Dateline: Porto, Portugal
The Christmas Season is here and friends, family members, and loved ones – whether they’re by your side or back home – are no doubt asking you for your Christmas wish list. As simple as the request may seem, it can be a rather difficult one to answer for a Nomad Capitalist.
While the Nomad lifestyle is one of abundance, it is not always a lifestyle tailored to receiving presents wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree. Sure, you may have already made plans to be home for Christmas this year, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find it convenient to pack up all those bulky presents for your next trip around the globe.
I made this rookie mistake of giving my nomad team members at the time a massive, illustrated books about Montenegro and our future destinations. As much I know they appreciated it, I am pretty sure they ended up abandoned in their Airbnb’s or hotels, which I do not mind… now. ( If you carried it all the way around the world, I salute you!)
So, when you send that list of Christmas wishes off to friends and family, feel free to let them know that you don’t have a lot of storage space and that “heavy” and “big” are both disqualifiers for any item they may be thinking of giving you.
To make things easier on them, you can give them a list of approved items that you know you can both carry and use throughout your travels. Here at Nomad Capitalist, we’re always looking for ways to be freer and make every moment of life as valuable and efficient as possible – and that often entails the use of technology and nomad gadgets that would fit perfectly on your Nomad Christmas Wish List.
I have curated a list of items that I’ve personally found make the Nomad Capitalist life more dynamic and hassle-free, as well as a number of suggestions from fellow nomads.
I’ve split all the suggestions into two categories: physical gifts and gifts that take up absolutely zero space. So, no matter what kind of space you have left in your luggage, you’re sure to find something on this list you can give or request that will add value to the Nomad life.
The Nomad Christmas Wish List: Physical Gifts
1. Portable All-in-one Printer/Scanner/Copier
If you’re the type of Nomad who is constantly scanning and copying documents for your business, a portable all-in-one printer could be the perfect gift for you. This gift can also be useful for Nomads working on a second residency or passport, as paperwork is the name of the game and you don’t want to be spending all your time at the hotel lobby printer or scanning sensitive documents at a co-working space.
My personal favorite is the Primera Trio Portable All-in-One Printer with Scanner and Copier. It is just 2.7lbs and can easily be stored in your backpack and can print, copy and scan in color. It essentially has all of the features of your printer at home, except you can carry it with you and connect it to both your laptop and mobile devices.
2. Portable Device Charger
When you spend your days traveling instead of tied to a desk, finding a reliable power source to charge all of your electronic devices can be incredibly challenging. This issue can be solved by adding a portable cell phone or laptop charger to your Christmas wish list.
My personal favorite is the Solio Xcellerator, a solar panel that is able to rapidly charge your iPad, computer or other devices, even in low light conditions.
As anyone who travels for business knows, one of the least pleasurable aspects of taking a phone call on the road is the background noise that makes it difficult for both parties on the call to hear each other. Diskin Tech Ultra Premium Headphones are the solution to that problem. This noise-canceling Bluetooth headset allows you to answer phone calls hands-free with a built-in microphone.
If your headphone needs involve more podcasting or listening to music, the Sony MDR-7506 headphones will give you studio-quality audio wherever you go. While many of the items on this list are newly developed gadgets designed to fit a new, growing lifestyle, the MDR-7506 has been in the Sony lineup for over 20 years and is still as popular as ever.
4. Portable Standing Desk
The standing desk has returned to popularity in recent years. While the health benefits are disputed, there are claims that use of a standing desk can help burn more calories and reduce metabolic risk. Many folks also claim that working at a standing desk helps them be more creative since they can change position and prevent discomfort.
If you are the standing desk type or want to try it out, my personal favorite is the StandStand Bamboo, a portable standing desk that can be used anywhere to transform a table or desk into a standing desk. It collapses to the size of a laptop, weighs less than two pounds, and takes only seconds to assemble. It’s also made entirely of sustainable materials.
5. Tablet or Tablet Stand
While tablet technology is less than two decades old, it has already become a classic, versatile piece of technology that any Nomad may find useful. There are now hundreds of options on the market, but my personal favorite is the Getac T800.
The Getac T800 is a powerful, rugged tablet that runs Windows 8.1 pro. It’s built to survive in the most dangerous of conditions and comes with a three year “Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty” that will be honored if it stops working for any reason.
If you already have a tablet, you could always ask for a tablet stand. My favorite is the TwelveSouth Compass 2, a tablet stand for your iPad that is both small and portable, yet durably made with heavy gauge steel.
