The digital nomad life is filled with a whole lot of “new” – new countries, new friends, new languages, new experiences. Living a life of full-time travel and working online means you’re in charge of trying to balance everything.
- You’ve got to book your next flights.
- You’ve got to book your next home.
- You’ve got to manage your time well.
- You’ve got to manage your finances (wisely).
- You’ve got to make new friends.
- You’ve got to plan your itinerary.
- You’ve got to be productive at work.
That’s a lot of “you’ve got to” if you ask me.
It’s a constant challenge to balance work and all those travel plans. While you want to spend all your days playing tourist – you’ve got to spend days sitting in the coworking space with your head down.
And while nothing is done perfectly, there are some ways to make this digital nomad life easier.
Digital nomad apps! These apps are designed to help make your digital nomad life more organized, structured and less stressful.
Since our start of this lifestyle in 2018, I’ve been testing, downloading and trying all kinds of digital nomads apps to see what can help us be more organized. This list continues to grow (as the movement grows) which is exciting because people are starting to create apps for digital nomads specifically!
The 25x Digital Nomad Apps You Need In Your Life
The digital nomad lifestyle can sometimes be portrayed wrong – thinking it’s all about travel and visiting new places but it’s also about simply living! Trying to find the harmony between working hard, learning about new places/cultures and honestly just building a routine.
For this list of digital nomad apps, I’ve broken it down into 5 categories:
- Budgeting and Banking
- SIM Cards and Internet
I’ll be honest: it’s difficult! I can’t even count how many different routines we’ve tried over the years and it can get discouraging when you’ve got to leave a city and didn’t have the opportunity to explore its main attractions.
If you’re a digital nomad, remote worker or full-time traveler – make like easier by downloading these apps!
We’ve tried and tested these digital nomad apps on the road and here’s our must-have list:
Digital Nomad Apps: Budgeting and Banking
These are the digital nomad travel apps we always use to book any accommodation, flights and anything else we need to travel well.
Wise (Formerly TransferWise)
Wise is our go-to app for transferring money internationally.
It allows you to send money to 50 countries at the real exchange rate. You can also hold up to 40 different currencies in the one Wise account. Theirs are really cheap, often up to 3x cheaper than using a regular bank. And because the exchange rate is at the real market rate, they end up being significantly cheaper than services like PayPal.
The app is very easy to use and only takes minutes to sign up. Direct deposits are also really fast, usually reaching the other person’s account within 24 hours. For some currencies – it’s instant!
As a digital nomad being able to pay in the local currency without paying huge exchange fees will save you a lot of money. A Wise account is completely free so it’s literally a no-brainer to sign up!
Looking for an international business account?
Wise also offers business accounts. We have saved a ton of money sending and receiving money internationally. You can open an account in up to 40 currencies and make international transfers for up 19x cheaper than a normal bank.
Wise business accounts are also free and you can link them to your personal account!
We use Revolut as our day-to-day debit card. It also offers market-rate currencies and their fees are slightly less than Wise for smaller transactions. They also have some of the safest security settings of any finance app on the planet. Within the app, you have complete control of the level of security you want on your card including location-based security. This blocks any transaction that is done when your phone isn’t within 20 meters.
This one feature saved our friend $300 once after his card was stolen!
With Revolut you also get free ATM withdrawals from 55,000 ATMs around the world. We all know how much ATM fees are these days.
Revolut has 3 account options:
Each plan has its own benefits but our personal choice is Metal because we use the card every day! Signup for Revolut now and get a free $10 welcome bonus when you make your first transaction.
Want to learn more about Revolut? Read our complete Revolut review.
I came across Chime on Instagram and immediately fell in love…with a bank?! Wait what? Yeah I know right… But hear me out: they have great branding, user interface and honestly such a great purpose – to help people manage their money better. Something us digital nomads need.
Chime is an e-bank which means there is no physical place you can sign up for a card but only through their app or website. Once approved you can get a checking, spending and credit-builder account. Each account has different purposes and their app is so easy to use!
