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The removal of a mandated office space during the pandemic has been a big adjustment for some. But for those itching to travel while needing to earn a paycheck, hybrid working can be something of a blessing. It’s given rise to the idea of the digital nomad, a person who works on the go — taking their assignments, writings and technology with them.
It can be an idealistic way of living for some, and when done right, can be freeing. However, it’s not merely a question of packing a bag and hitting the road or hopping on a plane. There are some versatile essentials that you’ll need on the way, such as tech accessories, organizers and apparel to support the van life, coffee shop office life or however (and wherever) else you work.
Ahead, we’ve assembled a packing list for digital nomads (or those shopping gifts for them) who want to create the office of their dreams from anywhere in the world. From multi-purpose gear — like a carry-on suitcase that doubles as a mobile office or a portable charger that can jump-start a car — to smart upgrades for your sunglasses and reusable water bottle, check out top picks for the travel-work lifestyle.
1. USB Adapter Set
These USB converters help to avoid the tangling of countless wires. They’re a good deal, too, coming in at less than $20, and fitting perfectly with pretty much any device — from the iPhone to exterior hard drives to cables for DSLR cameras.
2. Larq PureVis Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
If you don’t feel entirely comfortable drinking the local tap water, there are some options. You can always buy bottled water, but it’s not the most eco-friendly move. Investing in something like Larq’s self-cleaning PureVis water bottle can be a more sustainable option. It uses UV light to clean tap water and remove 99.9 percent of bio-contaminants (such as E. coli) in less than two minutes — making sure you’re putting the best stuff in your body wherever you are.
3. Bellroy Tech Kit
Count your cases. One for your headphones, another for your phone, perhaps one or two extras for your charging device, and another for an external hard drive. This handy pouch from Bellroy keeps your chargers, earbuds, cables and other small tech accessories in one organized place.
4. Nomad Sport Keychain
Keys are among the easiest items to lose. Nomad’s AirTag sport keychain is fairly simple: it’ll attach to your keys and sync with an app so you can track them at all times. It’s also solar powered, which saves a wire, while also being eco-friendly.
5. WANDRD Duo Daypack
It may seem like a lot to pay for a backpack, but for convenience, WANDRD’s Duo Daypack is unmatched. The waterproof pack is stuffed with more than 10 pouches and pockets, including hidden ones perfect for a water bottle. There are spots for a DSLR camera, laptop all the snacks you fancy. On the go? This is the coolest and most convenient way to work while doing so.
6. Newvanga Travel Adapter
The wonderful thing about working on the go is that you just might end up somewhere pretty cool. But that foreign cafe or beautiful cabin abroad is less enticing if you can’t plug your laptop in. A travel adapter like this one from Newvanga is essential, then. It’s compatible with outlets in the U.S., EU, UK, Asia and Australia, including in countries such as Thailand, Italy, China, Peru, Korea, India, France and other destinations.
7. Seagate External Hard Drive
Most laptops have loads of storage these days, but it’s possible you could run out. Or, more likely, it just feels safer to have all of your valuable files and photos in one place. Available in 1 to 5 TB storage capacities, this external hard drive from Seagate won’t break the bank, and it’s easily transportable, too — you only need one cable for power and transferring files.
8. Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses
Want to upgrade your eyewear so you can focus on taking in the sights ands sounds — without worrying about documenting every moment? Ray-Ban’s smart Stories sunglasses (a partnership between the iconic eyewear brand and Meta) lets you stay hands-free and stylish during your adventures, thanks to two 5MP cameras that can capture photos and video, built-in speakers for listening to audio and a microphone for recording and taking voice commands. You’ll need a mobile phone and wireless internet for these connected frames, plus a Facebook account and the Facebook View app if you want to share your content online. Choose from sunglasses or optical frames in Ray-Ban’s popular Wayfarer, Meteor or round styles.
9. Bose QuietComfort Noise Canceling Earbuds
Bose’s best-selling QuietComfort earbuds are among the best for noise canceling. These weather- and sweat-resistant Bluetooth earbuds combine top quality sound (thanks to the volume optimized Active EQ feature) and the noise-rejecting mic also delivers clear audio. You’ll also get up to six hours of listening time, and the charging case gives you an extra 12 hours of battery life. (They’ll also charge via a USB-C cable or wirelessly on a Qi-certified mat). For working in peace, taking meetings or simply have some tunes on the go, these are the ideal (and very portable) choice.
10. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
The great thing about Patagonia’s Nano Puff jacket (available in men’s and women’s sizes) is that it can be worn year round. It’s ultra light and also waterproof, perfect to layer on a winter day or sport on a summer night.
11. Orbitkey Nest
From the company that brought cool Star Wars gear for techies and travelers comes this must-have for anyone who can’t leave home without their laptop. Orbitkey’s Nest is a wireless charger and portable valet tray that lets you stow away your computer accessories (think a mouse, stylus, cables and the like), credit cards and any overflow from your wallet.
12. Halo Bolt Wireless Laptop Power Bank
Halo excels when it comes to versatility. The company says that its 12-volt Bolt power bank can charge a laptop, or phone, serve as an outlet or even restart a car battery. You’ll get about 10 hours of charge for your laptop, and even longer for a phone. It’s available in a variety of colors.
13. Clear Membership
Regular jet-setters can simplify their check-ins with Clear, the hassle-free, touchless identification service for airports and venues. Certified by the Department of Homeland Security, the company’s dedicated members-only lane lets you skip the general line at terminals, and its secure stations use biometric data instead of traditional paper documents to identify users. You’ll need to provide a valid government-issued ID when you register, and Clear also has a Health Pass service that helps users manage their COVID-19 testing and vaccination information for easier entry to sports and entertainment venues and other places.
Clear has locations at Delta and United Airlines terminals in over 50 airports and venues across the U.S., including in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. Memberships are $89 for six months or $189 for 12 months or individuals, or $239 for one year for two people.
14. Sony WH-1000XM5 Bluetooth Headphones
Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones (also available in black) are perfect for audiophiles, frequent travelers and anyone who wants excellent automatic noise canceling (Auto NC) and sound for listening to music, making calls and other situations where you need to cut out distractions. Our go-to for noisy flights, these super comfortable wireless headphones also include a 3.5-millimeter cable for when you want to plug in (such as an airplane entertainment system), and they offer up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge.
The four beamforming microphones deliver crystal-clear voice pickup for phone and video calling, and we like the speak-to-chat mode (which automatically stops the music so you can hear ambient sound) and the intuitive touch control settings for the volume, activating Auto NC, voice assistants and more.
15. SideTrak 12.5-inch Swivel HD Attachable Monitor
Available in 12.5- or 14-inch sizes, SideTrak’s Swivel HD portable monitor conveniently attaches to the back of your laptop for ultimate portability. It comes with magnetic metal plates so you can easily remove the display from your main screen, or you can use the built-in kickstand.
It’s got a peak brightness of 300 nits and weighs only 1.3 pounds, so you get a lightweight and vibrant display for watching movies and TV shows during work breaks. Rounding out the features are the automatic screen rotation (so you can use it in portrait mode) and the 270-degree rotation for adjusting it to your liking.
16. Barmes Freebase Suitcase
Literally living out of a suitcase? There’s a carryall for that: Barmes Design’s Freebase luggage functions as a mobile office and carry-on luggage in one sturdy hard case. It has a 45-liter capacity and includes seven accessories for organizing your goods, including three removable bags for your essentials and laptop, two packing cubes, and gym bag and a convenient liner bag for easy customs inspection.
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