October 10, 2021•Updated on September 25, 2022
A brain dump of my process when traveling the world.
I've been nomad-ing (almost) full-time since January 2019 so I thought now might be a good time to write about it. The idea is for this post to act as a resource (mostly to myself) when planning a trip. I'll try to cover everything I can think of and feel free to throw any questions my way over on Twitter and I'll answer them here so they can help others.
I've recently switched to using more of a mid-sized bag (as opposed to a carry-on) and a backpack. For the bag, just use something nice and sturdy, I use one from American Tourister. As for the backpack, I was using the Seute Verdiater when I started traveling but eventually switched to the Travel Pack 2 Small from Aer.
💡 Recently, I've been considering getting another city pack/day pack so I don't have to roam around with a travel pack. Although, it'd mean I have a carry-on plus a backpack when traveling which I don't think is bad?
As a bonus, here are few things within my backpack that make life easier:Compression packing cubes by Eagle Creek: Get a couple of these and you can easily move them between your backpack and your luggage based on whether or not you have any issues regarding space or weight. They also allow you to pack more stuff in general.Travel adapter by Targus: Been using this for over two years now. Never had any issues. Works everywhere and with everything. I'd recommend this every day of the week.Foldable backpack from Decathlon: I can't seem to find a link to the exact one but these basically fold into the size of a wallet. I use this when I go to the beach or on a hike. It can also be used for grocery shopping.Travel wallet by Amazon basics: A little too big for my liking but it gets the job done. I can use it to store my passport + travel-related documents as it has plenty of compartments and fits nicely into my backpack.An onward flight: This could simply be a return ticket to wherever you flew in from. I never know where I am going next or even when I am leaving, but the authorities don't necessarily like that so I rent my flight tickets. I recently started using TopOnwardTicket. I've also used BestOnwardTicket in the past. But please do your own research and ideally get an actual flight, especially if you know your next destination and/or your trip duration.Proof of funds: You know, proof that you can support your stay. You probably don't need this, but it's a nice to have. I need it because I have an Indian passport.A visa: Make sure you have one? If you need one that is. I built this thing so you don't have to worry about scouring the internet trying to find up-to-date, accurate visa information.
Offline maps: Use Google Maps and before your trip, just download the map of the city you're going to so that you can use it even if you don't have any data available. One small caveat here, for some reason, Google doesn't get walking directions when you download a map offline, just driving directions, I don't know why and it bothers me on a personal level.Currency exchange calculator: I use this very often, mostly to figure out how much I am paying for whatever I am paying for in my home currency but also at currency exchange stores to see if I am getting a decent rate. I use xCurrency. It's pretty, lets you add multiple currencies and is always accurate.A ride hailing app: Make sure you get one because even though Uber is in a lot of countries, it isn't everywhere and you're probably better off already having one on your phone than not. I have this other side project which tells you which app you should download based on the country you're going to.Local/global sim cards: Either is fine. The global ones will be more expensive and service might be sketchy on some but it's much better than not having one. If you have a dual-sim phone, I'd just recommend buying a local sim at the airport once you land in a new country.Cash: Carry some. All of us want to be cashless but the country you're traveling to may not be very card-friendly yet. Always do your research beforehand and even if it is, keep some cash on you. I always get some USD before I start because I can convert those anywhere I want and it doesn't hurt to hold onto them.Currency Exchange: Don't do it at the airport. They have the worst rates so you're better off doing it in the city. Technology is your friend 💡A water bottle: Mostly because why not? But also because over time, it saves you so much money.A good credit/debit/forex card: A tiny checklist here would be something that doesn't have huge charges when used internationally (think withdrawing from ATMs) and actually works at ATM machines across the world. If you're from India, I'd recommend the Niyo global card.
Some research might help. As an example, when I was flying to Bali, I found out that doing INR to IDR isn't a great idea but doing INR to USD to IDR is the better way to do it. Again, having USD on you helps, especially if you're doing a multi-country trip.