This is only available for US citizens and it’s super easy to sign up. If you want to join, my referral link (chime.com/r/ashleyelliott94) gets you $100 each when you sign up. Let me know if you have any questions and DM me on Insta. Chime has increased my credit score, money habits and I’m a loyal customer now!
Do you need help with choosing a bank that suits your digital nomad life? Check out the best banks for digital nomads.
Trail Wallet is a simple budgeting app developed by digital nomads – for digital nomads. After looking through a bunch of travel apps for expense tracking, Trail Wallet was the clear winner.
Why? It’s simple to use! You set your budget categories and choose a budget. Now just record all the expenses and how much you paid for them. Easy right?
And Trail Wallet supports every world currency. So you don’t have to bother converting the price you paid back to your home currency. Trail Wallet does it for you automatically. At the end of the month, you get a complete rundown of your finances that accurately shows where you spent all of your money. It really does make keeping a digital nomad budget a breeze.
Trail Wallet allows you to record the first 25 transactions for free so you can get a feel for the app. After that, it’s just a one-time fee of $3.99 for unlimited use!
Digital Nomad Apps: Travel
These are the digital nomad travel apps we always use to book any accommodation, flights and anything else we need to travel well.
When we first became digital nomads, we loved using Skyscanner because it gave us a great overview of the deals, airlines, flight times and prices to analyze. However…more recently we have been loving Google Flights.
While it’s not an app per se (pls make it an app Google), it’s a website that is super easy to use and understand your flight options. The main reason we use Google Flights now is because of the ease of use and the deals seem to be better on there (weirdly enough).
Since COVID, we have decided to stop using third-party agents eg. Expedia, eDreams, Kiwi, etc because it is harder to negotiate things if you have to go through the middle man. We book directly on the airline’s site and while we might pay a couple of dollars more – we have peace of mind. Google Flights makes it easy to do just that!
Airbnb is our #1 app to book long-term stays as digital nomads. You get to see a wide variety of apartments, houses, private rooms and more. Since the pandemic, I feel their platform has become a little more digital nomad friendly adding features like wifi speeds, monthly stays and being able to add +3,5,7 days to your dates helps a lot.
We understand there has been some negative backlash against Airbnb’s customer service etc but you honestly can’t beat the convenience. When we were digital nomads in Asia, we usually booked a place for a week then did an apartment hunt on the ground to get the best prices. Nowadays, we prefer to book around 6 weeks in advance and stay for at least a month which is why we book through them.
Airbnb gives us peace of mind that we’ve got a fully equipped apartment when we land in a new country. I’ve tried the other apps like VRBO and Anyplace but it honestly doesn’t even compare. For some reason, VRBO is just waay more expensive than Airbnb places so it’s not worth it to us to make the switch!
Traveling as a digital nomad and you don’t have insurance?
Two words: Please don’t! You never know what can happen especially if you’re constantly traveling to new countries. Figuring out how to get medical help alone can be difficult – imagine if you didn’t have insurance to help you pay for it. It’s easy for hospital bills to get higher and if you don’t know the language your doctors are speaking? It’s just scarier.
For us, we use and recommend Safetywing.
Safetywing Nomad Health Insurance was created with people like us in mind. That’s why it’s priced so well at only $40 per month no matter where you travel (except the USA :P). It used to cost a little less but they have since raised the price but only so they can also cover COVID. Totally worth the extra dollars!
Safetywing is our number 1 digital nomad app for insurance and it’s so easy to get started. An alternative to Safetwing is the popular, WorldNomads. It’s much more expensive but I believe it covers more than Safetywing does. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you!
I can’t tell you how many times Google Translate has saved us! We use this app everywhere we go to be able to converse but also to simply read a menu at a restaurant. Download the Google Translate app and keep it handy.
The best function on the Google Translate app is the ability to use the camera to read signs, menus and more. When we were digital nomads in Mexico, we used the app almost every day because our Spanish just wasn’t there yet. But when we were digital nomads in Asia, we actually didn’t use it as often as it seemed a good amount of people could speak English compared to Latin America.
