16 Must Have Apps and Websites for Digital Nomads

So you work from the road, or would like to?

You’ll soon discover, if you haven’t already, that efficiency is key.

With slow Internet connections, intermittent power, long travel days and all the other obstacles and distractions that stand between you and getting the work done, you need to do whatever you can to make the process easier and more effective.

With that in mind, here are 16 apps, sites and add-ons that those who make a living from the road really can’t afford to be without.

They’ll help you focus better, travel more efficiently, collaborate well with others and much, much more. Let’s get into it.

16 Apps & Websites for Digital Nomads
Photo credit: Shutterstock

WEBSITES

1. Focus@Will

Focus@Will is a godsend when you’re working in noisy environments or otherwise struggling to focus. The site boasts of a neuroscience-based approach to selecting background working music, and it really seems to work.

Rather than blasting out your favourite tunes and ending up singing along for half an hour, the site’s playlists let you concentrate harder and for longer than you otherwise would.

The free version limits the track selections and will stop playing after one hour (although it can be restarted immediately). The paid service costs under $4/month on an annual membership.

2. Canva

Canva is extremely useful for those with limited design skills. The site lets you quickly create professional-looking site graphics, presentations, flyers, infographics and more via a simple drag-and-drop interface.

It’s easy to use, and has a library of tens of thousands of stock images if you don’t have the perfect one yourself. Designs can be shared with others before they’re finalised.

It costs nothing to create designs using either your own photos or any of the stock pictures marked as free. Other images cost a dollar each.

3. Gmail Canned Responses

If you use Gmail and don’t use the inbuilt canned responses feature, you’re missing out. There’s no need to type out the same generic emails any longer — just set up a canned response and add it to your mail with a couple of clicks.

Similar concepts exist for many desktop email applications as well, and this one tool can easily save hours by itself.

Speaking of email, there are several different add-ons you can use to make your emails and relationship management more professional.

Email Add-ons

4. Wisestamp lets you set up multiple dynamic signatures that can include social media icons and latest posts, as well as standard contact information.

5. Rapportive uses a contact’s email address to automatically display information from other channels around the web — you’ll often get the photo, full name, bio and social media activity of the person you’re mailing.

6. Finally, Boomerang lets you bring an email back into your inbox exactly when you need it, rather than just keeping it there as a reminder for weeks.

All add-ons are free for at least basic use, and operate on multiple browsers. Wisestamp works with several different email platforms, while Rapportive and Boomerang are Gmail-only at this stage.

7. Asana

When you’re working with others, it’s often hard to keep track of what everyone is doing and when it’s all due.

Asana is a powerful project management tool that keeps most of the complicated parts out of the way unless you need them.

Even better, there are no limitations in the free version and you only need to start paying once you’re running projects of 15 people or more.

With both Android and iOS apps to go with the web site, it’s no surprise that it’s the preferred tool of many digital nomads.

APPS

8. Rescue Time

Rescue Time automatically tracks how long you spend on different tasks, from writing the next big novel to browsing cat videos on YouTube, and lets you know how much time you’re spending on each.

It’s easy to set specific goals and measure your productivity, and you’ll receive an email each week telling you just how (un)productive you’ve been.

The premium version costs $6/month on a yearly plan, and adds features like website blocking, alerts and tracking offline tasks as well.

9 & 10. AutoHotkey / aText

AutoHotkey (Windows) or aText (Mac) let you set up keyboard shortcuts for inserting text.

Put like that, these apps sound incredibly dull — and yet for speeding up mundane tasks, they’re a lifesaver. Anything from a word to several paragraphs can be quickly inserted into whatever you’re working on at the time.

There are many other, more powerful features built in, but the text entry alone makes them worth the download.

AutoHotkey is free, aText has a free trial and then costs $5.

11 & 12. Ditto / Flycut

Ditto (Windows) or Flycut (Mac) make your computer’s clipboard much more powerful. Rather than just copying and pasting single items, these apps make everything you’ve copied available to paste again and again.

You can even save copied items into a group if they’re something you’ll need in the future, and sync clipboards across multiple computers.

It’s a simple concept, and should be built into every operating system — but until it is, these apps are the next best option.

Both are free!

13. Tripit

Tripit has been around for years, and is still the best way to manage your itinerary with or without a data connection.

With flight details, hotel bookings, car rentals and more all at your fingertips in a single app, it will start saving you time and avoiding frustration from the first day you use it.

It’s available on most platforms, including Windows Phone, Blackberry, Android and iOS.

14. XE Currency

XE Currency is another long-time favourite, this time for doing currency conversions quickly and easily. Add the currencies you need and sync ahead of time, then use the app anywhere you need to.

Again, there are very few platforms that you can’t find a version for.

15. WikiSherpa

WikiSherpa is a great little app that pulls information from Wikivoyage, Wikipedia and Open Street Maps to give you a personalised, offline travel guide.

Again, just sync the places you’re going ahead of time, then load them up when you need them (maps and all). If you don’t have a working data connection while out and about, this can be a life-saver.

Available for iOS and Android.

