There are a lot of things that comprise a digital nomad packing list for an extended period of travelling. It’s always tempting to pack like you’re going backpacking but for digital nomads our requirements are different. You’ll need to pack light but your clothing will need to be versatile as well and suitable for the many experiences you’ll have whilst you travel. We’ve been travelling as a Tribe long enough to be able to give you some insight into this lifestyle and allow you to bring a balance to your digital nomad packing list that’ll get you prepared for every eventuality.
Before we get into it, here’s a few packing tips to note:
Love the clothes you pack
You are going to be wearing these clothes more than you think and you will get sick of your limited wardrobe selection very quickly. Don’t waste valuable packing space on items of clothing you don’t absolutely love, because trust me, within a week you’ll be convinced you’ve got no clothes and that you packed your bag whilst sleeping. Only bring those leggings and merino wool sweater if you absolutely need them. That rain jacket? Might be a good idea in the rainforest. Your swimsuit? Who would ever want to go to a place where there wasn’t the option of swimming?!
It’s not a holiday
Remember this isn’t a holiday and you’ll have access to clothes washing facilities which means you don’t need to take 500 t-shirts with you. On the other hand, if you’re in a hot place, you’ll have more showers and you’ll get through more clothes. Don’t get so minimal that you find you don’t have enough. A good rule of thumb is to maybe take enough underwear to last two weeks and enough tops to last ten days. Remember – this is potentially long term travel
A note on laundry…
Although you’ll have access to laundry services either in your accommodation or in the form of a laundrette, you are not always in control of how your clothes get washed. Not all washing machines are made equal and that delicate silk dress might not have access to a cool, handwash. So don’t bring all your best clothes because they are going to get washed to death, or ruined by a bad machine. So be smart about things; maybe that designer dress is not the best option.
Check the places you’re going to
Your packing will need to reflect the culture and the climate of the place that you’re going to. Some places will be hot but a simple beach coverup won’t work because of the culture so you’ll need to be thinking about taking long sleeved items and long trousers or skirts. Other places have a more formal feel so go ahead and release your inner fashionista and pack some cute outfits to wear. Other places are beach oriented and more casual so packing lots of dressy outfits won’t be necessary. So do your research and make sure you pack accordingly. Always bring a travel adapter because you might think the plugs are And while you’re at it, bring an international SIM card if you can, that way you can hotspot yourself and get to work on your laptop stand that you need to make use of because it takes up so much space you need to justify its presence…
With all of that said, we wanted to make some suggestions on what you could pack as you take your remote working on the road.
1. Travel Documents
Obvious we know. Make sure you’ve got enough blank pages in your passport and enough time on it to be able to go where you want to go. It’s easily overlooked ;-).
2. Appropriate Footwear
We’d recommend the following as a minimum:
– A good pair of adventure trainers
– A good pair of adventure sandals – these are your comfortable go to sandals that you wear for day trips where you don’t foresee any intense hiking.
– A good pair of flip flops
– A pair of closed toe flat shoes or a pair of fashion trainers for when the weather is a bit rainy and you want to keep your feet dry.
Some ladies bring boots as well – you’d probably wear those on the flight as they take up a lot of space. But if they’re light, sturdy, multipurpose and comfortable, then it’s a good idea.
3. Clothing List
Again it’s tempting to think like a backpacker but that is not gonna cut the mustard. Your clothing choices will need to be well thought out and suitable for a variety of places, activities and events. We’ll split it into sections:
– Waterproof jacket
– Light jacket for when the temperature drops slightly
– 7-8 easy-to-wear sun dresses
– 8-9 t shirt/vest top combos – I’d go for four vests and four t shirts
– A couple of pairs of shorts
– A couple of pairs of long trousers
– Activewear for climbing the more strenuous activities.
