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9to5Google Gift Guide: Best gifts for the roving digital nomad

Buying for someone that wants a truly portable office means they’ll need a few core pieces to ensure that you can work from just about anywhere, and this gift guide for digital nomads contains a few ‘must-haves’ to get started.

Because the world is a smaller place than it ever has been, that has opened up the opportunity to work from nearly anywhere in the world. It also means the roving digital nomad has to take the ‘basics’ everywhere they go. Plus, it’s always nice to be able to rock up to a coffee shop and work unhindered without sacrificing your productivity.

Having traveled to events all across the world, I like to think I have started to develop a solid ‘office in a bag’ kit list to ensure I’m productive no matter where I happen to be. While it’s not an exact science, there are a few core pieces of kit that almost everyone working remotely needs.

Portable workstation: Dell XPS 13 / MacBook Pro 13-inch

Category tabs in Gmail on MacBook

At the top of any digitial nomad core accessories list is undoubtedly a laptop of some sort — which makes a compact option the perfect gift.

Depending on your preference of laptop operating system, you’ve got a few choices. If you want power in a slimline form factor then the best of the Windows side is arguably the Dell XPS 13. Alternatively, the MacBook Pro 13-inch gives you a macOS equivalent in a similarly small package.

The Dell XPS starts at just $900, whereas the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $1099. Both come with similar specs, excellent battery life and in a small footprint to boot — making it even easier to travel light.

External storage: Samsung T5

Samsung T5 SSD - digital nomad gifts

Portable storage is a must if you want to keep backups of important files. For me, the Samsung T5 is definitely one of the best small form factor SSDs you can pick-up. You might wonder why you’d want external storage when your laptop has a hard-drive. Having a hard-drive fail and losing all of your important files can be a massive frustration — and can be costly to fix.

At $90 the Samsung T5 is the drive I see time and time again, there’s no wonder as it’s compact enough to fit into a pocket and has super-fast data transfer rates.

Tip: stick a piece of velcro to the bottom of the SSD and the other piece to the back of your laptop and then you’ll have neater cables and less stuff floating out of the side of your laptop.

Cloud Storage: Google One subscription

Google One - digital nomad gifts

If all else fails, cloud storage is always a great gift option for the digital nomad in your life and Google offers affordable online storage options at different price points. 100GB of online storage costs just $1.99 per month, with plans giving you up to 30TB costing a mammoth $299.99 per month. It’s unlikely you’ll need quite that much storage — unless you edit a literal mountain of 4K video.

You get other benefits from a Google One subscription too. You may get a free Google Home or Nest Mini along with discounts on your Play Store purchases.

Mobile power: Anker PowerCore+ power bank

Keeping things topped up when away from power outlets is often frustrating and annoying, but Anker has the solution. Keeping all of your tech charged means you need a big battery, and the Anker PowerCore+ has a 26,800mAh battery, quick charge support, and USB-A and USB-C ports.

You’ve got just enough ports to charge up just about any tech. However, the USB-C charge port means that you can actually top up small laptop batteries — when powered off — that use the charging method. At $85 the Anker PowerCore+ is most definitely not a cheap gift but when you can charge your smartphone over eight times or the modern laptop around twice with this power bank is an invaluable everyday carry for a digital nomad.

Backpack: Peak Design Travel Backpack

Peak Design Travel backpack - digital nomad gifts

This is the perfect one-pack for all backpack and therefore the perfect gift for someone classing themselves as a digital nomad. The Peak Design Travel Backpack has enough room for all of your necessary tech — including cameras — and can still cram in a sizable amount of clothing for longer trips. Not only that, it looks great while doing it.

Our own Ben Schoon vouches for the quality of this truly travel-focused backpack and what you can do with it heading to trade shows with plenty of tech packed inside. It’s by no means cheap at around $270 but it’s one of the best travel backpacks on the market for a reason.

Cable organization: Bellroy Tech Kit

Bellroy Tech Kit - digital nomad gifts

Keeping cables tidy and contained is a nightmare — especially if you’re traveling and working at the same time. Bellroy makes some of the best quality everyday carry essentials and the Tech Kit is no different. It’s a small pouch that you can stow your charge cables and other accessories in without having them get lost within the crevices of your backpack or bag.

I keep a ton of spare cables, my Samsung T5 SSD, MacBook Pro charger, Magic Mouse, and tons more all within the pouch and it makes it so much easier to plan for trips and keep things safe in my backpack or luggage. I cannot stress enough how valuable this little pouch has been for $59.

Power everywhere: World travel adapter

This isn’t just limited to those that want to take their office on the road, a decent travel adapter is a great purchase for just about everyone that heads abroad. My personal favorite is the $20 universal travel adapter from Saunorch. It’s compact and has a slide-out plug for just about anywhere in the world — plus it’s available in bright colors so you don’t forget to pack it or leave it behind!

Staying hydrated: S’well water bottle

S'well bottle - digital nomad gifts

Making sure you’re drinking enough water is no joke, even more so if you’re working and traveling from country to country. I’ve used many reusable bottles over the years and my favorites are from S’well. At just $23 for a 25oz metallic bottle that keeps your drinks cool for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours, I think a S’well bottle is a perfect gift for any aspiring digital nomad. It can also take one heck of a beating, my own bottle has been invaluable.

Tip: Why pay for expensive airport bottled water when you can just fill up your own bottle for free at a water fountain?

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Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

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