I learned it the hard way: If I want to be able to work anywhere as a digital nomad, I need to be organized and find a way to have all my files and tools with me at all times. There is nothing worse than sitting in a nice cafe in a remote part of the world an getting ready to get some work done, just to realize that my draft of that article I intend to write is saved at my computer at home, and the images are on that hard drive in the drawer of my desk. It’s a fantastic place to store images, it’s just bad that I am 1000 miles away from my desk. In situations like this, I have to bite in the sour apple and redo my work. Lost time, if I would have just been more organized. And you must understand, I am an incredibly lazy person. I hate to repeat things, that’s why I try to do them correctly the first time around.
Over the years I had lots of similar experiences, and that’s why I am a little bit obsessed with finding ways to keep all my files accessible at all times and on any of my devices simultaneously. Depending on the trip, I am nowadays even able to ditch my Macbook Pro and travel with one of my iPads only. And since I am a one-bag traveler, the less I have to take, the better.
I want like to share with you a few of my favorite apps that help me achieve this goal of working location independently. Most of them sync seamlessly between all my devices, so I save some time copying and transferring data from one device to another.
And honestly, with my current setup, I can do almost all my work while traveling.
Notion is a fantastic app that helps me and our team stay organized. We set up several workspaces for our tasks and processes, our content calendar, and manage all our projects.
Evernote is my “long term brain”, where I store everything from recites to travel bookings to project research data and everything else I can clip on the web.
One feature I especially like when traveling is the option to make offline notebooks. For example, I have one offline notebook on my phone for all my travel-related files like airplane tickets and hotel bookings. Now, when I do a booking on my computer and I add the confirmations to this notebook, it automatically syncs them with that notebook on my phone. This comes in extremely handy when you on the go and have no internet connection. I can just pop out my phone and I can access all my documents, even when I am offline.
Ulysses is my favorite writing app. I like the clean layout and the markdown feature. But on top of its simplicity, it just simplifies my workflows: I can post articles directly to my WordPress pages or export them as Ebooks.
And it automatically syncs between all my devices, so I can brainstorm on my phone while waiting in a supermarket line and finish writing on my laptop on the train. Works like a charm.
This is my favorite app to draw. As you may know, one of our passive income streams is to design T-Shirts for Print on Demand services (if you want to know how I stay organized, I made a tutorial on that). I even do simple animations with it that I can use as animated logos or Youtube intros (also see “Animate hand-lettering with Procreate”).
The only downside in my opinion: Since I have several iPads, I only wish that they would add an option to sync my drawings between all my devices.
Great app to edit videos on the iPad. Very intuitive, and it even has some advanced features like LUTs. Often, the quality of the output is good enough for many projects.
Unfortunately, a few important things are still missing in the app, like being able to edit voices or remove background noises and hissing. So for more professional projects, I often do the first edit on the go in Lumafusion and then fine-tune them later in Premiere Pro.
Lightroom or Snapseed
Since I have an Adobe subscription, this is my editing app of choice. The iPad version is fun to use, and it automatically syncs with my Mac.
A great alternative is Snapseed, which is a free app.
In my opinion, a to-do list app is a must-have to capture all your tasks. It doesn’t matter which tool you use, as long as you use it consistently. The free version of Todoist is my app of choice.
I believe a calendar app is pretty self-explanatory as well. I use Google calendar and sync it to all my devices.
Again, choose a good, reliable cloud and stick with it. Since we have a few devices outside of the Apple ecosystem, we chose Google Drive. But you can also use iTunes or Dropbox or any other service. Just make sure to have all your necessary files synced to it.
I automatically back up all the photos that I take on my phone to Google Photos and then organize them into folders on their webpage. I use the free option, where they reduce the image quality a little bit. But this gives me peace of mind that I will not lose my beloved travel photos when my phone gets stolen (which never happened, by the way) or I accidentally kill my phone (which happens).
So, these are my ten favorite apps I use daily when working and traveling. As a fellow digital nomad, which apps are you using?