Working and living the digital nomad lifestyle requires a special set of skills, some essential kit and a mixture of some luxury and simple accessories to make your life both enjoyable and practicable.
To those of you familiar with the BBC’s Desert Island Discs which, since 1942, has been asking celebrity “castaways” which of their favourite recordings, plus one book and one ‘luxury item’ they would take with them if marooned on a desert island – each of today’s digital nomads will have a strong opinion on what they deem essential both from the perspective of making their lifestyle practicable, but while also adding necessary comforts and some important back-ups for those unforeseen, but inevitable, glitches in their new lifestyles.
From ultra-modern laptops to the best accessories, this digital nomad packing list covers many of the most obvious ‘must haves’, but also some easily overlooked or underestimated essentials.
Clearly the most important requirement for a serious digital nomad is the ability to work and earn a living wherever he or she chooses to be. This will obviously include the technical kit – namely a laptop and the assorted paraphernalia that will ensure it works everywhere and at all times (or as near as possible in any event). These would include portable chargers, some form of external hard drive, and access to the most reliable hotspots and mobile networks, perhaps via a dongle that optimises you access to mobile data. A quality mobile phone is also today’s ubiquitous ‘must have’.
Luggage / carrying kit
Living such a peripatetic lifestyle will also warrant proper investment in the right accessories to be able to transport your valued possessions. These should definitely include researching the best travel rucksack or backpack for your day to day needs and, ideally, an electronics organiser in which to store and easily recover all your tech accessories – wires, chargers, plugs etc – that you will rely on daily and can be hard to find or put together unless neatly accessible.
Nor should you forget to purchase a highly practical suitcase for when you are travelling between destinations. This should be carefully chosen on many criteria such as durability, weight, weather resistance and so forth, but importantly to conform with airline on-board luggage regulation.
Relaxation and immortal memories
Like our “desert island castaways”, music and other such entertainment should be considered when planning your trip(s). In today’s world this can more often be electronically-based rather than hard print but certainly it is likely you will want to have sturdy yet quality headphones/headset for both work and pleasure purposes. These would be enhanced by access to your favourite sounds and reading material.
Likewise for the visual memories, don’t forget a great camera and perhaps its additional accessories like a tripod, though nowadays a high-spec mobile phone can often do the trick.
It goes without saying that you won’t get far without money. While everyone will be on a different scale in terms of budget, at the end of the day saving money where one can and having practical, easy, and swift access to your funds is critically important. A lot of thought therefore should be taken into what kind, or variety of bank cards you carry with you. Some are very convenient for easy access in specific countries, others are transaction fee free, others have preferential or multi-currency foreign exchange rates. Think carefully. The wrong choice could literally cost you dear.
Which brings me to my last, but very much not least, piece of advice…
Even in the seemingly idyllic world of the digital nomad, the unexpected can happen. While nobody wants to fall ill, have an accident or lose your most precious possessions, including those listed above, the best you can hope for is to have a super simple, easy, swift and sympathetic insurance policy and provider, that fully understands the unique needs of the digital nomad’s lifestyle.
Such a policy should help whether you get sick or injured abroad. As you can expect the cost for dealing with such situations can be extremely debilitating, particularly if repatriation is involved. While evacuations are rare, not being able to pay for one could leave you in debt for years.
Likewise, comprehensive cover for all the items discussed above can make the difference between being able to carry on with the digital nomad life – or returning home with tail between your legs and an empty bank account. Insurance isn’t just there for when something goes wrong, it’s there to act as a safety net, so that you can enjoy doing the things you love.
Ultimately, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend valuable destination planning time, filling out forms, filing claims or making frantic phone calls. The chances are that you may never it but it’s well worth the peace of mind knowing it’s there should it sadly be required.