14 Digital Nomads And Pro Travelers Share Their Top Travel Hacks

Digital nomads are a notoriously tough bunch to pin down, but we grabbed an armful of seasoned travelers and asked them:

‘What’s your top Travel hack for saving time in transit?’

Derek Baron, Wandering Earl

Top travel Hack:

Separation of work and travel. If I try to do both at the same time, I’m always at my least productive and I always enjoy my travels less. When I spend some time in one place with the main goal of catching up on work, I am very productive and then, once I’m all caught up with work and I leave to go travel to some other destinations, I can concentrate fully on my travel experiences, enjoying them all to the fullest. Separating these two aspects of my life in this way has been vital.

Elisa Doucette, ElisaDoucette.com

Digital Nomad Elisa Doucette Rolling Her Eyes At The Thought Of Over Packing


Aside from “Always travel with carry-on luggage if you have a tight transit,” it is to always have your documentation filled out and quickly accessible. While all those fools are filling out their forms at the international visa desks, you can breeze on up if you fill it out on the flight.

James Clark, Nomadic Notes

Digital Nomad James Clark At a Cafe in London


When I arrive at an airport I power walk to the immigration area. Getting to the immigration queue a few minutes ahead of the pack can save you up to an hour of queue time. Note: Having seen – and been left in the dust by – James’ power walk a few times, we can confirm he’s a future Olympian in this discipline.

Christina Canters, The C Method

Digital Nomad Christina Canters kicking up and traveling light


Don’t take a heavy ‘wheelie’ suitcase! If you have a light backpack, you can nip through the crowds, run down the escalators or easily walk up the stairs – reducing your chances of missing your plane, train or bus.

Jodi Ettenberg, Legal Nomads

Digital Nomad Jodi Ettenberg Reveling In the Joy of Packing Cubes on the Streets of Saigon


Some of the time-savers and hacks for travel: packing cubes. I love them and have smaller and larger sizes for both clothing and for things like electronics. I know for some they prefer to just pack it all in because of the extra material or space of the cube, but ease of packing and knowing where things are in my bag make a huge difference for me when I’m always on the move. For long-haul travel, I use flux on my laptop and I change the location to my upcoming destination about five days before I head out. That way, at least my circadian rhythms are starting to get used to the new time zone’s light/dark periods. I keep a tiny packing cube ‘flight bag’ with anything I’d need for long-hauls:
eye mask, ear plugs, SleePhones (comfy fleece headband with earphones built in), any medication needed for the flight, and vitamins. Note: Grab some Packing Cubes over here.

James FeeSs, The Savvy Backpacker

Digital Nomads James and Susan of Savvy Backpacker loving every minute of life on the road


I’m not sure this is a hack, but I always tell people to focus on value rather than price. I see so many people do everything as cheap as possible, but they end up sacrificing more than they save. Know when to spend a little extra to gain a lot of benefit.

Amit Gupta, AmitGupta.com

Digital nomad Amit Gupta chasing the horizon


Maybe I’m unusual in this regard, but I relish time in transit. It’s when I often get my best thinking done. If I can take a train somewhere instead of a plane, I’ll do it. If I can take a connecting flight and spend a day or night in a new city (most recently did this for Dubai and for Paris), I’ll find the longest itinerary I can. If there’s a boat going where I’m going, all the better.

Clay Hebert, Clayhebert.com

Digital Nomad Clay Hebert takes the stage


I don’t have one big hack, but a few little micro-systems to increase efficiency. Packing well (light and organized) helps me find things quicker. I have a simple, ordered system for TSA lines. If I have to go through the regular security line, I put my shoes on the belt first, so I can be putting my shoes back on while the rest of the stuff comes down the belt. Then my laptop is next, so I pick up and hold my laptop in my hand, then my Minaal bag last, so I slide my laptop into that. It helps me not forget anything. In a different order, it would be possible to put my backpack on and forget my laptop in the bin on the belt, but if you do things in the right order, it’s easier not to forget anything.

