Digital Nomad’s Packing List for a Carry-On Only Trip

How to pack for a weekend trip like a BOSS.

Last short trip I took, to Seattle, I flew with Frontier Airlines, one of our many top-tier domestic carriers here in the U.S. As it turns out, Frontier Airlines now charges for carry-on AND checked bags. The only thing which is free is your 8x14x18 “personal item,” a.k.a. whatever you can fit under your seat. This has probably been the case for a while, but I do most of my flying internationally, so it was a bit of a rude surprise.

Being young and cheap, you know what I opted to do. So, here’s a 5-day packing list for Seattle which will fit under your seat, for free.

Since writing this post, I have since used this same pack for a 2-month international trip. Read a more in-depth packing post about that trip, here.

Everything in the photo fits into the 18L Camelbak, minus the sleeping bag, which I checked into a traveling partner’s bag. Since most digital nomads and weekend travelers won’t be camping like I was, you can safely forget the sleeping bag. I removed the hydration bladder from the Camelbak, and used that compartment to hold my laptop.

FullSizeRender 6

5-Day Digital Nomad Packing List

I mastered the art of traveling light while on my most recent long-term stint as a digital nomad, so packing wasn’t that hard. I actually ended up bringing several items I didn’t even use! (Would have swapped the shorts for another pair of pants).

Here’s what I brought for 5 days in Seattle:


  • Macbook Air & Charger
  • Smartphone & charger
  • Amazon Kindle (If you love books like I do, the Kindle’s way more packable than multiple paperbacks)
  • Power Bank (For charging while on-the-go)
  • 1x pair of earbuds (more packable than real headphones)


  • 4x T-shirts
  • 2x Shorts (one pair casual, one pair athletic)
  • 3x Beanies (I like hats)
  • 2x Ex Officio Travel Underwear (great for extended wear, and easy to wash)
  • 1x Rain jacket (This is Seattle we’re talking about here…)
  • 1x Casual light jacket/hoodie
  • 3 Pairs socks (smell-resistant Merino Wool ones, preferably)
  • 1 pair chinos or jeans (personal preference)
  • 1 belt


  • Toiletries
  • Moleskine Notebook (For journaling/brainstorming/getting away from the computer)

That’s it! That packing list was PERFECT for my five-day trip. Like I said, I even ended up not using a few item, like the journal. I was having too much fun! Hope this list helps you slim down your packing for your next trip!


Pin It!

[the links included in this article are Affiliate Links, meaning I get a small commision if you end up buying the product I’ve recommended. Affiliate links help support this blog.]

15 thoughts on “Digital Nomad’s Packing List for a Carry-On Only Trip

  1. Can’t you put Kindle on the Macbook? I have it on my iPad – I don’t even own a Kindle, just read Kindle ebooks on the iPad.

    Totally agree about the Ex Officio undies, lol.

      • Fair! I’m a big reader so I love having books to read—although half the time I just end up picking up a paperback from the hostel book exchange 😛

      • Rock on — appreciate the tip, man !!

        Yeah, I really dig your posts like this + for example, 7 Tools To Make Your Digital Nomad Life Easier post.

        It’s always nice to see what another blogger does 🙂

        Cheers !!

  2. Hey dude — quality post, like always 🙂

    Keep up the good work !!

    p.s. when did you get affiliate links and where can I get some of those? 😉

    Cheers bromigo ✌️

  3. I have packing for three week trip into an overhead bin carry-on down to a fine art! Some of my friends think I’m some sort of wizard! Packing for under the seat.. now that’s a whole new wizardry challenge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s