6 tech essentials for digital nomads


Ditching the office for a one-way ticket? Modern Traveller picks out the key bits of kit for worldwide working.


Going root-free and roaming with little more than a laptop and a prayer is truly the 21st-century way to work, and for good reason: when an internet connection is all you need to bring in the pay cheques, there’s little reason not to call the whole world home.

What gear do you need to keep in touch with HQ, though? Freelancing from afar might seem like bags of sun and fun, but – if you’ve convinced your boss to let you jet-set away – it’s all on you to ensure you’re online and on deadline.

Worry not, though, for Modern Traveller – a consummate on-the-go worker – knows just the equipment that every digital nomad needs.

A skinny system

OK, so this won’t be a welcome one for those already in possession of a powerhouse laptop – but, after weeks of wandering with a weighty machine strapped to your back, you’ll be wishing you’d opted for a featherweight friend.

Your first option? An ultrabook. Apple fans can scoop up a MacBook Air – in many ways the original slimline computing companion – whilst those who prefer something a little different can take a look at the likes of Lenovo’s Yoga 900, a hybrid machine with high-end specs.

The alternative, of course, is to trust in a tablet. Not a feasible solution for frequent videographers, if your work involves cogitating spreadsheets in the cloud or filing copy every so often, a tablet paired with a bluetooth keyboard is a lightweight lifesaver.

An iPad Mini will do for most, whilst something like Microsoft’s Surface (the third generation can now be picked up for fairly reasonable prices), offers power which puts it almost in the laptop league.

It might seem a large expenditure with which to start your foray into faraway working, but having a hub that doesn’t weigh a ton will save both your back and your baggage allowance.

Backup boost

So, you’ve selected your new machine – and it’s already flat. What’s worse, with the beach yet to be fitted with 3-pin plugs, you’re in a bit of a sticky situation – especially as the boss is waiting on a Skype call from you any minute.

Thankfully, you heeded MT‘s advice and bought yourself a laptop backup battery, knowing that an empty cell was the last thing you needed when against the clock.

Balancing bulk with capacity, Maxoak’s 50,000mAh external battery pack is a solid choice for a juice boost away from the wall.

Admittedly, it does weigh a rather hefty 1.3kg – but a relatively compact shell and swift charging smarts, as well as an array of adaptors, make it a clever companion for those who need the added oomph.

It’s funny how unforgiving your colleagues can be when your excuse for failing to submit a vital document is that the cord didn’t reach the cocktail bar…

Adapt to survive

Plugging your pride and joy into the wall? You can’t just trust any old adaptor. From frazzled fuses to blown boxes, a quick surge is all it takes to see your laptop gone for good.

So, it pays to invest in some high-end power plugs.

LifeVenture offers one such travel adaptor, covering you for hundreds of countries whilst protecting your precious tech from eclectic electricity by way of an in-built 5A fuse. 

It even comes complete with a USB extension, for plug-free phone charging. Sure, it can be a little unwieldy with your laptop lead attached, but that’s the price you pay for all-in-one convenience.

Hot to trot

Worldwide Wi-Fi is wonderful – except when it isn’t. Whether it’s a thunderstorm or a rogue router, even the fastest of internet connections can go awry – which is absolutely no good when you need to hit up the head honcho.

Ditch your wired reliance with a mobile hotspot. With plenty of countries around the globe offering dirt cheap data, sticking a local sim in one of these hubs will see you back online in no time, whatever the situation.

Modern Traveller is a fan of TP-Link’s M7350 modem. Pop a 4G card into this sleek little box and you’ll be good to browse for hours.

Able to support up to 15 connections contemporaneously, its battery is spacious enough to keep you online for as long as 10 hours. What’s more, at a meagre 259g, this isn’t weighty Wi-Fi.

Safe surfing

Now that you’re online, the last thing you want is some sketchy hotelier stealing your company’s sales strategy, courtesy of a connection to the unprotected Wi-Fi.

Shield yourself from such unsavoury behaviour with a virtual private network, or VPN. These nifty networks can be installed as apps to cloak your online activity, as well as, often, allowing you to appear to be in a different geographic location.

Which to use? Modern Traveller regularly makes use of the simply superb Cloak VPN, a pared-back protector for Mac and iOS. If you’re on Windows, Hide.me does a stellar job of living up to its name.

Bag it up

Last things last, you’ll need a trusty sack in which to stash all of your mobile office goodies. Of course, it’ll need to be secure – you don’t want some quick-fingered Fagin lifting your valuables – as well as lightweight and comfortable.

Thankfully, Eagle Creek’s Roaming Daypack combines all of the above in a slim, sturdy package that’s the ideal mate for your around-the-town workplace.

Nifty features like quick-locking zip toggles, a padded laptop compartment and an RFID-blocking internal pocket make it a smart choice for going mobile.

What’s more, it’ll even slot on top of your suitcase handles, courtesy of some swish sewing on the back. What’s not to like?

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