EXTRAS & RESOURCES
You’re ready to go, right. You’ve got the equipment, the apps, accommodation and flights booked. Wrong. There are always some extras to consider. Living away from your home base requires a little extra coordination and preparation.
Travel Insurance – Finding travel insurance as a digital nomad is complicated. Many companies require a return ticket home or won’t allow you to renew while you are abroad. On my first trip around the world, I had to plan a pit stop back home after 6 months to renew my insurance. Sure, mom was happy, but it was a financial burden that I didn’t necessarily need. Since then, True Traveller and World Nomads are the best insurances that I’ve found for digital nomads. True Traveller is ideal for UK and EU citizens and is what many of my friends use. World Nomads is the best option for other nationalities. It’s well known and well respected. You should find either of them sufficient for traveling coverage
Declutter Clinic – Selling all my stuff was a tough part of becoming a digital nomad. I literally sold everything I owned less 4 miscellaneous boxes of clothes and memories that a friend was kind enough to store for me. It was hard to decide what to part with, but the freedom of travel was totally worth it. If you are struggling with the process, Warren and Betsy Talbot have created this course to help you get rid of your things and make money by selling it.
Relative’s Address – It’s impossible to get by without a permanent address on file. Luckily, my mother is kind enough to scan and send me my post and deposit the occasional paycheck in exchange for a postcard and check-in phone call from every country I go to. Before you leave make sure you switch to online bank statements and automatic billing on your credit cards to reduce the amount of post your friend or relative has to deal with.
Banking – Good ole mom pulls through again. I set up a subsidiary checking account, made her a co-signer and issued her a bankcard for convenience and in the case of emergencies. She could issue deposits and I could transfer funds electronically to or from the account when needed. She didn’t have access to my other accounts, but there was always an easy and immediate way to give, transfer or receive money instantly. This came in particularly handy when the Mozambican government required a MAILED cashiers check for my tourist visa while I was living abroad in Italy.
Miscellaneous Gadgets Etc. – all the other stuff
While you want to limit the amount of stuff you’re carrying with you, I’ve found a few gadgets and must haves that made my trip much easier and more enjoyable.
ChakyaGo™ Mat – Originally conceived as a meditation mat, this microfiber blanket folds into a cushion, zips up and converts to a small and light backpack. It makes the perfect combination of a travel blanket, pillow and towel. The microfiber dries super quickly and is super absorbent. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of the weird horseshoe shaped neck pillow, it’s cumbersome to carry and it looks super silly on. You can order yours in any color at Chakya.com/shop. Be sure to reference The Startup Seed for 10% off your order
Travel Adapter – Converting your equipment to match the plugs around the world is imperative and unavoidable. Invest in a good adapter. I recommend one that has several plugs built into one unit so there are not tons of pieces to carry around.
Multi Headphone Splitter– Having multiple ports to plug a headphone jack into was amazingly useful. You never know when you want to share tunes with a new friend that you’ve met traveling. It’s compact and oddly useful. Here’s the one I use
Computer to TV jack – Another cord that turned out to be worth its weight in gold was the Mini Display Port for my MacBook. I could convert any TV into a second screen anywhere.
Fluctuating Electricity – The electricity in many countries is not super reliable, especially South East Asia. They experience power surges that will fry your cheap phone cables. 220V is not always 220, sometimes its 180V and others its 250V. We would suggest packing a backup authorized iPhone cord. The $5 ones you buy in the market will fry even faster. I ended up buying 6 cheap chords in China before throwing my hands in the air and walking into an Apple Store.
Reliable Internet – We’ve mentioned time and time again that reliable Wi-Fi is a must when freelancing or becoming a digital nomad. If you’re ever in a pinch, find a Starbucks or Apple Store. They always have strong, fast and FREE Wi-Fi connections.
SIM cards – If you’re staying somewhere more than a few days, we’d recommend getting a local SIM card. You can pick them up at the airport or major carrier’s retail location. Try to use Wi-Fi as much as possible, but in a pinch, when you’re lost, the SIM card will be worth it, if even to find your next bike share drop-off point.
Maps – Maps are so old school, right? We all have phones now, so we are less reliant on paper maps. If your phone dies, you could be totally out of luck. When you first arrive in a new city, go to a hotel and ask if they have a walking map. They all do. The concierge will be happy to give you one and if you ask nicely, you can get a good locals-only Speakeasy location too.
Also, when you arrive somewhere with Wi-Fi, open up your Google Maps app. The map will cache on your phone, so if you need to use it while you’re not on Wi-Fi, it’s accessible.