6. Power Adaptor
An electric adaptor is essential for any international traveler, but a good one is even more so. Prior to one of my conferences in Cancun a few years ago, my laptop was fried before the conference even started because the electric adaptor that I was using didn’t do its job. Soon after, I switched to a TUMI Electric Adaptor and haven’t had a problem since.
Tip: Pair it with a Belkin SurgePlus USB Swivel Charger, this portable surge protector will allow you to charge up to five devices at once.
7. Travel Briefcase
Being a Nomad Capitalist may entail perpetual travel, but it certainly does not dictate that you travel with a backpack strapped to your body. I prefer using a traveler’s briefcase that allows me to maintain the business formality of my profession. The WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase straddles the casual and professional life. It’s a small, useful bag that will hold all your travel gear, but professional enough to carry into a meeting.
8. Video Entertainment
Whether it’s a yearly Netflix subscription, tickets to the movie theater, or a The Slingbox 500, it’s always nice to have some form of entertainment in case you prefer a quiet night of entertainment. With the Slingbox, you can watch your favorite shows anywhere you are in the world. As long as you have an internet connection, your Slingbox will let you watch live and recorded shows from your TV back home.
9. Portable Speaker
For those quiet nights of entertainment, or to fill a room with music, some Nomads may prefer to bring along a portable speaker. The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that gives you full, natural sound with dramatically deeper bass than you’d expect anywhere you go. It comes with a rechargeable battery that will play music for up to 10 hours per charge.
10. Nokia Treasure Tag
The Nokia Treasure Tag is a lifesaver for any traveler who knows what it’s like to leave something behind accidentally while you’re traveling. Attach the Nokia Treasure Tag to your belongings and it will alert you when you’re about to leave them behind. If you still do end up losing them, you can use the Treasure Tag app to locate your belongings via GPS.
11. Professional Camera
Whether it’s travel pictures you’re taking for pleasure or you need professional pictures for your work, it is always nice to have a professional camera to capture all the important moments of the incredible life you are creating. My favorite camera is the FujiFilm X-T1. Weighing in at less than one pound, it is the perfect travel companion.
12. Wireless Pocket Keyboard
The ZAGG Pocket Keyboard is a wireless, Bluetooth keyboard that is the solution to on the go, smartphone typing.
13. Podcast Microphone
For those of us hosting podcasts — or anyone else who wants to record high-quality audio — you need a podcast microphone. The Blue Yeti Pro can capture digital audio with up to four times the clarity found on CDs.
14. All-Purpose Travel Umbrella
This is one item that many travelers never consider putting on their packing list, let alone their Christmas wish list, but the TUMI Large Auto Close Umbrella makes it worth putting it on both.
This is the ultimate example of what can be accomplished by employing an abundance mindset. Although there’s no fancy technology involved with this umbrella, it’s a quality item which is all that matters.
I could have easily bought and gone through ten cheap umbrellas on my last trip through Vietnam, but instead, my TUMI umbrella kept me dry and saved me a great deal of time and unneeded hassle.
15. Shampoo Powder
Shampoo powder is a great product to include in any Nomad’s traveling kit. It is not a complete replacement for washing your hair, but it can be a great way to refresh your hair after a long flight when you won’t have time to stop at the hotel for a shower before heading off to take care of business.
Look for products that use rice starches instead of talc powder to absorb oil at the roots and tea tree oil to make your hair smell great and kill harmful bacteria that cause itchiness. You can find dry shampoo for under $5 (like Dove’s Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo) or for more than $20 (like Living Proof’s Dry Shampoo).
More and more Nomads are choosing to travel with drones to capture a breathtaking video of their travels. For some, this is a vital part of their business. Whether you use it for recreation or business, our recommendation is the DJI Mavic or DJI Spark.
17. Kindle Fire
Successful Nomad Capitalists should always be reading, which is what makes the Kindle Fire a perfect Christmas gift for any Nomad.
18. Portable Luggage Scale
The perfect gift for helping any Nomad avoid unnecessary overweight baggage fees, a portable luggage scale is both compact and highly useful. The TUMI Scale will be a reliable companion you can count on for accurate weigh-ins time after time.
19. Passport Holder
Another great item to grab while you’re on the TUMI website is a passport holder. That little book is your ticket to freedom, so it’s worth it to protect it with a quality case.
20. Jet Lag-Fighting Glasses
Yes, they exist. While still in the crowdfunding stage, AYO Glasses are currently being sold on Indiegogo and on select flights in Europe. The glasses mimic the natural blue light from the sun to create a personalized smart technology that allows you to control your circadian rhythm and avoid all the annoying issues that come with jet lag.
