Digital Nomad Packing List: Packing For A Life On The Go In 2024 (2024)

Are you switching your 9-to-5 to a life on the road? You’re not alone. In 2023, around 17.3 million Americans are self-proclaimed digital nomads. And if you're looking for the best digital nomad packing list, this article is for you.

Digital nomads are defined as people who work on the go. They can travel without being chained to an office while still making a paycheck. This lifestyle is a dream for many tech-savvy travellers (with certain downsides behind the scenes). But it can also be freeing and rewarding when you do it right.

Packing for a nomadic life is all about balancing comfort, routine, and travel light. It’s not merely packing a suitcase and jumping on the plane. Instead, planning is key.

In this post, we will guide you through the most essential items you’ll need, from capsule wardrobe to productivity-boosting tech gear and everything in between.

Essentials

A laptop or tech gear might be the first thing that comes to mind on a digital nomad packing list. However, it's the careful preparation that truly ensures a smooth and efficient workflow throughout. Let’s check out what can make all the difference with a little to no hassle:

1. The Right Backpack

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Having a packable backpack means you can always have your mobile office ready to go.

As a digital nomad, you carry the essentials for life and work on the road. That's why you don't want a backpack that's hung by a thread or barely accommodates your gear.

A good backpack for travel will ensure you have what you need for the next city day trip or backcountry adventure. It should be lightweight and comfortable to wear, as you don't want it to drag you down in the middle of the road.

Since you're making a living out of your laptop, look for a dedicated compartment for the gadget in your backpack (and perhaps a built-in laptop sleeve).

Our CabinZero backpacks are carry-on-compliant backpacks for modern, tech-savvy travellers who wish to travel light. If you seek a digital nomad one bag to accommodate your life on the road, we have what you need.

2. Important Documents

First thing first, before you can even move to a new country, you will need to complete some paperwork. Without these travel documents, you won't be going anywhere. For your passport, in particular, you’ll need to make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months before your actual departure.

Also keep such identity documents as national ID cards and driver's licenses handy, as you'll need them for almost any large purchases or entering a bar. They can be used as a backup form of identification in case you lose your passport or visa as well.

Carry at least two different debit or credit cards in case of loss or theft. Consider using cards with no foreign transaction fees to save money.

A hip pack will help you stay organised at the airport check-in counter. With separate slots for your passport, credit cards, boarding pass, and other ID cards, there's no more scrambling like a frantic treasure hunt into your luggage.

3. Travel Insurance

Besides, don't forget to get your travel insurance. Unless you’re living your life dangerously, travel insurance is always a must on your digital nomad packing list.

Many of us don't know what to do when we find ourselves in a hospital bed overnight or in a fender-bender, on a different continent. Travel insurance is there when you need help. Your nomadic adventure will be more successful and less risky when you already plan to cover those possible medical or accident bills aboard.

Digital Nomad Clothing Packing List

Light, breathable clothing is key.

Life as a digital nomad means embracing a lifestyle of constant travel and adaptation. Your clothing choices should reflect this dynamic way of life, while being easy to pack and maintain.

Digital Nomad Packing List for Females

Our colleagues find these items most valuable during their years as nomadic women. We’ve covered the most basics, and it's up to you to add the special items that you think are useful on the open road:

  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 pair of jeans
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 4 tank tops or T-shirts (or a combination of them)
  • 5 tops
  • 1 sweater (or cardigan) (for when the weather turns cold or during the flight)
  • 1 lightweight blazer or jacket (for online conferences with your clients)
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 2 Dresses
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 multi-purpose jacket
  • 2 swimsuits
  • Gym clothes (4 tops & 4 pairs of shorts)
  • Underwear.

Digital Nomad Packing List for Males

When packing a capsule wardrobe for males, focus on versatile, quick-drying, and wrinkle-resistant items. You can also consider climate and activities at your destinations to choose the best fit.

