8 Innovative Gadgets I've Packed as a Digital Nomad for 8 Years

I distinctly recall my first journey abroad. At the age of 10, my mother arranged for my brother and me to visit Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Being of Tanzanian descent, she wanted us to connect with our roots and meet extended family. Unable to accompany us due to work commitments, my brother and I embarked on the journey from Milwaukee as unaccompanied minors. It was an eye-opening experience for me, stepping into a country where English wasn't the predominant language and navigating through airports.

Fast forward to 2013, when I embarked on my first significant business trip as an adult. As a consultant and owner of a software company, I was hired by a firm in Tokyo to conduct training sessions at their offices.

Chris The Freelancer

Flying to Tokyo was an unforgettable experience. The client booked Premium Economy seats on Japan Airlines, and the flight offered exceptional service. My hotel overlooked Tokyo Bay and provided a stunning view of the city skyline. It was during this trip that I discovered my passion for working internationally, and the idea of a nomadic lifestyle began to take root.

However, I couldn't fully embrace the digital nomad lifestyle at that time; I had three young children waiting for me back home in Milwaukee, where I had a house and all the trappings of a traditional life. Despite this, I continued to travel extensively for business, albeit on shorter trips. Each destination fueled my curiosity about what it would be like to live in places like Seoul, Paris, Berlin, and other cities I visited. From 2013 to 2016, I traveled to 38 countries for various corporate consulting assignments.

As my children grew older and began living with their mother, I started seriously considering the digital nomad lifestyle. Although the prospect of a nomadic existence excited me, it was accompanied by feelings of guilt about potentially neglecting my children and family.

Therapy played a crucial role in helping me reconcile these conflicting emotions. I realized that I could pursue a nomadic lifestyle while still being present for my children. With their encouragement and support, I made the bold decision in 2016 to sell off my belongings, including my home, and relocate to Mexico City to fully embrace the life of a digital nomad.

Being a digital nomad requires relying heavily on technology to manage both work and daily life. Whether I'm working from an Airbnb, hotel, or rented apartment, my essential gear ensures I can seamlessly perform tasks typically associated with a traditional office setup. While some items are standard, such as my laptop (M3 MacBook Pro), smartphone (iPhone 15 Pro Max), and tracking tags (AirTags), each plays a crucial role in maintaining productivity and connectivity on the go.

iPad Magic Keyboard Folio

The iPad Magic Keyboard Folio is a game-changer for my travel workflow. Spending long hours on airplanes, I find that a laptop isn't always the most convenient option, particularly on smaller European carriers. That's why I rely on my iPad Air during flights, using it for work, entertainment, and video calls. Apple's Magic Keyboard sleeve serves as both a protective cover for my iPad and a functional keyboard, making it ideal for cramped spaces and on-the-go productivity.

Audio Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

As a business owner frequently conducting media interviews, high-quality sound is paramount. That's why I always travel with an Audio Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. Portable and versatile, this microphone features multiple ports, allowing me to effortlessly connect it to my laptop or iPad for crystal-clear audio during interviews, regardless of my location.

Anker MagGo Power Bank

In the early stages of my digital nomad journey, I quickly realized the importance of reliable power sources while on the go. That's why I always carry an Anker MagGo Power Bank with me. This power bank is a lifesaver when I find myself without access to wall outlets in airports, hotels, or other locations. What sets the Anker MagGo apart from other power banks is its usage indicator and 15x fast charging capability, making it an indispensable tool for keeping my gadgets powered up wherever I roam.

AirFly Bluetooth Adapter

This Bluetooth wireless audio transmitter receiver is a game-changer for travelers. Compatible with AirPods and other wireless headphones, simply plug this gadget into an airplane or train's entertainment center to pair your wireless device. It effortlessly creates a Bluetooth connection wherever there's a standard headphone jack, ensuring you can enjoy your favorite audio content hassle-free while on the move.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

I've long been a devotee of Bose headphones and invested in the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 a couple of years back. These headphones have become my go-to for enjoying entertainment during flights and while unwinding at my accommodations. Not only do they provide exceptional sound quality, but the comfort they offer surpasses that of AirPods, making them an indispensable travel companion.

Apple EarPods

I like to pack a set of wired earpods in case something happens to my wireless headphones.

Anker 332 USB Power Strip

I always make sure to have all the necessary international adapters, but I've found that having an extension cord can be a lifesaver in certain situations. In my opinion, it's an underrated item that's essential for any digital nomad. That's why I never travel without my Anker power strip. It allows me to use just one international adapter with the extension cord and then plug in all my other cables. Plus, with surge protection, I can rest easy knowing that my devices are safe, especially since power regulations vary from country to country.

Kings Loot Wallet with AirTag Holder

While I primarily rely on credit cards for travel expenses, having some cash on hand is always beneficial, especially in foreign countries. That's why I never leave without my RFID wallet from Kings Loot. Not only does it offer RFID protection for added security, but it's also slim and comfortable to carry. Plus, with a convenient slot on the front for an AirTag, I can easily keep track of my wallet wherever I go.