I know, I know – digital nomads make it difficult for gift giving. We limit the amount of stuff to a backpack or suitcase. So, what could you possibly give a (becoming) digital nomad for Christmas or her/his birthday? Don’t worry, I gotcha!
When you are moving around every few months (or weeks), you can’t have a bunch of stuff that you only use once a year. You have to pack smart and effective! So here are a bunch of gift ideas for (becoming) digital nomads, which will make this lifestyle easier.
There are actually all kinds of gifts you can give a (becoming) digital nomad. You just have to think a bit different. Each item in a backpack should have a purpose. Items solely for memories is something, I’d never travel with, for example. Memories are best kept in a cloud. It’s not that we would decorate each apartment. So, if you want a personal gift like that, do it digitally. Otherwise, here are some gift ideas from a digital nomad.
I will group the ideas for gifts in certain categories. It should make browsing through them simpler.
Gift ideas for becoming digital nomads
If your friend or family member is about to start the journey, she/he will need certain things to begin with. This includes packing stuff and useful travel gear that most digital nomads need.
I couldn’t pack my stuff without them. Since I’m using packing cubes, I can pack my stuff within minutes. It’s awesome!
There are so many packing cubes out there. So, here are a few things you have to look out for: Weight, quality zipper (check reviews), and sets.
In my case, I went with a larger set because it included a bathroom bag, cable/electronics bag, and a cube for shoes. I really needed a new bathroom bag anyways, so it was perfect for me. No signs of damage 2 years in. So, let’s hope it’ll make it another couple of years.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer my set anymore but, like I said, there are plenty of options. Just pick one that would fit to the person.
Daypacks are important for everyone who travels, especially digital nomads. It’s the one that goes on the airplane as a personal item, as well as carries the laptop from home to the cafe or coworking space. Some may even use it for day trips and short hikes.
So, having well-organized comfy and lightweight daypack is important.
Of course, this gift is a tricky one because tastes differ widely. That’s why I thought I’d give you a couple of different options here.
This is part of everyone’s travel gear and can never be missing. It’s just one of the basic but most important things that everyone should have. A universal adapter gives you the option to plug in anywhere. It has all types of plugs so that you can use your chargers anywhere.
Some adapters come with USB ports as well, like this one.
Others have even multiple plugs and USB ports so that you don’t need a power strip. You don’t necessarily need a power strip but sometimes it’s good to have, if you don’t want to charge multiple things off your laptop. This International Power Adapter has it all. However, keep in mind that this is way larger and heavier than a simple universal adapter.
The most important part of adapters is: Make sure that the place where you plug in your charging cable, is flat. My husband has a plug that has an edge. He cannot use it for all his chargers because the plug-in has a wider shape.
Travel Power Strip
For people who like to charge multiple things at once and don’t always want to deal with a large wall plug, can use a Travel Power Strip separately. It has a space-saving donut design with 3 outlets and 3 USB ports.
A portable charging device often comes in handy. So, you can never go wrong giving this to a digital nomad as a gift. This Anker charger is a great one because it is small but provides a lot of capacity, as well as quality. However, there are plenty of options on the market.
Another travel gear item but some may not have it yet. I, personally, don’t have a neck pillow because we don’t fly or travel far too often so that it isn’t worth carrying for us. Depending on the person, it might make sense though. That’s why this is in here.
There are some things that neck pillows need to have. First, it has to be comfy and needs to become smaller so that it’s worth carrying. Another feature that makes it more comfy is fastening the two sides so that it doesn’t move away. This travel pillow gives you those options and comes with a sleeping mask and ear plugs on top of that.
Sleeping mask & earplugs
These two items may not only be useful when traveling. Sleep is important and sometimes you may find yourself in a location, where it’s not super quiet. Or you have to work odd hours and sleep when the sun shines. Therefore, a sleeping mask and a good set of ear plugs can help.
