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Traveling? Make Sure You Pack These Things
When I left my 8-5 job at the beginning of 2019, one of the commitments I made was to travel more. While I have traveled a lot over the last few years, I haven’t had the opportunity to travel for fun, on my terms, or for as long as I wanted to, for a very long time.
Earlier this year, I traveled home to Los Angeles to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday, and one of the best parts of it, was that I was able to spend six days in California without feeling guilty that work was piling up, because I was able to work from the kitchen at my grandparents’ house.
Working from the road is fantastic, but in order to do so in the way that helps me stay productive and grows my business, I need to make sure I bring some things with me. Fortunately, most of it fits in one backpack.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Your Laptop
This one is kind of a no-brainer, right?
If you’re working from the road, then you need your laptop, and I’ve had my trusty MacBook Pro since the end of 2016. Soon, it’ll be time to upgrade, but as long as it does what I need it to do, it’s all good.
I’m one of those people who checks and double checks and even triple checks to make sure I have my laptop with me before I leave. It’s one of those things that, if I have forgotten it, I want to make sure that I’m not too far from home by the time I realize it.
So, having a laptop, and especially one that is charged before you leave the house, is very important to have.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: All Of Your Chargers
As someone who has forgotten her laptop charger before for one of her computers (back when I worked in sports and carried two different laptops), I can tell you, this is critical, and will save you a ton of headaches. And money, because the last thing you need is to run out and pick up another new charger because you forgot yours at home.
If you need to make a list of your chargers to make sure you don’t forget them, then do that. Do whatever it is you need to do to make sure that you don’t forget any of them.
In fact, I like to have a set of chargers that I keep at home, and then another set of chargers that I keep for travel. It’s another trick I picked up back when I still worked in sports full-time.
But seriously, never forget your laptop charger.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Your External Hard Drive
When is the last time you backed up your computer?
Has it been a while?
Stop what you’re doing and back up your computer right now.
If I’m going to be on the road for a while, I’ll make sure to bring it with me, but if it’s just a short trip, I make sure to back up my computer on my Lacie 1TB external hard drive either the night before or the morning of.
What I love about this one is that it pings me if I’ve gone more than 10 days without backing up my computer, so I barely even have to remind myself.
Seriously, go back up your computer, right now.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Power Station
Sometimes, you may not be near an outlet but also in need of a charge.
That’s where my Mophie Powerstation comes in.
I love my Mophie.
And there are a ton of different types of chargers, with a bunch of different capacities, for your needs. I like to have a happy medium where it has the capacity to charge at least a couple times on one charge.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: An External Keyboard
I know this may sound counterintuitive if you have a laptop, but since my laptop is getting on there in years (almost three years old is pretty much a dinosaur in technology terms), I recently invested in a Bluetooth keyboard and let me tell you, it is life changing.
The reason I needed an external keyboard is that some of my keyboard keys are not working, and instead of spending money to get them fixed, I picked up a keyboard instead. I ordered the Jelly Comb Bluetooth Keyboard off Amazon, and it maes typing so much easier, it’s not even funny.
Not only that, but having an external keyboard means you can have the laptop of your dreams (like I have with my MacBook), even if you don’t necessarily love the butterfly keys on the keyboard. I can say that since I moved on from the butterfly keyboard, I don’t know how I managed to type on it for as long as I did.
And it also helps my posture, because having the external keyboard means I’m not hunched over my laptop while I’m typing. For more on health tips for online business owners, check out this post.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Notebook
You can’t always type everything, even if you have something like the Notes app on your phone, so that’s why it’s important to have a notebook on hand. Since my penmanship isn’t the best, I like a sketchbook like this one, because it means I don’t have to worry about keeping my handwriting small.
Back in the day when I didn’t travel with my laptop or a notebook, I would write notes in the margins of the little magazines in the seat-back pockets on airplanes.
So, I like to have a notebook on hand, because sometimes it’s easier to mix things up by hand-writing, instead of having to type everything.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Headphones
I once forgot my headphones, and let me tell you, that was not a fun flight.
So, take it from me, you don’t want to forget your headphones.
I actually travel with a few different pairs of headphones, just in case, including my Apple headphones, and my headphones from Skullcandy. The Skullcandy headphones are great because I can use them with my laptop, or I can plug them in to watch movies, depending on what airline I’m flying.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Wristlet
As much as I love my wallet (because it’s a really nice Star Wars wallet from Loungefly that they unfortunately no longer carry), sometimes it’s a little big and bulky, especially if I don’t want to carry a purse.
That’s where my Katie Loxton wristlet comes in. Mine is this awesome purple color that is very #OnBrand.
It’s big enough to carry everything I need (indulging my cash and credit cards, my keys, a pen, and whatever else I need), but small enough that it doesn’t get in the way.
Not only that, but a wristlet does just that—it hangs right off your wrist and frees up your hands, so you can move around much easier.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Backpack
I love carrying a backpack when I travel.
