17 Essential Tools and Apps for Digital Nomads

With these tools and apps you can conquer the world from a beach in Bali or a café in Paris


From a beach in Bali to a café in Paris, remote professionals carry their work in their backpacks to any part of the world. However, for this to work in any time zone, a good deal of discipline is required, as well as the right tools and apps for digital nomads to maintain productivity, creativity, and balance.

And here, it’s worth noting: everyone develops their quirks and preferences over time. And you might test a million apps before finding the one that works for you.

To help, I’ve compiled 17 essential tools and apps for digital nomads, or at least for this digital nomad speaking to you. Check out our essential gear for Digital Nomads,too.

Tools and Apps for Productivity

Tools and apps for digital nomads and remote work

1. Notion

My favorite of all time! It’s been less than a year since I started migrating my entire personal organization system to Notion, and I already don’t know how to live without it.

The tool’s flexibility allows for everything from creating to-do lists to developing complex project management systems, all on an online platform that you can access from anywhere in the world.

The customization capability is, without a doubt, one of the app’s strengths. You can start with a blank template or explore the numerous options available in the Notion community. And there’s a template for just about anything, free and paid, whether it’s a travel diary or a financial dashboard.

With it, you can organize and always have any aspect of your life at hand. And that’s a huge advantage for those who live on the road. You can sign up here.

2. Calendar / Google Calendar

This one is another app I can no longer live without. I prefer the interface of the Apple Calendar, but I sync everything so that any event added to Google Calendar also shows up there.

It reminds me of my commitments and birthdays, but its use goes far beyond that. I have used the time-blocking technique for several years to organize my life. Once a week, I take my list of ongoing projects in Notion and allocate time blocks in the calendar to work on each of them. For this, I use a different color and calendar from the ones I use for appointments.

This way, I can ensure that I look a little bit at each important thing I have in mind at that moment, whether in my personal or professional life, and each project advances, even if it is only a few centimeters every week.

But beware: a calendar alone does nothing for you. You need to mark things there and show up for each of them as if it were an important interview. Honoring the agreements you make with yourself is the best organizational tool.

Remember to leave time aside for leisure and rest, as well as a margin for delays.

3. Google Drive

This one needs no introduction, right? For those who live traveling, the cloud is a salvation. And for more than a decade, I have concentrated all my important documents on Google Drive.

In addition to keeping my files safe and accessible, Google Drive facilitates real-time collaboration, something very important for those who work in a 100% remote team.

Tools and Apps for Creativity

Tools and apps for digital nomads
Tools and apps for digital nomads

4. Google Photos

I sold my camera a few years ago to invest in a better phone. I did this to get rid of some extra weight and bulk, something I always try to do in my travel routine. Today, all the visual content I produce is made with my iPhone.

With Google Photos’ automatic sync enabled, any photo and video go straight to the cloud, staying protected in case of loss or theft of the phone. Then, I organize everything into albums separated by place and occasion, but the app still has a super helpful contextual search to help you find what you’re looking for.

This has a cost, and I don’t know what I’ll do in the future, but for now, it has been an excellent solution for me.

5. Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that has democratized access to high-quality visual content creation, allowing even those without a design background to produce acceptable pieces.

I’m not saying here that it replaces the work of a professional. Still, it becomes a viable alternative for solo entrepreneurs who end up being responsible for all functions in their companies and need to produce graphic pieces for social media, email marketing, and others.

The platform operates on a drag-and-drop model, making the design process intuitive. There is a vast library of pre-designed templates, ranging from Instagram posts to presentations and business cards, all customizable to your taste or according to your brand. Moreover, you can access a huge selection of photographs, vectors, videos, illustrations, and fonts in free and premium versions.

And here’s my tip: hire a designer to create your branding and ask for applications and models to use on Canva. Your creation will be more original and intuitive after that.

6. Chat GPT

The big hype of the moment, Chat GPT has many uses that go far beyond being an advanced chitchat generator.

These are some of the uses I give it in my daily life:

  • Help in brainstorming ideas and creative approaches
  • Source and reference research
  • Summarization of research material, highlighting the main points
  • Assistance in developing interview scripts
  • Help in weekly/monthly planning and goal-setting
  • Organization of extensive investigations
  • Keyword research
  • Text editing and correction
  • SEO title and meta description suggestion
  • Suggestion of H2 structure for blog posts
  • Selection of best quotes from a book or text
  • Writing descriptions for YouTube videos
  • When I’m stuck on a text, I ask for help with directions I can follow, and it gives me a list of ideas. I select the ones I like the most and keep asking for more suggestions until I find one that works
  • Kickstarting video script creation (being from the written word, I find it harder to think imagistically, and chat helps me with insights into the videos I’m producing)
  • Assistance in creating social media posts, like relevant captions and hashtags
  • Metrics and results analysis, helping to identify improvement points
  • Drafting answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Generation of codes used on my sites

7. Scrivener

Scrivener is an essential app for writing professionals working on longer projects.

This is because Scrivener was designed with the creative process in mind, unlike traditional text editors. It allows you to organize your material in a non-linear and flexible way. You can start writing in the middle of your book, work on different chapters simultaneously, or adjust the structure as new ideas arise without losing track.

You can test the tool for 30 days before buying the license.

8. Paper

If you have an iPad and a stylus, this app will turn it into an actual notebook. It is very useful if you can’t give up writing and drawing by hand but keep weighing the burden of carrying several notebooks and materials in your backpack.

Aimed at artists and designers, it also works for those who want to doodle, like me! The app features a range of drawing tools that simulate real brushes, pens, and pencils. The stylus’s pressure sensitivity is leveraged to create varied lines and textures, making the drawing experience as close to reality as possible.