  • T-shirts, polos
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Convertible pants (shorts and pants)
  • Jeans (optional)
  • Swimwear
  • Underwear and socks
  • A light jacket or rainshell.

Footwear

The shoe compartment holds a lot in your digital nomad packing list. So, be selective when it comes to your footwear. As a rule of thumb, pack a maximum of 3 pairs of shoes. With smart choice, this will cover almost any occasion you have in mind.

  • Running Sneakers Or Walking Shoes
  • Sandals Or Booties
  • Dressy Shoes
  • Flip-Flops (Nice-To-Have).

1. Running Sneakers Or Walking Shoes

As space is at a premium, we don't want to pack separate running and walking shoes. Think about hiking shoes that can double duties to accommodate you on a full-on walking day around a Tuscan village. Many digital nomads also use their multiple-purpose trainers for running, hiking, gym, and general wear. Whether it’s athletic activities or city exploring dates, trainers will effortlessly offer you comfort and style in one.

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Get yourself a comfortable pair of shoes, and you are golden. Photo By Emma Frances Logan On Unsplash

2. Sandals Or Booties

As many digital nomads head to warmer climates for their adventures, we always suggest an extra pair of sandals. They are our go-to for slipping on during beach times, swimming pools or showers. For cooler weather, you can swap in booties.

There are plenty of choices when it comes to sandals. You can consider comfy flat closed-toe shoes instead of low-heeled ones, as sidewalks in many countries aren't as smooth as you expect. They’re usually gravel and dirt as well.

3. Dressy Shoes

You may want to pack nice pieces of clothing like business casual clothes or flowing dresses based on the city you're heading to. So, always leave room for dressier shoes that feel more appropriate to go with these items for a date night or business lunch.

4. Flip-Flops (Nice-To-Have)

A pair of flip-flops hardly takes up space in your digital nomad packing list. So you may want to throw it in your suitcase. We find these casual items especially useful when on a laidback little island or in any place with a shared shower or bathroom.

Essential Tech Gear

Your remote working setup is the most important part of being a digital nomad. Your office is everywhere when you open your laptop. But there are more tech gear items to bring along to help your digital nomad life run smoother. Take a look at this technology packing list:

  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • External Hard Drive
  • Portable Charger
  • Headphones
  • Universal Traveler Adapters.

1. Laptop

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You’ll need a laptop that travels well without compromising the performance.

A laptop is the number one tech essential for any nomad, as it serves as a working tool and a communication tool on the road. As you will carry your laptop on and off the planes, trains, and buses, from your hostel to the coffee shops and vice versa, choosing a lightweight item will take the pain out of these journeys.

Many of our colleagues choose the Apple Macbook for their remote working set-ups, which they claim “robust quality makes it worth the high price”. Some also agree that it has a great screen that makes photo editing easier and with more accurate colours.

2. Smartphone

Your smartphone is another cornerstone for your digital nomad life. It is essential for staying connected with your clients, co-workers, and everyone back home. You will also need your phone to navigate a new city, translate, and use productivity apps to keep track of your work.

Whatever you choose, remember to unlock your smartphone before hitting the road. Once your phone is unlocked, you can simply use a local SIM card or eSIMs at your destination.

3. External Hard Drive

Whether you want to backup your video editing or data or create extra space for your growing library, an external hard drive is the best solution for your needs. Extra storage also means you still can get your data back even when your laptop is broken down, damaged, or stolen.

4. Portable Charger

Have you ever had your laptop shut down during a Zoom meeting with your client with no outlet in sight? We all have been there. The best digital nomad packing list never goes without a reliable portable charger. A portable charger will help your phone, laptop, tablet, etc., stay powered on the go.

5. Headphones

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Drown out the background noise to become more productive.

For a busy co-working space or coffee shop, a solid pair of headphones is a better option for noise-cancelling for focused work. Bose Headphones 700 is often touted as the best noise-cancelling headphones for digital nomads. If you're a fan of earphones, the Apple AirPods Pro is one of the best choices around. They are also more convenient for killing time on the train or hitting the gym with great podcasts.

