Many of us have seen these nomadic digital images of a laptop next to a coconut shell, a beautiful ocean in the background, and the hashtag #officeoftheday. The idea of working from the beach or a hammock in a tropical location can easily arouse the envy, especially if you are sitting in a cabin or working from home in your sweatpants.
I’ve been a digital nomad for three years, so I know a lot about traveling the world while working remotely. I have been to 49 countries, made many friends along the way, and had amazing experiences as a nomadic traveler.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when planning to become a digital nomad, especially if you hope to travel the world.
Tips to start your life as a digital nomad
1. Choose a city with a digital nomadic community
Having a nomadic community to connect with is crucial. When you think of a destination, there is a lot to consider; if you go to a city that has an established nomadic community, you are more likely to have built-in support.
Medellin, Colombia, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and Canggu, Bali are three popular digital nomadic destinations, but there are many more. Do your research on Google and Reddit and check which Facebook groups are available for the city of your choice. There are many questions about your destination that you can get answered before you commit to going there.
2. Choose the right bank account and the right credit cards
Some US banks charge a fee when you use another bank’s ATM. In turn, other banks or ATMs may charge their own fees. If you don’t select your bank wisely, you may end up not paying two rounds of ATM fees every time you withdraw money.
Save yourself the headache and choose a bank that reimburses ATM fees. Charles Schwab is a popular choice for digital nomadic banking because it offers unlimited discounts on ATM fees worldwide.
You will also want to get a travel credit card this does not charge a foreign transaction fee, which can be as high as 3%. There is no reason to pay these fees if you don’t have to. Premium travel credit cards waive foreign transaction fees and also offer bonus points on certain categories (eg travel, meals, grocery shopping) and various travel benefits.
3. Decide what to do with your business
If you want to be a digital nomad, the easiest scenario is to end your apartment lease and put your things away with family or in a warehouse. If your situation is more complicated, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
If you own your home or apartment, consider renting it out to a long-term tenant. Or if your city allows home sharing, like Airbnb or VRBO, consider hiring someone to handle this process for you. This can be a great way to lower your overhead and potentially make a profit.
4. Choose a location that matches your working hours
If you have remote work (or clients) in the United States, you will have the most time working from locations that have overlapping time zones with the U.S. Avoid destinations like Asia, where jet lag can easily make it very difficult to have a social life or a healthy routine in addition to work.
5. Consider your technological needs
SIM card (phone)
If you have a phone plan with a US provider, you will likely have to pay a lot for international roaming or your data will be capped at a lower speed after you use up your free international data allowance.
A common travel hack is to buy a prepaid SIM card with a data plan at your international destination. Store your existing SIM card in a safe place and insert the local SIM card into your phone. This can sometimes be as cheap as around $ 7 for 4 gigabytes of data and can include free WhatsApp, social media, and, with some plans, local calling.
It’s a much better option than constantly keeping your phone in airplane mode and searching for a Wi-Fi network. It’s just not a lasting solution when you live abroad as a digital nomad (as opposed to to be a vacationer).
If you are going to live and work abroad, buy a VPN from a reliable provider (there are a lot of them). A VPN will make it easier for you to connect to US-based sites, not to mention watching Netflix and other streaming services (which may not be available in the country you’re visiting).
6. Purchase travel insurance
Depending on where you are traveling, local health care can be relatively inexpensive compared to coverage in the U.S. However, always consider buying travel insurance or travel medical insurance in case you encounter an emergency. Most US-based insurance plans do not cover you internationally.
7. Join co-living communities
If you’ve done all the research, but still feel nervous about taking the leap on your own, consider joining a co-living / coworking community. There are several well-known companies that organize coordinated gatherings lasting from one month to one year in various parts of the world.
If you are interested, you will need to submit a request. Usually, they are aimed at aspiring or existing remote workers and entrepreneurs who want to make friends while living and working abroad.
You can have a real career as a digital nomad
Due to the pandemic, remote working has become more normalized, shifting the nomadic scene into the mainstream. A common misconception of the digital nomadic lifestyle is that people who do this sacrifice financial stability or have shady jobs. This is not the case.
The past year has shown that many of us can work from our laptops without having to walk into an office. And there are many remote job search sites that list a variety of vacancies.
If you already have a job that you love, consider asking your boss to let you work remotely all the time. You will need to make a strong case and assure the company that your performance will not suffer. You’ll be on your way to working remotely while traveling the world.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our choices for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those that are best suited: