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This is everything I bought or wished I bought at the beginning of my journey to become a digital nomad!
*BONUS 16 Essentials At The Bottom*
Are you thinking of trying out the digital nomad life or are you already a digital nomad?
Switching up your life can be hard. Becoming the main character, trying something new and exploring the world on your own terms is scary, hard, new, exciting, fulfilling, unknown, and everything in between.
This is a time of discovery and it can be difficult to know what to pack and not to pack as you venture out into the unknown. That’s why I wanted to make this guide! I want to help you on your journey and hopefully take away some of the pressure of what to pack!
Over the years, I’ve learned what to pack and not to pack as a digital nomad. This was a BIG learning process for me. I’m a self-proclaimed hoarder, overpacker and lover of souvenirs (especially home goods)! Unfortunately, being a digital nomad doesn’t allow for this and simplicity is the name of the game!
I’ve learned the hard way though. From buying large black clay pots in Oaxaca, Mexico and carrying them through multiple airports to overpacking shoes (here are the three shoes I recommend traveling with!) – I’ve come to realize what objects fit in my luggage and what to avoid.
The following 34 items are what I recommend buying or bringing from home as you embark on your journey! This list is not all encompassing or includes every item you will be traveling with but it provides a start!
I did not include items such as jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, shoes, bathing suits, underwear, grocery bags, etc. I wanted to narrow this list down to the most important and universal items one would need in a variety of nomad settings when beginning your journey! As you travel more, you will find out what items work or don’t work for you!
These 34 items will hopefully help structure your packing and introduce you to some beneficial and new products you may not have come across before! Without further ado, here are the…
34 Items Every Digital Nomad Needs: The Digital Nomad Starter Pack
1. Convertible Luggage
This is number one on my list! A good bag is necessary for nomad life. What makes this bag so special is its ability to be both a rolling checked bag and backpack – it’s convertible! It’s great for when you need to go through mud, gravel, ice, large puddles and when sidewalks aren’t available. Having a bag that can both wheel and convert into a backpack is digital nomad goals.
A backpack is universal! It can be used as a carry-on or personal item, and for hiking, walking around town, carrying groceries, etc. I’ve even gone on a 10 day trip just with a backpack! I don’t travel anywhere without one!
3. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes for travel are game changing! They allow you to condense your clothing down and stay organized! I have separate compression packing cubes for everything – some categories I use are athleisure, formal, pants, socks, electronics, etc.
4. Travel Adapter
I personally use the universal adaptor plug above. It’s also the travel adapter I tell all of my family and friends to buy. I’ve used it in Germany, Greece, Tanzania, etc. and haven’t had any issues.
5. Portable Charger Power Bank
You never know when you may lose power or just need to charge your phone! A portable charger is great for when you’re on the go or a long travel day!
6. Apple AirTag
AirTags give me peace of mind. I have an Apple AirTag in my checked bag and I’m able to track where my checked bag is at all points in its journey!
7. Apple AirPods
Apple AirPods are great for work meetings and working out! They’re awesome for the nomad lifestyle and can hold a charge for a few hours.
8. Apple EarPods Headphones
Having headphones with a wire is perfect for airplanes or if your AirPods need to be charged! They’re also great if you want to take a call from your computer.
A GoPro camera is waterproof until 33 feet! Being able to document your travels and film underwater, on a mountain and everywhere in between is awesome!
I love my GoPro but have a hard time using it without a camera tripod. This tripod is great for filming while on the go or at home!
11. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
A reusable water bottle is a fantastic way to save money, transport water and help the environment! After I go through airport security, I always try to fill up my Camelbak water bottle before my flight!
12. Stainless Steel Coffee Cup
This coffee cup is both cute and environmentally friendly! It’s great for coffee and hot chocolate if you’re on the go or at home.
13. Collapsible Stainless Steel Straws
I love drinking smoothies, horchata, cold chocolate and flavored water with these metal straws! These straws are collapsible which makes them really easy to carry – you can place them in your checked bag or carry-on! They’re also easy to clean and come with a collapsible cleaning brush.
Before traveling anywhere, I always tape up my liquids. I’ve had so many (and still do!) liquid spills in my checked bag – but now thankfully it’s not as bad as when I first started traveling! I tape up anything liquid in my bag to prevent as much spillage as I can! Pro tip: I then place the liquids into a bag that zips to prevent any leaks from getting onto my clothes.
It’s really nice to be able to write down a thought or draw on paper! I always have a journal in my carry-on for when inspiration strikes!
Travel destinations sometimes have you fill out forms on the airplane before landing or in the airport! Having your own pen to fill out any required forms (your future self will thank you) or to journal is awesome to have.
