Let’s talk about digital nomad traveling. Currently, I’m on a roadtrip through Europe. It’s a month long adventure with 4 of my friends, we’re traveling from Latvia to Spain, including all kinds of various places to stay in and take a look at on the road. You can follow our journey over at instagram.com/fivetrvlrs.
All of us are freelancers & we’re working on the road. While I’ll definitely take a look at various “working while traveling” aspects of this trip in another blog posts, this time I want to take a look at my bag and talk about several things I definitely should’ve taken and others – I definitely needed to leave back home (or even better so – just throw out).
Just to be fair, I need to mention that I’m passionate about the idea of minimalism although I’m definitely not the best at approaching it…
Digital nomad traveling: here’s what I took on a month-long roadtrip
- A dose of clothes that I love and that’d be 100% wearing: 2 dresses, 2 shorts, 1 leggings, 3 shirts, 1 jacket, 1 jumper, underwear
- Several clothes that were “just in case items”: 1 leather jacket, 1 jacket for rainy/cold days, 1 pair of jeans, several random shirts I’ve never really worn and maybe something more I’ve never packed out of my backpack
- 2 pairs of closed sneakers, 1 pair of summer shoes
- Technique for working: my laptop, charger & mouse. I made a copy of all my files on Dropbox so I don’t have to take my HDD with me
- Phone, charger, power bank, mp3 (yes, I do have one of those and it’s like trillion years old), headphones
- Necessities like toothbrush, shampoo & conditioner, suncream and other random things that I use on a daily basis
- Must-need medicaments for a headache, stomach pain, etc.
- Since we’re traveling by car, I also have several practical items with me, for example, bread pan (I’m literally too lazy to translate this now, just let your imagination work).
Here’s how it all worked out for me
For most of the days, it’s been 25 to 35 degrees hot all over the Europe. I wore some of my “cold weather” clothing pieces in the first days of the trip, for 2-3 days tops but they haven’t been taken out of my backpack ever since and it wasn’t that cold in those days either, I just felt like using them.
On hot days, I’ve worn 3-4 of the same kind of clothing all the time. Even after a hot day in one dress, I’ve worn it afterward again. Might feel like a disgusting thing to do for some but, to be honest, it was compleeeetely fine (like I’m the one who feels disgusted about these things usually).
These same kinds of 3-4 pairs of clothing I’ve washed after 2-3 days, in our Airbnb’s & other places we were staying, whether there was a washing machine or I used my bare hands and shower gel to do that. Believe me, my clothes are still absolutely fine. **just to be clear here, underwear doesn’t apply for this 2-3 day wearing rule**
Comfy shoes, at least 2 pairs, was a necessity. It’s a must-have in any travelers bag. After long day on your feet, you’ll need to change your shoes once in a while so you can avoid all kinds of problems including just tired feet. Although I could’ve walked with my summer shoes for all of the travel days, I’m glad I had my sneakers with me as well so my feet could enjoy some different kind of padding. I’ve also walked barefeet A LOT. Beaches, campsites, car rides, even in the shops and cities (I like being barefeet, that’s when my feet feels the best!).
I’ve used most of my utilities and all of my tech stuff. Power bank was SUPER useful. I’ve used my laptop on a daily basis for working & writing. I didn’t have a camera with me but I do have 3 friends with it. Also, I have a good phone with a great camera that covers my needs on a daily basis (I LOVE taking photos on my trip, you can check them out on my Insta).
I thought that all the medicaments will stay unused for the whole trip. The truth turned it all upside down: since 2 of our group members were ill for the first days of our trip, most of the medicaments were used up pretty fast!
What to take with you when traveling as a digital nomad?
Here are some of my suggestions for you!
1. Be reasonable about the length of your travels
If you’ll be traveling for a week, you basically need nothing than a pair of clothing to change and one jacket, maybe. If your travels are month long or longer, keep in mind the fact that there are washing machines all over the place, each clothing can be worn more than once and you still will be wearing your favorite clothes the most. The same goes for the rest of the things. “Just in case” items, most likely, won’t be necessary at all and will only do as much as take up space in your bag.
2. Check the weather forecast
You can never trust it 100% but you can see at least 2-3 weeks ahead & check in with locals about the weather in their country around the time you’ll be there. It can always get rainy or cold so prepare for these days (or evenings) too but don’t rush into things unless it’s a bad weather forecast in general.
To get into some numbers, I’d suggest having 1 full pack of “other weather” clothing in your bag – if it’ll be sunny & hot for 80% of the days, take only one additional jacket and long pants, if it’s the other way around, prepare for it accordingly.
3. Take only what you’re using back home
This works both for clothing and the rest of the items, whether it’s for working or free time. If you’re not using medicine in general, don’t take it on your trip. You can always buy things abroad if they’re REALLY necessary. Take must-necessary tech items you might need but nothing you can live without. As I already mentioned, I moved all of my most important files to Dropbox so I don’t have to take my HDD with me.
4. Don’t overplan
My biggest mistake was thinking about all the possible scenarios. DON’T DO THAT!! It’s a pain in the ass and will only fill your bag with tons of useless things. This was a first-time long-term car travel for me, visiting different places almost every 2-3 days so I had no idea what to prepare for. So now I’m here to warn you! Go with your primal instincts. You don’t need any exclusive things on your travels anyways. It’s different for travel-related things like neck pillows or power banks tho. Take those if necessary!
5. Travel as light as possible
This is my general suggestion for you. The less stuff you have, the easier will your life be. Be especially careful if you’re traveling by car or any other very convenient transportation that lets you take EVERYTHING. Just because you can take tons of things with you, doesn’t mean you’ll need them.
6. Pack your tech stuff carefully
It’s the best if you have a special bag/case for each item so it doesn’t get scratched or destroyed in any other day. It’s overall easier and safer to pack everything when it’s in the case. It’s a no biggie once the case gets crushed or scratched but it can be a completely another deal once your tech gets hurt.
Questions you might need answers to
- What about fancy clothing?!?! – For what would you need it? unless you’re planning for 5* parties, you won’t need anything more than your usual dress/pair of jeans + shirt.
- What if your only *something* gets lost? – I’m pretty sure 100% of the countries in this world have a thing called STORES.
- What if THAT happens & I’m not prepared for IT? – Most likely, it won’t happen. If it does, see the answer above.
Here’s the thing: when you travel, you, most likely, won’t need even a half of what you already have in your bag (unless you’re already crazy minimalistic). There are way more other things to care about: your surroundings, all the good time you’re having, the speed of the internet and access to the power plugs. Keep your bag light and your travels will be easier.
Now, in reality, I have 2 bags: one is my big travel backpack (40l) & the other one is my small day-to-day backpack where I actually have all the things I need. This bag is taken with me in all places we’re staying overnight. The rest, just as well, might be back home. I do convince myself to take something out of my big backpack once in a while tho so I don’t feel as bad about my over-packing.