Before we give you our list of absolutely essential gear for digital nomads, it’s worth defining what “essential” means in the context of long-term travel. You’ll want to pack underwear, a durable pair of walking shoes, and probably some earbuds to pass the flight time, but what good is a blog post that reminds you to pack your undies?
Our list focuses on the essential gear that enables the digital nomad lifestyle – products that ensure connectivity, improve productivity, and allow you to truly enjoy your journey. The items we feature are either widely recommended in the nomad community or gear we’ve used ourselves and love!
So here it goes, our list of essential travel gear for digital nomads in 2018.
The Roost Laptop stand is the lightest and most portable laptop stand in the world, and fits almost any laptop. Office desks and chairs are designed with ergonomics in mind. Unfortunately, this is a convenience we often take for granted and the reality on the road is usually stiff chairs and short cafe tables. Level up, literally. The Roost Laptop Stand brings the screen to eye-level so you’re not spending the work day hunched over your laptop.
A second monitor adds a huge boost to your productivity, but the majority of monitors aren’t portable enough for the digital nomad lifestyle. This is where the AOC UltraSlim USB Monitor stands out. The monitor features an aluminum kickstand, powers up with a USB cord, and includes a custom fit padded case. All packed up, it’s about a 1.7 inches thick and super light at only 2.5lbs.
As nomads, we often find ourselves working in noisy cafes and hotel lobbies. If you’ve found a sweet coworking space you may have some peace and quiet, but what if you prefer light ambient noise or music while you work? What about that 12 hour flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town? Can you really catch shuteye with 12 hours of jet engine hum? This is why noise canceling headphones are an essential piece of gear for any digital nomad. Cut out the engine hum or cafe chatter with the flick of a switch.
The Macbook Pro 13” is the most popular laptop among digital nomads, and while it provides a good 10 hours or so on the internal battery there are times you may want to use it longer but don’t have a power source nearby. The ChugPlug charges passively while you use the adapter, so you can always have an extra power source ready to use on the road. For an alternative external battery bank, check out the Anker Astro E7, compatible with MacBook 2015 and later and most tablets.
The HooToo Travel Router is a bit like the swiss army knife of routers. Its three primary function are: creating a wifi hotspot using hotel ethernet cables, wireless storage access, and external power bank. The router also creates a shared wifi hotspot in hotels where one access code means only one user. Check out our in-depth review of the HooToo Travel Router on our personal blog – The Luxpats.
Ok, so this isn’t exactly “gear” but a VPN is an essential tool for both online security and enjoying streaming services that aren’t always available outside your home country. A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data as if they’re using a private network. VPN services also allow you to connect to a server in a designated country, which removes geo-blocks on services like Netflix or streaming network channels.
An unlocked portable wifi hotspot provides internet access with any cellular network SIM card. The Huawei portable hotspot supports download speeds up to 150 Mbps 4G LTE and 43.2 Mbps on 3G, and has a 12 hour working battery life. If you’re planning on traveling to remote areas that don’t have a cellular network, you might even consider the satellite hotspots by BlueCosmos.
Who doesn’t like a good cup of joe? While we’ve met many nomads who are perfectly fine with instant coffee, we aren’t willing to compromise on taste simply because we’re traveling. (#coffeesnobs) The AeroPress is a portable coffee maker that packs well and makes a proper cup of joe. The JavaPresse grinder allows you to pick up whole beans and grind on the go. The grinder is also designed to fit nicely into the AeroPress cylinder. Also, be sure to pick up a stainless steel filter to avoid having to buy custom paper filters on the road.
Getting your haircut abroad is actually an inexpensive and easy way to experience your new location as a local. You’d be amazed at the various tools and techniques used, from straight razors to massive metal shears it’s guaranteed to be an interesting experience. However, if you want to simplify your grooming then having a travel trimmer is super helpful. Wahl is a solid brand in clippers and they’ve created a portable version that’s perfect for travel!
Keeping your wardrobe organized and packed tightly is key to stress free long-term travel. Think about it. Do you just toss your clothes anywhere there’s space in your bedroom? I didn’t think so. Think of packing cubes as shelves in your bedroom closet. They keep everything organized and your clean and dirty clothes separated. When you arrive at your new location, just pull them out of your pack and place them in drawers or shelves. Voila, you’re unpacked.
Are we missing a piece of essential gear for digital nomads? Reach out to us to let us know! We’ll be sure to get it added to our catalog.