- Thinking about becoming a digital nomad? This guide will help you understand how to get started.
- Remote work is now a significant part of our working future, which means there’s no better time to consider the digital nomad lifestyle.
- How to find work, where to stay, coliving options, and pros and cons: it’s all covered in this introductory guide to the digital nomad lifestyle.
Many people around the world are tempted to start living the digital nomad lifestyle in an effort to find better work-life balance, gain enhanced job flexibility, and to live in different countries while working.
If you’re considering becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world while working remotely, here are some top tips on getting started.
What to Look for in a Digital Nomad Destination
When you decide that you’re going to start living as a digital nomad, the first thing you need to consider is where in the world you want to go.
There are many factors to consider when making this decision, especially if you intend to stay in each destination for quite a while whilst working.
We’ve summarised a useful list of factors to consider when choosing a digital nomad destination:
- Internet speed and reliability: find out if it’s fast enough for your requirements and if the power and internet is reliable.
- Health and safety: find out about the quality of the medical system there and how you can access it. See this digital nomad’s guide to health insurance plans.
- Culture: assess whether you will enjoy being part of this new culture.
- Crime: find out what the crime rate is, which areas are safest and what you can do to ensure your personal safety.
- Language: find out if you can speak any of the local languages, if you’ll be able to cope with not speaking the local language, or if you could learn it while staying there.
- Cost of living: assess your budget and the cost of living in the city you’re keen on
- Digital nomad hubs: find out if there are any digital nomad hubs there where you could connect with other people on a similar journey as you.
It’s also worth looking at some of the most popular digital nomad destinations, to get ideas of places that others have found great to live and work in.
How to Find Work Internationally as a Digital Nomad
If you’re wanting to become a digital nomad, you’ll probably want to secure a remote job to fund your travels and living costs.
An obvious place to start looking for a remote job is with your current employer. You could ask whether they would be open to you working remotely. Or, if you work for a multinational company, you could research whether there are any openings in other countries.
Alternatively, there are many places that you can turn to, to find work online as a digital nomad. You could try working as a freelancer, taking on remote jobs while you work and travel the globe.
There are many online remote job websites like UpWork, FlexJobs, We Work Remotely, which post thousands of remote work jobs. And many countries like Croatia, Malta and Estonia are offering digital nomad visas which makes it easier to navigate the legalities of working from abroad.
And you could start to network globally to find work in different countries. Getting internationally recognised qualifications or skills in high-demand in other countries should help make you more employable.
How to Find Accommodation in a New City as a Digital Nomad
Choosing which city to live in is one thing, but finding suitable accommodation as a digital nomad is another entirely. That’s because you will have some requirements like good internet, and you may want to be connected with other like-minded digital nomads. It’s usually a good idea to first decide on a city you want to relocate to and then start looking for accommodation there.
You’ll be pleased to know that there are thriving communities of digital nomads all around the world. Some are tiny and others are quite well established. There are some basic tips when it comes to looking for accommodation. This includes looking for digital nomad villages, coliving and coworking spaces, or even flexible seasonal accommodation at hotels and backpacker lodges.
Here are some useful tips on how to go about finding accommodation in a new city as a digital nomad.
Find nearby digital nomad villages
Digital nomad villages are starting to sprout around the world. The Madeira Islands in Portugal recently launched a digital nomad village, and Zadar in Croatia is a popular digital nomad village to work in.
If you’re keen to network and be integrated with local business startups and entrepreneurial communities that are creating social and environmental impact, then a nomad village may be the perfect destination. Many offer monthly rentals at houses or hotels that are all-inclusive of utilities and bills, making them very convenient.
Connect with digital nomads online to get accommodation ideas
Connecting with digital nomads online can be a great way to network and find tips and ideas of great places to stay. There are many digital nomad blogs that review accommodation in cities around the world. This may be a better way of finding that perfect accommodation gem, rather than looking at Airbnb which is more suited to short-term stays in terms of price.
Anyplace.com is one such digital nomad housing site that has plenty of ideas to get you excited. And Nomadbase, Digital Nomads Hub, and Digital Nomads Around the World are examples of busy Facebook groups dedicated to digital nomad discussions and exchange of ideas.
Coliving and coworking
Coliving is rising in popularity as a way of embracing the digital nomadic lifestyle, while being close to other digital nomads on a similar journey as you. These places typically offer private or shared bedrooms with good internet and shared common areas like kitchens, lounges, swimming pools and dining rooms. Typically you pay a monthly fee for staying there that includes all utilities and bills which makes it quite convenient and hassle-free.
Coliving spaces are popular amongst solo travellers, families and professionals. It’s a great option if you want to network with and get to know a community, if you want a sense of security from living with others, and if you want to build business networks.
Look at Arctic Coworking Lodge in Norway and Surf Office (located around Europe and North America) for some inspiration of the kind of lifestyle you could have while working from abroad.
Furnished apartments, Airbnb and extended stay hotels
The convenient thing about furnished apartments is that everything is already there for you so you just need to book in. Often the pricing has been adjusted for longer-stay options. Sometimes you can get an entire private apartment, and other times you may have to share some common areas.
This is usually a more expensive option than staying at a coworking hub, and as it’s not designed for digital nomads, you may not have as much opportunity to network and build relationships. But if you’re after privacy, then this may be a better fit for you.
Extended stay hotels are very similar to furnished apartments, but you may be in a bigger hotel complex with all the amenities of a hotel, which may include a gym, pool and sauna. Hotels also usually have daily housekeeping services, provide clean towels and have other services on offer too, plus they offer privacy. Some budget hotels may offer good long-term stay rates.
Airbnb can be a great way to stay with locals if you opt for a room in a house, but may not always come with all the amenities you need like an office space, printer and high-speed WIFI. Some nomads like to stay in Airbnb homes and then work from a coworking space for that reason. The benefit of booking through Airbnb is that there are so many amazing places to choose from almost anywhere that you may be going. And there’s often quite a variety of places in terms of budget.
Is this Lifestyle for You? The Pros and Cons of being a Digital Nomad
The decision to start living as a digital nomad isn’t always an easy one. Depending on the stage in your life, your budget, and the size of your family – it can be complex. There are many pros and cons which aren’t always obvious and some only come with experience.
We’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help with your decision-making process on whether the digital nomad lifestyle might be right for you.
Pros of becoming a digital nomad
- Freedom to work where you want to, when you want to
- Travel the world while working
- Meeting new people, explore new cities, make new friends
- Save money by earning income in a country with a lower cost of living
- Greater work-life balance (if you can manage it)
- No commute
- Better weather
- Learn a new language, learn about new cultures
- Start a new hobby
- Quality of life
Cons of becoming a digital nomad
- Isolation and loneliness
- Missing family back home
- Adjustment to new living conditions each time you move home
- Costs money to travel, so you may not be able to save
- Lack of a regular paycheque, so income can fluctuate if you freelance
- Losing touch with friends and family back home
- Can be challenging to keep a long-distance relationship working as digital nomad unless you travel together (see these relationship tips for digital nomad couples)
Final thoughts on Remote Work and Travelling
If you’re now convinced that the digital nomad lifestyle is for you, then you’re likely already starting to look at where in the world to go. You’ll probably be looking for accommodation in those cities and at ways that you can get a remote job while travelling the world.
Hopefully this blog has given you some useful resources to look at to help with all these milestones in the process of transitioning to the nomadic way of life!