Not every place offers towels to use. Especially not for the beach. That’s when a lightweight quick-dry towel comes in handy. They come in all kinds of sizes. I actually have 2 different ones. One for normal showers and a bigger one for the beach and/or yoga.
Useful gifts for digital nomads
Ok, this section may be a bit tricky because some people who live this lifestyle already, may or may not have these. So, if you are looking for a gift, make sure the person doesn’t own one of these already.
Headset – Regular or noise cancelling
In my point of view, this is something everyone can use, but it’s also something you don’t want to cheap out on. Don’t pick something that is below $100 because you won’t be much help.
The best noise-cancelling headphones with great sound are made by Bose and Sony. However, they come with a high price.
If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, these COWIN SE7 seem to be great as well.
Whether it is for the entertainment while working or hiking, or for the extra sound effect while watching a movie online, a little speaker can be a nice addition to anyone’s travel gear.
We use the JBL Clip for a couple of reasons. We like the small size, and we can use it on hikes as well because of the clip.
Some may not need those features and rather have a better sound. Then the Ultimate Ears Boom is probably the better choice.
Oh, the good old problem with WiFi in other countries. There are some downsides of this lifestyle and the access to high-speed internet is one of them.
A WiFi Extender can sometimes be useful if the router is farther away from your room or apartment. With this little device, you can get better upload/download speeds. However, it needs a socket, which means the gift recipient needs a bigger adapter or a power strip.
I am currently thinking about buying one of these because they certainly help with proper work posture. They lift up the laptop so that it becomes easier on the wrists and neck.
The MOFT laptop stand is ultra slim and lightweight. You can stick it to the back of your laptop and use it when you need it. The two height settings allow adjustments according to one’s needs.
Another amazing way to make online work more ergonomic. I personally don’t use one but I know some people cannot go without a mouse. This Logitech mouse provides great form for the wrist and hand.
Ebook Reader & Ebooks
If the recipient loves reading, an eBook Reader or eBooks may just be the perfect gift.
Since I am a digital nomad, I am reading more than ever before. It’s not just for entertainment but also for personal and skill development.
My husband and I love our eBook Readers! We both have different ones, though. I have a model from Germany. He has the Kobo Aura H2O. Many people go for the Amazon Kindle, but we both decided against it. We wanted another brand that allows different file formats.
Whatever eBook Reader you choose, buy a case with it. They can be quite sensitive. We both had to exchange our readers once… That’s the less convenient part. Luckily, we were in the country still to do so.
Cameras or lenses
This is maybe not something everyone needs. I love photography so I have a better system camera. Others may just use their phones.
However, I didn’t want to leave this out. I am using an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and am super happy with it. I will upgrade to another Olympus model soon, though. I am a big Olympus fan. I just like the handling and that there are plenty of options for lenses.
When in doubt, use a gift card
I love gift cards. You cannot screw things up with them. They always work! Well, unless you give a digital nomad a gift card for Home Depot or something else local. This may not be a great choice…
I love using Skillshare! It’s my go-to website if I want to learn new skills in photo or video editing, social media, or any other things. There is a huge variety for courses.
And let me tell you one thing: If you are not taking courses as a digital nomad, you’re not using your full potential.
Like everything in life, you should never stop learning. So, a gift card for Skillshare makes an awesome gift for (becoming) digital nomads.
Gift card for Netflix or CuriosityStream
Entertainment is obviously something we all need too. While being in a different country is entertaining, digital nomads still enjoy the homey feeling with watching movies or TV shows. Thanks to streaming services, this is possible around the world.
A gift card to a streaming service such as Netflix or CuriosityStream (documentaries) is a great gift idea for digital nomads too. There are so many services out there so that you could also pick another one as well. If you know the person would rather enjoy an HBO, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription instead, go with that.
Gift card for language learning app
Communication problems are part of my life since we are living in various countries. It would be arrogant to assume everyone speaks English. In order to get around and be able to buy groceries, you have to learn at least an itty bitty of the language. That’s when language learning apps become useful.