16. Trail Wallet

Finally, Trail Wallet (unfortunately iOS-only) is a useful tool for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies.

Slick and easy to use, costs can be put into categories, compared to a daily budget and – importantly – exported in CSV format for use in accounting or other systems.

Having the app on your phone makes it much more likely that you’ll enter expenses as you incur them and keep up to date.

About the Author:

This post was adapted from Dave Dean’s new book, Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads. If you’d like to learn much more about the tech side of the digital lifestyle, YTravelBlog readers can get 20% off the PDF version of the book just by using the special code ‘ytravelblog’ at checkout!

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Do you have any suggestions for apps or websites?

Share in the comments below!

 

Dave Dean
Dave grew up in a small town in New Zealand, which seemed like the perfect incentive to get out and see what the rest of the world looked like as soon as possible. Sixteen years later he still hasn’t quite figured out how to stop. He ditched a corporate IT career in favour of life on the road, and now writes about travel technology at Too Many Adapters and long-term travel at What's Dave Doing?

34 Comments on “16 Must Have Apps and Websites for Digital Nomads”

  1. This is a really cool post. Thank you. Lots of useful tips.
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  2. Really cool apps, I must say! Although I am a bit lazy when it comes to using an app, I think I’m inspired to try at least one of them.
    Renuka recently posted..10 Highlights Of My Journey Through Sikkim
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  3. Views On Top is a new iPhone app that helps people find and share the best views around the world… with 84 countries and almost 700 destinations so far, if you want to see a place from ‘up-high’ when you arrive or find a rooftop bar or restaurant with a view, this is the app to tell you where to go! (nicely, with pics :) )
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  4. Oh my god, I’ve been looking for something like Canva for WEEKS! Thank you! :D
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  5. I’m definitely looking into the gmail canned responses. Right now I just have a few templates in a Word document that I copy and paste into gmail when I need them – this sounds even simpler!
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  6. Great suggestions. I’ve only heard of a couple of these, but I’ll be sure to check out the rest of these apps.
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  7. Super useful – thanks – looking into Asana now…. :)
    Heike Herrling recently posted..How To Make A Google Travel Map
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  8. I’ve recently discovered Canva and discovering the great things it can do with pictures. I love the sound of Asana and will download the XE Currency which I use on my desk top but obviously really handy to have with portable devices when travelling. I am also going to try out the WikiSherpa on our next trip later in the year.
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  9. Focus @ Will has striked it right.. while listening to music is good, bad music can be negative

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  10. Wow, some great suggestions. I am looking into Rescue Time right now, just so I can painfully learn how unproductive I am!
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  11. Amazingly useful post! I hadn’t heard of a lot of these. And, since I’m planning to go freelance when I go traveling next year, I will most certainly be using some. In fact, I’m going to test out Focus@Will tomorrow in the office, could be just what I’m awful concentration abilities need!
    Charlie recently posted..How to Budget a Round the World Trip
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  12. Thanks for sharing. I’ve read Hammocks & Hard-drives but this was a good reminder. I haven’t tried Canva yet but I use PicMonkey regularly. I think they’re very similar (easy-to-use photo editing and design tool).

    I’ve been hearing good things about TripIt. Will give it – and the Trail Wallet app – a try on our upcoming 4-week road trip next month. Thanks again!
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  13. I made a note of this in Evernote so I can read this later (super busy right now!) … thanks for taking the time to put this together!
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  14. Hey guys,

    These are some wonderful apps. I have heard of a few of these but haven’t tried any other than XE Currency. Must give them a go, sound so handy :)
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  15. Most of these seem really cool and interesting. I’ll definitely give some of them a shot during my next trip.
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  16. Sounds like some really useful tools for anyone with limited time and distractions! Thanks.
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  17. […] and intermittent power can make it near impossible to work effectively when you’re on the road. y Travel Blog share 16 great apps, sites and add-ons that’ll help you stay productive, from itinerary management tools to […]

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  18. I’m certainly taking some of these apps, thanks so much! What an awesome list. The XE converter I have been using for years too, but I had no clue about the others. I live under a rock apparently.
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  19. This is brilliant! Thank you so much. Canva looks amazing – I’m gonna hop straight over there now. Rescue time too – although I have a sneaking suspicion that my inefficiencies will be quickly revealed. I use Pic Monkey for image collages and quick visuals as well as Piktochart for infographics. Thanks again! Such a handy post :)

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  20. I I had never heard of Canned Responses, and now I have put that lab to good use! No more copy and pasting for me… those days are over!
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  21. LOVE Tripit, but there are several others I’ve not heard of before that I will be checking out, mainly WikiSherpa, Canva and Canned Responses. Thanks for the tips!
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  22. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I also like Evernote, although I’m still learning to work with it
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  23. Thanks for these tips, a lot of apps I didn’t know yet but that sound very useful.

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  24. Some really useful tips here! Will be checking a lot of them out. Staring with wisestamp….:)
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  25. […] to download before your next trip: y Travel’s handy list of 16 must-have apps and websites for digital […]

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