30 Gifts for Digital Nomads They Actually Want
It’s the season to be spending! The holidays are fast approaching, and you’ve probably come to this post trying to figure out on what on EARTH makes for some great gifts for digital nomads.
I hear ya! Their whole life centers around not owning much stuff, and if you have a picket fence lifestyle, it may be difficult to imagine what their day-to-day actually looks like. It can be difficult to buy a useful and practical gift for your digital nomad friend, that they will actually enjoy using.
But I’m here to help you. I’ve been an online entrepreneur for seven years now and have been traveling fulltime for the past year. So I’ve gotten quite a lot of experience with products that useful to me and those that aren’t. Today I’m sharing useful and FUN gifts for digital nomads that they will actually love and use, on any budget!
For Other Digital Nomad Guides
- Best Insurance for Digital Nomads
- Pros and Cons of the Lifestyle
- Most Popular Digital Nomad Destinations
So… what makes a good gift for digital nomads?
As a digital nomad, you don’t want anything that will make your life more of a hassle than it already is (at times). Let me tell you what makes a bad gift: anything bulky, heavy, fragile or that you won’t use on a daily/weekly base. So, let’s drop the idea of house décor, big books, coffee mugs, big bottles of perfume, picture frames, scented candles, thick pajamas when your friend lives in sweltering Southeast Asia… you get the picture.
You’ll find there’s actually SO many things you can gift your digital nomad friend that are useful, practical and FUN to give… and to receive! Let’s dive in.
1. A Cute Notebook
If you’re not sure what to gift someone, I think you can NEVER go wrong with a cute notebook. I have wayyyy too many of them and yet I’m always buying new ones for my endless journaling and to-do-lists. If you want to make the gift slightly fancier, you can go for a Moleskine notebook, but I always like Rifle Paper Co products, like the Wanderlust Journal.
2. A Silk Sleeping Mask
Being a digital nomad entails sleeping in moving trains, buses, planes, and sometimes in hotel rooms with bright street lights in front of the window. That’s why I bring my sleeping mask ANYWHERE I go and I can barely sleep without it. I recommend getting a silk sleeping mask as it feels luxurious and soft on the skin. Get the one above here.
3. Gift Cards
I can never knock a good gift card. They might not be the most exciting gifts to give or receive, but they make a lot of sense in my life and I do enjoy redeeming them! These are some suggestions for gift cards:
- Clothes, perfume or make-up: especially for international brands that have stories in the country they’re traveling.
- Amazon: Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
- Airbnb: This option is only valid if you’re American. Digital Nomads are generally avid Airbnb-users, so we’d sure appreciate a couple nights for free via one of the Airbnb gift cards!
- App store: Pretty useful gift but only if they use a lot of apps.
- Audible: Audiobooks are great for those long flights or bus rides. Audible is a platform for audiobooks, and you can gift memberships, starting from $15 for one month.
- Local spa: Find out which spa’s in their area offers the option for gift cards. I know I’m never treating myself to spa packages, so I love getting them!
4. 64GB SD Card
If your digital nomad friend is an avid photographer, they’ll be very happy to receive SD cards. It’s one of those things you’ll buy for yourself but resent spending money on, I think. So, it’s great to receive from someone else and super practical! A 64GB SD card from a brand like SanDisk would be my recommendation.
If the Digital Nomad in your life is a videographer, my videographer boyfriend recommends this one: the SanDisk Extreme Pro 64 GB (95mbs), which is slightly more expensive and slightly different from the one I recommended above.
5. A Digital Subscription
Physical subscriptions have little use for digital nomads, but digital ones are super useful. Whether it’s to their favorite newspaper (that puts articles behind paywalls), to a meditation app such as Headspace, or to Netflix or Spotify: I’m sure they’ll thank you for it.
6. A Canvas Tote
One thing I’m really missing is a cute canvas tote, that you can use when you head down to the supermarket, the pool, or even just for a quick dinner or stroll around the city. They’re perfect for when you don’t feel like bringing your backpack or your small purse is TOO small. They fold up easily and are super versatile. For a male digital nomad, you might want to opt for a foldable day pack.
7. A Course on Something that Interests Them
What’s better than the gift of learning? Honestly. I like the Udemy platform since it offers courses on a huge range of topics, from how to be more confident on camera to a drawing, and from web development to dog training. Literally… anything you can think of. They often have sales when courses are priced at $10.99.
8. Packing Cubes
I actually contemplated putting this on the list, because I can’t imagine any digital nomad not having these already… but if they don’t: get packing cubes. It’s life-changing. You use them by rolling up your clothes and then packing them in specific cubes (one for your undies, one for your pants, one for your shirts, for example). That way you always know where your stuff is, and everything stays neatly into place. I love using mine in my Osprey backpack.
