The apps and tools all working nomads need to create a safe and happy remote work environment & way of life!
After 16 years of dreaming about quitting my 9 to 5 corporate job and 7+ years as a Working Digital Nomad (or whatever we are called!) I’ve learned a lot, and that’s why I’ve compiled a list of apps, services, and objects that every traveler– who is also a remote worker– should own in order to have a healthy work-life balance.
Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends, staying connected to work through apps and tools I’m going to talk about in detail in this article, are essential to living abroad successfully!
If you want to know how I started making money online with my blog/website, you can check out this article I wrote a while ago but still relevant to this day (I keep updating it almost every year).
And now, back to our main topic and my list of tools and app you can’t live without 🙂
1 | DROPBOX
Dropbox is a must-have one-stop-shop for every remote worker, but especially for those who travel. Why? Because it’s a cloud storage service, which means that even if you lose all of your technology in a catastrophe, your work is safe and accessible from anywhere with an internet or data connection.
Even those without a Dropbox account can access the folders and files you’ve saved there if you give them permission. Save, store, create, organize and share projects and photographs with ease and security. Files are synchronized with your devices so that no matter what device you’re working with, all files stay current.
Plus, all of your files from all devices are in one place, so there’s no need to sift and search for that one file you must have left on your laptop at home– it’s all right there, on the cloud.
Large files– like Powerpoints– are also easily stored and shared with ease with the whole team. Additionally, each team member can comment and edit in real-time without damaging the original file. If you take one idea away from this list to implement in your own travel life, make it Dropbox. You won’t regret it.
I recently discovered this productivity app and I’m loving it!
Momentum is basically the force that builds up and pushes us forward, like a ball rolling faster and faster and it tumbles down a hill. What exactly is Momentum? Very simple and intuitive(even for me, which says it all!)The app Momentum “is a personal dashboard designed to eliminate distraction and provide inspiration, focus, and productivity.”
Essentially, it provides reminders to stay on task every time you open a tab or your browser. Think of it like a “Work Mom” to help keep you on point and on task anywhere in the world.
And trust me, when you are trying to stay focused on your work while traveling or have the tendency to daydream, it’s a real-life savior!
Being a digital nomad and working remotely has a lot of plus sides but it also means that you need to be organized, focused and avoid distractions. That’s not always easy, not even for people with a very strong will. So a tool like Momentum can truly make the difference.
There are many productivity tools you can check out, depending on the degree of organization and motivation you need. I find this one easy and it doesn’t add more stress to my day. There is a free version to start with so why not trying it out!
WorkFrom is an amazing app you HAVE to try when traveling and working remotely as a digital nomad!
Feeling lonely working from home or you are just new in town? Workfrom will help you locate a desirable place to work. It uses crowdsourcing from other remote workers to recommend places with WiFi, appropriate noise levels, plenty of outlets, etc. There may not be listings for rural communities, but more popular locations have plenty of options.
I lived in very popular Digital Nomads hubs like Chang Mai – Thailand (3 years) and Playa Del Carmen – Mexico (2 years) and despite the fact that I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to working, sometimes I joined my colleagues to working spaces and they are not bad at all.
Knowing which one’s are the best for your needs, being having great coffee, late opening hours, Speedlight Internet or comfortable seats it’s super important!
Workfrom lists places that are both free– like coffee shops– and paid– like coworking spaces, so there’s something for every budget. Best of all, the app itself is free and filled with review by real digital nomads!
4| ADOBE ACROBAT
Adobe Acrobat is one of the most popular PDF file creators and converters, which has its own usefulness. I mean, what can you do nowadays if you don’t have Acrobat Reader at least? Seriously!
However, I’d like to take a moment to focus on the document signature portion of the app. With this particular feature, you can sign documents with your handwriting digitally and remotely.
This is useful for work documents but also personal documents, too– what if you’re working remotely and your significant other needs you to sign off on a loan? Now you can, from anywhere in the world, and it’s perfectly legal, I’ve used it countless times to send documents to my bank, unblock items at customs and so much more. By the way, this entire app is also compatible with Dropbox– making it extra useful.
Having WiFiMap in your pocket means you’ll almost never scramble to find free WiFi on the go again.
Naturally, rural places may be more of a challenge as it is usually with Wifi (but don’t despair, I was able to find some decent internet in the most unexpected places in the middle of nowhere, so you never know).
