Digital nomads are avid backpackers and this is because they need a lot of things during their wanderings, starting with their laptop and other electronic devices which are called “the office gear”. This means digital nomads have a large backpack – they can be recognized in a large crowd after it. But what if I would propose a challenge for you? What if I would challenge you to travel for three months with a carry on!
The entire challenge is based on a story I heard in one of my trips. I once met a guy who was traveling across Europe with a carry on. His entire life for three months was contained in a rather small suitcase, which could easily be fitted in the airplane’s luggage compartments. It was cool, when you saw it at someone else. At that time, I was on holiday in Dublin and I had a medium-sized troler, my laptop case and a carry on suitcase, all these for 7 days. And I wasn’t nomading at the time!
When I asked Ben how did he managed to survive with a small luggage, he said he packed the minimum items and then worked his way up. In other words, he left with a couple of shirts and a pair of pants and he bought more clothes when he desperately needed them. Challenging! Even more challenging for a digital nomad, considering the fact your goal is not to shop, but to enjoy the world.
What to pack
The plan is simple: you pack two, maximum three outfits you can wear anywhere, in any situation, in the area you are traveling to, then you go with the flow.
For example, if you travel to India or another South Asian country you can pack two short sleeve shirts, a pair of short pants, a jacket and a pair of long pants. These should get you over the hot days, the rainy days and the cold days. Plus, your traveling outfit, which you will be wearing when you leave. Apart from these, you need to pack underwear.
Fine tuning the carry on with shoes
On a trip around a continent or any trip which is supposed to take three months to complete you need comfortable shoes. Like really comfortable! However, you also need a pair of waterproof shoes. When I did my calculations, I realized you can take sneakers or something alike, which you will probably wear all the time and pack the waterproof shoes.
If you are a woman, you might want to pack a bag. Forget about Prada or other fancy bags; a digital nomad with a challenge in her hand only needs a black, versatile and small bag. Which is going to have removable straps and a lot of inside pockets for your papers and money. This bag is also small, so you can easily hide it under a baggy shirt, if needed. And it must have a zipper! Safety first, after all!
Overview of the luggage at this point
By this time, your luggage is pretty lightweight and empty – this is how it should remain for the departure and as long as possible. As you travel, you should buy couple of clothing items, when you really, really need them. If you can still wear the same shirt, do it! Only if you decide to travel to Alaska, for example, you need to buy new clothes, to keep you warm after the hot Asian days.
How to deal with dirty clothes
As you travel the world, your clothes will get dirty. This is why you should bring on clothes with intricate patterns, colors which can hide stains and hardware materials, such as denim. Avoid bringing with you white clothes, clothes in bright, easy to stain colors, clothes which can easily tear and clothes which keep moisture in them for long time.
This method might not be for everyone, but it’s worth trying it, as a challenge. You can learn a lot from trying to survive with an almost empty suitcase and the freedom to buy couple of items from time to time, which is one of the biggest problems a digital nomad has.