7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Digital Nomad Life

Traveling and seeing the world is one of the greatest joys in life. If you have an itch for new sights, open roads, and the nomad life, there is no better time to see what’s out there. However, there are a few things to consider before grabbing your keys and becoming a digital nomad.

How Will You Make Money with a Nomadic Lifestyle?

With the arrival of Covid-19 came an uptake in the availability of remote work, and it doesn’t look like this upward trend will be slowing down. Covid-19 has made it easier than ever before to work and travel simultaneously every digital nomad’s dream. There has been an increase in the need for online tutors, with some companies allowing their tutors to work as often or as little as they’d like. Beyond that, you can also pick up jobs as a freelancer. If you already have a remote job, you’re set and ready to go for a nomad life. However, if working remotely for a company doesn’t appeal to you, there are still plenty of opportunities to earn money while traveling. 

The Most Significant Digital Nomad Job Opportunity.

One of the most significant opportunities lies in blogging and sharing aspects of your nomad life. There are thousands of social media accounts dedicated solely to sharing travel experiences, and the people running these accounts have been able to generate funds through them. Crafting a social media presence that gets noticed is equal parts of hard work and luck. Understanding SEO, algorithms, and knowing how to take good pictures and videos will help you in this area if you want to blog about digital nomadism and be successful. 

Pro-Tip: TikTok will pay account owners after they reach a certain amount of followers.

Traveling by Van as a Digital Nomad.

One of the more apparent concerns before becoming a digital nomad is how you’re going to get where you’re going. Converted vans have become increasingly popular as a way to get around for people living a nomad life. They work well for people who plan to work remotely in the United States. The vans are often cheaper than an RV while still offering nomads the opportunity to travel with their homes.

How to Find a Van.

If you don’t feel up to building a converted van on your own, sites are abundant online that can get you started and offer pre-converted vans for sale. A quick google search can point you to most of these sites, but some good places to consider are Conversion Trader, Vanlife Trader, and Off Grid Adventure Vans. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a popular option for those who are going into digital nomadism. Still, there are plenty of other options out there, and some people even go so far as to convert school buses into homes (check out @abuscalledrio on Instagram).

Pro-Tip: Parked in Paradise has a great in-depth article for people starting their nomad life on how to transform your van into a camper; find out what works best for you!

Not a Van Person? Other Nomad Travel Options.

Traveling by van isn’t for everyone, so trains and planes are your other options for modes of transportation. If you don’t plan on going overseas but still want to live a nomad life, trains are an excellent way to travel. Amtrak has some beautiful routes and comfortable seating if you don’t mind spending a little more time getting to your destination. Amtrak trains often offer WIFI, which is excellent for anyone who wants to work while they’re traveling. Perfect for digital nomadism. You don’t have to worry about traffic or keep an eye on the road. The trains are spacious and currently don’t have many passengers. If you want a peaceful ride and plan on sticking to major cities while you’re traveling, this is a great way to go about nomad life.

Pro-Tip: Amtrak is also offering trip flexibility until September 6, 2021. 

Nomad by Sky.

However, if time is of the essence, flying will be your best option. Hopper helps find the cheapest flight possible with an algorithm that tracks the best time to buy a specific ticket. Just make sure to read up on each airline’s regulations beforehand to avoid any potential frustration. If you plan to live a nomadic life, you’ll need to be prepared for changing situations. 

Where do You Want to Go as a Nomad?

Location and figuring out your mode of travel tend to go hand-in-hand while planning your transition into a digital nomad life. Having a connection to WIFI tends to be the biggest driver for location determination. Some countries are more friendly towards a nomadic lifestyle than others; ensuring that where you’re going has wifi and a quiet place for you to work should be a priority as you set out for your nomad life. Staying someplace that has wifi or a nearby cafe is a great way to ensure that you’re able to work while enjoying your time. Either way, it’s always good to pack a pair of noise-canceling headphones just in case your environment doesn’t provide you with anywhere quiet to work.

Where you park it dictates the route.

If you’re traveling by van, finding somewhere to work might not be a concern, but you still want to be sure that there’s a place for you to park. Downloading an app like The Dyrt to help you locate camping locations will be incredibly useful in helping you to plan your trip. 

Pro-Tip: For the in-between parts of your trip, there are chain stores that allow overnight parking. These include Walmart, Cabella’s, and Bass Pro, so you have plenty of options. Wherever you go, make sure you know what mandates and rules are in place.

Reliable WIFI is Key.

