When you’re constantly on the move AND working from the road, having your packing game down is absolutely essential! This digital nomad packing list took me a few years and a lot of trial and error to get just right, but now I know exactly what I need with me at all times to work efficiently–and look chic while doing it!
While obviously, every digital nomad will have their own needs and specific packing list depending on the type of work they’re doing, their personal preferences, and so on, these are the items that I have found to be absolutely essential for me.
As a location independent blogger, photographer, writer, and social media consultant, these things help me run my business no matter where I happen to be working and no matter the circumstances. Are you a digital nomad? Add these items to your packing list ASAP!
The Digital Nomad Packing List
Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up writing down my daily to-do’s with pen and paper. There’s something ever-so-satisfying about crossing things off one by one and seeing the pages fill up with notes, scribbles, reminders, and the occasional doodle. For a creative type like me, no digital notepad app could ever compare to a real notebook, especially one with a beautiful floral design! The classic Moleskine notebooks are a close second.
Lo & Sons OMG Bag
This gorgeous carry-on, the OMG bag by Lo & Sons, is my new favorite accessory. Complete with padded laptop compartment, a back panel that slides over a suitcase handle, multiple straps to carry it whichever way feels most comfortable, and plenty of extra pockets for documents, small accessories, and even a pair of shoes, it truly is the perfect accessory for the digital nomad. It’s large enough to fit my bulky camera on days when I’m out exploring a new city but small enough that it doesn’t completely overwhelm my petite frame. It’s my cabin bag on every flight, my carry-all bag for day outings, and my computer bag when I’m heading to a cafe or coworking space to do some work.
Yes, yes, I’m sure there are plenty of Android phones out there that are just as powerful as the iPhone, if not more so. But for some of us, well, once you go Apple, you never go backle. I make sure mine is factory unlocked so I can use it with any SIM card from any country in the world, and I get as much storage space as possible so I’m not left constantly deleting old files and apps to make room for new ones. I also stick with a month-to-month phone plan with T-Mobile so I can take advantage of unlimited international data in over 140 countries and free text messages when I’m abroad.
Lifeproof phone case
Friends who know me well know that I really shouldn’t have nice things. I regularly drop, sit on, step on, or lose things of value, and if it weren’t for the saving grace of my iPhone case by Lifeproof, my phone would have been dead and gone a long time ago. The name Lifeproof is no misnomer–it’s shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof, and dustproof–and so far it has even proven Leahproof (just the other day I dropped my phone face down in the sand right before stepping on it, I kid you not, and it lived to see another day without so much as a scratch).
Finally, we can take our phones poolside, to the beach, under a waterfall, or any other whacky places us nomads like to set up shop for a day of work, without worrying about an unforeseen catastrophe. Add Lifeproof to your digital nomad packing list–the price is well worth it.
Canon Rebel + Lenses + SD cards
For travel, and especially if you like to travel light, you can’t do much better than the Canon Rebel SL1. It’s the most compact DSLR on the market, and it produces high-quality images that are more than Insta-worthy. With the stock lens or something even smaller like a nifty fifty, you’ll be able to take it anywhere with ease.
I’ve recently upgraded lenses to a 24-70mm f/2.8, which is quite a lot bulkier and MUCH heavier, but I’m enamored with the crisp images it produces and its versatility for both landscapes and portraits. Lastly, because I shoot in RAW, I need lots of storage space, so I always carry one or two 64 GB SD cards.
Megan Kathleen Photography
While I typically prefer taking my travel photos with the DSLR I just mentioned, a GoPro also comes in handy in plenty of situations. The compact size allows me to take it anywhere and is great for those moments when I don’t want to look quite so conspicuous with an enormous camera setup. And of course, anytime I am near water (or underwater) it’s the GoPro’s time to shine. Check out my comprehensive list of tips for great GoPro travel photos and see some of my favorite shots from around the world!
13″ Macbook Air
No digital nomad packing list would be complete without a computer. Apple’s lightest Macbook is perfect for someone like me, or anyone who likes to travel light, for that matter. It’s slim and easy to pack, and perhaps my favorite feature is built-in SD card reader. If I ever get into video, I may need a bigger, better hard drive, but for my purposes, storing all my important files on an external hard drive works just fine.
When I was offered the chance to try out a set of earbuds from Sudio Sweden, I was ecstatic! I chose the wireless Vasa Blå earbuds in white and rose gold, and these beauties are the newest addition to my digital nomad packing list. Not only are they chic and stylish, but the sound quality is incredible and the feeling of being wireless is divinely liberating! The battery life is exceptional, and they can be connected to any device with Bluetooth capabilities. I’ve used them for everything from Skype calls to workout sessions, and it’s safe to say I’ll never go back!
Sudio Sweden has even generously offered The Sweetest Way readers 15% off when they check out using the code “thesweetestway.” Sounds pretty sweet to me!
External hard drive
My philosophy here is, go BIG or go home. My current external hard drive, My Passport Ultra by Western Digital, stores a whopping 2 terabytes of data and is much sturdier than my previous hard drive (which crapped out on me after I dropped it a few too many times. Did I mention I’m clumsy?). I know this one will serve me just fine for a long time to come.
Knowing the time–at ALL times–is super important when I’m on a tight travel schedule, meeting with clients, or just trying to make it to the wine shop before they close. If I don’t have a watch on, my wrist simply feels naked. I love the simple and elegant style of Daniel Wellington watches–so much so that I own two different ones! The Sheffield with black band (pictured below) and the Classy St. Mawes with a brown band. The men’s watches are just as sexy!
Megan Kathleen Photography
Universal power adapter
Every traveler, digital nomad or not, needs to carry a universal power adapter to ensure they are always able to charge the things they need, no matter what country they may be in. After so many years of travel, I’ve accrued a handful of items with different power plugs, so it’s absolutely essential for me to have universal plugs AND sockets. I will never understand why the Apple store in Cambodia sold me a British plug…
It’s not a bad idea to carry more than one of these in the event that you have multiple items that need charging simultaneously (which is bound to happen). A power strip with multiple sockets is also something worth adding to your digital nomad packing list.
Microfiber lens cloth + cleaning spray
Keep your glasses, electronics screens, and camera lenses smudge and scratch free by cleaning them with a microfiber cloth and anti-reflective cleaning spray for those really stubborn marks. I love how versatile and handy this stuff is; it’s a good idea to have multiple cloths, too, since they hardly take up any space and if you lose one you’ll have a backup.
Want more packing lists? Check out these related posts:
- The Only Travel Towel You’ll Ever Need
- My Carry-On Flight Essentials
- The Travel and Photography Gear I Never Leave Home Without
- Packing for A Week in San Francisco
- Packing for Winter in Sweden
What’s on YOUR digital nomad packing list? Any essentials you think I should add to mine?
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Thank you to Lo & Sons and Sudio Sweden for providing me with their beautiful products to review. All opinions are my own.