It works offline, so you don’t need the internet in order for this app to function! It’s crowdsourced by real people in real-time, all over the world. No more stress or time wasted looking for some free wifi to work remotely.
6| GOOGLE TRANSLATE
No traveler should ever be without a translator, and now it can live on your phone (It surely lives in mine!).
Google Translate allows you to speak, snap, write or type and then translates into your language of choice and back again.
Naturally, I recommend keeping a translation dictionary on hand just in case your phone/Laptop dies– but this app means that for the life of your device’s battery, you can leave the hardcopy in your hotel room.
An app like TripAdvisor helps you to get out and experience your travels (Helped by people like me who take the time to give an honest review, see my 118 contributions on my account’s screenshot)
This app specializes in collecting and recommending fun things to do and places to explore on your trip. It has categories for activities, restaurants, flights, and more.
Whether you’re massive pre-trip planners or a play-by-ear type of traveler & working nomads, this app will get you the most out of where you are in the world when the workday is over. Or if you work in the travel industry, even when your work isn’t over at all 🙂
8| ELECTRONIC GEAR
Remember this mantra, because it’s very important and I’ve learned a few lessons about it during my 7 + years of being a Digital Nomad:
Especially if you’re going to make working remotely your lifestyle, you simply must invest in the best electronic gear that you can afford.
The core products are a smartphone, laptops, headphones/earbuds, and either a WiFi hotspot or a stick. There are plenty of recommendation lists out there for which is best in each category, but think about it this way: when you’re shopping for your gear, make sure the sales associate knows that you’ll be traveling with it and beating it up on the go.
You want to ask for durable and lightweight— then include the type of work you’ll be doing most with it. For example, photographers and marketers will generally want to stick with Mac products because they have the best graphics cards (I have Mac and Asus products mostly and they are still going great after years of travels).
Do you want to know what I’ve tested used and loved? (list always work in progress!) Here is the link to check out part of my Teach gear (past and present!)
Investing in really good noise-canceling headphones increases productivity in distraction-rich environments, and earbuds with a good microphone can both make listening to music while you work far more enjoyable AND make remote video conferences easier to hear.
Whether you choose to invest in a WiFi hotspot or USB stick is up to you– you can even choose to not use them. However, it does make remote working easier and your WiFi connection more secure.
This may seem like an extraneous and unnecessary section, but if I haven’t already captured your attention with my silly picture of my packing disaster, hear me out: you wear your clothes EVERY SINGLE DAY and they need to perform multiple functions throughout your travels.
Next to the actual work tools you need, your wardrobe should be high on your priority list. Focus on what your wardrobe’s primary function will be– work, comfort, play? A mix? Pick fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily and pieces that work for multiple seasons.
Work in progress, I need to update the format, but most of these clothes and items are still with me to this day!
Building a well-thought wardrobe— whether for travel or at home– ensures that you always have the versatility and appropriate wear for any function from fun to more formal.
Pick mostly neutral core color for basics like pants, jackets, and shoes. Then add pieces like shirts, a skirt or a dress, and a scarf in a fun color or a print.
Use travel as a time to pick up accessories like jewelry, belts, another scarf, or socks in colors and prints that work with what you already have– they make excellent souvenirs and can be conversation starters at events, a win-win situation that will also make you save money!
10| PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL SELF CARE
No matter where you are in the world, self-care is necessary. It is NOT a luxury. Why? Burnout, fatigue, stress, and lowered immune systems are direct results of lack of self-care.
I know quite a lot about it, unfortunately, given that I suffer from panic attacks since age 17 and despite that, I’ve been able to have an almost normal and rather happy travel life.
We don’t mean that you need to use bath bombs and face masks every night– while those help in moderation, we mean real self-care like getting enough sleep and eating right.
This Forbes’s article explores some of the most popular and efficient free apps you can try to improve your wellbeing. Another app worth checking is Calm. It gives you meditations, stories, and stretching advice and exercises to help you center and relax.
All these apps and a bit of improvisation too while on the road (like stop and admire a panoramic view for as long as you need, take it easy and have some days off), are excellent practices for self-care no matter where in the world you are located.
As a remote worker and traveler, you aren’t just working abroad– you’re living abroad on a regular basis. Having tools like these help you to accomplish this to your fullest extent. Let me know some of your favorite tools for healthy living and working remotely!
This post have been written in association with Dropbox. All opinions, personal facts, and photos (where not mentioned the source) are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.
Thanks for reading!