13 Must-have Tools for Digital Nomads
If you’re a freelancer, remote worker or independent professional, you’re already a bit of a digital nomad. You can likely work from wherever you have wifi and a desk.
To truly adopt the digital nomad lifestyle, however, you need to have reliable tools you can access anywhere. Here are 13 of our favorites.
1. Project Management System
Digital nomads need a project management system to keep track of projects, deadlines, clients, tasks and to-dos. The best tools are cloud-based, so you can access them from any device, wherever you can get online. Among the most popular project management systems are Asana, Trello, Evernote and Basecamp. Develop a workflow that suits you, find a project management tool you like, and use it to keep your business organized and on-track.
If you call country-to-country on your mobile phone, you may rack up large charges on your next mobile bill. Avoid those charges altogether by using Skype to make calls. You can use the platform for video calls, but you can also use it just for audio.
NomadList is a global directory of the “best cities to live and work remotely for digital nomads.” The platform, which serves 10,000-plus nomads, lists hundreds of cities and rates them based on affordability, safety, location, amenities, cleanliness and nightlife. There’s also a social component to it so you can connect with fellow travelers. If you’re a serious digital nomad, NomadList is a must-have to make your way around the world.
If you curate content, manage social media accounts or just want to bookmark interesting articles to revisit, Pocket may be your new favorite tool. The platform lets you easily save blog posts and articles to read later, whether on your mobile device or desktop. It also strips away ads and other visual clutter, leaving a reading environment that is clean, spacious and bright.
5. Social Media Scheduling Tool
If you don’t know when you’ll next have the time and place to work, you’d better get your social media accounts all queued up. Social media scheduling tools let you schedule anchor posts, leaving you free to post on-the-fly posts when the mood strikes you. Popular social media scheduling tools include Buffer, Meet Edgar, Hootsuite and RecurPost.
6. Invoicing and Bookkeeping Software
As a digital nomad, you need an easy way to get paid. Cloud-based invoicing and bookkeeping software lets you send invoices, track payments, follow-up with clients and keep your accounting up-to-date. Two of the most popular products are FreshBooks and Harvest.
If you work by the hour, it’s important to track your time. Even if you don’t, it’s important to know how much time you spend on various projects so you can adjust your fees accordingly. There are a number of timetracking products for your phone, devices and computer. One of the most well-known is Toggl, but your bookkeeping software may already have one built-in.
8. List App
While on the road, it’s good to use a list app to capture ideas, to-dos and other information. There are tons of list apps out there. Two of our favorites are Wunderlist and Todoist. They both have attractive mobile options that sync with all your devices.
If you’re part of a remote team, there’s a good chance you’re already on Slack. Even if you’re a solo freelancer or independent professional, however, Slack can be a productivity-enhancing communications tool. It’s much leaner and faster than email, it can provide increased transparency between clients and different teams, and it’s increasingly a go-to tool for companies of all size.
10. Coworking Space
Being a digital nomad doesn’t have to mean working out of your backpack. Many digital nomads put down roots, staying for weeks or months in one location. Whether you’re in a town for three days or three months, find the nearest coworking space to work out of. You’ll be more productive, you’ll make friends and professional connections and you may find some events to participate in. Share Your Office helps you find a coworking space or meeting room in any city.
11. Document and Image Storage
Don’t rely on your desktop to store documents and photos. Put them in the cloud so if anything happens to your computer, you still have access to your docs and photos. Dropbox and Google Drive are both popular cloud storage tools.
Hopper is a travel app that alerts you of the best time to purchase plane tickets. You input a particular destination and date range and Hopper pings you when flights are at their projected lowest price. You can also book flights directly through the app.
13. Google Translate
Google Translate instantly translates hundreds of languages. For digital nomads, the service can be invaluable in helping you get around and find the information you need.
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking and community. She publishes the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter and has written for dozens of publications, including Shareable, Yes! Magazine, Mother Jones and Lifehacker. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJohnson