Since the pandemic, remote work has become more widely available as people are looking for a change in their work and play environment.
A report by the BBC on travel trends notes how many have evolved to adopt ‘workcations.’ In a global study of eight countries, 65% of respondents plan to extend a work trip into a leisure one, or vice versa.
Although workcations seem counterintuitive, remote workers have shown that travel and work can be balanced. In another study of people who have taken a workcation, more than four-fifths of them felt the trip boosted their productivity and creativity while helping them cope with work-related stress. Having been a digital nomad myself for several years, I can fully agree that being in an exotic location really helps to get those creative juices flowing and inspires me to write.
Given the benefits of remote working and travelling, it’s no wonder the digital nomad lifestyle is growing in popularity. More digital nomads are taking their workstations across the globe, allowing them to stay in whatever local destinations they want to visit.
This lifestyle is certainly one that most people desire but before you book the flight to begin your nomadic journey, here are my tips on how you can become a successful digital nomad:
Secure Work Arrangements
Having remote work is an essential part of sustaining your digital nomad lifestyle. The whole concept behind it is working on the road. But not all digital nomads are online freelancers. I have met several who have to juggle a full-time job whilst travelling.
Before you set off, check that your line of work remains secure. Ask your employer if you’re only allowed to work within your home country or can work abroad.
There's also the concern about working with other members of your organization, especially if you’re in a different time zone, which is why LHH’s tips on one-on-one meetings highlight the importance of having meetings scheduled in advance and starting on time.
To be a successful digital nomad, time management is one of the essential skills that you need as you’ll need to ensure that you are organised and prepared for meetings. Missed meetings can quickly transfer to less secure work. Being dependable even while on the move, ensures that you keep a constant cash flow to fund your trips.
Prepare Finances Ahead
It’s really important to ensure that you have enough money to finance your lifestyle as you never know what additional expenses you may need when you’re on the road. Flight prices may go up, and accommodation prices can vary depending on the season and if there’s an event on in your chosen destination. So having a constant cash flow whether that’s through employed work or enough clients is vital.
As with any travel, you also need to consider the costs of living at your destination, having enough to pay any taxes and securing insurance (especially medical insurance) before embarking on your journey. Accommodation can be one of the biggest costs. That’s why you’ll find many digital nomads choosing more cost-effective countries such as Thailand, Mexico or Bali to stay in. Here are my favourite destinations for a nomad life.
To protect yourself from expensive emergencies, some companies offer specific insurance policies tailored for digital nomads. These provide coverage for vaccinations and medical checkups and can cover you in case anything goes wrong medically when you’re away. I used Safety Wing when I was travelling around.
While being a digital nomad does entail the freedom to travel, don’t think that you have to be constantly travelling. Not only do you have to balance work and travel, but the expenses of plane tickets and constant changing of places to stay can easily disrupt your workflow.
That’s why staying a minimum of one to three months is ideal for this lifestyle. Slow travel enables you to save on costs and appreciate the environment of the place you’re visiting — which is a crucial part of being a digital nomad. It also allows you to integrate more with the locals and their way of life.
According to a Washington Post article on the digital nomad scene, some countries offer visas that open the opportunity to be “slow-mads” — long-stay nomads who spend more time living in a host country to learn about their local culture.
This provides a legal window where you can work and stay for extended periods without worrying about separate tax fees and working permits, enabling you to keep a sustainable and more free lifestyle. If you're unsure about your taxes, Heavnn is a great company to use.
Have Flexible Plans
Being a digital nomad definitely suits the solo female traveller but make sure that your plans can be flexible and that you don’t have everything planned out. You need those lazy days and self-care days where you’re not working or sightseeing to get used to your new destination.
Keep your mind and plans open to change, and don’t be afraid of cutting a trip short if it’s not for you. Some countries just don’t resonate with us and that’s okay. Practising self-care, like getting a massage or swimming, or simply getting out of your room to go for a walk can be relaxing, helping you calm your mind and make more sensible decisions.
Getting the right work and travel balance can take a while to perfect. From my experience, travelling too quickly can cause me anxiety and become lonely. It’s important to have the right mindset for travel to ensure that you feel balanced and comfortable, and can fully transition to your brand-new digital lifestyle.
- Digital Nomad Taxes
- Why Choose a Nomadic Lifestyle
- Living a Nomad Life: my Favourite Destinations
- Having The Right Mindset For Travel