In case you are one of those about to take the leap of faith into becoming a digital nomad, then you’re also likely making sure everything is in order and place.
Setting yourself for the nomad life can be easy with lots of planning ahead, and if you have already decided what’s the professional activity that will allow you to fulfill your dreams, then you’ll have no problem crossing from your preparations list the next absolutely necessary tech aids and services:
A STURDY (AND NOT SO BASIC) COMMUNICATION DEVICE
This is pretty obvious, isn't it? And yet, not everyone takes into account all the stuff their work might demand while on the road. High-end smartphones (like those from Apple, Samsung, Google or even Xiaomi or Huawei) can cover several functions and require very limited space while being quite energy-efficient. Depending on your starting point and your destination, make sure you have a data plan that can get your back in a crisis moment (believe us, those happen for digital nomads too). With a nice smartphone you'll not only be able to manage text and calls (even video), but also manage social media, find local services wherever you go and perform certain online and offline tasks according to your needs. Don't forget to bring along the most relevant accessories your device might need (cables and chargers for starters, but also adapters and linking extras), as you may find those hard to come by in certain regions of the world. Finally, an insurance is a pretty neat idea simply because this little buddy will be your best digital friend out there.
RELIABLE ONLINE BANKING
Becoming a digital nomad will require some kick-off funds and you should be able to access your resources anywhere you go. Some of us are so used to having an account with digital banking availability that we might not even think about it as a necessity when choosing the nomad life. Most cards (credit or debit) from the U.S. and Europe will give you access to online banking for sure, but remember to always get some cash as soon as you step into a place with a different currency than the place you came from (U.S. Dollars and Euros will open many doors for you, so keep some of those around for an emergency or quick small transactions). If you're planning to stay for a rather long period of time in a specific place, you can also look for local banking alternatives and you can diversify your wallet by having a PayPal account, which will let you make payments and/or receive money from everywhere in the world.
A PORTABLE DEVICE DEDICATED FOR WORK
Sure, most people think that becoming a digital nomad is all about parties and traveling, but you also need to make some money and further strengthen your career. And having a job will help you with both of these aspects. Whatever kind of job you decide to have as a digital nomad, you should consider bringing along a device that will become your operation center and itinerant headquarters as well. It may be a laptop, a tablet, a camera, or even that precious smartphone we just told you about. Although its primary function will be work, if used wisely, it can also fulfill some of your entertainment needs (like books, sports, movies, music or art in some form that allows digital consumption). Make sure that you have proper space in your baggage for it to travel safe and sound. Avoid bringing along unnecessary accessories or extra stuff if you can and if you really don't have a need for it. Remember becoming a digital nomad works best if you find your ways around the tools (free & paid) the internet has to offer to avoid cluttering. Speaking of which...
CLOUD FILE STORAGE & MANAGEMENT
If you're constantly on the road, you have to consider that less is more, especially talking about physical stuff to move around. Getting a reliable service for safely storing and managing your files will not only allow you to move from destination to destination with little luggage, but it will also help you sharing, accessing and editing the files you work with. It's not a bad idea to keep a hardcopy of certain contents (for that look for a good capacity SSD, as they come small), but you can always count on the internet no matter where you go next. You can work with services like Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox for the most common file types, and check with your software provider if they have cloud storage or management in some capacity for more dedicated and specific stuff.
A VPN SERVICE
This one is very simple. Not everyone has the same ways to access the internet around the world. Plan ahead of your adventure and you might even skip this one, but if you think any relevant aspect of your life (personal or professional) might be affected for an online-access related situation, don't hesitate to get a VPN.
INSURANCE (ALL KINDS OF IT... OR ONE TO RULE THEM ALL)
Health insurance is the top priority here, but you should also think of travel insurance and even one that covers tech theft (you're living the DIGITAL nomad life after all). A simple search over the internet can get you great coverage for less than USD 50 a month. Make sure you look for the advice of other digital nomad fellows, as there are a few services that cover some things (like general health crisis) but not others (like the most adventurous activities you might want to experience while traveling the world). Ask as many questions as possible, create the most unexpected and out-of-the-box possible scenarios (it's truly wild, crazy and random out there) and question what would happen. This one is probably the most relevant of all in this list, as it is the service (and tech) that your life and safety may depend on the most, thus deserving of serious consideration.
A LIFE ORGANIZING TOOL
And last but not least, you have to learn to manage everything and do it in the best way possible. It's important to keep track of travel tickets, accommodation, meals, health, deadlines, contacts, time and every other resource you can think of. Choose an app on your phone or tablet, or keep an online service. You can even do it old-school with pen and paper, but find a way to stay organized. Plan ahead as much as possible and you will enjoy the nomad life to its fullest.
Ready to take the next step into becoming a digital nomad? Share with our Kosmic Dust Community your knowledge, stories, questions and advice about it.