This is chapter 8 of a 15 part series about digital nomading and location independence. To see all of the other chapters, click here!
Nomading forces you to be minimalistic because you have limited bag space. As a former maximalist, this lifestyle has taught me that I really don’t need things to be happy.
The more I’ve traveled, the less that I’ve realized I need. As a result, I’ve culled more and more over the years.
Quick Packing Tips:
- Pack less than you think you need. Most nomad hotspots across Asia and Latin America have cheap laundry services that cost ~$1-2 USD per kilo.
- Pick colors that work together: I can wear almost any shirt in my wardrobe with any shorts, pants, or bathing suit.
- Toiletries are easy to buy wherever you live, so there’s no need to overdo it. I used to pack for “all scenarios,” but now I only bring basic items and specialty U.S. products.
There are two common nomad packing strategies:
- Backpacker: one carry-on backpack (50L maximum) and one other small backpack
- Checked Bag Traveler: 1-2 checked bags and one small backpack
While I fall into the backpack category, your strategy should depend on how fast you’re looking to travel and what you require to be happy. Most budget airlines across Europe and Asia allow a maximum carry-on weight of 7kg (10kg in much of Europe) – so travel lightly if you’re moving quickly!
My Packing List (Mostly For Men and Tailored to Warm Destinations)
I’m a thorough researcher, which means you can trust that I’ve deeply thought through all of my recommendations. The short-list is here at the top, and a more thorough explanation of each item is below.
Looking for a female-focused packing guide? Check out this post.
1 45-50L Backpack (My Favorite)
1 20-35L Daypack (My Favorite)
1 Backpack Rain Cover (My Favorite)
3-5 Pairs of Socks (My Favorites)
2 Pairs of Shorts (My Favorites)
1 Pair of Jeans or Pants (My Favorites, Men & Women)
6-10 Shirts (My Favorites)
1 Rain Jacket (My Favorite)
1 Pair of Shoes (My Favorites)
1 Pair of Flip-Flops (My Favorites)
Travel Speaker (My Favorite)
Headphones (My Favorites)
Travel Adapter (My Favorite)
Portable Charger (My Favorite)
Dry Bags to Protect Electronics (My Favorites)
Electric Toothbrush (My Favorite)
Travel Towel (My Favorite)
Packing Cubes (My Favorites)
1 Lacrosse Massage Ball (My Favorite)
Ear Plugs (My Favorites)
Eye Mask (My Favorite)
Looking for someone’s opinion other than my own? Read this great guide.
Bonus: International Driver’s License
Not everyone travels with this but I recommend it. This license can help you avoid uncomfortable situations with foreign police. For Americans, you can get an international driver’s license in five minutes for $20 from any AAA location.
Also, if you have a motorcycle license in your home country, this will ensure you’re covered by insurance abroad.