March 23, 2009

Tools For The Digital Nomad

Becoming a digital nomad took a lot of time, research, and planning to get right. There are so many tools, software packages, and gadgets available that it can be overwhelming to find the best ones.

I often get emails about what software I recommend for various things like invoicing, accounting, and so on. I usually reply as soon as I can and send people responses but lately I have been swamped with projects.

So instead, I have decided to make it easier for everyone. Below, I have listed all of the tools and resources I currently use to manage my work, life, and data on the road. Everything from the software I use to the gadgets I take along on my trips are included in the list.

That way you can see exactly what I use for the various things I do. I’d also love to hear some suggestions from others as I am always looking to add some things to my toolbox.

Note – If I wrote a post about it, the link will point to it so you can read more about it.

Software & Websites

Here is a breakdown of all the software and websites I currently use to make my life easier.

Accounting and Finance:

  • Billings: Awesome Invoicing Software For Mac
  • Outright: An Online Accounting Solution
  • PayPal: Send And Receive Money From Anywhere


  • AIM: Free Instant Messaging Software
  • Aweber: Great Auto-Responder And Newsletter Service
  • Gmail: Web Mail And Chat Application
  • Skype: Make Phone Calls Over The Net
  • TweetDeck: Versatile Desktop Application For Twitter

Gig Searching

  • Craigslist: Click Here To Search It Like A Madman
  • Elance: One Stop Shop For Freelance Gigs

Mobile Internet:

  • iStumbler: Simple Application To Find WiFi Networks On A Mac
  • PDANet: Application To Tether Your iPhone (Jailbreak Required)

Online Data Storage:

  • Dropbox: Easy To Use Online Data Storage


  • Audacity: Free And Powerful Sound Editing Software

Photo Editing/Graphic Design

Screen Capture:

Photo Management:

  • Flickr: Pro Account To Manage Photos

Time Management:

  • Things: Easy To Use Project Management Software


Gadgets & Supplies

Here are all the gadgets I currently use to get my work done.


Data Storage:

Digital Cameras:

  • Kodak Zi6: Small But Versatile Digital Video Camera
  • Nikon D80: The Digital Camera I Use For All My Photos




That’s It…

Hopefully this list will help you get everything you need to become a digital nomad. If there is something missing that you think should be on this list, please leave a comment. I would really appreciate it!

PS. I will also update this post whenever I get some new tools and will add a permanent link to it in my navigation bar so it’s easy to find.

Photo Credit: obscure allusion

8 thoughts on “Tools For The Digital Nomad

  1. Kai Lo

    If I ever become a digital nomad like you, I know I can count on you for advice. This is a great list of things needed to make money on the go.

  2. Adam Pieniazek

    Wow. What a great resource!

    I’m surprised you don’t have a macbook pro though. I’m using a brand new macbook right now on loan while my pro is getting fixed and though it’s awesome I can’t wait for my MBP to return. Though, to be honest that’s more because my MBP is running Tiger and the Macbook doesn’t play nice with my external monitor when I boot from my cloned Tiger external hard drive because it doesn’t have the necessary drivers. But the screen size is another big reason I got the MBP…those 2 inches make a huge difference.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hey Adam, I actually had a 15 inch MacBook Pro for a year and a half and then sold it and bought a 13 inch MacBook. I wanted something smaller to fit in my backpack and take along with me on my trips.

      I maxed the thing out with ram and really have not had any problems with it. It has a bigger hard drive than my Pro did and I don’t really notice any differences in processor speed. It’s running Leopard which I love.

      As far as screen size goes, it is definitely noticeable. Which is why I decided to grab a 24 inch monitor and external mouse and keyboard. Now it feels like I have a desktop and I only use the MacBook’s screen when I am not at home.

  3. Greg Behnke

    Justin this is probably one of the most valuable posts that you have ever had because it tells and links to all the tools for anyone going or attempting a similar path as yours. Nice work

  4. Willem van der Horst

    Hi, thanks for the post!

    I’ve started officially working and traveling just a few months ago so I’m looking at a few things (right now accounting and financial stuff) so it’s good to read about how some others do it given I don’t have any other pro nomads / laptop hobos in my immediate contacts / friends.

    On the gadgets front, the single thing I’ve got recently and find very useful is a little USB wifi booster antenna, it really increases the amount of data received by my laptop so it can make a barely good enough signal on an island into a totally decent connection (or fast wifi in a city into really fast wifi), and it also increases the range, though not by that much – depending on the size of the antenna you choose (I had the choice of a smaller antenna providing more data, or a bigger one providing more range – I also work on a MacBook Pro and there was less choice of Mac compatible antennas).


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