Gadgets for Digital Nomadism

In two days, I’m moving out of my home! EEEEEEEP! On Thursday, D and I will be off on our travels. There’s loads that I need to effectively set up my office while on the road. Ideally, it should all fit in my hand luggage so I can have it available at all times. I’m a sucker for gadgets and space/time saving doodles and things that will make my life easier.

So here are some of my travel essentials:

1. Jetpack charger


I picked up my Jetpack charger through work, though you’ll see them pop up at the occasional WordCamp for swag and/or prizes. It’s called a Jetpack charger because it’s been branded with Jetpack by Automattic (these are the unbranded ones, made by Anker) If you can get one, grab it! This small power brick holds about 2.5 charges for a smartphone. It has become  essential to me for conference going and traveling. No more turning things off to conserve power!

2. iPad Mini

I used to own an iPad that I never used, but my iPad Mini is essential. The original iPad was too big and bulky, it added too much weight to my bag, and was too large to hold in one hand for a long period of time. The iPad mini is a dream. I take it everywhere. It has films and TV series for watching on long haul journeys, books, games, travel apps, note taking apps, and, of course, the WordPress app.

3. Innergie 3-way cable


I hate cable spaghetti, and since I’m a total mess it’s inevitable. The Innergie 3-way cable can charge my iPod and Samsung Galaxy, and I can use it to transfer content from my dictaphone. It means I can bring 1 cable instead of 3, and the only other one I need is for my iPad. Am going to keep an eye out for the cable with the lightening adapater for my iPad. Now I’ve got one three-way cable, a one-way cable seems like a waste of space.

4. Gridit


I bought my Gridit in San Francisco, persuaded by the very persuasive Hanni – I’ve not used it a huge amount since then but it’s going to be slipped into my bag for traveling from country to country. I always throw things into my bag and then have to spend ages pulling it apart whenever I need anything. Hopefully the Gridit will solve that problem.

5. Macbook Pro


I need a laptop, of course, and I’m bringing with me a Macbook Pro. I’m going to miss my external display but when I need to I’ll extend it onto my iPad. My laptop will be where everything happens,

6. Osprey Meridian Travelpack


D and I spent weeks choosing bags. I have some suitcases but I wanted something heavy-duty, with wheels, a daypack, and backpack straps (also, the moon). After much searching, and paying out a small fortune, I bought an Osprey Meridian suitcase/backpack. It has everything I want, and a lifetime guarantee so if it does break it’ll get replaced. This doesn’t guarantee, however, that my bag will stay tidy 🙁

7. Huawei Mifi


Other than my laptop, wi-fi is the most essential part of this adventure. I need to get online to work, attend meetings, check email, and bother people on Skype. This sim-free Mifi device was recommended to me last week by Dean Allen. It’s small, has about 5 hours of in-use charge, and, best of all, I can buy a data sim in any country and have wifi available without relying on my phone (see below for tales of my phone).

8. iPod

I’ve had a difficult relationship with iPods of late. My old one died so I bought a nano, but I kept losing the nano. I could use my phone for music, but I like having a separate device. Last time I was in the US I caved in and bought an iPod. It has all of my music on it so I’ll always have all the music I need.

9. Smartphone


My Samsung Galaxy S2 has been through a lot. I drop it regularly, it’s had a swim in a toilet (a clean toilet!), it’s been left sitting in wet patches on tables. It’s had a hard life. Now it gets too hot to touch. Sometimes it flips about between apps at random. Vlingo torments me. However, it’s the only smartphone I’ve got – it’s my access to the internet, to sat nav, and all of my pocket junk. Hopefully it will last the journey.

10. Universal travel adapter


We’re not 100% sure of the countries that we’ll go to, though we do know that we’ll be in the USA, the Far East, and Europe. Rather than packing an adapter for each country D and I each have a universal travel adapter. These have input for every country and output for every country, which seriously cuts down on the number of adapters that we need. Warning: they don’t work for hair dryers (as I have discovered, a few times)

11. Notebook and four-colour pens


In addition to all of the electronics and gadgets that I need, I’m bringing a notebook and some four-colour pens. My notebook of choice is a moleskine soft cover. I like the soft covers better than the hard covers – they’re much more tactile and get bashed in a pleasing way. I always use cheap four-colour pens to write in my notebook. This is because I like to colour code my writing. When I’m flicking back through my notes I can quickly pick out what I’m looking for. D complains that I’m crazy, and taunts me with his expensive (but limited) one-colour pens.

Have I forgotten anything? Can you recommend any gadgets? Let me know so I can spend more money!


  1. […] trip. Siobhan recently wrote about her 11 essential travel gadgets for digital nomadism over on the Get_Transient blog, where she listed the gadgets she has packed for our life traveling during the next year. Despite […]

  2. Brilliant list, Siobhan
    I have a battery charger. It’s a dual port (7800mAh). It’s a bit heavier than your Jetpack so I’ll only be using it on long journeys.
    Here’s two websites that I love. Great for getting ideas on or extending/improving your EDC items:


    1. Thanks! These are exactly the type of websites that I need 🙂

  3. I got to get a GridIt. Noted. Bon voyage, and see you next weekend!

    1. So far the GridIt is good – they’ve just brought out a double-sided one though, which seems even better.

  4. […] which is bulky.  In the future I’d like to get one that is smaller and has more options like the one Siobhan owns. I hardly ever wear a watch since I have a clock on my phone, but on long flights I like having a […]

  5. Heya, Siobhan! This is a fantastic list! I’m an Automattician who can’t shake the itchy feet feeling and is thinking about renting out his house, pack up the wife and kid, and head out for a year or so.

    I was curious what brought you to that particular set of bags? I’m a gadget fiend as well (aren’t we all?), but other than the stuff that’s going to allow us to do our jobs, I would think the most important thing is going to be the bags that keep us going from place to place.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your journeys!

    1. I did a lot of research into bags, and I didn’t mind investing in it since it’s really important for the coming year. So far I’m really happy with them. The Osprey bag fits a whole lot and the detachable daypack also fits a lot and is very comfortable. I’ve just got a Timbuk2 bag as well, which complements the suitcase well. I keep the daypack attached for flying and keep all my important stuff in my messenger bag.

      Getting the right bag is really important. My top priority was wheels and a detachable daypack. My husband got a backpack and he is so jealous of my wheels. We may get to Thailand with me jealous of him – I can turn mine into a backpack but it will be heavy – but for now I’m pretty smug.

  6. Hey Siobhan!

    I’ll be hitting the road soon 😀 I’m curious about the Huawei Mifi device. How do you pick a sim card that works with it? Are there specific providers or anyone who’s willing to sell you a data sim card?

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