I never carry physical books with me anymore (except for notebooks) while traveling! I pretty much live on my Amazon Kindle now (see further down this article). If your Digital Nomad-relative is the same, and they love to read, then this makes a great gift. First make sure to ask them which e-reader they have, so you know to buy the right e-book. I believe with Amazon you can either give a general Kindle Store gift card, or you can gift a specific e-book. Both options are fun, and which one is best, depends on how well you know the recipient!
10. Cord Tacos (or Other Cable Organizers)
If you’re looking for a cheap and useful gift, this would be it. Because if there’s ONE thing digital nomads do not have a shortage of in their lives, it’s cables and cords. Buy them a cute and colorful cord taco that keeps their headphones (or other cords) from tangling themselves up into a cluster that’s more difficult to diffuse than a bomb, or go big and get an entire cable organizer if they’ve got a bunch of electronics with them while they’re traveling.
11. A Dry Bag
Travelers that like to go kayaking or go on frequent boat trips, will love having a dry bag to keep their valuables dry. I know I wish I had one when I went kayaking in Vietnam and saw Asia’s rarest monkey species, but I hadn’t brought my camera with me so now I have no photos! If only I had brought a dry bag with me!
12. Some General Cute Travel Stuff
You can never go wrong with cute travel stuff. Think a pretty passport cover like the one above, luggage labels, travel toiletries bottles or a hanging toiletry bag! I especially like passport covers & luggage labels. And they’re cheap gifts too, so even better!
13. Laptop Stand
Can I be real with you for a second? The digital nomad lifestyle is great, but it’s not exactly ergonomic. Most days I walk away from my work day with an excruciating pain in my neck and shoulders because I’ve spent all day hunched over a desk that was too low.
A laptop stand gives you a healthier working posture, and as a bonus, it also keeps your laptop from overheating (which can be an issue in hot countries!). Just make sure you buy a very light one, that’s easy to carry around. For the best experience, you should pair this gift with an external keyboard (or if they already have one: even better!).
14. Lifestraw Water Bottle
This is a really great money-saving and environment-friendly gift. If they own this Lifestraw bottle they won’t have to buy all those plastic bottles of water anymore (yay for their wallet, and yay for the environment) and they can just drink tap water in countries with questionable tap water. The filter removes bacteria, parasites, and chlorine from the water without using any batteries, chemicals, or iodine. In fact, it’s so good you can even use it to drink from rivers! To be fair, they are quite bulky, but you can easily clip them to your backpack.
15. Really Good Earplugs
If you’re anything like me, you need absolute and complete silence to be able to sleep… something that can be hard to come by in certain places in the world! Let alone in airplanes or night trains. If you want to go real splurge-y you can treat the digital nomad to custom-made ear plugs (but that will cost more). There are some great alternatives that cost less and that are also moldable. If those aren’t good options, just give the nomad lots and lots of cheap earplugs, because I guarantee they’ll lose them all the time.
16. Portable Charger
I’m always on my phone and since I have an older iPhone model, it runs out of battery FAST. Buying a portable battery charger is a great idea, so you never get stranded with a dead phone in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got all kinds of options and models, but I recommend one that can charge multiple phones at once.
17. Luxuriously Moisturizing Face Mask
Most entrepreneurs, and especially Digital Nomads, don’t really splurge on fancy stuff. We’d rather spend our cash on more reasonable things, such as rent, experiences or our business. Treating ourselves is hard (for me, anyway!). That’s why a nice moisturizing face mask would be such a great gift to receive, a real treat. This one by Summer Fridays is considered one of the best on the market right now.
18. An External Hard Drive
While most digital nomads work in the cloud and have cloud-based solutions for their backups, I don’t know anyone that would say no to another external hard drive. It’s great for double-backing up your photos or videos, so this makes an especially good gift for those digital nomads who work in blogging, photography or videography. Prices of hard drives vary, but you should be able to get a good one with at least 2TB storage for under $75. Toshiba, WD (Western Digital), Seagate and LaCie are all great brands.
19. A Portable Speaker
Music lovers will love a good portable speaker. I know we use one almost every day for our Netflix sessions on my boyfriend’s laptop, but you can also use it for listening to music. I hear really good things about the JBL speakers. I recommend getting one that’s waterproof, so you can use it by the pool too.
20. A Travel Yoga Mat
After sitting behind a computer all day it’s incredibly important to move your body. Yoga is a great way to do so. I was recently on the hunt for a yoga mat that would easily fit into my suitcase (or backpack) and found the Manduka Eko Lite Yoga Mat. It folds up to the size of a laptop, so it’s very easy to bring and means I can hop on the mat whenever I feel like it.
21. A USB-C hub
I absolutely LOVE my MacBook Pro, but the annoying thing is that it has only USB-C ports, and much of my electronics still have USB-cables. So, I always have to use a little converter to be able to connect them to my laptop. But that converter only serves ONE cable at the time. How much easier would my life be with a USB-C hub that you can connect multiple devices to? Definitely worth-getting for digal nomads with newer Apple laptops.
