To natural-born globetrotters with an unrelenting travel bug, being a digital nomad sounds like the dream life: traveling from place to place, making new memories, and taking new adventures every few months. It’s not a life that you can achieve without help, though. Digital nomads have learned to adapt tools that make their thrilling lifestyle possible. Each of these tools should work to help make your work easier as you travel from state to state or country to country.
Five essential areas to consider when building your personal suite of tools are privacy, security, language barriers, storage space, and remote workspaces. Below are five digital tools that will have you on the road to new places in record time.
A digital mailbox
The first tool you should consider putting into place is a digital mailbox, like those from iPostal1.
As a digital nomad, you’re never in one place for long. That doesn’t stop the barrage of paper mail and packages, however.
While you can eliminate the need for some physical mail, it’s impossible to eliminate it altogether. The Internal Revenue Service only sends physical mail, for example. What happens if you miss a critical IRS tax due notice and come back home to a sizable bill stemming from your slip-up? You may also ask yourself, what happens if your bank hasn’t gone digital yet and you need access to your statements between airplane terminals?
Once set up, the digital mailbox is a solution that receives your physical mail no matter where you happen to be at any given time. A digital mailbox provides the following advantages:
- Check-depositing features
- Scanning of packages and envelopes
- Shipping and forwarding services
- Options for holding, shipping, or shredding items
A digital mailbox offers the flexibility to travel while knowing your physical mail is safely processed and stored. This high-tech innovation also provides much-needed privacy, so you don’t have to make your physical address or a family member’s home address visible on the Internet.
Digital nomads also favor digital mailboxes for being a set-it-and-forget-it fix. You’ll receive updates and notifications regularly, so you’ll never worry about missing anything critical that came via snail mail.
A quality external drive
As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to store all your needed files on your laptop, especially if you’re working from home and taking lots of pictures of your travels. There always comes the day when you get the message telling you that you’re about to reach your laptop’s storage limits.
You might already rely solely on cloud-based storage as you work to set up your digital tools for a nomadic lifestyle. Cloud storage options certainly provide convenience.
They’re also vulnerable to hackers. Look no further than some of the recent hacks into the government and energy sectors for proof that anything is susceptible to cyber-attacks.
Get yourself an external drive and backup your files there. Because it’s a physical drive, it’s less vulnerable to hacking than a cloud server. This storage solution will also serve you well when you’re on the move and can’t access a good Internet connection. It’s times like those when any of your cloud-based storage solutions can fail and cause frustration, so a reliable external drive is a must.
Go online with a virtual private network
Working while traveling the world puts you in situations that threaten your online security.
Out in the world, you’re constantly looking for different Internet connections. Train stations and coffee shops may offer free WiFi, but hopping from connection to connection exposes you to security risks. Additionally, some countries, like China, restrict the types of websites you can access.
Website restrictions might cause you to miss client deadlines simply because a foreign government agency decided your online options for you.
Use a VPN service to add additional security and eliminate country-based accessibility issues. VPN stands for virtual private network. It helps you bypass censorship and security vulnerabilities by encrypting and disguising your information.
A VPN service lets you hide your location and IP address. If you’re in a country where censorship runs abundant, you can bypass the restrictions by getting online from an IP address located somewhere other than your physical location.
Using a VPN, you can also encrypt communications. During downtimes, you can still access your favorite television series even if it’s restricted in your current physical location.
When you’re choosing the best tools for digital nomads, a virtual private network is a definite must. Do research online to find the best VPN service for your needs.
Break down language barriers with a quality learning app
Traveling to new countries as a digital nomad is an experience full of firsts. It can also quickly turn into a frustrating experience if you can’t communicate in the native language. One of the easiest ways to overcome the language barrier is to use the Duolingo platform.
This app makes it simple to start learning a new language due to its images, daily progress tracking, and ability to identify which words you struggle with the most. Duolingo works well for beginners and anyone looking to improve their knowledge of a language.
The app doesn’t focus solely on learning new words. It’s a valuable resource for digital nomads because it quickly gets you focused on stringing sentences together. If you’re in a new country where you don’t speak the language, the quicker an app can get you talking, the better.
You don’t always have time for an intensive language cram sesh when traveling. Using Duolingo will help you learn the first few sentences you need to navigate restaurants, hotels, and other establishments you visit.
Find a coworking space solution
A digital nomad is always looking for a place to safely set their laptop down and get a few hours of work done. There’s nothing more frustrating than struggling to find a suitable workspace in a foreign land.
Solve the problem by using a membership platform called Croissant. Unlike other coworking solutions, this platform doesn’t lock you into any one specific brand of coworking locations. Instead, it connects you with any number of different coworking spaces all around the planet.
You just sign up for a Croissant membership and tell the platform how many hours you typically need. The app converts your hours into credits. You then turn around and use your credits at various coworking spaces in cities like Bangkok, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles.
Living your life as a digital nomad is an exciting and innovative way to work while seeing the world. It also presents various challenges that you wouldn’t face if you lived in one spot with a cozy, secure, private home office.
It’s essential to use various online tools for digital nomads, so you don’t lose vital physical mail or run into costly problems because you can’t communicate with locals. These tools also help prevent lurkers from spying on your online activities, censoring your ability to work, or hacking into your files. There’s no reason why you can’t be safe and responsible while you travel, and these tools will see you on your next jet-setting journey in no time.