20 Life Hacks for Digital Nomads: How to Thrive on the Road

By Frizky
May 20, 2022
22 min read
Digital nomad working in cafe

If you are a digital nomad, you know the challenges associated with remote working. From finding the right work-life balance to staying productive. It can be difficult to adapt to this kind of lifestyle.

But don't worry, we've got you covered.

Here are 20 life hacks for new digital nomads that will help you make the most of your new lifestyle.

VPN security

1. Get a VPN

You know the feeling. You're in a coffee shop, working on your laptop. When you see the man next to you grab his phone and start scrolling through his Facebook feed. A few minutes later, he's typing on his laptop. You wonder what he's up to.

You try to focus on your own work, but you can't help but think about what he's doing. Does he read your emails? Is he looking at your Facebook posts? Is he looking at your bank account?

You are not paranoid. He could very well do all those things. And if so, he's not alone.

The truth is that anyone can access your information online if they know how. And if you work online, chances are you have sensitive information that you don't want anyone to see.

That's where a VPN comes in.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a piece of software that encrypts all your internet traffic. The software routes it through a server in another location. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to snoop on your online activity.

It is an absolute must for digital nomads. It also allows you to access blocked websites and keep your online activity private. It can even improve your internet speed in some cases.

Some good VPNs I can recommend are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.

Password manager

2. Use a password manager

In today's digital world, it is more important than ever to have a secure password. As a nomad, you may work from different locations use public Wi-Fi, and use different devices. This means that your passwords are at greater risk of being compromised. A password manager can help keep your passwords safe and make it easy for you to access them from any device.

There are many reasons why as a digital nomad you should use a password manager. First, it can help keep your passwords safe. It allows you to create strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. This means that even if one of your passwords is hacked, your other accounts will remain safe.

Second, a password manager can make it easy for you to access your passwords from any device. If you work out of a coffee shop or library, you may not have your laptop with you. But you can access your passwords from your smartphone or tablet.

Third, a password manager can help you stay organized. If you have a lot of online accounts, it can be difficult to keep track of all your passwords. A password manager allows you to create folders and categories. This helps you organize your passwords. So you can find the password you need when you need it.

Finally, a password manager can save you time. If you have to reset your passwords because you've forgotten them, a password manager can help. It allows you to create a master password that will give you access to all your other passwords. This way you only have to remember one password and you have easy access to all your accounts.

A password manager is an essential tool and a life hack. It can help keep your passwords safe and secure. Make it easy to access your passwords from any device, and help you stay organized.

If you're willing to spend a few bucks, I recommend checking out 1Password. A good alternative would be Dashlane, they have a free plan available.

Portable charger

3. Get a portable charger

There are plenty of reasons to buy a portable charger as a digital nomad. First, your phone is your lifeline to the rest of the world. If your phone breaks, you're cut off from everything. A portable charger keeps your phone alive and connected, even when you can't find a power outlet.

But a portable charger is also useful for other devices. If you're working on your laptop, a portable charger can keep it going if you can't find a power outlet. And if you're traveling with a camera, a portable charger can keep it going all day.

In short, a portable charger is an essential piece of equipment for any digital nomad. It's one of the best ways to keep your devices charged and connected, even when you can't find a power outlet. It is definitely a life hack in my opinion.

I would recommend the Anker PowerCore 10000. It is one of the smallest and lightest 10000mAh portable chargers on the market. It can charge an iPhone 8 up to three times and a Galaxy S8 up to two and a half times.

Online backup service

4. Use an online backup service

An online backup service helps you keep your data safe while you travel. You can continue working even if your laptop breaks. Store your data in the cloud and access it from any computer or device with an internet connection.

Save space on your computer by using an online backup service. If you're traveling, you might not have a lot of space on your laptop for all your files. An online backup service can help you keep your files stored safely off your computer.

There are many benefits, here are the main ones:

  1. Increased security:
    When you store your data in the cloud, it is encrypted and protected from hackers.

  2. Convenience:
    You can access your data from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

  3. Disaster recovery:
    If your laptop is lost or stolen, you can still access your data from the cloud.

  4. Cost-effective:
    Online backup services are more affordable than traditional storage methods.

There are many backup services that cater to travelers, such as Backblaze and Carbonite. I would recommend Google Drive or Dropbox if you don't need a lot of space. Since they both have free plans and are super easy to use.

