Packing is a huge travel topic these days and I love talking about it. As I’ve traveled more and more, I’ve taken an increasingly minimalist packing approach and optimized the use of a lot of my stuff.

I traveled for four months with Remote Year, which has been awesome so far.

In packing for a long-term trip, I did the best I could, knowing that whatever I was missing would be available along the way. This is definitely a way to keep low stress during your packing.

Sunscreen? Probably available in my destination. The same goes for things like rain ponchos, bug spray and shampoo.

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

What to pack for working remotely

Are you ready for your trial of the geographical arbitrage life? Get ready to work remotely away from home.

What changed for me in packing for my remote work trips is that I pack my stuff in order to have the essentials for getting work done.

My Dell XPS 13-inch laptop

I got this a few months before Remote Year, and because I get weighed down easily by heavy purses or backpacks, this laptop is only 2.7 lbs! It also has an incredible resolution that is great for editing photos.

A small-size wireless mouse by Logitech

I just got this Logitech mouse and it’s the size of my palm! It even fits in my jacket pocket. I like having a mouse to use with my laptop because it feels more like a home setup.

If you find yourself working in cafes in places like Cabarete, Mexico City, Brooklyn, New York or Taipei, it’s perfectly fine to bring a mini mouse. In fact, you might not be the only one who brought a travel-sized mouse with you for your work time.

The Google Pixel 2 phone

I love the camera on this phone, and I use the Pixel 2 with Google Fi for international service and data. This has changed travel for me because I no longer rely on wifi zones and can use maps, Whatsapp and apps while on the go.

Items to pack while traveling. The items include shoes, cameras, electronics and books

What to pack for different climates

Birkenstock sandals

They’re durable, not too heavy and have tons more support for your feet than most other sandals. These are my new favorite.

A jean jacket or sweater

I used to not like jean jackets, but the fact is that they can go with a dress, leggings, or shorts and provide more style than a sweatshirt. I wear leggings nearly every day, so I use my jean jacket as a layer under another coat or packable parka if it’s cold out.

If you are looking for a winter coat to end all winter coats, the OROS Orion Parka is a nice bet, especially if you can have someone buy it for you or get you a gift card to OROS.

Read the review

If you’re not the jean jacket type, opt for a smart fleece pullover that makes you look ready for a video meeting.

Helpful Tip

For colder destinations, the First Class Merino Hoodie by Aviator would be a great base layer.

Bottoms and Pants

For these four months, I took along one pair of jeans, two pairs of leggings (one designated for yoga), one pair of athletic shorts (and one pair to sleep in) and one pair of black high-waisted ‘paper bag’ shorts as a more dressy option in hot weather.

I recommend the DUER Performance Mid-Rise Skinny jeans for travel, which I have reviewed and can truly recommend without hesitation.

A light scarf

I typically bring a scarf that qualifies for travel in all seasons. It can double as a way of covering shoulders when entering a religious place, too.

Other shoes

A pair of Allbirds walking sneakers, running shoes by New Balance and a pair of black flats that can dress up most outfits.

Essential long-term travel gear for digital nomads

A canvas tote bag

For me, this doubles as a bag for grocery shopping and also as a lightweight purse. With a canvas tote, you can help save the environment and not have to worry about traveling with a valuable purse, all in one!

Quick-dry towel by Shandali Microfiber

This towel folds up into a tiny square and dries fast, so it’s great for taking to the beach, using for hair, using in a hostel that doesn’t give towels or even laying out in a park.

A trusty water bottle

Mine has a squirt top, which keeps things neat if I’m in the car, on a bus or storing this bottle during a flight.

Having a plastic or metal water bottle cuts down on waste from buying single-use plastic bottles, and I can fill it up from water coolers or big water jugs.

Helpful Tip

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A mini lightweight umbrella

I don’t own a rain jacket, so I use this mini umbrella from H&M that has cute blue stripes. Having a lightweight umbrella in my bag for the day doesn’t weigh me down too much. This has saved me so many times!

Lonely Planet travel books

While you could say that books are heavy in luggage, to me, there’s nothing like having a physical book rather than a book on Kindle. I like marking pages, making notes and drawing on the maps in the book. I’ve been traveling with Lonely Planet books since around 2009.

The FlipBelt

I used this tight belt when I went jogging in various countries in Europe all summer, and it was perfect for keeping keys, an ID and a credit card or cash when I went for a jog. It can also double as a money belt.

A travel lock with a key

Locks come in handy for locker use (at gyms, hostels or day trips) or for locking my backpack zippers on long bus rides.

Travel photography packing tips

I take photos between my Canon 77D and my Google Pixel 2. I’ll use my camera if I’m somewhere where it’s socially acceptable and safe to have a larger camera, and I’ll use my Pixel 2 if I’m doing something adventurous, like sand-boarding or hiking.

The best backpacks for long-term travel

I travel with two backpacks, as I find backpacks more versatile than suitcases. In fact, I wrote about the best backpacks for women. Check it out to get an idea of some different options that might work for you.

My 50L backpack

I use a 50L Quechua front-loading backpack, which I prefer over a top-loading backpack.

The front-loading feature allows me to pack in everything and not have to unpack layers when I want to get something out. Quechua bags are moderately-priced and washable, so I only have good things to say about the 50L size.

Versatile laptop daypack

As a second and smaller backpack, I use a Away Daypack. This is a convertible travel-to-work or work-to-travel bag totaling 11.6 liters in volume and weighing less than 2 lbs. when empty. I find it ideal for my size because it is not too wide, and it fits my laptop and accessories perfectly.

This bag also looks good as a daypack for a professional woman, or a woman who wants to have a backpack for work that converts into a backpack for being out the rest of the day, or night. I like the features like the tons of pockets, the slim design, the slim straps and the high-quality zippers. You can see more in my review of the Away Daypack.

Fanny pack or ‘belt bag’

I’ve been using the belt bag/fanny pack by LeSportSac as my ‘travel day bag’ because it’s great for having my passport, money and phones right at my fingertips when I’m going through the airport or on a plane.

It also fits physically into my backpack build, meaning it stacks under my daypack and the strap doesn’t get in the way of fastening the waist belt of my 50L backpack.

Helpful Tip

If you’re looking for another type of fanny-pack, you may like this one as well!

If I forgot anything…

What I always try to tell myself when packing is, “If you realize you forgot something, chances are you can find something similar while on the road.” Through the years, I’ve gotten much better at minimizing what I pack, knowing that I can shop when I get to a destination if I need something additional!

Now that I’m traveling with a group, I’m also keeping in mind that I can make trades with other Remotes, borrow clothes or electronics (both have happened in the last three weeks) and lend out my belongings as well.

Helpful Tip

Black Friday will be here before we know it! Check out our Black Friday deals for professionals to pick up some new stuff for working remotely and traveling.

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Last updated on March 4th, 2022