Most of those are free. But there are instances, where learning a language for longer makes sense. For example, if you are traveling around in South America, it would be beneficial to learn more Spanish.
Duolingo helped me learn a bunch of vocabulary. Another good language learning app is Babbel.
Amazon or BestBuy: Only if the person is “home” for a while
If you know that the person is “back home” for a couple of weeks and needs some supplies or new devices, give her/him a gift card for those places.
I often use a visit to buy electronics and sometimes clothes as well. So, a gift card for Amazon, BestBuy or any other shop may not be such a bad idea after all. BUT, like I said, only if the person is inside the country. Although Amazon can be used for the Prime membership and ebooks as well.
Active gifts for digital nomads
If the recipient is an active person and likes to workout, she/he may appreciate some “active gifts”.
Lightweight yoga mat
I have a lightweight and thin Manduka eKOlite Yoga mat. It can be folded as well as rolled and doesn’t take up much space. At the same time, it is made from biodegradable natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-azo dyes. So, it’s not just useful for traveling light, it is also good for the planet.
Not everyone needs a yoga mat to practice yoga, though. Some are just fine with additional grip. Yoga Paws are great for that. I am actually considering a switch because the eKOlite mat isn’t giving much padding anyways and I might as well be happy with the Yoga Paws. So far I liked having a mat because I can lay on the floor without thinking about cleaning first.
Resistance bands are an amazing addition to a quick home workout. Sometimes you may not have a gym nearby or you’re not staying as long in one place. This is when such workout gear is perfect. This way you can still maintain muscles.
There are two different kinds of resistance bands. The loops and the “non-loops” (no clue, how they are really called). We have both and I am using both for different exercises. Sometimes I even use the “non-loop” in a yoga session.
So, what I am saying is that they are amazing and lightweight!
Keeping devices or personal items dry when kayaking, hiking, or other activities, can be crucial. I love having a dry bag and I don’t travel without it. It makes my life so much easier and stress-free.
There are plenty of versions out there. One thing that I like about ours is the padded shoulder straps. It’s a real backpack, not a single-strap bag. It makes carrying it more comfy. This drybag has similar shoulder straps like ours.
Gift ideas for responsible digital nomads
I try to do my best in avoiding the usage of plastic. It’s definitely easier to do so when you’re at your own home. But I have things that help me do this abroad as well.
Lightweight reusable shopping bag
You can get these at most grocery or drug stores. They are about $5 or less and hold for a while. I found the prices on Amazon are quite high for them, but if you cannot find them locally, here is a link.
I always have a shopping bag like this in my purse or backpack. This way, I never need to use plastic bags if I spontaneously decided to buy something on the way home.
Rtic insulated bottle
Many people go for Yeti but I have to say that my Rtic bottle is amazing! It’s holding my water cold for hours and it doesn’t cost as much as Yeti. They offer different sizes and colors. We went for the 18 oz bottle because it’s just the right amount for short-ish adventures or sightseeing walks. If you go larger, it’s heavier and more to carry. I prefer refilling over hauling too much.
In addition, I find it quite easy to clean Rtic bottles. Some insulated bottles with the real “bottle shape” are harder to clean.
This is another amazing and space-saving way to avoid plastic bottles. Insulated bottles are really just beneficial in hotter climates, but they take up a lot of space. Collapsible bottles don’t keep your drink cold (or hot) but they become smaller when empty.
The Nomader is one of those collapsible bottles that are great for on-the-go.
The body is made of 100% food-grade materials. The lid has a nice leak-proof twist top, which also covers the drinking spout.
If your gift recipient loves cocktails or coconuts, you might as well give her/him a bamboo straw set. This way the person doesn’t need plastic straws and can use its own straws.
Bamboo is a natural resource and a great alternative for plastic straws. This bamboo straw travel set comes with a case and a coconut fiber brush.