Hotwire is a platform that gets you the best last-minute deals. How?
When you choose a location to book a hotel, they will give you a mystery hotel before you book. Sometimes, they will say ‘we guarantee it’s between 1 of these 2 hotels’. This allows you to get more dollars shaved off the price!
We used Hotwire in places like Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles and they always had the lowest prices for the same hotels you see on Booking.com. We can sometimes tell which of the 2 we would get just by doing a little research and it’s worked out great *almost* every time!
The only bad experience we’ve had is when we booked a place and it said it would be accommodation similar to the Comfort Inn, Travelodge, etc but it ended being some dingey motel. Our advice would be to never book if it says “it’s similar to xyz brands”. You’re likely to get the bad end of that stick each time and their cancellation fee is $40.
It’s not just for booking hotels either – you can rent cars on Hotwire! We did this in LA and again it was easily the cheapest option. We paid $160 USD for 5 days and it was using the company, Thrifty. Just insane value for money!
Are you a planner? Then you’ll love Hopper!
They claim to save travelers up to 40% off of hotels and flights. The best feature I think Hopper offers is their price prediction graphs. Whenever we plan our travels, I have a look at Hopper to see when’s the cheapest dates to fly and more.
This digital nomad app is really simple to use and it’s a great alternative to Hotwire, Booking.com and more. Even if you don’t ever book anything via Hopper, their user interface makes understanding and planning your travels so much easier.
Need a ride? Rideshare apps, like Uber, Grab or Lyft have made life so much easier. You can easily order a car (or motorbike in some countries), it arrives to pick you up and drops you off at your destination. The best part? A fixed price you agree to before you even book!
If you’re like me, I just hate haggling with taxi drivers in a new country I’m not familiar with. Here are some of the best rideshare apps digital nomads need:
Uber: The OG of all rideshare apps. Highly recommend keeping this app on your phone because you never know where it’s available. For example, Uber is available in Antigua, Guatemala – who knew? Always check to see if you can use it (some places have forbidden Uber ehem we see you Canggu, Bali).
Grab: Grab is the Uber of Asia. Uber may or may not be available but chances are high that Grab is! It’s popular in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and more. With Grab, you can ride cars or on the back of a motorbike which can be pretty fun (depending on how you look at that lol). When we were Chiang Mai digital nomads, we used Grab pretty often and the price are very competitive and often cheaper than a Tuk Tuk!
Obi: This isn’t a rideshare app but rather an app that tells you which rideshare app (Uber or Lyft) has the cheapest prices. Then you can open the app with the cheapest price and book that ride. It’s great if you don’t want to flip through the apps to see the best deal.
Digital Nomad Apps: SIM Cards and Internet
There’s a couple of hidden gems in this digital nomad app. If you’ve ever struggled with figuring out what to do about your phone number or what to do if you don’t have access to the internet – keep reading below.
One of the best and most underrated digital nomad apps you need on your phone! Nomad eSIM is exactly that of an eSIM app that allows you to use data in several countries.
We always get a local SIM around day 2-3 of arriving in a new digital nomad destination but sometimes having data right after you arrive at the airport is important. Simply log in to the Nomad eSIM app, choose the country you’re in and select your plan.
We have used this to get from the airport to our Airbnb which makes us feel safer since we have data/connection to the world in some way. Also, sometimes we’re just lazy and can’t be bothered to find the SIM Card stalls and gives us that extra time to figure all that out. I can’t emphasize how much of a MUST this digital nomad app is!! If you never even use it, just download it still in case of emergencies!
If you want to join, download nomad esim and add the referral promo code (MATT84DO). It gets you $3 off your first plan purchase. Let me know if you have any questions and DM me on Insta.
“How do I receive my bank pins/authentication messages?”
Your Skype number is how! I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve seen a post on a digital nomad group asking this exact question. A lot of people especially Americans have recommended Google Fi as the solution – but we didn’t think it was a great deal to be honest (more on that below). This was a constant struggle for us during the first couple of years as digital nomads – we even used Matt’s parents’ number at times to authenticate things. But we finally found the solution.