Girl with todo list

5. Use a task manager

As a digital nomad, it is important to have a task manager to help you keep track of your to-do list, deadlines, and goals. There are many different task managers available. I recommend using Asana or Trello.

Asana is a free task manager that allows you to create to-do lists. But also set deadlines, and assign tasks to team members. It is perfect for collaborative projects and can be accessed from anywhere.

Trello is another free task manager that is great for individual projects. It uses a Kanban system, which means you can visually see your tasks, progress, and deadlines. This can be helpful if you are a visual learner.

Both Asana and Trello have mobile apps, so you can access your tasks and projects on the go.

Task managers are an essential life hack for digital nomads. Because they help you stay organized and on track. Without a task manager, it would be easy to miss deadlines or forget about important tasks. So if you are not using one yet, I recommend you start today!

Money management

6. Use a money management app

A money management app is a tool and a life hack that helps you keep track of your finances. Make smart decisions about your spending. As a digital nomad, having a money management app is a must life hack. It will help you keep your finances on track and make sure you don't overspend.

There are many different money management apps available. It is important to choose one that suits you. Some factors to consider are the features offered, ease of use, and price.

The best money management app for travelers will vary. It depends on individual needs and preferences. But some popular options are Mint, YNAB, and Acorns.

Join a community

7. Join an online community

If you're a digital nomad, then chances are you've already discovered online communities. Online communities are one of the best life hacks for staying social on the go.

Whether you're a solo traveler or part of a remote team. These communities can provide invaluable support, advice, and companionship. Here are four reasons why you should join an online community as a digital nomad:

  1. Make Connections. One of the best things about online communities is the ability to connect. Connect with like-minded people from all over the world. No matter where you are or what you're doing. You can always find someone to chat with about your shared interests.

  2. Get Advice. When you're a digital nomad, there's no one around to ask for advice when you're feeling lost or stuck. But in an online community, you can always turn to the collective wisdom of the group for help and guidance.

  3. Find Companionship. It can be easy to feel lonely when you're always on the move. Online communities can help ease that feeling by providing a sense of companionship. When you're a part of a supportive group, you'll never have to feel alone again.

  4. Build Your Business. Finally, online communities can also be a great way to build your business. Whether you're looking for clients, collaborators, or a sounding board for your ideas. You're sure to find what you're looking for in an online community.

How do you find online communities?

There are many ways to find online communities. One way is to use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Search for hashtags that relate to your interests. For example, if you’re interested in finding other travelers to connect with. You could search for hashtags like #travelers or #travelcommunity.

Another way to find online communities is to use online forums and websites. Sites that are geared towards travelers. For example, you could search for “travel forums” on Google, and a variety of different options will come up. You could also try searching for keywords like “solo travel” or “budget travel”. Do so to find more targeted communities.

I'm also trying to build a community for the website you're on right now. Sign up for a free account and get access to our community board!

Man traveling

8. Learn the local language

As a digital nomad, you are on the move, which can make it difficult to find time to learn a new language. A language learning app is the perfect solution, as it allows you to learn at your own pace and in your own time.

  1. It is a great way to meet new people and make friends while you are on the road.

  2. It can help you to get by in a new country if you don't speak the language.

  3. Learning a language can be a great way to learn about a new culture and way of life.

The best language learning app is Duolingo. It is free, it has a great selection of languages, and it is very user-friendly.

Girl looking for WiFi

9. Use a website to find free Wi-Fi

If you're in a country with spotty internet, an app that can help you find Wi-Fi can be a great life hack.

If you're looking for a place to get some work done and you don't have an unlimited data plan. You'll need to find a spot with free Wi-Fi. And that's where my website comes in, the one you're on right now.

My website helps you locate places with free Wi-Fi so you can get your work done without using up all your data. Go to workmode.co and you'll see list of nearby places with free Wi-Fi.

