Becoming a Digital Nomad

7 Practicalities Behind Becoming a Digital Nomad

In recent years, the idea of dropping your 9-5 in order to become a digital nomad has become more and more popular. This lifestyle offers individuals the freedom to work remotely while exploring the world at the same time – never being tied down to an office. 

While most people like the idea of working on the sandy beaches of Costa Rica with a strawberry daiquiri in hand, it’s important to understand some of the practicalities and complications behind this nomadic lifestyle. Here are some of the most important things to consider before you hand in your resignation letter and hop on a plane. 

Financial Planning and Budgeting

Before setting off on a journey like this, it’s essential that you take a good, hard look at your financial situation and create a realistic budget. Consider your current income, savings, and expenses, and determine how much you need to sustain the kind of lifestyle you’re looking for while travelling.

Factor in costs like accommodation, transport, food, healthcare, emergency funds, and a little splurging money. You also, obviously, need to consider what you’ll be doing for work, if your current job doesn’t allow for a remote situation. Leaving without a solid plan in place is a recipe for financial disaster. 

Healthcare and Insurance Coverage

Health and safety are crucial considerations for digital nomads, especially when regularly travelling to unfamiliar destinations. Research healthcare options like GeoBlue Insurance and ensure you have adequate coverage.

Do your best to stay informed about local health risks, vaccination requirements, and access to medical facilities in each of your chosen destinations. Make sure you’re keeping up a healthy routine too, incorporating regular exercise and a balanced diet to stay on top of your health and avoid lifestyle-related illnesses. 

Choosing the Right Destinations

One of the greatest perks of being a digital nomad is that you really can work from absolutely anywhere. However, it’s always a good idea to research properly and pick destinations that align with your preferences, budget, and work requirements.

Consider factors like the cost of living, internet connectivity, safety, cultural attractions to explore after hours, and what the visa regulations look like. Look for destinations that might have existing digital nomad communities, great coworking spaces, and an environment you’d enjoy working in. Depending on your job, you might also need to consider time zone differences in case of the need to collaborate with others. 

Packing Essentials and Travel Gear

The greatest skill of an experienced digital nomad is packing smart. When you’re always on the move and shifting from place to place, you don’t want to be lugging hundreds of belongings with you everywhere you go. 

Learn to prioritize just the essentials, like your laptop, phone, chargers, adapters, and portable power banks to stay connected and productive. Invest in lightweight and versatile clothing that can work in various climates and activities, and opt for durable and multifunctional travel gear that maximizes space and minimizes weight, making it easier to move about. Figure out where you can make other smart-packing swaps – such as investing in an e-reader instead of purchasing new books if you’re an avid reader. 

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

While the flexibility of remote work offers loads of opportunities for exploration and adventure, it’s also easy to get caught up in work and miss the adventure completely. 

Try to establish a routine that allows you to prioritize both your work commitments and your personal time. Set boundaries between work and pleasure, and allocate dedicated hours for both. Make sure you create a productive workspace wherever you go – whether it’s a coworking space, café, or short-term rental accommodation that allows you to really focus during your working hours. This will allow you to fully enjoy your time off, guilt-free. 

Cultural Adaptation and Communication

As a digital nomad, you’ll be exposed to new cultures, languages, and customs all the time, which can be a little jarring. Embrace cultural differences with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Take as much time as you can to research the local language, etiquette, and social norms to make sure you’re acting with respect and avoiding any trouble in new countries. Language learning apps will be a huge help, and the Internet is an endless source of information on other countries and their cultures.

Long-Term Sustainability and Future Planning

While this lifestyle offers the freedom and flexibility that so many of us crave, it’s still important to consider long-term sustainability and future planning. Take some time to think about your career goals, financial aspirations, and personal priorities.

You might want to try out the lifestyle for a few years before settling down to further your career or even start a family. If you’re happy to stay on the road indefinitely, you can look for opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and building professional networks while you’re travelling.