You know what kind of travel you want to do, you have your online work set up and you have the tools and skills you need to work on the road. Are you ready to go yet? Not quite I’m afraid! You still need to sort out the legality of your travel, the finances and your travel kit! But don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through it…
The reality is that you’re going to find you have no problem a lot of the time. And that you really struggle every now and then! On my own travels, I have worked outdoors on my phone with my folding keyboard in the rain and I’ve begged receptionists in hotels to send files from my SD cards. These things happen but actually, that’s part of the fun of being a digital nomad!
And you will be very surprised some of the places you can find free WiFi! You’ll struggle in London unless you can find a library or coffee shop (try huddling in the doorway!) but up a mountain in Croatia with not a sign of life nearby? No problem! (This is not a random example but rather something I actually experienced when working in Krka national park! Beautiful waterfalls there and definitely worth checking out…)
Your Travel Kit Bag
First of all, you’ll need to bring a lot more than just items that you can use to get work done. Remember, the point of this trip is to have a good time – not just to work! So you need to bring things that will make the trip as comfortable as possible, as well.
Some important considerations include:
Of course the bag itself is going to be one of the most important things you can bring with you as a digital nomad! Specifically, you are going to want a backpack and this should be one that you can use to store lots of things while staying comfortable. Look for breathable meshes on the back, look for padded straps and look for waist belts. This will all help when you’re trekking up a mountain or across a dessert!
The bag should also have plenty of pockets, including concealed pockets. I personally take two bags, one of which is actually a ‘chest bag’ that is intended for use by anglers. The benefit of this is that I can keep important documents where I can see them and even fit in a small 8” computer. Yet you’ll find that airlines don’t count this as an additional item of hand-luggage win!
You’ll get wet from time to time and you’ll need to dry off. What’s more, is that your things will get wet and you’ll want to wipe rain water off of seats. For these jobs, I recommend a microfiber towel. This is a towel made from a microfiber material that can be rolled very small and even fitted into a pocket. It dries in a matter of minutes and in short, it is a LOT easier to bring with you than a full sized, sopping wet towel.
When packing clothes, it’s important think ‘small, light and versatile’. Create a capsule wardrobe so that every item can be worn with every other item without looking awful and choose things that ideally don’t need to be ironed. It is possible to get non-iron shirts from companies like Mizzen and Main and these look brilliant even when they’ve been rolled into a ball. And rolling your shirts into a ball is a great tip – it takes up much less space that way!
A Kindle is an incredibly useful gadget to take with you on holiday that will give you infinite reading material while taking up barely any space. The best part is that if you get a generation 1 or 2 Kindle, then you’ll also get an experimental browser with free 3G coverage all around the world! How is that for a digital nomad secret?
Documents and Practical Considerations
When you go on holiday, there are a few things you need to consider: visas, documents and travel insurance for example. So it only stands to follow that when you go travelling for an indefinite time period, there is far more to sort out. And doing this before you leave – getting all your ducks in a row – is going to help you to reduce stress and avoid problems while you’re on the road!
Follow this check-list to get everything straight:
If you’re travelling abroad, then you should always take out travel insurance. You’ll want something fairly comprehensive that will allow you to hop continents, engage in sports and other activities and cover the cost of your belongings. The good news is that it’s easy these days to get travel insurance online and on your mobile – and many of these apps will let you update your policy as you travel to adapt to your changing requirements!
Bills and Post
If you’re going to be away from your home for 3 months or more, then you need to make sure that your post isn’t going to pile up. Not only will this make it apparent that you’re away but it will also mean that you might miss an important bill. Make sure that you set up forwarding on your address and have your mail sent to a good friend or your parents.
Let them open those letters and they can update you on anything important. Meanwhile, you can ask many service providers and banks to send their statements and bills digitally. This saves paper and makes life easier for you. Of course you should also cancel magazine subscriptions, broadband, cable TV and anything else that you’re not going to need!
If you’re spending more than a few months in any country, then you might need a visa. In fact, you’re likely to need a visa even to enter some countries. And what’s more, is that you need to check with your own local law as to whether there’s a maximum time you can remain out of the country (in which case you might need to make temporary return visits).
You’ll need to find out if you need to pay council tax in different countries, whether you’re allowed to get jobs abroad and more. All of this is important to research before you set sail. There are few things more stressful than being on a plane only to hear an announcement that you need a visa to enter the country that you don’t have!
As mentioned already, it’s important to ensure that you’ll have phone coverage abroad. Speak with your mobile provider and ask what their best options are for people who travel a lot. Data roaming and having a lot of data is particularly important so you can tether to your mobile when you need to. You may also want to forward calls to your home to your mobile!
If you’re leaving a house empty, then consider discussing with a friend or family member if they would be willing to come in and look after your plants occasionally, or perhaps turn the lights on to make it look like someone is home!
Another tip is to consider setting up a remote digital camera in your home so that you can check on it from abroad. This is a great way to get peace of mind when you’re worrying!
Your Travel Documents Pack
If you’re going abroad then there will almost always be a plethora of different documents you need to bring with you. That will not only mean your passport (which you need to ensure is up-to-date) but it will also mean your boarding pass, your hotel confirmation, any maps that you need etc.
Print all this information out, make multiple copies and then stick them in your various bags to bring with you. Print more information than you need and make sure you have hard copies as well as digital in case your phone fails you.