Opportunities to connect seem to be everywhere, with free wifi offered in most public spaces. Despite this, you still might want to consider alternatives in case you run into a poor connection while you live a digital nomad life. After all, the point of digital nomadism is that you can work remotely while you travel. 

WIFI Options for Digital Nomads.

If you’re traveling by converted van, installing WIFI is the best way to ensure that you’re able to work remotely. However, traveling with pocket WIFI is also a great way to guarantee that you can stay online while living as a digital nomad. If you’re overseas, look into renting or buying pocket WIFI. Pocket WIFI is available in most countries and can be a huge help while you work remotely. A bonus of traveling with pocket WIFI is that it can help keep you from racking up your cell phone bill with out-of-country charges while allowing you to continue your nomad life. Put your phone on airplane mode and enable WIFI to stay connected without using cellular data. 

Pro Tip: When you arrive at the airport in Tokyo, Japan, they have stalls where you can rent a pocket WIFI.

Know the Expectations and Cultural Norms.

While expectations and cultural norms is a broader topic and lower on the list, it might be one of the most important things to consider before you set out on your nomad life. To prepare, you have to know what will be expected of you and what to expect while visiting. If you’re going to be staying in the U.S., you probably already know many social norms. However, it’s still good to be aware of the etiquette asked of you like at specific campsites, national parks, or abroad. 

National and State Parks

First, let’s cover national and state parks. Do they have a place for you to throw away your trash? Showers? Recycling? Are campfires allowed? What are the odds of running into a bear? These are all great questions to ask upon arrival if not posted or online. Leave No Trace is a huge part of camping culture, so read up on the methods and respect the land. 

Abroad as a Digital Nomad.

Now for traveling abroad. If you’re looking to take your digital nomad life to another country, you should study the culture and understand their norms. Most European countries don’t tip, and toilet etiquette, as well as currency and language can change drastically from country to country. Knowing all of this is will help your nomad life by assisting with smooth and safe travels.

Currency and Language.

Knowing what currency to use and how to exchange it can save you a lot of strife, and how to communicate with the people of the land you are visiting. Know your different options for currency exchange. 

  1. Your Bank. You can call your bank and ask them to trade some of the money in your account for you and have it delivered right to your doorstep. Of course, this option only works before you begin your nomad life.
  2. Currency Exchange Stand. You can usually find exchange stands in international airports as well as prominent touristy cities.
Language.

It’s a bit more time-consuming, but learning another language can help out in more ways than you’d expect. Make it a skill worth acquiring for nomad life before leaving the country. Check out the many language learning apps through your phone or the internet to see what option works best for you. The best way to learn is by living in the culture.

Pro-Tip: You might want to consider investing in some travel books or following the Matador Network for suggestions on what to do while you’re abroad.

Nomad Life with Pets.

This concern may not apply to everyone that is thinking about becoming a digital nomad and considering a nomad life. Still, for those with pets, it is a considerable concern.

Traveling by Van

You’ll want to make sure that your space is comfortable for your pet; after all, they’re sharing the experience of living nomadically with you. You’ll also want to be sure that anywhere you set up for the night is pet-friendly. If you have a cat, finding a litter box that works for your space is imperative. A top entry litter box will keep any spillage from occurring while you’re driving and will usually fit seamlessly in a small space. There are some stylish options out there offered online or in-store for the nomad life.

Overseas

It cannot be stressed enough for the overseas traveler how essential it is to look into what’s required of you to bring your pet. Some countries will require a quarantine period for your pet, while others won’t. Getting a comfortable carrier, your pet microchipped, and vaccinated should be high up on your to-do list if you plan on traveling with your furry friend while you live as a digital nomad. There are plenty of pet-friendly stays; make sure that whatever place you plan on staying at is welcoming to animals.

Nomad Life Conclusion.

Becoming a digital nomad can be a huge lifestyle change, but it’s a worthwhile change if it’s what you want. Working remotely has given people the option of pursuing their dreams of traveling while living a nomad life. Perseverance and research can make the transition easier, so get out there, explore, and safe travels.

Next Steps Towards a Digital Nomad Life.

Becoming a digital nomad and making a career change is no easy feat, but with a strategy, in place, things can transition more seamlessly. Career Benders specializes in career changes and entrepreneurship coaching, which both fall under the umbrella of the digital nomad life transition.

Want to chat over your career plan on becoming a digital nomad? Book a free strategy session, so we can point you in the right direction towards a successful digital nomad life.

Angie Callen, Founder

I created Career Benders to inspire confident professionals. In just three years, we have helped nearly 500 professionals navigate job searches, nail interviews, and find satisfaction in their careers. We’re here for you!

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