This is one that I recently learned and it’s game changing! If you’re like me, I’m always a little nervous waiting for my checked bag. I’ve had one too many experiences of being the last person at the carousel and not having my bag come. By placing cute stickers all over my bag, it helps me find my bag quicker and makes it stand out! I’m able to spot it easily and know that bag is actually mine!
18. Luggage Tag
Can’t recommend a luggage tag enough! I flew from Denver to Mexico City once, and I was told I didn’t need to transfer my checked bag in a connecting airport – it turns out I did! My luggage tag saved me here! The airport agent called the number on my bag and I was able to retrieve my bag before my next flight!
19. Lip Balm
I like to carry lip balm in my carry on when I travel. Flying dehydrates my lips but having chapstick on hand fixes that! It’s also great if you’re in new climates.
Sunscreen is a girl’s best friend! I would take sunscreen and longevity over diamonds any day. I recommend always traveling with spf since it can be difficult to find in some destinations, so having some on hand is always a good idea!
21. Hand Sanitizer
If I’m unable to wash my hands before eating, I like to use hand sanitizer! As a nomad, you’re put into so many new landscapes and situations – I like to carry Purell with me at all times to be prepared.
22. Tissue Packs
You never know when you may need a tissue! You could be in a bathroom with no toilet paper or just need to blow your nose! I always recommend carrying kleenex for all the unexpected moments of life!
23. Travel Size Toothpaste
You’ll thank yourself on this one once you’ve had an overnight flight and your checked bag has gone missing! (Been there done that). Having a small toothpaste in your carry on will be your best friend.
24. Folding Toothbrush
Another item to have in your carry on at all times. Just like the toothpaste, you’ll be happy you packed this folding toothbrush if your luggage unfortunately gets lost and it’s late at night and you don’t have the opportunity to buy a new one.
25. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum is great to have on hand when your airplane ascends and descends.
Sunglasses are great for both the beach and mountain peaks! With a good pair of sunglasses, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all the exciting views you’re visiting.
27. Hiking Boots
These hiking boots are universal! They can be worn hiking, in the winter and in all kinds of terrain. I actually wrote a blog post on why I travel with these walking boots, it can be read here.
28. Hiking Socks
Having socks specifically made for hiking boots is a great investment! They’re also great to have to just keep your feet warm in colder climates and on airplanes!
29. Bike Shorts with Pockets
These are my go to bike shorts! I love bike shorts with pockets. My iPhone fits within the pocket, and they can be worn in a variety of settings!
30. Fleece Jacket
Layering is important as a digital nomad. A fleece jacket is great for when you’re inside airports, on planes or in a colder climate!
A raincoat is universal and can be used in most climates! I layer with it and wear it also in airports, airplanes and while hiking! I like that I can easily place my passport, tickets and phone in the pockets!
32. Winter Hat
Warmth is important as a nomad. I layer a lot but having a designated winter hat is a great use of space and awesome for cold weather.
33. Baseball Cap
I like to wear a baseball cap when I hike. It stays on my head better than a bucket hat and the brim provides protection from branches and anything I may hit along the way!
34. Bucket Hat
All-around sun protection! I always wear a hat when I go outside. I like to protect my face from the sun and a bucket hat provides me with 360 protection and as a bonus, it also happens to be in style today! I personally wear a black bucket hat because it goes with everything in my wardrobe!
The above 34 items are what I recommend working nomads begin traveling with!
This list is personal for me too, these are the items I travel with today and that work for my lifestyle! It was trial and error for me though, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and add a bit of your personal style and interests to the list!
As a digital nomad, it’s important to not lose yourself and to still embrace your hobbies! The Digital Nomad Starter Pack is meant to provide guidance and showcase what works for one nomad to another nomad!
*16 Essentials Every Digital Nomad Needs*
If you want to condense this list even more to the MINIMUM ESSENTIALS in order to fit everything into you carry-on, the items I recommend are these 16 essentials:
- Packing Cubes
- Travel Adapter
- Portable Charger Power Bank
- Apple EarPods Headphones
- Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- Hand Sanitizer
- Tissue Packs
- Travel Size Toothpaste
- Chewing Gum
- Hiking Boots
- Bike Shorts with Pockets
- Fleece Jacket
- Baseball Cap
By starting with the 34 Items Every Digital Nomad Needs or the 16 Essentials, you’ll be able to naturally build in your own destinations, interests and hobbies into your packing! These items and essentials are only guides and I’d love to see how you add your own spin to it!
As you begin your journey, you’ll be able to pinpoint for yourself what items you need or don’t need! If you think this list is missing an item, please let me know in the comments! Happy traveling, I’m rooting for you!