At first glance, the life of working nomads seems to be carefree and easy.
They work from anywhere in the world and travel to far off places at a moment’s notice. All while maintaining a steady income to fund their lifestyle. So how hard can it really be to become a digital nomad?
The truth is that, while the digital nomad lifestyle can be incredibly rewarding, it can also take some getting used to. Whether coming from a school or office setting, most of us are used to working in one place for a set amount of hours. We’re used to someone telling us where to be, when to be there, and what to do once we’re there.
But life isn’t like that when you’re a working nomad. Your office can change daily, your hours can vary, and you don’t have a boss that’s making sure you’re coming in and getting your work done on time. It’s entirely up to you as a working nomad to take advantage of your newfound freedom.
To help you make the most of your nomadic lifestyle, our own digital nomads here at Dollar Flight Club have compiled their top 5 pieces of advice for working nomads.
1. Go with a plan
The life of working nomads might seem like it’s about simply going with the flow, touching down in a random country, and finding a good hammock to work from. Unfortunately, as any experienced digital nomad will tell you, that’s rarely the case.
The reality is that if you want to be a successful digital nomad, you’re going to need to plan ahead to set yourself up for success. This means that when you’re choosing your next digital nomad destination, you need to consider a few things.
Considering most digital nomad jobs depend entirely on having internet access, you need to make sure that you’ll have access to fast, reliable internet at your accommodation or coworking space.
- Cost of Living
Sure, that 2 bedroom apartment in the fancy highrise is a fraction of what it would cost back home. But does it fit your budget? Can you afford to live in your chosen destination if work slows down for a few weeks or if a client falls through? Budgeting, especially in a place where everything seems cheap, might not be fun, but it beats the cost of a plane ticket back home in 6 months.
Every country’s visa rules are different. Before you head off to your next country, check to make sure if citizens of your country have to pre-apply for a visa or if they can acquire a Visa on Arrival. Also, be sure to confirm how many days your Visa is good for.
By overstaying your visa or not having the proper paperwork, you don’t just run the risk of your destination country not letting you in. You run the risk of them requiring that you buy a ticket all the way back to your home country.
2. Travel Slow
We get it. You created this digital nomad lifestyle for yourself because you love to travel. That’s the tie that seems to bond all working nomads.
But while travel may energize working nomads, it also costs a considerable amount of time and money. Not to mention that, over time, it can become exhausting to be a remote worker that’s constantly on the move.
Instead of moving at breakneck speed like a backpacker on summer break, embrace the life of slow travel. Stay in one spot for a week weeks or months and allow yourself to get a sense of stability.
Traveling slowly will help you save money (rent is a lot cheaper on a monthly basis than nightly), focus on getting work done, and get to know each place a little bit better. You’ll become a small piece of your community, learn the best local spots, and have time to make friends in your new city. Plus, the stability and routine will do wonders for your productivity.
3. Meet and Connect with Other Working Nomads
There are a few reasons why connecting with others who are able to work from anywhere is important as a digital nomad.
For one, even though their Instagrams may have you believe that life is all palm trees and passive income, it’s common for working nomads to experience loneliness from time to time. Being able to lean on others who understand your life as an expat or remote worker can be incredibly helpful in low times. And in the life of a digital nomad, there are almost definitely going to be low times.
Besides that, other working nomads are an invaluable source of information and inspiration. Digital Nomads who came to the city before you can recommend the best places to live and work from. Or they just might be the perfect person to partner with on your dream business venture.
Facebook groups are a very popular way to connect with other working nomads. Simply type in your city and “expats” or “digital nomads” and you’ll likely find what you’re looking for. Additionally, with the rise of remote workers, a lot of coworking spaces have begun placing an emphasis on creating a sense of community through social and networking events.
4. Create a Work Schedule That’s Right For You
You may have quit the rat race ditched your “9-5” but if you want to be one of the successful working nomads, you still need to be productive and get your work done on time.
This means different things for different people. Some working nomads prefer to wake up early, hit the coworking space, and be done with their work by the afternoon, similar to a traditional office job. Other working nomads like to work from home or enjoy a slow morning before heading to a cafe to work.
Every working nomad can agree that there’s no one true best way to work. That’s the beauty of striking out on your own. You get to decide what’s best for you.
So feel free to experiment with different work schedules and the places that you work from. Once you figure out which routine works best for you, create a schedule and stick with it. You’ll be happier, more productive, and you’ll probably make more money as a result.
5. Remember Your Why
It may sound silly, but life for working nomads can be full of distractions and disappointments. A business venture could go south or you may hit a creative slump. Your travel plans could get canceled. You might get a little homesick (or just regular sick). Or you may just find that you’re doing a little too much partying and not enough working.
When the going gets tough, it’s helpful to remember why you chose to become a digital nomad and refocus on whatever that reason is. It will remind you of what you need to be focusing on.
If you became a working nomad because you love to travel, make sure that you’re giving yourself time to fully experience the city you live in, not just spending all your time in front of your laptop. If you moved to Southeast Asia to save money and work on your startup, maybe you need to spend less time at the beach or the bar (or the beach bar) and more time building your dream.
Remembering your why is also a great way to feel gratitude for the digital nomad life you’ve created up to this point. Odds are, even though it doesn’t always feel like it, you’ve likely come a lot further than you realize.
The life of working nomads isn’t always about laying by the pool and working when you want. Mostly because working nomads still have to, you know, work. But this lifestyle is still a unique way to create a life of independence, freedom, and happiness completely on your own terms. And if you can put these 5 pieces of advice for working nomads to good use, they’ll be plenty of time for poolside beers and Instagram-worthy sunsets on the beach.
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.