Do you fit in the following categories?
- Digital Nomad
- Travel Blogger
- Travelling eCommerce website manager
- Remote employee
- Location Independent Freelancer
If you're one of the people on this list, you most likely spend a lot of your day working on your business, and a lot of time travelling. To be efficient, productive, and successful you need tools. If you’re like me, then productivity tools and apps to help run my business better are an obsession. I spend a lot (too much) time pondering the latest apps, gadgets, and productivity tools.
When a new app or service comes out, I try it. Evaluating software to help me become a better blogger is a time suck but, it’s fun. Looking for some tools to help you work better? Check out this list of recommended resources and tools for new digital nomads and experienced road warriors.
What it does: Organizes your paper trail of flight details
When travelling a lot, it's sometimes difficult to keep track of dates, flight numbers, and booking codes. If you book your flights through different airlines, booking portals, and flight aggregators, your inbox will fill up with email confirmations. Tripit lets you put all your trip details together into one app so you don't need to read through individual emails.
And don't worry about having to enter flight details into an app. It couldn't be simpler. Forward your flight confirmation emails to email@example.com and the software automagically update your master itinerary within seconds.
Tripit is a great timesaver and an easy-to-manage library of your flight plans. The free version is comprehensive but Tripit Pro version offers some options that might make the yearly fee worth it.
What it does: Shows you where you should be living
Here's a site that helps digital nomads, or indeed any traveller, choose a city to live and work in. Nomad List was set up by Pieter Levels, a digital nomad from the Netherlands, a few years ago as part of a startup self-challenge. Since then, the site has gone from strength to strength. Nomad List now boasts a community, slack channel, forum, and discount cards.
The original cities list is still there, of course, and forms the main hub of the site. But the list has developed from a basic city table into a detailed database of locations for digital nomads. Use the site to find out where to go next. Compare cities based on a number of criteria. Want to know where is the cheapest city to live in that also has fast Internet and clean air? Need a mid-range destination near the beach within Europe? Nomad List provides all that information and more.
What it does: Cafe & coworking finder
As a digital nomad, you know how important it is to have good WiFi and a comfortable place to work. Time spent searching for work-friendly cafes and coworking spaces is non-billable time.
I don’t like paying for an Internet connection in some 1990s style internet cafe just so I can find out where I should be working. I’m sure you don’t either. Unless you have a keen interest in the dying breed known as a cyber cafe, you'll be better off with an app.
WHA’s Cafe Finder is a crowdsourced service which displays workspaces with WiFi in your city. Add your own experiences of cafes and coworking offices to the database. Download the app to your phone and use it to find the best places to work.
What it does: Finds places to hang out and work
Similar to WHA, WorkFrom lists coworking spaces, cafes, and spaces with WiFi suitable for digital nomads. But WorkFrom is more of a community than WHA. The site contains a jobs board, community chat, and Meetup section, all designed to improve the working and networking life of digital nomads.
What it does: Budget and expenses tracker
Keeping track of expenses is a priority for me. It’s hard to budget when you don’t understand where the money is going.
I’ve tried every expense app there is, but Toshl is the only one that doesn't make me throw my hands up in despair. Toshl is a very intuitive and powerful expense and income tracking app that has changed how I spend and earn.
You can access the application via the web or your mobile phone. Unlike many expense apps, the web-enabled version is well designed, easy to navigate, and fast. Adding tags and categories to outgoings allows you to see how your money was spent when viewing reports. You can enter different currencies (great for digital nomads and travellers) and all expenses convert to your base currency for analysis.
If you’d like to track your incomes you can do so as easily as tracking expenses.
When you want to analyse the data the software displays expenses and incomes as beautiful infographics, PDF reports, and Excel documents. You can also export to Evernote and Google Drive from within the app.
It’s also free, which I like very much. Of course, the company has to make money and they offer a pro version which I’d recommend to anyone serious about tracking their expenses. At around $20 a year, it’s a bargain.
