Can you imagine getting to a country after you planned a trip for months, only to realize you’d forgotten something essential like a power converter?
It’s a pain to have to buy something you own at home when you’re traveling, especially when you’re traveling in another country. Don’t even get me started about inflated prices on items at tourist destinations.
One of the most important parts of preparing for the trip is deciding what to pack. While you don’t want to overpack, you also want to bring the necessities.
To be honest… one of my favorite parts of traveling is packing. So even though most people would call me an overpacker, I recently minimized my possessions to travel. So how am I doing it, and what am I bringing?
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Backpack or Suitcase?
If you’re thinking about traveling as a digital nomad, find a good backpack! When we visited Paris earlier this year, I dragged a suitcase down its cobblestone streets while my travel partner made navigation look easy carrying his backpack.
So I spent a lot of time finding the perfect travel backpack for female digital nomads.
Once my backpack is on my back, it’s not even difficult to carry around! I was very surprised at myself! 💪🏼
The Best Travel Backpack for Digital Nomad Women
If you’re traveling with a backpack and a laptop, you’ll love the Osprey Fairview 55 travel backpack (for women). Why? Because it’s actually a 40L backpack with a detachable 15L backpack. Omg, lifesaver.
Sooo you totes don’t have to worry about a separate daypack on those days you want to use your laptop from a café.
- The 15L backpack has a pouch for your laptop.
- Tons of space and quite a few pockets.
- Easy to strap on a yoga mat to the bottom.
- Fitted for a woman and the perfect size to throw on without toppling over.
Technology & Electronics for Digital Nomads
Laptop & Laptop Accessories
- Macbook Air or Macbook Pro
- Thunderbolt HDMI cable adapter for Macbook Air: if your Mac doesn’t have an HDMI port, this cable adapter will help you connect your laptop to things like your Airbnb’s television or another monitor.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
This is so vital whether you’re traveling in or out of your home country. A VPN encrypts your connection and prevents you from being tracked with a VPN.
For a ridiculously low cost, you can secure your information (bank accounts, etc.) on 5 devices. There’s also the perk of having an IP address from somewhere else, no matter where you are. So I can browse the Internet and any website will think I’m Chicago, New York, etc… depending on the server I decide to choose.
#1 VPN for Digital Nomads: Private Internet Access (I use this based on a recommendation from Reddit, and I love it.)
- You can buy a monthly, 6-month, or annual plan.
- Use 5 devices at the same time.
- 7-day money back guarantee.
If you don’t have an unlocked smartphone, or you’re unable to unlock your phone with your provider, Decluttr sells used, unlocked phones for pretty reasonable prices.
When we visited Europe, we purchased a US-to-European travel adapter for our plugs. I only wish now that we bought a universal travel adapter instead – just one simple item we can use worldwide.
So we now use this all-in-one travel converter. Although it sounds complicated, this kit actually doesn’t take up too much space – plus it comes with a little bag so the separate parts don’t get misplaced.
Before you leave, check what voltage your plugs can handle. In the US, we have both 110V and 220V outlets. If your device’s power source is made for only 110V outlets, then you may need a 220V converter in order to avoid damaging your device.
- iPhone plugs are typically built for 110 and 220V outlets.
- Macbook plugs can be built for 110-230V, so double-check your plug before you go.
- Google what the voltage is in the country you’re visiting.
Shop packing list tech essentials:
Clothes & Shoes
I’m an over-packer by design, but when we made the decision to minimize our possessions to just one backpack per person, I really had to change my mindset.
- Dresses x2 (1 long, 1 short)
- Shorts x3 (one denim pair, two yoga pairs)
- Tops x3
- Yoga Pants x1
- Rainjacket (I love this lightweight jacket by Lululemon)
- Swimsuit x2
- Wool Base Layer (I haven’t needed to use this in Southeast Asia, but I brought it just in case)
- Sanuk Sling for Women – Sanuk has really been my go-to brand for slippers since my days solely wearing slippers during college (both for class and for day hikes). They actually have a diverse selection of this “Sling” slipper that’s just perfect for comfortable travel. I wear my Sanuks almost daily!
- Nike for Women – for long days of walking or running.
Self-Care & Fitness
- Travel Yoga Mat – light, easy to carry, and easy to strap on to the bottom of the Osprey Fairview 55
- Pixie Cup – Pixie Cup is like the Diva cup, but better and more eco-friendly (it’s BPA free). You use it instead of tampons or pads. It’s helpful because not every bathroom you visit will be equipped for disposing feminine products. You can go as long as 12 hours without changing it, so you don’t have to plan long days of travel around your menstrual cycle. I was sooo nervous about using it – but now I’m SO relieved I made the switch.
- St. Ives Face Scrub (travel sized)
Extra Digital Nomad Travel Essentials
Prepare yourself for those worst-case scenarios that would save yourself a headache later. Bring a photocopy of your birth certificate and passport so you’ll be prepared to visit your country’s embassy should you lose your passport abroad.
- folder with copies of birth certificate, passport, itineraries & confirmation printouts
- extra passport sized photos (good for “just in case”)
- microfiber towel
- portable chargers
- toiletries bag & hook
- bag for dirty clothes
- electronic charge adapter
- usb car charger (if you’re renting/driving a car)
- selfie stick – to be honest, I didn’t understand selfie sticks at first. But now I love mine. Instead of bugging a stranger for a photo, we use a selfie stick to snap couple shots with a nice view in the background.
- extra set of clothes (to carry onto the plane)
- a bag for your chargers/electronics
- an over-the-shoulder bag
This is SO essential for easy access to your most important items. Plus the over-the-shoulder aspect of it makes it harder for someone to steal it from you. My Da Kine crossbody bag was around $15 ordered from Amazon.
Need a Passport?
When you apply for a U.S. passport, complete and send in your application at minimum 6-8 weeks before you plan to leave the country. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to expedite your passport application.
To learn more about applying for a U.S. passport, go here.
You may want to purchase extra passport photos for your trip, especially if you plan to apply for visas or visa extensions. Some embassies do actually have shops nearby that will take your passport photo (like in Chiang Mai)! So do your research before you buy extra.
- Bonus: Passport Case – this cute, pink ban.do passport case sat on my wishlist for the longest time! I finally bit the bullet and bought it for purely cosmetic reasons. It’s a cute statement item that holds your passport.
What’s on your digital nomad packing list?
What’s on your packing list?
It’s tough to find a balance when you travel, especially when you’re traveling to another country. Even as I wrote and finalized this post, I realized there were items I needed to add to the list!
Still, it’s best to be prepared for most conventional, even unconventional, situations, while still minimizing what you bring. You want to find a way to set yourself up for success.
After all, you don’t want to get to your destination and realize you’d forgotten something (like a phone charger) and pay an overpriced amount for something you already have. Or something you could have ordered at a cheaper rate.
Now, let’s hear from you! What are your packing list essentials?