simple, and one of those things you’ll be so glad to have when you actually need it.
We’re fortunate that smartphone cameras have gotten to the point that most people feel comfortable using only their smartphone cameras to take photos on their trips. But, if you want to take your smartphone photography to the next level and get the best shots, a mini tripod like this one from Joby is a great addition to your travel stack. The flexible legs allow you to wrap them around just about anything, which means this tripod can adapt to nearly any situation.
Less obnoxious than a selfie stick and more practical than a standard tripod, the Joby Gorillapods can help you get cool shots of you and your travel buddies at the national monuments you check out, and for any nomads who prefer taking videos of their travels rather than pictures, this device can help you keep a steady hand. Best of all, it’s small, light and flexible enough to pack in your carry-on so it won’t bulk up your bag.
8. Joby Remote
While you’re upgrading your photography equipment, do yourself a huge favour and grab a bluetooth remote. This keychain-sized remote will allow you to take photos with a press of a button and without having to set a self-timer. Combine this with the Joby tripod from above and take some mad selfie shots all around the world.
For the nomads out there who like to travel quick, this tool can help prevent any awkward situations where you need to ask another tourist to take your photo for you. Get the shot you want and get it fast with the Joby remote.
9. Sony Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Did someone say impromptu dance party? This tiny (about the size of a small fist) bluetooth speaker is a great way to bring your music with you wherever you go. It’s water resistant which makes it great for any location. With an average rating of 4.4 stars and over 700 reviews on Amazon, you can’t go wrong packing this guy on your next trip.
Take it to the beach, set it up for your hike or keep the party going back at your place. Whatever the activity, this speaker is lightweight enough to be worth carry around, small enough to pack into any bag and boasts 16 hours of battery life so you’ll never be caught without tunes in the middle of a dance break. High-quality portable speakers are a crowd pleaser so you’re sure to make friends on your travels with this one.
10. Roost Laptop Stand
Like most digital nomads, work/life balance is still a part of daily life even when traveling, so while impromptu dance parties are part of the experience, so is the daily grind. For those digital nomads who are still working while travelling and may not have their usual, comfy, at-home desk set up with them, the Roost laptop stand can help alleviate any aches and pains that come with the unfamiliar territory.
This stand’s ergonomic design helps you maintain your posture by keeping your laptop at eye level so any long days working on your hustle don’t leave any last affects on you. It is lightweight, foldable and height-adjustable so it’s perfect for the working nomad on the go who wants a desk-like set up they can put up and tear down whenever and whenever they need to.
There you have it, the top 10 essentials every nomad needs in their travel bag to make life easier and more efficient while they’re on the go. Work hard, play hard, get the shot and be comfortable doing it while you’re travelling the world, working on your hustle and immersing yourself in the local culture wherever you are.