6. Universal Traveler Adapters

If you plan to use your devices in another country, you'll need an all-in-one multiple adaptors. Buy one in your country, as these sockets can be expensive in airports and many other nations. We recommend keeping all your lithium batteries, universal adaptors, and cables in one pull-tie bag. So you’ll need to check only one place for these nomad essentials.

Optional Tech Gear

While essentials like your laptop and smartphone are a given, several optional tech gadgets can enhance your productivity on the road.

  • Camera
  • External Mouse
  • Surge-Protected Power strip
  • E-Reader
  • Electronics Organiser.

1. Camera

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A photographer’s best friend. IG: @nicolabrunetti

Whether you’re a photographer on the go or not, a camera is also a nice companion for your digital nomad journey. From sparkling nightlife to stunning landscapes, the best travel camera for digital nomads can help you bottle up these memorable moments. It can be a travel-friendly DSLR, mirrorless, or GoPro for capturing memories and work visuals.

2. External Mouse

An external mouse is a staple of any essential tech gear a digital nomad needs to get their jobs done. For maximum flexibility and ergonomics, you can't beat the classic—the Apple Magic Mouse. But if you are looking for anything other than the Apple brand for your ergonomic working setup, Logitech MX Master is a reliable option to start with.

3. Surge-Protected Power strip

A travel power strip is not at all a flashy purchase. Yet, it can be a lifesaver when you're working in a shared space that lacks outlets for your devices. Make sure that your power strip has several outlets and USB ports, so it can manage multiple devices at once.

4. E-Reader

If you're a dedicated reader and digital nomad in one, you will never jet off without your reading materials. The Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best e-readers for digital nomads around. While this e-reader might be a few years old, it’s incredibly lightweight and nicely fits into a small bag. With one single charge, this Kindle can last longer than a week-long vacation.

5. Electronics Organiser

Nowadays, every device seems to have a different cable, and we need more devices than we had before. Of course, we digital nomads try to pare down our gadgets to the minimum. However, we often waste time fiddling with tangled charging cords to figure out which one we need. Plug in and juice up your digital nomad gadgets without skipping a beat with an electronics organiser for travel.

Toiletries

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Packing cubes can be used to store your reliable toiletry travel bottles.

One important thing to remember is that you can always buy stuff on the road when you need it unless you go off the grid. So, there's no need to waste precious space on toiletries (remember to pack for 311 rules).

Another golden rule is to use travel-size toiletries, all of which will fit nicely in a small toiletry bag. You can transfer your fave facial mist or leave-in conditioner into tiny spray bottles or extract your moisturiser into a smaller container.

First-aid Kit

Consider adding a first-aid kit to your digital nomad packing list for minor injuries and common ailments. Here is your healthcare checklist that can help you deal with most small accidents and injuries that cross your path:

  • Band-Aids/Plasters
  • Crepe bandages
  • Small scissors
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Pain relief medication
  • Antibacterial creams.

Personal Care Items

Run through your daily skincare routine and list all the products you'll use on the go. Here's a rundown of the most basic beauty tools for an average digital nomad. Feel free to remove any item and swap in what will fit your daily routine:

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturiser
  • Shaving cream or gel
  • Makeup remover
  • Serum
  • Razor
  • Mini hair spray or gel
  • Contacts
  • Multi-purpose lipstick and blush
  • Female hygiene products.

Others

These are extra toiletry items that you’ll need while on your nomad escape in another country:

  • Microfiber towel: Having a quick-dry, packable towel is a great idea, especially when every inch in your backpack counts. Normally, when you’re staying at Airbnb rentals or booking at a hostel, a towel won't be laid out each morning for you.
  • Travel laundry detergent: A must if you plan to do one-bagging. Single-use packets or a small bottle for hand-washing clothes.
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays while protecting delicate marine ecosystems with reef-safe sunscreen.
  • Foot Wipes: Refresh tired feet after long days on your feet with convenient and invigorating foot wipes.
  • Facial Wipes: Remove makeup, cleanse your face, or simply refresh yourself with gentle facial wipes throughout the day.