What it does: Tracks time.
Not to be confused with Toshl (it’s difficult to get a good name on the Internet these days), Toggl is a time-tracking app.
When I’m working on projects, writing for my blogs, or even just looking at memes, I want to know where I spend my time. Tracking your hours, like tracking your expenses, gives you power. Once you know where your limited resources are being used you can make adjustments and focus on what’s working.
Toggl is easy to use. The app runs on your desktop or phone as a time tracker which you start by clicking a button or hitting a key combination. Label each section if time with a descriptive name. Optionally, add a project name and client description. Log in to Toggl’s web interface to view stats about time spent on each task or project. You can export data for clients or coworkers too.
What it does: Magic cloaking device
Secure your internet when connecting to public Wifi and you’ll never worry about your credit card details or email passwords being stolen. With a Virtual Private Network, you create a secure tunnel through the Wifi for your data on the wider Internet. Hackers and random snoopers on the Wifi connection would see an encrypted data connection. The encryption technologies used these days mean that there is no chance of someone breaking the encryption and accessing your information.
The other big advantage of a VPN for digital nomads is the ability to spoof your current location. This is handy for booking flights and comparing prices. I recommend IP Vanish ,but you can read more about the different options available in this Travel VPN review.
What it does: Makes billing and invoicing less painful
One of the newest products in this list but already a firm favourite of mine. Billy is a billing and Expenses tracking app for small businesses. Billy is perfect for digital nomads thanks to the uncomplicated design which is super fast and easy to use. The app is billed as ‘simple' and that's exactly what it is. But it's also powerful.
I have used Wave Accounting and Zoho books in the past but Billy blazes past both apps, particularly the former. The interface is clean and uncluttered and this for me, is a deal maker. Currently, Billy only supports credit card payments with invoices but Paypal will soon be integrated.
Setting up recurring invoices, quotes for work, and adding expenses are all easy to do with Billy. The software comes with a full accounting module which gives you the ability to view Profit and Loss statements, VAT returns, and Balance Sheets. You can upload expense receipts or just email them to the software using your custom email address. Billy accepts multiple bank accounts and currencies.
All in all, A great one-stop product for managing your sales and expenses. Billy aligns itself with small businesses. As a result, freelancers, Amazon store owners, agency owners, and bloggers are happy with the features on offer for the price.
What it does: Gets you up to date with your old-school mail
Most digital nomads and lifestyle entrepreneurs have a home base. It’s the place where you stash your extra gear. The place where your passport says you live. And the place where mail gets delivered.
But how do you access the snail mail if nobody is there to pick it up? And what can you do if you don’t even have a base address?
The team at Earth Class Mail have come up with a solution.
Sign up for the service and pick an address in the US (the rest of the world will have to wait for All-Earth Class Mail) where your mail gets posted. The minions at the receiving locations take photos of your unopened mail and upload them to your account. You can then decide to have the letters opened, scanned or dumped. ECM only charge for scanned mail so don’t worry about paying for letter you don't read. The company can also deposit checks into your bank account
Recommended by icon and guru for digital nomads everywhere, Tim Ferriss. They also offer a 30-day Free trial. Nice.
What it does: Makes payments and ATM withdrawals a piece of cake
One of the most important services for location independent entrepreneurs and freelancers is the payment and billing platform. If you can’t access your funds, you can’t travel. Of course, banks offer their own ATM cards and Paypal provides a way of receiving payments almost anywhere. But what about using an ATM card?
Think of Payoneer as a cross between your bank and PayPal.
Receive funds in USD, EUR, GBP, CNH, and JPY. Payoneer supplies you with a bank account in each of the states where the base currency comes from. (For Europe, the bank is in Germany)
There are certain restrictions. Wire transfers and deposits from a company account you own is prohibited. Likewise, with the US account, only USD dollars are accepted. Pounds Sterling only works with the UK bank account, and so on.