Whether you're looking for a cafe to work from or a library to get some studying done. My website will help you find the perfect spot. And best of all, it's free to use! The data is submitted and consumed by us, the community of Workmode.


10. Invest in a good backpack

When you're planning a long-term trip, it's important to invest in a good backpack. Not only will it make your trip more comfortable, but it will also last longer and help you stay organized.

Here are five reasons why you should invest in a good backpack for long term travel:

  1. If you're going to be carrying your backpack for hours at a time, you want one that's comfortable to wear. Look for a backpack with padded straps and a comfortable back panel.

  2. A cheap backpack might fall apart after a few months of use. But a well-made backpack will last for years. If you're planning to travel often, it's worth investing in a backpack that will last.

  3. When you're packing for a long trip, it's important to be able to find everything you need in your backpack. A good backpack will have plenty of compartments. And pockets to help you keep everything organized.

  4. If you're travelling in a place with lots of stairs or uneven streets. A good backpack will make it easier to get around. Look for a backpack with wheels or a frame that will make it easy to carry.

  5. A quality backpack will last for years and can be used for many trips. If you're planning to travel often, it's worth investing in a good backpack.

What are good backpacks?

I recommend the eBags Professional Weekender Backpack for digital nomads. It's comfortable to wear. It has plenty of compartments for storing everything you need. It also includes a dedicated laptop sleeve.

If you are looking for rolling luggage, then I recommend getting the Muji hard carrying case. It is affordable compared to similar bags and the quality is much better.

People working in coworking space

11. Find the perfect co-working space

A co-working space is a shared office environment. Where digital nomads and other independent professionals can come together to work.

There are many benefits to joining a co-working space as a digital nomad. Including the ability to network with other professionals. The opportunity to share ideas and resources. And the chance to collaborate on projects.

Co-working spaces often provide amenities such as Wi-Fi, coffee, and printer access. Which can be very helpful for those who work remotely.

Lucky for you, you can use my website, Workmode, to find the best co-working spaces in any city. The results are submitted and reviewed by the Workmode community.

Health care insurance

12. Get travel insurance

There are a lot of reasons to get travel insurance as a traveler. The most important and obvious reason is that it can help you if you get sick or injured while you're away from home. If you have to go to the hospital, you'll be covered for the cost of your treatment. And if you need to cancel your trip, you'll be reimbursed for the cost of your tickets.

There are a lot of different travel insurance companies out there. It's important to do some research to find the one that's right for you. Make sure to read the fine print and understand what's covered and what's not.

I personally use SafetyWing nomad insurance. I like that they have a wide range of coverage, including travel delay and lost checked luggage. And if I need to make a claim, I can do it online or over the phone.

So if you're a digital nomad, don't forget to get travel insurance. It could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.

Currency conversion app

13. Use a currency conversion app

If you're planning on traveling abroad, it's a good idea to download a currency conversion app. This way, you can check the exchange rate and convert your money on the go.

There are a lot of different currency conversion apps to choose from. I recommend using XE Currency. It's easy to use and has all the features you need. Including live currency rates, history charts, and a currency converter.

Man traveling light

14. Travel light

Some nomads prefer to stay in one place a little longer. Others prefer to be quick on their feet and go to new places faster. There is no right or wrong, but if you are the latter, I recommend traveling light. Here are four reasons why it is an essential life hack:

  1. You'll be more mobile. If you're lugging around a heavy suitcase, you'll be more likely to stay in one place. But if you travel light, you can move around more easily. Which is ideal for a digital nomad who needs to be able to work from anywhere.

  2. You'll save money. Many airline companies charge extra costs by the weight of your luggage. So traveling light can save you money.

  3. You'll have less stuff to keep track of. The less stuff you have, the less there is to keep track of. This is especially helpful when you're working from different locations. Especially if you don't have a permanent home base.

  4. You'll be more flexible. If you're carrying a lot of stuff, you're going to be more limited in what you can do. But if you travel light, you can take advantage of opportunities that come up. Like spontaneous day trips or last-minute changes in plans.

Learn to haggle

15. Learn how to haggle

Learning to haggle can help you save money. On things like groceries, souvenirs, and other necessary items. Additionally, it can be a great way to meet people and make friends while you're on the road.