Tools To Level Up Your Nomadic Workstation

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These items will improve your quality of life.

Personalise your workspace with tools that inspire you and make you feel comfortable and productive. Here are some to get you started:

  • Laptop Stand
  • Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Laptop Sleeve
  • Blue Light Blocking Glasses
  • An Inflatable Lumbar Pillow.

1. Laptop Stand

Even when you're not a digital nomad but still spend a lot of time staring at the screen, you'll need this gadget. A laptop stand is a small tweak to your workstation that will save your neck and posture throughout your digital nomad journey.

2. Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

Being a digital nomad means you'll need a reliable internet for most of the time for work and communication (even on air). Think about the expensive data roaming charges, poor hotel wifi connection or the endless search for public networks. You can totally take these stresses out of the way by packing a hotspot.

5. Laptop Sleeve

While backpacks nowadays are built to better accommodate tech-savvy travellers, not all of them have solid laptop compartments that protect your laptop from scratches and drops. There are also occasions when you're heading to the beach while still wanting to work for a few hours under the sun. That's when you need a laptop sleeve to protect your gadget from minor bumps, impact, dust and debris. More so if you plan to take your laptop flying.

4. Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Being committed to a digital nomad life also means you will have to work with the computer screen all day long. But this can mess with your circadian rhythms, and make it harder to fall asleep. Blue light-blocking glasses (prescription or not) reduce eyestrain, and once you’ve finished with the final email of the day, you can still get a sound sleep not long afterwards.

5. An Inflatable Lumbar Pillow

A lumbar pillow will give you lumbar support and extra ergonomic harmony when sitting for long hours in front of the screen. An inflatable item will easily pack to a portable size and comes with extra straps to wrap around any back of a chair. This means you can use it almost anywhere.

Miscellaneous Items

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A simple water bottle can keep you hydrated and refreshed for hours.

While the tech essentials are crucial, a successful nomadic life hinges on a surprising cast of miscellaneous characters. Here's your guide to the often-overlooked yet life-saving extras that will elevate your work-from-anywhere experience:

  • Travel Water Bottle
  • Mesh Laundry Bag
  • Daybag
  • Travel Lock.

1. Travel Water Bottle

Stay hydrated on the road while reducing your carbon footprint by packing a reusable water bottle. Drinking enough water is the key to beating jet lag, refreshing yourself and keeping you going on your most productive days.

2. Mesh Laundry Bag

Packing less means more laundry on the road. That's why you'll need a travel laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes in one separate place. When your bag is full, you can easily drop it off at your local laundromat. You can also use a mesh laundry bag as a packing organiser at other times as well.

3. Daybag

Daybag means different things to different people. It can be a purse, cross-body bag or small backpack. We currently have an obsession with cross-body bags, as they can conveniently hold all the essentials like lipgloss, credit cards, sunglasses, and small sunscreen.

4. Travel Lock

A digital nomad's life is never risk-free. Whether you're in an Airbnb room or a private room in a hostel, securing your valuables is an important thing to do. The Addalock Portable Door Lock has become a rave on Tiktok as a simple and inexpensive security solution.

Become A Nomad!

We notice that many people make the process of becoming a digital nomad more complicated than it should be. Packing for your digital nomad venture, for example, is simply about streamlining your belongings.

If you dream of living out of your suitcase as a digital nomad, preparation is the key. This means you will have to kiss much of your material possessions goodbye and only bring the most essentials on the road.

After all, we hope this digital nomad packing list will help simplify your luggage and help you become a productive full-time digital nomad. Please share this with your fellow digital nomads who are still getting ready for their adventures.

Kesley

Digital Nomad Packing List: Packing For A Life On The Go In 2024 (2024)
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