As a digital nomad, you know that to be efficient, productive, and successful you need good tools and systems. 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 like to try it. Evaluating software that might help me work smarter is a great way to waste time, but it’s also fun. And it often leads to discoveries of new tools for digital nomads that I present to you in this list.
Looking for some tools to help you work more efficiently? Check out this list of recommended resources and management tools that I use to live and work while travelling.
Tripit – Planning & Organization
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 protected] 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.T
Bookafy – Scheduling Software
One of the biggest challenges facing location independent entrepreneurs and remote workers that service clients
But help is at hand. Bookafy takes the pain out of scheduling. Add your availability to the agenda, block out time, and set your meeting parameters. Your contacts can then use your shared call scheduling link (or embedded widget in your website) to book a slot based on their time zone. Forget about working out the time zone difference. The software will send notifications and calendar events. It will also send emails and SMS message reminders as desired.
Toggl – Time Tracking
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.
Snail Mail Management
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 Traveling Mailbox have come up with a solution.
Sign up for the service and pick an address in the US where your mail gets posted. Your address can be used to receive bank statements, IRS Documents, or anything that a regular postal service delivers (don’t order physical products).
The minions at the receiving locations take photos of your unopened mail and upload them to your account. You then decide to have the letters opened, scanned or dumped. Unlimited phone support is included!
Evernote – Collect, Organize, & File
Evernote is a multi-purpose tool that makes it easy to store information in almost any format in one single location. Create to-do lists, write blog posts, save files, keep a bullet journal, organize photos, clip information from the web, create ebooks, and lots more. I
I’ve been using Evernote for a decade and it’s become an invaluable part of my workflow. I use it to create folders based on upcoming destinations. Then I can move content, PDFs, images, scans, web clips, and anything else related to that destination to one single folder or file. This is an easy way to keep the ideas and important documents for one topic in a single place.
Some people use Evernote as a kind of digital braindump. Anything that can’t be saved into a file or stored in their brains gets pasted into a new Evernote document. But the tool can help you organize your life in many ways. Try it and see.
Borderless – Foreign Currency Debit Card
What it does: gives you bank accounts all over the world.
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. But that’s not all, Transferwise also offers the superb Borderless Account. A currency app that will revolutionize digital nomad invoicing and payments.
With no setup or monthly fee this bank account allows you to receive funds in a local bank account (AUD, USD, EUR, GBP) and pay for services in a local currency. You can do it all in the phone app.
WHA – WiFi-enabled Workplace Finder
What it does: finds you places to work
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.
WorkFrom – Coworking & Cafe Finder
What it does: Finds places to hang out and work
Similar to WHA, WorkFrom lists coworking spaces, cafes, and spaces with WiFi. 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.
Toshl – Expense Tracking & Budget Calculator
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 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.
Krisp – Mute background noise during calls
Ever had to talk to a client, business partner, or even your boss from a noisy coffee shop? Do you work out of a coworking space filled with loud people? Do the birds chirping and roadworks outside your home office bother you when you’re trying to have that important call by Skype?
Krisp aims to remove background noise in your headphones or speakers and on your microphone. Not only does the call sound better to you, but the software will make sure the person on the other end hears crystal clear audio too.
Check out the free version of Krisp, a great tool for cutting through the noise.
AirWallet – Airmiles Tracking
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.
Quickbooks – Accounting & Expense Tracking
What it does: Makes billing and invoicing less painful
Quickbooks is a billing and Expenses tracking app for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads. Thanks to the uncomplicated design, Quickbooks is super fast and easy to use. The app is billed as ‘smarter business tools’ and that’s exactly what it is. But it’s also powerful.
Quickbooks is one of the fastest and complete packages for invoicing and billing. The interface is clean and uncluttered and this for me, is a deal maker. You can manage bills, track income and expenses, create beautiful invoices, manage contractors, track time, and pay employees. And there’s more. It’s a complete package.
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. Quickbooks makes these tasks easy. It’s a powerful addition to the digital nomad toolkit.
Setting up recurring invoices, quotes for work, and adding expenses are all easy to do. 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. Quickbooks accepts multiple bank accounts and currencies. The support team is excellent and there are webinars and extensive documentation to help you get the most from the product.
All in all, A great one-stop product for managing your sales and expenses. Freelancers, Amazon store owners, agency owners, and bloggers are happy with the features on offer for the price.
Trello – Project Management
Life can be complicated. Add travel, new experiences, and changing time zones to the mix, and you’ve got a work-life situation that needs simplifying. Trello is one of the simplest tools for organizing projects, jobs, clients, and pretty much anything you like. It’s super popular because the free plan is generous but also because, as I mentioned before, it’s simple to use. Many large corporations, as well as thousands of freelancers, use Trello as their main project management tool.
Asana is one of Trello’s biggest competitors. It also offers a free plan and I encourage you to check it out. But I find that the interface gets in the way of actually organizing work. If you’re a visual person, Trello’s Kanban layout and the simplified interface will help you manage your travels, work, and play.
Payoneer – Freelancer Payments
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.
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