9. Pinterest

I use it for everything that requires inspiration, from clothes to design, travel ideas to decoration.

For digital nomads and content creators, Pinterest also helps when discovering new ideas, trends, and perspectives that can enrich both your work and your adventures around the world.

Tools and Apps for Health

10. SafetyWing

Safety Wing travel Insurance

For many years, I traveled without finding a good insurance solution. Most of the plans available on the market were designed to cater to holiday travelers. That means I had to purchase insurance before departing and pay for the entire policy at once, with very little flexibility in case I wanted to change my plans.

SafetyWing Insurance That’s where SafetyWing comes in. Designed for nomads and frequent travelers, the company offers travel and health insurance with global coverage, flexible plans, and affordable prices. Signing up is done with a simple and complete online registration, renewed monthly, and can be paused anytime. Just press a button.

Nomads Insurance covers 185 countries and offers monthly payments that fit the budget. Click here to learn more.

11. Apple Fitness+

I always try to find a gym in the places where I set up my camp, but that’s not always possible. In those cases, I turn to Apple’s Fitness+ to keep up with my exercise routine.

The great thing here is that they have a library of workouts and guided meditations, making it capable of meeting each user’s fitness preferences and needs, from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and yoga to sessions focused on strength and relaxation.

Moreover, it has perfect integration with the Apple Watch, allowing you to monitor real-time metrics such as heart rate, calories burned, and progress over time. And the best part is that it’s included in the Apple One package, along with Apple TV and extra iCloud storage.

Tools and Apps for Finances

12. N26

N26 is a German bank that is fully online and operates in various European countries. From opening an account via a video call to all operations, everything is done with the bank’s app.

They charge no banking fees, and you get five free monthly withdrawals at any euro ATM.

Open an account here and use the code nataliap1269 to earn 15 euros. However, a European address is required for registration.

For those living on the road, the great advantage of N26 is the international transaction fees, offering currency conversions at rates better than most alternatives. This is a good option if you have income in euros and want to use it on other continents, too.

It’s also worth it for those who receive in other currencies but live or travel a lot through Europe.

13. Wise

Wise, formerly TransferWise, kicked in the door to offer a practical and viable money management solution for digital nomads, frequent travelers, and anyone involved in international transactions with a fast, transparent money transfer service and, most importantly, significantly lower fees compared to conventional banks.

The great advantage here is that the company applies the actual exchange rates, also known as mid-market rates, without the excessive markups that many banks apply.

In addition, the company also offers a multi-currency account, allowing you to hold, exchange, and spend money in over 50 different currencies, in addition to providing an associated Mastercard debit card. If before we were racking our brains to figure out the best way to take money abroad, now it’s just a matter of choosing the currency and transferring it to Wise. You can even make a pix, and the converted money is instantly in your account!

Open your account for free here.

Tools and Apps for Hobbies

14. Duolingo

Knowing the local language changes the travel experience. Duolingo is a fun way to learn some phrases, structures, and words that can give you a head start in a new language. I proudly maintain a streak of more than 100 days learning Japanese on the tool and I recently started doing French exercises as well. My main goal is to pick up some vocabulary for my next trips.

With short and objective lessons, the app allows you to fit language study into any schedule, no matter how busy you are.

A great advantage is that many languages are ready to be learned in the app. From the most commonly spoken, such as English, Spanish, and French, to the less accessible, such as Scottish Gaelic and Esperanto, allowing us to explore languages out of pure cultural interest.

Moreover, the app adapts the difficulty of the lessons to the user’s progress, ensuring that learning is always challenging but never discouraging.

15. Kindle App

Having a physical book is a luxury for someone who lives on the road. Although I do like the volumes on my shelf, carrying them in my backpack is another story. For many years, 90% of the books I buy are in e-book format.

Recently, I retired my Kindle, which is over a decade old and the battery isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t bought a new one yet, so all my readings are done through the Kindle app on the iPad.

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed it more than I thought I would. In addition to being faster than the Kindle (at least my 2013 model), the experience is better in books with images thanks to the color screen, and you can put different colors on the text markers.

16. Substack

With the death of feed readers, we spend a lot of time hostage to social networks to discover good content on the internet. With algorithms increasingly calibrated to deliver advertising and directed at ephemeral engagement, connecting authors/creators with an audience has become a lost war.

That’s where Substack comes in. A place where we can (still) find authentic and personal content directly from our favorite voices. And with the assurance that you will see all the posts from everyone I chose to follow.

For those who value reading as a form of learning, inspiration, and escape, Substack is one of the few places on the internet where there is still creative freedom and independent thought.

For me, the experience is almost like returning to the internet of the 2000s. It’s possible to connect directly with writers we admire without the interruption of ads or the noise of social networks.

Tools and Apps for Travel

17. Worldpackers

A platform that facilitates the connection between travelers and communities and helps us save on accommodation. That is Worldpackers. There, you can find various international volunteering opportunities ranging from helping with an environmental project to teaching in local schools.

By using the coupon NATYBECATTINI, you get a 10-dollar discount on the membership, which lasts a year, and you can participate in as many experiences as you want during that period.

Thus, you ensure that your trip will not be just any trip but an experience that transforms both the traveler and the host community. Click here to learn more about Worldpackers!

Editor of Yes, Summer! I am a Brazilian journalist, writer, and digital nomad. I have been traveling the world, telling stories, and tasting local beers since 2010. I am the co-founder of 360meridianos, a reference in travel writing in Brazil, and author of the newsletter Migraciones. On social media, I'm always reachable at @natybecattini.

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