Payoneer sends you a MasterCard which works just like a debit card and works online or at ATMs worldwide. Accessing your funds with this card is cheaper and easier than with PayPal, for example. You can also withdraw money to a bank account through the interface. Amazon store owners can also connect their stores to Payoneer and access the funds there.
Requesting payments from a client is a simple matter of entering the details in the Request a Payment section of the website. Payoneer sends your client an email with instructions on how to pay. Once they pay, the funds are available in your account, ready for withdrawal.
Payoneer is a great service for freelancers and digital nomads who want to keep the subject of online payments simple and inexpensive.
What it does: Moves money around the internet for cheap.
You know how bank fees for international transfers are outrageous? Well, you don’t have to put up with these fees. Bypass the bank and use TransferWise, my favourite money transfer service.
I pay my rent in local currency from my home bank account using TransferWise. The cost is a lot less than the bank charges to transfer the money. It’s also a lot cheaper than moving money via Paypal. And an added extra is that TransferWise will refund charges if the currency difference fluctuates in your favour. It’s a neat little feature I didn’t know existed until the company informed me that my last transfer was cheaper than I expected.
Transferwise will even set you up with a bank account, called a Borderless account. With no setup or monthly fee this bank account stores money for future transfers.
Use TransferWise’s Rate Tracker to get alerts when your selected currency exchange rate reaches a certain level.
What it does: Creates stealthy and powerful invoices
Creating and sending invoices can be a time-consuming process. Accepting payments for these invoices is another headache that most freelancers will have to figure out. Invoice Ninja makes these tasks easy. But it does more than that. Track time, import expenses, and track payments from clients with one interface. Ninja Invoice is a powerful addition to the digital nomad toolkit.
Invoice Ninja’s standout features include the ability to receive online payments via Paypal, Stripe, Braintree, WePay, and many more.
If you’re just starting out in the digital nomad world, Invoice Ninja offers a free tier which gives you unlimited invoices for 100 clients. More than enough for most small businesses.
What it does: Turns you into a writing wizard
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of your time writing content, emails, social media posts, guides, and promotional material. Even if you’re a coder you probably spend a good portion of your time communicating via email, writing best practises documents, and so on. Good writing is critical for standing out in the overcrowded Internet. Some estimates put the total number of blog posts written every day at almost 3 million. Finding it hard to stand out? Producing spelling and grammar checked content low on filler and crutch words helps.
Pro Writing Aid is the latest in my arsenal of writing tools. It takes many of the best parts of apps like Hemingway app, Grammarly, and Scrivener and rolls them all together. Think of Pro Writing Aid as your style guru. Grammarly is a fantastic app but focuses on spelling and grammar. The next level of writing skills is great style. Great style is what all writers should aspire to have.
The free version of PWA is web-based and allows you to check 500-word documents. The premium version which I strongly recommend also offers a desktop app.
This tool is all about making writing better. If you care about putting well-crafted words out into the wider world, use Pro Writing Aid.
What it does: Awards and points tracker
Keeping track of your Miles and Awards points can be a bit of hassle. Award Wallet takes away the hassle and provides a central repository for all of your awards points.
Connect your frequent flyer accounts to the app and Award Wallet will display all of your awards programs with their status level, points balance, and expiry date. Tripit Pro (see above) will also track your awards points but if you don’t have the pro version of Tripit, AwardWallet is a great alternative.
Tripit Pro (see above) will also track your awards points but if you don’t have the pro version of Tripit, AwardWallet is a great alternative.
What it does: Helps you avoid meetings at anti-social hours
Every Time Zone does the maths on time zone conversions so you don’t have to. The visual interface makes it easy to see what time it is anywhere in the world. You can also view what time it will be for you when it’s a particular time somewhere else.
Great for when a client or business partner suggests a meeting based on their local time. Check your local time against theirs just by glancing at the app.