21. Wi-Fi Hotspot
Connecting to the internet is one of the basic necessities for anyone with an online presence. Getting access to Wi-Fi while traveling can present a daunting challenge. Even in the five-star hotels where I prefer to stay, Wi-Fi speeds can be less than desirable.
One option is to purchase a worldwide Wi-Fi hotspot like Skyroam. Skyroam allows you to share your internet connection among five different devices and you can pay just for the days that you need to use it. This is a great option for folks like me who are usually in places with great internet but have the occasional day when there is no Wi-Fi to be found and you need quick, reliable access.
22. Suitcase(s) & Suitcase Covers
Good, quality luggage is a must for any world traveler. If you already have a set of dependable suitcases, you could request a suitcase cover that will help you identify your property at the baggage claim.
23. Sleeping Mask & Airplane Pillows
A sleeping mask would make a great stocking stuffer for the Nomad in your family. If you’re going for something a bit bigger, you could also give them an airplane pillow. To find the right one for you, we recommend these lists from Travel + Leisure for the best masks and best travel pillows.
24. Laptop Covers
Another important item to protect is your computer. A great laptop cover can both personalize your computer and protect it. There are some great eco-friendly covers available on the market as well.
25. Final Stocking Stuffers
If you’re looking for some last-minute stocking stuffers, a USB can always come in useful, as well as travel-friendly perfumes or cosmetics (30ml), or a travel-sized journal like the Moleskine Journal.
The Nomad Christmas Wish List: Items That Take Up Zero Space
26. Money & Bitcoin
As mundane as it may seem, money can be one of the most useful gifts you could receive and it doesn’t have to take up any space in your luggage. Bitcoin is another great gift to give or receive as it weighs nothing and its value will likely go up in time.
27. Gift Cards
If your friends and family want to gift something a little more personal than money, you can always request a gift card from iTunes, Amazon, or any of their favorite online stores.
28. Priority Pass Membership
29. A Place to Stay or a Way to Get There
Another great gift that won’t take up any space is the simple gift of a place to stay. You could request a stay at a nice hotel, a beautiful Airbnb, or a fantastic villa beside the beach. Or, you could do the next best thing and give or ask for a plane ticket to get you to your next dream location.
You could also complete the travel adventure by requesting that your friends and family gift you experience, such as a wine tasting in Porto or Duoro Valley ( absolutely worth the train ride), surfing lessons in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil or a day at the Sukayu Onsen Ryokan, the number one hot spring health resort in Japan.
31. E-books or an Audible Subscription
Successful entrepreneurs can attest to the importance of reading books. Let your family and friends know the e-books you have on your list to read or request a subscription to audible.com.
32. VPN Subscription
Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology can keep your private information secure and protected and give you complete internet freedom wherever you travel. Requesting a VPN subscription for Christmas to ensure that your communications and important data are not subjected to unjust government snooping or third-party hacking can be a great way to ask your family to contribute to your lifestyle of freedom and travel.
33. Online Courses
Nomad Capitalists are always learning and growing. Is there a course you’ve had your eye on lately? Go ahead and include it on your Nomad Christmas Wish List. You could also request a subscription to Skillshare or Udemy.
34. Unused Frequent Flyer Miles
Another great gift you can request from friends and loved ones back home is for them to gift you their unused frequent flyer miles. If they do not travel on a regular basis, gifting you their miles will cost them very little and benefit you greatly.
35. Donation to a Charity/Meaningful Cause
This is my personal preference when it comes to telling friends and family what to give me for my birthday or Christmas. I have plenty of clothes and travel accessories and can easily handle whatever I need to replace.
While I appreciate the gifts from family, friends, and even fans, I prefer to ask those who want to give me something for Christmas to consider donating to the Sri Arunodayam Trust instead. They are one of the few great charities I support frequently. They do great work with developmentally disabled orphans in India.
You can ask for friends and loved ones to donate to any charity or meaningful cause you believe in – whether that is a smaller charity close to your heart or a larger organization like Kiva that gives microloans to entrepreneurs in impoverished communities around the globe.
For Nomad Capitalists who have traveled the world and seen the poverty that still exists out there, asking friends and family to help you contribute to positive social change can be the most fulfilling gift of all.
Whatever you ask for or give this Christmas season, I wish you a Merry Christmas from me and the entire Nomad Capitalist team. If you have other gadgets and gifts that you have found useful in your travels, feel free to share below.