It has all the stuff I need, right there, and most importantly, it doesn’t hang off one of my shoulders, thus compounding my back issues.
Yeah, I have those.
With my backpack, not only do I have everything I need, but it has multiple pockets, so it’s easy to stay organized.
In the biggest pocket, I carry my wallet, my laptop, my notebooks, my books, and my spare pair of glasses. One of the smaller pockets has all of my charger cords—and I recently discovered that cord organizers like this one, which comes from the brand that makes my external keyboard, are a thing that exists, and am probably going to invest in one of those too.
And the smaller pockets are where I put things like my house keys, my bracelets that I wear every day—but tend to just keep in my backpack when I’m at the airport so I don’t have to deal with any hassles in the security lines—and anything that I need to grab easily.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Sweater
I used to do a lot of flying out of LAX, and let me tell you, that is one of the coldest airport terminals I have ever been forced to sit through.
It took a long time for the lesson to stick, but one of my favorite things to throw in my carry-on when I’m traveling is a sweater or a wrap of some kind. It doesn’t have to be big and bulky, and it really doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s nice to have.
Because the alternative of shivering in the terminal and throughout the entire flight?
As someone who lives in Arizona, where it’s hotter than…hot most of the year, I tend to forget that other places aren’t like that, so having the sweater on-handing is pretty critical.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Tempurpedic Pillow
If I’m not flying to get wherever I’m going—even if it’s just house-sitting at my sister’s—I’ll throw my pillow in the car too.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this post, I have been dealing with back issues for some time now, and it’s made traveling with my pillow—especially since I upgraded to this Tempurpedic neck pillow—a serious must.
Yes, it’s a little heavy, and not easy to travel with on longer trips, but it’s still worth it to just throw it in the car if I’m just going for a long drive.
And anyway, some people just like having their own pillow with them—it gives wherever you’re staying more of the comforts of home, which is always Ince to have when you’re on the road.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Eye Mask
I like it to be dark, very dark when I’m sleeping, but sometimes that’s just not possible, especially when you’re on the road.
A couple years ago, I picked up a cheap eye mask, similar to this one, from the market and it’s been one of my number-one sleep aids both at home and on the road.
It was seriously worth it, and I paid just a few bucks. Really, it was one of those very inexpensive buys that is so freaking worth it that it’s not even funny.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Pens
It’s always important to travel with a pen. Always.
Even if you plan to do all your witting on your phone or computer, you should still bring a pen or two.
And since I lose pens like I lose hair ties or bobby pins, I just like to have an assortment of pens that I can just reach into the bottom of my backpack to grab as needed.
I’m also a big fan of these RSVP pens from Pentel, of which I stole many from my coworker—and yes, he knows I’m responsible for his pen disappearances.
Also, I make sure to throw all the hotel pens I see into my bag, which makes for a nice, diverse collection, and ensures that I’m never without a pen.
Seriously, you never know when you’re going to need a pen until you’re somewhere without one.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: A Power Strip
This is a travel game-changer.
Every summer, I travel to California to lead a group of teenagers on a hike through the Santa Monica Mountains, and home base for me and anywhere between six and eight people, is one room.
It’s a large room, but it’s still one room.
And since we ALL carry ten tons of tech with us, having a power-strip is a MUST.
So I started throwing one into my duffel bag, and it makes it so much easier, and not only that, it makes it much more organized.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Extra Glasses
Back in March, I took that trip to LA for my grandfather’s 90th birthday, and I said, “Nah, I don’t need to bring my backup classes, my contacts will be just fine.
And then, my left contact lens ripped, leaving me basically blind in one eye.
Fortunately, my brain was able to compensate and it wasn’t really that bad, being able to see out of one eye, but it would have been a lot nicer to just throw on a pair of glasses instead of the alternative that I dealt with.
So, don’t forget to bring your glasses, even if you think you don’t need them.
Must-Haves For The Digital Nomad: Your Current Favorite Book
It’s not all work, all the time, even when you’re a digital nomad.
I usually have at least one or two books that I throw into my backpack when I hit the road—whether I actually end up reading them is another question entirely, but anyway. I like to have a mix of business-based non-fiction, and some of my fictional must-haves.
Right now, I have The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, along with You Are A Badass and You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero loaded up on my Kindle on my phone, and I also have a very old copy of They Call Me Coach by the legendary John Wooden, which I’m pretty sure is from the fourth printing back in the early 1970s. So, it’s way older than me.
On a fun fiction side, I tend to gravitate toward military thrillers, like the Sigma Series, written by James Rollins. I have attempted to re-read the series from the beginning, started wit Map Of Bones for…a lot of years now. I even picked up one of the more recent books in the series, The Demon Crown recently, just to have, so I really need to get on that. And on a lighter side, Julie Kenner’s Givenchy Code is one of my favorite so-called chick-lit paperback books. It’s a cute little trilogy inspired by Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, which is also one of my favorite books—though, I will say that I’m an even bigger fan of the prequel, Angels and Demons.
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