We have compiled this list of the 10 most crucial tools for the digital nomad lifestyle. Some are intuitive, others will take you completely by surprise. Read on and figure out what you're going to need before you hit the dusty trail.
The Right Laptop
The right laptop is different for everybody, and it depends primarily on the kind of work you'll be doing. In general, you're going to want something that's sturdy and light. Most laptops don't go in and out of a fully-loaded backpack on a daily basis. For those loyal to Apple products, the Macbook Air is your best bet, although it's definitely on the more expensive side of things.
A good alternative is the Asus T100. This laptop costs just US$ 249, weighs nothing, and is great for freelance writers and photographers.
All kinds of things might happen to your laptop in your travels. You might get caught in a monsoon in Thailand or a waitress might spill a beer on it in Berlin. No matter what, you need to make sure your work is stored safely. Many of us hold that digital backup is the safest. "There are two kinds of hard drives," the saying goes, "those that have died, and those that will die." Cloud backups, like iCloud or Dropbox avoid this issue.
On the other hand, your travels will bring you through strange cities and countries and you'll be spending a great deal of your time accessing the internet through unsecure networks. There's no knowing when a cybercriminal might try to steal your log-in info, personal data, or even your identity. For this reason, many of us prefer physical hard drives as back ups instead of cloud services. They're very light, store usually between 500GB and 1TB, and are also much cheaper than paying for cloud services.
Apps, Platforms, and Digital Services
If you work a couple different jobs, and especially if you're freelancing, keeping track of different projects and deadlines can be a huge hassle. Trello is a great platform that gives you a kind of online desk space where you can see everything all in one place. The platform allows you to create a different 'card' for every project and hold them in customizable columns.
If you have worked remotely in the past few years, it's likely you've already communicated via Slack. The messaging platform allows to easily communicate to both groups and individuals without the distractions of facebook or your phone.
Every Time Zone
If you're working hard and playing hard at the same time, there's a good chance you're crossing multiple time zones on a monthly or even weekly basis. Keeping track of deadlines down to the minute can be a nightmare. The site Every Time Zone lines everything and keeps you on track.
A Way to Call Home
As a Digital Nomad, you'll be communicating almost exclusively through your computer. You'll likely have a phone with you, but international calling plans are incredibly expensive and mobile coverage is never certain. A better bet is using a digital calling service. We love Poptox, an online service that allows you to call any phone in a huge number of countries. You get six minutes free every day, or if you make a small donation, they will allow you up to an hour. Hopefully you won't ever have to spend that much time.
Digital Fax Service
Wait, isn't fax a relic of the 20th century? Yes, it is, but it's also incredibly useful and still widely used throughout the world. You never know when you're going to need to print something, be it your visa confirmation, or your hostel reservation. Services like Faxage allow you to connect to any fax machine via their platform or through email.
Work Hard Anywhere
One thing that will constantly limit you in your movements is access to wifi. Work Hard Anywhere is a user-generated database that compiles a list of places around the world that provide solid work environments. You might want to add one or two yourself.
Another annoying thing traveling is dealing with money. Most banks will charge you a fee for using an international ATM for every transaction. Many local banks, furthermore, will charge you another fee for using their machine. Simple, a great online banking service, allows you to use any ATM free of charge.
That's all. It sounds like you're ready to hit the trail.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.
(Photo by bendjsf via Flickr)