With remote work becoming a reality for more people, a digital nomadic lifestyle has become an appeal for many. Read on to learn what a digital nomad is and how you can become one too.
Two years ago, work from home was not common. Only 6% of total people who were employed worked from home. In May 2020, however, over one-third of total people employed worked from home, with more and more companies now offering remote work as part of their packages.
And based on studies looking at the state of remote work, people like this work-life. One of the biggest benefits? “The flexibility to work from anywhere,” with 25% of respondents of the previous study citing this as the biggest perk to remote work.
This is where the concept of a digital nomad kicks in.
What Is A Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who can work from anywhere in the world. A nomadic lifestyle literally means always in flux—constantly moving. So a digital nomad will typically be traveling long-term.
The only kind of work that allows for this kind of lifestyle is digital, remote work. This grants people the flexibility to travel to different locations—while still earning an income!—on a regular basis. Where there is WiFi, there is the ability to work.
Jobs That Are Good For Digital Nomads
Now, not all jobs will lend themselves to this kind of lifestyle. For example, if you have any kind of job that requires you to physically be in a location or do some kind of manual labor, a digital nomadic lifestyle will not be feasible.
There are two routes when it comes to looking for work: you can work for a company that allows for remote work, OR you can launch your own business and try entrepreneurship. You should go in the direction where you feel most comfortable and secure, especially if you are new to the digital nomadic lifestyle.
Some of the top jobs for a digital nomad lifestyle include:
- Virtual Assistantship
- Freelance Writing
- Teaching a language
If this lifestyle appeals to you but you first want to set up a stable, remote job, consider launching a side hustle while you’re in your home-base. You will have an opportunity to build it up to where you feel confident taking off on your new nomadic lifestyle.
Logistics of Becoming A Digital Nomad
Packing up your things and leaving may sound appealing. It might not be responsible though. There are a few things you need to take care of prior to starting your new lifestyle.
Check for Visa Requirements
Whether or not you require a visa to enter will vary by country. This will not only vary depending on your country of residence, but it will also vary by the length of time you plan on staying in the country. Some countries, like Mexico, have fairly easy requirements. Others require more documentation and planning in advance. Some countries will even have their own vaccination requirement as part of their process.
Ensure That Your Destination Has Stable Wi-Fi
Unless you’ve built up a solid FU fund and can live without an income for a while, you will need to make money. As a digital nomad, this means online work. Camping in a remote place with no service would not allow you to do any of your work. Now, however, a tourist-heavy country like Bali, does have lots of spaces with Wi-Fi.
Depending on your line of work, just having Wi-Fi may not be enough; you will also need to ensure the speed at which it’s downloading, the stability of it, etc. Our top tip? Ensure your living space has stable Wi-Fi!
Get a Travel Card
Those foreign transaction fees are no joke! When you need cash, ATM & currency exchange fees can eat up your stash. To get cash, sometimes you can find debt cards that reimburse you withdrawal fees. Your best bet is to plan ahead and withdraw cash at designated intervals of time, to cut costs.
Credit cards, however, make things a little easier. Travel-focused credit cards are those cards that:
- Have no foreign traction fees
- Give you a perk, such as converting points to miles or travel credit
For specific card recommendations, we like The Points Guy, who specializes on finding cheap ways to travel using card perks.
Pros And Cons of Being A Digital Nomad
As appealing as this lifestyle may sound to you, know that it’s not for everyone. Some pros of being a digital nomad include:
- Being able to explore new parts of the world
- Choosing your own vacation
- Working on your own day-to-day schedule
- Practicing a minimalist style
On the other hand, some cons include…
- Isolation, if traveling solo
- Widely variable expenses on a month-to-month basis
- Having to resettle every few weeks, in a totally new space
With the pandemic, work from home is no longer a novel concept. As more companies switch to a remote model, more and more people are seeking to spend their free time differently. With a few steps and some planning, you can be on your way too.
Note: while countries are slowly opening back up, we encourage you to travel safely by following CDC or local health authority guidance as you make your travel plans. Visit CDC.gov for the latest travel guidance.