Unlike the regular vacationer, digital nomads can be travelling for months and even years at a time. Therefore, they need to put in more thought as to what to bring.
The good news is that you can get away with lighter and less clothes during summer, but fitting it all into your carry-on bag can still be challenging.
In this post I will reveal my minimalist packing list for digital nomads if you are only bringing carry-on, and my secret packing hacks that you might not have heard elsewhere.
Table of Contents
Minimalist Packing List for Digital Nomads
In this video, I will show you my favourite carry-on backpack for digital nomads and all travel essentials you need for your next Summer trip.
- Jojoba oil
I use this as a cleanser/make-up remover, body oil, hair mask and shaving oil. It also comes in handy after sunburn, it prevents the peeling and flaking of the skin and the vitamin E helps to repair the skin. If I don’t feel like buying a conditioner I use this as a replacement. I put a few drops in my hands, rub them together and apply to my dry hair followed by shampooing as usual.
Preferably organic – absorbing nasty chemicals found in regular sunscreen is a big no for me, so I choose organic when possible.
- Face cream
I recommend Weleda Skin Food Light for normal skin and Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream for dry skin. Both of them are under 100 ml and therefore airline approved. I love Weleda’s products, my skin feels soft like a baby and all their products are organic and affordable. I use the same face cream day and night after cleansing.
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Hair Brush
All the sun, sea and sand can take a toll on your hair, so it is important to pick a brush that is gentle but still small in size. I love the small version of the famous detangling brush Tangle Teezer.
- Hair ties
- Shampoo bar
You don’t have to worry about your shampoo being taken away at the airport if it is not liquid! Jason and the argan oil by Lush smells heavenly and lasts forever. I also recommend buying their bar container to store the bar.
Clothes & accessories
- Carry-on bag
I use Osprey Fairview 40, which is the female version of the digital nomad classic Osprey Farpoint 40. I love how it is light but at the same time super durable. The bag even comes with a guarantee that you get a new backpack for free if it breaks!
- T-shirt x 2
Can be used as a towel, beachwear or beach towel. Also comes in handy if you want to visit temples, for a quick cover-up. You can use your sarong as a shawl to cover your shoulders or wrap it around your waist to cover your bare legs.
- Warm Sweater
If you are travelling to a destination were the evenings can get a little chilly, make sure to bring a warm sweater.
- Light sweater
- Flat shoes
Sandals, ballet flats, espadrilles or loafers in a neutral color (beige, camel, black, white etc.) that match the clothes you are bringing. Preferably a pair that you can wear when you are going out to a nice restaurant or to bar at night.
- Flip-flops/beach shoes
- Day pack
A small and light rucksack for hiking or going to coworking spaces or coffee shops to work. Make sure your laptop fits in.
- Tote bag
Great when you want to go out but don’t want to bring a whole rucksack. You can use it instead of plastic bags when buying groceries.
- Swimsuit x 2
For exercising, hiking and days when you are doing a lot of walking.
Put them in a packing cube so you have them all in one place.
- Dress x 2
I like to bring one short dress that I can wear both when going clubbing and during the day, and one longer maxidress.
- Shorts x 2
- Socks x 2
Comfortable clothes is a must for me when flying, so I always wear leggings. They can also be used for exercising, of course. My leggings are from Lululemon.
It is easy to forget cables when you are travelling from place to place and they can make your bag a mess. I recommend you keep them all in a zipped bag.
A classic minimalist packing hack is bringing a Kindle reader instead of bulky books. Kindle is a small tablet for reading e-books from Amazon’s Kindle Store. There is a free Kindle app you can download so you can read your e-books on your phone, tablet or laptop. However, I prefer the physical Kindle Paperwhite as it is easer on your eyes.
- Power bank
- Snacks for the flight
- Sleep mask
If you are planning to stay at a hostel you need a lock to keep your valuables secure.
- Fiber towel
You will save a lot of space in your bag if you choose a fiber towel instead of a standard towel. It also dries quicker.
- Passport and passport holder
- Plastic bag
You don’t want to mix your dirty laundry with your clean clothes, so make sure to pack a plastic bag you can use as a laundry bag.
- Rain jacket or umbrella
- Ear plugs
It is almost impossible to predict the noise level of where you will stay, so I always pack ear plugs just in case. If you are planning to stay at a hostel then it’s a must.
- Water bottle
The lighter the better. I have a foldable one from Vapur that I fill up at a water station when I arrive at the airport gates.
Proper packing is an art form, especially when you are travelling for an extended period of time and trying to cram all your things into a carry-on bag.
Nonetheless, I hope you got some inspiration on what to pack for your next nomad adventure. Do you have any travel hacks that you swear by? Let me know in the comments!
Are you not a digital nomad yet but want to become one? Check out my article on 99 Digital Nomad Jobs you can do from anywhere.