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Top 10 Essentials for Digital Nomads in the Middle of Nowhere
For some folks, digital nomadism is all about the big cities and tourist destinations. But for others, it’s a way to visit national parks, travel long, lonely roads, and check out tiny towns.
If you’re in the second group, we have a few suggestions for items to tote with you to these rural areas. We know part of being a digital nomad is traveling light, but trust us: you don’t want to be caught in a tricky situation without these essentials.
Essentials for all digital nomads in the middle of nowhere
If you’re planning to hang out in a rural area, you won’t necessarily be able to stop at a supermarket and pick up anything you need. That goes double if you run into a problem.
We suggest that digital nomads traveling off the beaten path always bring the following things.
It’s the number one thing you need to survive, so we suggest keeping a bottle on hand (and a few extras), just in case. Even if you don’t run into a life-threatening emergency, thirsty times are not good times.
We can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve been stuck in a place with no good food options or just no food at all. Like in unexpected traffic, or on a kayak, or in a small town at 9 p.m. but everything closed at 8.
Carrying a snack is an easy fix to keep your energy (and mood) up. We recommend healthier things that won’t melt (nuts, dried fruit, dried meat) but honestly, anything you can comfortably carry and that doesn’t need refrigeration is game here.
Snacks are especially important if you have a medical condition, like diabetes, pregnancy, or significant dietary restrictions. But even if you don’t, it’s a great idea to keep food on hand, just in case.
3. Cell phone with active plan
Always bring a working cell phone with you. That means that it’s been activated and has a current cell phone plan.
If you’re in a particularly rural area, your phone might not work, but you usually won’t know for sure until you arrive at your destination. It’s safest to take it along.
4. Portable charger or power bank
Your phone is useless to you if the battery dies, so we recommend toting a portable charger with you (and keeping it charged).
If you have other, bigger electronics that you use throughout the day, you might also want a dedicated power bank.
5. First aid kit
It’s a good idea to keep a small first aid kit in your backpack. Most digital nomads won’t need heavy-duty first aid items like splints, slings, or ace bandages, so feel free to only bring what’s most useful to your situation.
We suggest including things like band-aids for cuts, aloe for sunburns, and over-the-counter pain medications. These items might be harder to find in more rural locations.
6. Cash and card
We suggest carrying both a card and cash everywhere but especially in a more remote area. After all, ATMs don’t grow on trees.
If a credit or debit card doesn’t work somewhere, cash should, and vice versa.
No matter where you’re traveling, we suggest keeping these handy:
- Proof of insurance
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Essentials for vehicle travel in the middle of nowhere
If you’re traveling in a vehicle (like a van outfitted for long-term living, an RV, or even a rental car), you can go even farther afield. You can be prepared by bringing everything we listed above plus the following essentials.
7. Vehicle emergency supplies
The more remote you are, the more frustrating car troubles can be. We suggest always keeping basic supplies for vehicle emergencies in the backseat or trunk.
This includes everything you might need in a car-related jam, such as:
- Spare tire
- Tire jack
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
- Ice melt
8. Roadside assistance service
If you travel extensively in a vehicle, it’s a good idea to subscribe to a roadside assistance service, like AAA or RAC.
The best service depends on where you’re located and where you’re planning to go.
9. Wi-Fi setup or extender
A phone is a must-have in an emergency, but if you’re living in a vehicle long-term, we strongly recommend fitting it with a Wi-Fi setup as well. (That might mean installing a router or getting a portable satellite.)
Apart from other practical reasons, if your phone service fails in an emergency, you’ll have another form of contact if you also have Wi-Fi.
If worst comes to worst and you have to walk a long way for help, a flashlight is super handy. It lets you see in the dark and alerts other cars to your presence.