We pay $7.99 per month for a Skype number (mine in American) – this way we can always get any pins, authenticators within a minute or so. We have never had a text arrive too late – it’s worked every time for us!
Why We Don’t Recommend Google Fi
Simply: it costs way too much!
Most digital nomads will pick up a local sim card and buy a pre-paid plan. It works out to be significantly cheaper than using Google Fi’s international coverage. Plus you get the benefit of a local sim card. The only time we recommend Google Fi is if you *absolutely* need to keep your current mobile number and you can’t port your old number to Skype.
If you need a home number for bank authorizations then a Skype number is the way to go.
Every digital nomad should use a VPN (virtual private network).
As digital nomads, you work from tons of different places and use lots of different wifi networks. These networks open you up to the risk of being hacked, spied on or picking up some nasty malware. VPNs are an easy layer of protection from all of these things. But VPNs are more than just security. What if you want to watch HBO Max or Hulu from another country. Use a good VPN and you can.
Our personal choice is Nord VPN. Matthew has done a ton of research on which digital nomad VPN is the best and Nord VPN won out every time you compare value for money vs features.
They have a super-fast VPN, that is extremely secure offering military-grade encryption. And if you sign up using this link it will cost you just $99 USD for 2 years (65% off).
Whether it’s for streaming or security, Nord VPN is an easy recommendation as a top digital nomad app.
Wish you could take your wifi with you wherever you go? Now you can!
Solis wifi has created a product called Solis Lite which is a portable wifi hotspot and portable charger all in one! Now you can say goodbye to worrying about wifi on a small island in Thailand. Solis wifi goes wherever you go and the best thing is it can hotspot up to 10 devices!
They have flexible global data plans such as a daily pass, unlimited monthly pass or a pay-per-GB pass. It’s up to you and your needs for wifi! This is a great option to have in your digital nomad toolkit if you are worried about getting spotty wifi and can’t miss any calls. This digital nomad app has your wifi issues solved!
Digital Nomad Apps: Productivity
Productivity is such a struggle when you’re a digital nomad. Your work environment is constantly changing and you need to find some sense of routine and stability. Here’s the best digital nomad apps to stay productive:
The most simple, user-friendly time/task management app. To be honest, we didn’t really like Notion when it first came out so we decided to go with ClickUp. While ClickUp is one of the best apps for digital nomads with size-able teams – it became too complicated and unnecessary for 2 people like us.
Notion is a great digital nomad app because it is simple, clean and helps you stay organized. Whether you need to plan your trip, organize your business or just journal – Notion is as good as it gets! I downloaded a free template from @JulesAcree and I’ve modified it to make it mine but it’s a great foundation for your Notion. Below is a peek inside my personal Notion and how I’ve organized it to suit my style of work/life management.
The hardest thing to nail down as a digital nomad is…
…how you spend your time! We have struggled with this since we started in 2018 and while we aren’t amazing at it yet – we have improved thanks to Toggl! I’m actually using it right now to write this blog 😛
Toggl is a task/project management tool that allows you to track your time, use the Pomodoro method and more. For the 1st week, we suggest just turning it on and seeing what you spend your time on. From here, you get a deeper analysis at what’s sucking time or where you are productive. Afterwards, you can use it to track your time when you work/do a task. You’d honestly be surprised at the results – we were!
If you’re big on sleep, it’s probably because you read the book “Why We Sleep”. Matthew has done quite a bit of research on sleep and prioritizes it now. As we are digital nomads traveling full-time, our sleep patterns get interrupted quite a bit and if you add jet lag to that? Pshhh – talk about a couple of wasted days.
We tested the Timeshifter app on our journey from Greece to Mexico. This was a 16-hour journey with a huge time difference. Simply add your trip to the app and it will give you notification throughout the trip on whether you should sleep, nap, eat, or drink coffee at certain times to beat jet lag. It worked pretty well and we were off to a great start as Merida digital nomads. Highly recommend this digital nomad app if you’re struggling with jet lag.