Josh Skaja, FretBoard Anatomy

Digital Nomad Josh Skaja packed up for his next tour


Mise en place. It’s the French term that cooks use to describe putting their stations in order – everything from stocking their cooler, to the order they put the garnishes in, to having the right spoon for each sauce, to making sure they have dry towels for handling hot pans. It’s like a religion for them, and it’s frequently the only thing that stands between them and disaster, a way to stay focused and efficient in chaotic situations. Touring is a lot like professionally cookery – you’re doing the same thing over and over again, trying to consistently put out a high-quality experience, but something is going all wrong, all the time. This isn’t an obstacle to be avoided. It’s the standard working condition for your chosen profession. Mise en place keeps the clusterfuck gremlins at bay. I have a checklist of everything I carry, and every single item has its own home. I know where it all is at all times.

Need a sharpie? Spare guitar strings? A portable speaker? An umbrella?
 Some ibuprofen? Hand sanitizer? The charging & audio cables for using your phone for GPS in the rental van? A copy of the laws regarding flying with musical instruments to fend off the overzealous gate agent trying to get you to check your guitar? It’s all here, accessible in five seconds or less. It took a while to figure out the best place for each thing. For example, my Kindle fits nicely in the second pocket of my Minaal’s laptop sleeve. But if I keep it there, I have to pull the bag out from under the seat in front of me to get to it. So now it lives in the top pocket. It’s always a work in progress.

Kimberly Rich, The Bold Life Movement

Digital Nomad Kimberly Rich of The Bold Life Movement Loving Iceland


Don’t check bags! Ha! I’m a recovering over packer. I used to spend hours packing, then paying for it at the airport in both time and money. Arguing with ticket agents about a few kilos, begrudgingly giving over my credit card to pay for said kilos, then waiting at my destination for the checked bag. Need less, pack less, save more. It all seems so simple now


Digital Nomad Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle On Stage


I travel very light — all carry-on, no checked luggage. I keep the pacifying, distracting stuff deep in my bag, and the

productive stuff at the top. Amazing how much that little bit of friction encourages you to do the stuff you need to do, rather than filling a ten-hour flight with endless rounds of Angry Birds.

McKel Hill, Nutrition Stripped

Digital Nomad Mckel Hill of Nutrition Stripped Rolling Through Nashville


Be as organized as possible, having everything either pulled up on your phone like your boarding pass or have it printed off. I find that carrying a small pouch with my ID, tickets, etc. has made my life that much easier. Also, having your carry-on items compartmentalized for easy security checks!

Eytan Levy, Snarky Nomad

Digital Nomad Eytan Levy noshes on squid in Taiwan


Carry-on! I have no idea why so few people even consider this as a possibility, particularly those who complain about not receiving their bags quickly at the baggage claim, or those who lose their bags completely. I’ve been with so many people whose bags just never show up, or they have to wait a few days, and none of them has ever said, “hmm…maybe I should just pack less stuff.” You skip the line to check the bag, you skip the line to receive the bag, you never worry about a lost bag, you’re the first in line to go through customs, you walk faster, you take taxis less often, and all you have to worry about is doing laundry a little more often.

Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Digital Nomad Leo Babauta of Zen Habits In A Cafe


Simplicity is my top travel productivity hack. I try to leave my burdens behind, not packing my fears — we tend to pack too much because we’re afraid of being unprepared, but that weighs us down, creates stress and burden. Instead, I pack as light as possible. And I simplify work down to the one essential task I can do while on a plane or train or at the airport. That eliminates task switching and doubt, and allows me to fully focus. Note: Leo just wrote a pretty sweet ebook about ultra light travel. It’s a quick read and it’s over here.  
  It may be the circles we move in, but there seem to be a couple themes emerging: travel light – lighter than you think you can – and stay organized. We didn’t cherry pick these responses… honest! But it’s no surprise that they fit in snugly with our mission and the gear we’re designing. Traveling light is about freedom – the freedom to move without being dragged down by stuff you don’t need. Staying organized is about confidence – knowing what you’ve got, just where it is, and that you have everything important right there at your fingertips. Together, that’s all it takes to follow your curiosity wherever the road leads. And if you ask us, there’s no better way to travel.

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