If you're not used to haggling, it can definitely be a bit intimidating at first. It's not as difficult as it seems. And, once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun!

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Do your research. Before you start haggling, it's important to do your research. This way, you'll know what a fair price is for the item you're interested in.

  2. Start low. When you're haggling, it's always best to start low. This gives you some room to negotiate.

  3. Be confident. If you don't believe in yourself... The person you're haggling with definitely won't either. Be confident and assertive, but don't be rude.

  4. Be prepared to walk away. If you're not getting the deal you want, be prepared to walk away. This is often when sellers will give in and give you a better price.

  5. Have fun! Haggling can be a lot of fun, so make sure to enjoy yourself. Don't take things too seriously and have fun with it.

Embrace the unknown

16. Embrace the unknown

One of the best aspects of traveling is embracing the unknown. It can be scary to step into new territory, but that's what makes traveling so exciting. It is an opportunity to get to know new cultures and try new things. It's a great way to really get out of your comfort zone.

It's easy to get caught up in the planning and research phase of travel. But remember to leave some room for spontaneity. Go with the flow and see where the wind takes you. You may be having the best trip of your life.

Soldier staying safe

17. Stay safe

You may find yourself traveling to foreign countries on a regular basis. While this can be an exciting experience. It's important to take some precautions to ensure your safety. Here are a few tips:

  1. Do your research. Before you travel to a new country, take some time to research the local customs and laws. This will help you avoid breaking any laws, which could put you at risk.

  2. Stay aware of your surroundings. When you're in a new place, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings. This includes being aware of your personal belongings. Keep an eye out for any potential dangers.

  3. Be cautious when meeting new people. It's always best to be cautious when meeting new people. Especially if you're not sure of their intentions. If you're ever in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of caution.

  4. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If you have a bad feeling about a situation, it is best to avoid it.

  5. Stay in touch with loved ones. Let your loved ones know your travel plans and check in with them. This way, they'll know where you are and how to reach you in case of an emergency.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your safety while traveling to foreign countries.

Girl journaling

18. Keep a journal

There are many reasons to keep a journal while traveling as a digital nomad. First, it can help you keep track of your thoughts and experiences as you move from place to place. Besides, a journal can help you process your emotions and think about your journey. It can also be a fun and creative outlet, allowing you to document your travels in a unique way.

Keeping a journal is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are looking for a way to connect on a deeper level with your travel experiences. Then journaling is definitely worth considering.

I would recommend the "Day One" app for keeping journals. It is a very user-friendly app with a clean and simple interface. It also has many great features, such as the ability to add photos, locations, and tags to your submissions.

Man taking photos

19. Take lots of photos

Taking photos can help you document your travels and memories. It can help inspire you and give you a creative outlet. It can also help you connect with other people and cultures. Something a lot of people don't know is that it can help you earn some extra money.

Chances are you're always on the move. And while that can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming. After all, there's so much to see and do in each new place you visit. It can be tough to keep up with it all, let alone document it.

That's where photos come in. By taking a lot of photos while you travel, you can make sure you don't miss a thing. And not only that, but you can also create a beautiful visual record of your travels.

Plus, if you're ever feeling homesick or need a little inspiration. Looking back at your photos can be a huge help. It's a great way to remind yourself of all the amazing places you've been. And the incredible things you've seen.

And finally, if you're looking to make a little extra money, selling your travel photos can be a great way to do it. There are many stock photography websites. Upload your photos and earn royalties every time they're downloaded. So not only can you document your travels, but you can also make some money while you're at it! Shutterstock is a great place to start if you're interested.

Meditate to recharge

20. Recharge

One of the best ways to relax and recharge while you’re traveling is to connect with nature. Spend some time exploring the outdoors, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Meditating is a good way to recharge because it allows you to focus on your breath and clear your mind. This can help you to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.

One of the most important things to remember is to cherish the moments. Travel can be stressful, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind. But if you take a step back and appreciate all that you’re experiencing. You’ll realize that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Frizky @frizurd
The creator of Workmode. Frizky has been a designer and programmer for over 15 years.
He has been building solo products while traveling for about 6 years.