Got too many time zones to keep track of? We know the feeling! My immediate family is spread out across Alaska, France and the Philippines so TimeBuddy has literally become my best friend whenever we need to set up a family call.
There’s a desktop version too but that app is pretty simple to use. You can add up to 4 different time zones for free. The best part of the app is how easy it is to understand the times for each country – it lines it all up for me (as seen in the photo above). An underrated MUST on your digital nomad apps.
How do I read books while I’m a digital nomad?
That’s actually a pretty common question! If you’ve only got 50lbs of digital nomad luggage to work with…you can’t carry books with you, right? Sadly, that’s right. I love reading hard copies but it just doesn’t work with this lifestyle. So we made a conscious compromise to switch to Audible.
Simply sign up for audible, download the app and you can immediately begin to *listen* to books. We’ve come to love reading this way and find we actually read more because it’s so easy to listen!
Worried about cyber security hacks as you travel? You should be! If you’re constantly connecting to public wifis like ones from cafes – you need to make your passwords hack-proof.
Use a password management app like LastPass. Keep all of your passwords in one place and ensure your account doesn’t get hacked! They have dark web security, password generators (to make it hard for hackers :P) and an easy-to-use design.
You can even do cool things like add your cards to LastPass and it auto-fills for you when you make a purchase (if you trust it with your card lol).
Digital Nomad Apps: Community
One of the hardest things about being a digital nomad is loneliness. Here are some of the best digital nomad apps to help you find a community wherever you are.
We love TrustedHousesitters! We think it’s such a great way to live like a ‘local’ wherever you are but…
…the biggest bonus is having a pet by your side. Let me try to explain TrustedHousesitters in one sentence: a platform to find house/pet sits anywhere in the world. You do NOT get paid to housesit – this is a mutual exchange! The owners give you free accommodation (usually shoulder the utility cost) and in exchange, you carry out the responsibilities for taking care of their pet (walking 2x times a day for 30+ minutes, etc).
Matthew and I have done over 7 sits now across the USA, England and Australia. We have been pretty lucky with our owners because they have all been so nice and welcoming to us. The pets have been the best especially since I love dogs – they fill that void for me while we continue to travel full-time. For some sits, we were given access to a car which makes everything better especially if you choose a sit that doesn’t have easy access to public transport.
If you really want to visit a certain country, like England where it costs an insane amount for rent – check out TrustedHousesitters for any sits first! We stayed in England for 8 weeks rent-free thanks to housesitting and we got to explore the countryside.
WorkFrom is a very cool and much-needed digital nomad app. Maybe you’re not a fan of coworking spaces and love to workfrom (see that) cafes?
WorkFrom allows you to discover the best cafes to work from and gives you valuable information like whether there are plugs, wifi or good seating available. While it’s not the most accurate and doesn’t have every single cafe in the world – it works pretty well when you’ve got zero clue where to go!
Want to make new friends? Meetup is a platform you can find events, excursions and workshops to meet new people wherever you are located.
Simply type in your current digital nomad city then a list of upcoming events will appear for you to join. Joining an event is free but if you want to create your own events, it’s around $10 a month (kinda steep if you ask me).
Good ole Reddit – you gotta love it! Reddit is a community forum platform and one of the best digital nomad apps to get valuable information.
Most people post their real experiences and ask questions to form discussions on various topics. A great place to hang out if you want the latest news on first-hand experience of how to get into Thailand in 2022 (a repetitive search for us lol) or simply to ask “how to become a digital nomad“.
25x Digital Nomad Apps To Make Life On The Road Easier
Being in control of your work, life and travels are freeing and overwhelming all at the same time. As two digital nomads, we are constantly striving to work productively and still be able to explore and have some adventures.
Use any or all of these 25 digital nomad apps to help make life on the road less stressful and more efficient. We know since we became digital nomads in 2018, we wished we knew any of these apps to help us get through our finances, travels and time management.
Hopefully, this helps you like it’s helped us during our digital nomad life. We’re curious to know which one you’ll download first – let us know in the comment section below.