*That’s bad. Sorry. I am in a ”loud neighbor that parties hard until 4 am and a cat that likes to sing at 5:30 am lack of sleep comatose”. It’s been like this for 4 days now. Pray for my sleep salvation.
Digital Nomad Essential Kit: Appsolutely fabulous. Part 1.
Strap yourselves in kids. It’s time for the first part of another mildly epic series of posts designed to help you get the best out of life on the digital nomad road. Here we will be looking at the essential apps that all remote workers should be aware of. Yes, I have done a few articles on apps before which you can find here, here and here but like me they are a little bit old and probably a little outdated. Also, what my mind and fingers churn out now is objectively much better these days than it was in the halcyon days of my youth (2015).
Anyway, for part 1 I figured we would start with some of the more popular apps that all digital nomads may find themselves in need of. Some of them might seem a bit obvious but I (try to) cater for all at these feasts of knowledge I (irregularly) serve up. From the humble peasant just starting off on their remote work adventure to the highest digital nomad king or queen in the land*.
*If my tongue was pressed any further into my cheek it would be poking out and I would be licking my own face.
Slack – Team communication for the 21st century! Slack is the perfect place to communicate with friends, family, co-workers and more. Slack also allows you to easily share documents and makes it super easy to connect (many of) the tools you already use to it. Handy if you just want to use one central archive. Basically, Slack is ideal if you have lots of friends and family to chat to, the need to share important documents with others and lots of other tools that you wish to connect. Needless to say, I have no need for Slack.
Skype – If like me you have no need for the frills that Slack offers you can always go with old faithful. Skype. Who doesn’t enjoy that weird ‘Sorry, I tried for ages to write the ringtone out but I couldn’t get it right so you can listen to it here instead’?
Rebtel – Slack and Skype are great for calling people but what if you don’t have access to WiFi? Well, Rebtel is the answer. By ‘hijacking’ local phone networks it allows you to make calls anywhere for a fraction of the normal cost.
Google Hangouts – Another communication app. Great if you and your friends all have a Google account.
Trello – Work in a team? Have a to-do list? Let Trello help you with that. It’s basically a notice board that updates in real-time, ideal if you are working on a group project and need to keep in instant contact. There is no limit to the number of people you can add to your board and if you only use the basic package, it’s free!
Wunderlist – My memory is rather terrible, fortunately, I don’t really have a lot to remember. If your memory is waning and you do have a lot to remember Wunderlist could be your saviour. It’s pretty much a to-do list but it looks pretty cool. I’m quite a fan of the example list they use on the website. ‘Book flights to Paris’ is followed by ‘Watch Interstellar’. Sounds like a pretty good day but not exactly one you need an app to remind you to do?
Meetup – Want some friends on your adventures? Use Meetup and find like-minded digital nomads wherever you are in the world. You can search through a wide range of meet ups and even create your own. It’s well worth a look if you are feeling a little lonely.
MissTravel – It’s a dating site for travellers. It’s a strange website for travellers. It has some very good reviews but I’m not going to sign up so I can’t tell you. I don’t think my lady friend would be overly impressed with me! You can read more about it here.
Google Translate – This is my favourite app. I often use it to learn three or four words to badly mumble at a local if I’m feeling an overwhelming urge for human contact. It has a wealth of translating features, offline capabilities and ‘real time’ translation using your camera. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few flaws with the app but all in all it’s cosmic.
Dict.cc – If you don’t like Google or just want to use something different, that’s not as good and doesn’t have as many features. You can use this.
Coach.me – This I find a touch strange. If you want to better yourself as a person but need a reminder of how and when to do it then coach.me is for you. I think the gist of it is to get you in to the habit of doing something on a daily basis at a regular time. One of the examples I found was to set a reminder to ‘brush my teeth’. Now, if you need a reminder to brush your teeth you’ll probably want to sign up for a premium package. This way you get access to personal coaches who if they can’t sort your life out, they can at least sort your teeth out.
*Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss if that’s your thing. Have regular dental check-ups.*
CrashPlan – It’s just a pretty wicked way to ensure that you don’t lose your work. There are 3 plans for you to choose from ranging from free to not free but it’s still cheap. A worthwhile punt if you are going to a country that has a reputation for ‘ropey’ electrics.
Hola – Sometimes you find yourself travelling to these far exotic lands and not realising until you get there that censorship is a thing. Well, get used to it guys and gals! Let me put on my tin foil helmet and tell you all about it…. OK, it’s maybe not that dramatic but it is becoming an increasing problem. I mean, come on, the BBC won’t let me watch Springwatch on the iPlayer anymore. Should you find yourself in a similar situation you might want to try a VPN like Hola.
*If you get arrested by social media-ing in a country you’re not allowed to social media in, that’s NOT my fault!*
Wudatime – Rubbish at time keeping? Let Wudatime manage your time for you. The quicker you finish your work the more time you have for fun!
RescueTime – Rubbish at time keeping? Let RescueTime manage your time for you. The quicker you finish your work the more time you have for fun!
f.lux – If you like to read your devices at night but also like the ability to sleep you should look at f.lux. It automatically changes your display to suit the time of day. Saving your eyes from too much unnatural light. It probably won’t shut up your neighbor or your cat though.
Focus@Will – If you’re reading this and you’re paranoid and your name is Will, relax. I’m not encouraging people to focus at you. Right, now that’s out-of-the-way, Focus@Will is a scientific approach to increasing productivity by listening to music. Well, special music, you can’t just put on any old noise, it has to be scientifically engineered. I like the idea, some of the sample tunes are pretty cool and you can have a 2 week trial for free, why not give it a whirl.
*Now that we’ve lulled him into a false sense of security, focus at Will!!*
timeanddate.com – Look, you’re a digital nomad, I get it. You live the life of Riley working with clients all over the world from wherever you want. Cool, you’ll need a good watch to keep track of all of those time zones though. Or, just get this app. It has everything you need to know about the time. Everywhere. Always.
PackPoint – If you are less than useless at packing for trips this could be the app for you (Christ, they really do make apps for everything now don’t they). Based on a few questions the app will custom build a packing list for you ensuring you have everything you will need. As an added bonus, for reasons that I don’t really understand, you can share your list with other travellers! That must make the hours fly by, sitting in a cafe reading what Bob and Sheila took with them on their wet weekend in Wales.
Day One – It’s a diary. Nothing more, nothing less. I prefer a pen and paper but you know, I’m not you.
Xero – Beautiful and accounting. Not two words you expect to go together too often. However, Xero aims to change that with their beautiful accounting software. It looks incredibly useful if you need this sort of thing, I wouldn’t say it was overly beautiful mind. Looks a bit generic to me. Still, if you run a business and need something to keep on top of all of your accounting needs you could do far worse.
Seven – I’m told that running a successful business can be hard and stressful work. I’m also told that working out can help relieve this stress and tension. If you believe that then have a look at Seven, the app to help you stay fit on the road. All you need is a chair, a wall, your own body weight and seven minutes. I’m tempted.
CityMaps2Go – I’ve bored you with tales of CityMaps2Go before but I stand by it. It’s genius.
AccuWeather – Just like Crowded House said, ‘Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you.’ That’s just true, it’s a fact. Personally I’m more of a ‘look out of the window’ kinda guy but I guess it’s useful to know in advance when planning trips what the weather will be. There’s a wealth of weather apps to choose from but I’m an AccuWeather fella.
Hitlist – Travel More. Spend Less. See if they can match up to that ambitious mission statement by finding you the perfect deals.
Right, that should be enough for you to be getting on with for now. If you know of any great apps for digital nomads let others know in the comments section.
Until next time, take it easy.