Many of us have seen these digital nomadic images of a laptop next to a coconut, a beautiful ocean in the background, and the hashtag #officeoftheday. The idea of working from the beach or in 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 telecommuting around the world. I have visited 49 countries, made many friends along the way, and had amazing experiences as a nomadic traveler.
Here are some of the most important things you need to think about when considering becoming a digital nomad, especially if you are hoping to travel the world.
Tips to start your life as a digital nomad
1. Choose a city with a community of digital nomads
Having a nomadic community to connect with is crucial. When thinking about a destination, there are a lot of things 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 nomad destinations, but there are plenty 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 getting there.
2. Choose the right bank account and the right credit cards
Some banks in the United States 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 choose your bank wisely, you could end up 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 SCHW,
is a popular choice for digital nomadic banking because it offers unlimited discounts on ATM fees worldwide.
You’ll also want to get a travel credit card that doesn’t charge an overseas transaction fee, which can be as high as 3%. There is no reason to pay them if you don’t have to. Premium travel Credit cards waive overseas transaction fees and 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 store your family things or in a storage place. 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 ABNB,
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.
Related: Tech companies should think twice before asking workers to return to the office
4. Choose a location that matches your working hours
If you have a remote job (or clients) based in the United States, you would have the easiest time working from locations that have overlapping time zones with the United States. it is very difficult to have a social life or a healthy routine besides work.
5. Consider your technological requirements
SIM card (phone)
If you have a phone plan with a US provider, chances are you’ll have to pay a lot for international roaming or your data will be capped at a lower speed once 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. Keep 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 calls.
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 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 go, local health care can be relatively inexpensive compared to coverage in the United States. However, still consider buying travel insurance or travel medical insurance in case of emergency. Most US-based insurance plans do not cover you overseas.
7. Join the coliving communities
If you’ve done all the research, but still feel nervous about taking the plunge on your own, consider joining a co-living / coworking community. There are several well-known companies that organize coordinated gatherings lasting anywhere from a month to a year in various parts of the world.
If you are interested, you will need to submit a request. Usually, they are aimed at future remote workers or entrepreneurs who want to make friends while living and working abroad.
Learn more: What to pack and what to leave if you want to be a digital nomad
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 so sacrifice their 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 set foot in an office. And there are many remote job search sites that list a variety of open positions.
Read more: Digital nomads don’t sit on the beach or travel all the time – this is what life really looks like
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.
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Elina Geller writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @elina_geller.