Essential Digital Nomad Gear for the Travelling Worker

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Once upon a time, being chained to the desk in your cubicle is the main way to work in an office setting. But the advent of global high speed internet and powerful portable computers, that chain has been broken and you’re free to work regardless of your location.

With proper digital nomad gear, you can work as effectively (or even more) compared to physically being in the office.

Woman working with a laptop on a hammock
People photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

What is a digital nomad?

Digital nomads are people who work while not being tied to a single work location. They might utilise public spaces like libraries and community centres or commercial spaces like coffee shops and shared office spaces.

Nowadays, more and more people are going for the remote working lifestyle. Here are the must have vagabond travel gear for you to perform your job efficiently while still enjoying an adventurous lifestyle.

Laptop

Man working on a laptop at a cafe
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

To produce high quality work, be it accounting spreadsheets or 3D model designs, you would need a proper laptop and not just a tablet.

As you’re constantly going to be on the move, the main features you would need to look out for is portability. It will need to be small and light enough while packing enough processing power for your intended use.

It would also need a good built in webcam, as there is a high chance that you need to have video chats with co-workers, clients and contacts.

Most important of all, you need to know which operating system you would need. Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS or Linux?

If you write for a living, a Chromebook like Google’s own Pixelbook would be ideal, since it sports a full size keyboard comfortable enough for constant typing while having good battery life and clear display. For Mac users, a MacBook Air would be the perfect choice.

If you’re a Windows user and do a lot more work than just writing, you can consider Microsoft’s own Surface range. They have a wide range of specs and price points to choose from depending on your own usage and preference. Mac OS users with heavy workloads would prefer MacBook Pro, which are reliable workhorses (unless you’re also into gaming).

Wireless hotspot

Woman holding a wireless wifi logo near a lake
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

In most cases, most of your remote work will require an internet connection. Not all libraries and cafes provide free WiFi, and some that do are really crap. Hotels (especially the more expensive ones) make you pay extra for internet and they are often capped to certain bandwidth/speed limit.

Wireless hotspots use mobile sim cards to connect to the internet while providing WiFi connection to your devices. Most ISPs have bundled prepaid plans which includes a hotspot and generous data allocations, so shop around on the best provider in the place you’re going to.

Depending on the service provider, 4G (and definitely the upcoming 5G) connection that these hotspots use are usually faster than public WiFi that you can connect to.

Portable hard drive

Seagate 4TB hard drive
Seagate 4TB hard drive

If you’ve got a fairly new laptop, chances are they come with high speed SSD hard drives. While they are a lot faster than old spinning disk drives, their storage capacity is a lot smaller. New laptops usually come with 128-512GB internal drives, and bigger storage options are disproportionately more expensive.

To get around this space limitation, get a portable hard drive or a thumb drive to store your files. For hard drives, get one with an internal SSD drive, as they use solid state transistors and not spinning disks. This will make them more robust and forgiving with bumps and knocks throughout your travels.

For extra redundancy of your work files, you can also use cloud based storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive. With your files backed up to the cloud, you can be sure that your work files are safe in the event that something bad happens to your work laptop. Keep in mind that you will use up a lot more internet data to upload your files to the cloud.

Power bank / Portable battery

When you work on the go, there will be times that you’ll end up at places with no power points. Some cafes even disable power points to prevent people from spending too much time working at their tables while only buying one cup of coffee.

With the digital nomad lifestyle, you might be carrying multiple battery powered gadgets. You’ll find that power banks are lifesavers in many occasions when your phone or tablet runs out of juice.

Most newer laptops accept USB-C charging, so get a power bank that supports USB-C output. It will also ensure that your power bank will be future proof against the current and future generation of USB-C powered devices.

Travel adaptor

If your nomad lifestyle brings you overseas, don’t forget to pack a travel adaptor. To avoid the need of multiple travel adaptors, bring along a power board to charge more devices at one time.

Do not skimp on these electrical accessories, as cheap ones might short out and fry your precious electronic items. Worse still, they could cause injury or death.

Also take note of the voltage supply at your destination, as this will affect whether you can use your power adapters or not. Before purchasing your adapters, check what kind of plugs, socket and voltage are used in the country.

Electronic gadgets evolve at light speed, so this post will continuously be updated to reflect the most current recommendations.

Have an accessory you’d like to recommend? Feel free to suggest them in the comments section!

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