– 3 swimming suits/bikinis with a couple of cover ups. Your dresses can double up as coverups depending on the style so you might not need to add these as extras. Don’t bring more than you can fit in a daypack as a rule. Extra points if it’s a dry bag
A lot of the above can translate into outfits suitable for wearing in the evening but every so often, you are going to want to dress up. Maybe you’re going to a swanky restaurant or you’re going to a more formal, cultural event.
I have found that a couple of nice dresses are fine – I always have a party maxi dress and a party midi dress because dresses are easy to deal with. You could get a couple of nice jumpsuits (rompers) or maybe a couple of nice top and skirt/trouser combos.
Try and pick clothes that fit a particular colour palette. This helps you in a couple of different ways. Firstly, you can mix and match. Secondly, it makes washing far, far easier. If you only have one red thing for example, but most of your stuff is white and maybe black, it just makes things a bit of a pain. It’s not the end of the world of course, but why not make life as easy as possible?
With toiletries, all of our needs are going to be different and there will be some products that are ‘non negotiable’. As a rule of thumb, only take the toiletries you don’t want to be without that you suspect you won’t be able to find easily in your chosen destination. Shower gel and even shampoo and conditioners are pretty much easy to find so don’t weigh your carry-on luggage down taking those. Your specific styling products might be more difficult to find so maybe take those. There’s no hard and fast rule here so go with your gut, but also recognise that you can buy a lot of your toiletries when you land. (A toothbrush is nice to have even though it’s easy to buy, though toothpaste can get tricky as it’s liquid…and deodorant can be either liquid or solid…this one’s on you) Nevertheless most of us tend to pack the following:
– Airport friendly mini shower gel and maybe a dry shampoo if you need it
– Favourite skin cleansers and moisturisers
– Favourite hair styling products (take what you need!)
You don’t have to be a martyr with this ladies – I took a makeup bag that contained a decent amount of makeup. I had foundation, concealer, eyeshadow palettes, contour palettes etc…and all the brushes to apply these items. If it’s not your thing then don’t bring it, but I liked having the option and it doesn’t weigh all that much if you choose wisely and have plenty of multipurpose products.
5. First Aid Kit
Self explanatory really and remember to keep it stocked. Don’t climb mountains without it. If your Mum has also given you some kind of mystical potion to keep you alive and it fits in a small tub, take that too. If you decide to be hard core and fit everything in a bag no bigger than hand luggage size, remember that all liquids have to be in containers with no more than a 100ml capacity. So if you need any liquids, gels or creams but they don’t come in small containers, decant what you need into a smaller pot. You can buy containers cheaply on Amazon. These one’s that I’ve found come with a funnel…don’t neglect the small funnel…you will be grateful for this humble tool when the time comes. Don’t forget Imodium if you’re prone to an upset tum when travelling in new environments.
6. Miscellaneous Items
– A microfibre towel – doubles as a beach towel and gets you out of a fix if the accommodation you’re staying doesn’t provide towels )get decent size one – it’s the ultimate digital nomad gear)
– A water bottle – you’ll need this for your adventures.
– Pair of craft scissors. Don’t ask. They are just so useful.
-Don’t forget your credit cards and iPhone / smartphone as everything will be easiest to buy and find if you have these items
-Oh! And your MacBook or HP laptop or whatever you use to work – you’re going to need that
7. A Little Thing that makes you, you…
You’ll be travelling for at least month, maybe more. Make sure you take something that fondly reminds you of home. A small piece of non-expensive but sentimental jewellery, a small sample of your favourite perfume, or a picture of your loved ones. When you’re grumpy, it’ll make all the difference and bring you comfort when the going gets tough. The grumpy times won’t be too many though.
SO THAT’S IT!
Those are our personal essentials that cover any diva planning to convert to the Nomad Lifestyle. In addition to this, you’ll need your ‘work stuff’ and a day rucksack to store it in; laptops, kindles, tablets, headphones, cables etc..,you know what you need to earn a living. For details of high quality, tried-and-tested rucksacks large and small see Lauren and Alex’s earlier article here.
Keep it real homies and however you decide to pack, travel LIGHT and travel RIGHT.