22. Tinggly Gift Card
Honestly, this is probably my favorite gift out of all of them. Tinggly is SUCH a fun company, giving you the opportunity to buy experiences for your traveling friends. How it works is you can choose a gift box to give, and the recipient can then choose from hundreds of experiences in 100 countries worldwide. Think: cooking classes in Brazil, scuba-diving in Mexico, an overnight boat experience in Thailand or bungee jumping in New Zealand. Prices start at $79 and you can either give them in person, or deliver the gift via e-mail, so perfect for any situation.
23. A WIFI hotspot: Mifi router.
My friends absolutely SWEAR by a Mifi router. How it works: you buy a local 4G-simcard and put it into the device. The device then turns into your own personal WIFI hotspot with a fast and secure 4G-network. It works as long as you’ve got good network reception, no matter if there’s any WIFI network nearby. You can connect multiple devices to it at the same time. It essentially works as if you are using your phone as a hotspot, but without the draining effect it has on your battery!
I would probably choose a Mifi-device over a WIFI extender, because for the latter you’ll still be dependent on someone else’s (possibly shaky) WIFI-connection, and with a Mifi you’ll always have your own 4G connection nearby. Not to mention it’s a lot more secure for handling your own private details.
24. An Ergonomic Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2
The absolute best investment I made for myself this year was an ergonomic mouse. The extensive use of my laptop’s trackpad as a mouse, combined with my frequent smartphone use, left me with the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome. I decided my health was my most important asset, and thus I bought a good wireless Bluetooth mouse (and paired it with a mouse mat). I really recommend the Logitech MX Master 2. It’s fabulous and the battery life lasts me more than a month!
25. Noise-Canceling Headphones: Bose QC35II
I realize this is a splurge, but this year I got noise-canceling headphones for my birthday. And I can tell you, it’s the best thing I EVER received. I did extensive research into which noise-canceling headphones were the best for my needs and landed on the classy looking Bose QC35 II. It has a comfortable fit, good sound quality and easily blocks out most background noise, making sure you can really zone out, and get work done which is especially great for working in busy cafes.
The difference it makes for traveling is also amazing. Airplane engine noise is almost blocked out! With these headphones on I can listen to airplane movies on a normal volume for once. My boyfriend, a video editor, loves his Sony 1000xm3, which is considered the best alternative to Bose. Generally, Bose & Sony are considered the best brands for noise cancelling headphones.
26. A Paperwhite E-reader
You’ll have to pry my Kindle from my cold dead hands. That’s how much I love it. And why wouldn’t I? It can hold an endless number of books! And it actually weighs less than a single book. The Paperwhite is the one I’ve got. It’s thin, waterproof, no-glare, it’s got a light-up screen to read in the dark and the battery life lasts me weeks.
27. A MacBook Pro
Ok, so you have to REALLY bring your wallet for this one, but if you’re looking to buy a great laptop for the digital nomad in your life, I can highly recommend the 13 Inch MacBook Pro. It weighs just as much as the MacBook Air, and it’s a much more powerful machine. I use it every single day and could not love it more. Aside from the user-friendliness, it’s also super easy to carry due to its size and weight. And you know what they say… once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.
28. A Cute Hat
So I may be biased because there’s a hat glued to my head 90% of the time (seriously, one time one of my friends didn’t recognize me without a hat!)… but I love them. They’re essential on my travels, as they protect me from the burning sun. And let’s not ignore the fact that they look cute, and therefore make any travel outfit look 10x more fashionable. My favorite floppy straw hat is one from Lack of Color, which are the classiest ones on the market in my opinion. They’re a little splurge-y though! If you don’t have that kind of money to spend you can usually get some cute hats at H&M.
29. Priority Pass Membership
This is only a good option for those that fly a lot on a yearly base, but if they do, they’ll thank you for this gift. A Priority Pass gives you access to 1200 airline lounges worldwide with stuff like free meals, drinks, and showers, so you won’t have to sit with the “regular people”. There are different levels with different features, so have a look to see which one works best for your gift.
30. A Good Camera
Finally, if your digital nomad friend who loves photography, you’ll really help them out by getting them a good camera. I personally own the Canon G7X for vlogging (owned by all the big vloggers), and a Nikon D5300 for photography (LOVE it). Size matters with cameras, so I’d definitely look into getting them a mirrorless camera as those are almost just as good as DSLRs, but much lighter and smaller. Sony, Fujifilm & Panasonic are some really popular brands. A good one for a more beginner photographer is the Sony A6000.
Whew… that’s that! My ultimate gift guide for Digital Nomads. Now you’ll never be stumped for ideas on what to gift us when Christmas or birthdays come around. Enjoy the holidays and make some good memories!
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