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What to Know Before Becoming a Digital Nomad

Historically speaking, humans tend to stay close to home. Unless forced to relocate due to climate change, natural disasters, or war, the typical person never ventured farther than a few miles from their birthplace. In instances where individuals were compelled to travel far to find a new home, they did so once and stayed put for the rest of their lives.

With this in mind, life as a digital nomad is a fortunate and fascinating possibility. The idea that someone can travel around the world at will, covering their expenses with remote work or other means of income, is astounding. It’s no surprise so many people dream of becoming digital nomads.

Internet Connectivity

With that said, the life of a digital nomad isn’t all beaches, palm trees, and rooftop parties. There will be times when the experience proves utterly exhausting and other times when you question your sanity. But ultimately, if you make the right moves and avoid the wrong ones, being a digital nomad offers a unique opportunity to experience the world in a way few people ever have.

Let’s take a look at what to know before deciding to become a digital nomad:

Financial resources are essential.

International travel isn’t cheap. It takes a lot of money to book airfare around the world. With this in mind, it’s essential for digital nomads to have a steady source of income in addition to substantial savings. Fortunately, there are several ways to earn money online. The rise of remote workers means more companies are letting employees work from home. You could also find freelancing opportunities and online tutoring gigs. Have a source of income sorted out before leaving. The last thing you want is to be flat broke on the far side of the world.

Short-term apartment sharing is ideal.

Finding adequate housing will be challenging. The life of a digital nomad doesn’t fit neatly into the typical lease agreement, requiring you to find short-term arrangements. We suggest focusing your attention on shared apartments and other living situations where you split the cost with roommates. Not only will this be more affordable than renting on your own, but it also makes it easier for digital nomads to find available living space. 

Crooks and scammers are everywhere.

Every major city has its fair share of petty criminals. These folks often target those they identify as outsiders, preying on gullibility and inexperience to commit fraud and larceny. With this in mind, make a point to reserve suspicion regarding anything anyone tells you or offers you in an unfamiliar place. You may soon discover they are honest and genuine, but until you do, remain vigilant. The second you let your guard down is the moment they strike, pickpocketing your wallet or stealing your suitcase.

Friends and family want assurances and updates.

Chances are you have many loved ones back home. They’re going to be worried sick about you. While broadcasting status updates on social media do a decent job of reassuring everyone you’re safe and sound, you should still remember to have one-on-one conversations via text message, phone conversations, and video chats.

Minimalist living is where it’s at.

The life of a digital nomad involves lots of traveling. The last thing you want is to lug around several bulky suitcases. We suggest keeping your luggage limited to one large suitcase with wheels and one backpack. This configuration makes it easier to maneuver through airports and unfamiliar streets on foot. It also helps to keep things organized.

Look before you leap!

While it might sound fun to book a flight to a city you never heard of and know nothing about, doing so puts you at a significant disadvantage. Thanks to the internet, there’s no reason why you can’t do basic research on a region before arrival.

Unexpected problems come with the territory.

As mentioned in the introduction, the life of a digital nomad isn’t always fun. You will inevitably run into various obstacles along the way. It could be an issue with customs, your living arrangement, or miscommunication brought on by language barriers. Rather than let yourself get flustered, take a deep breath and remember it comes with the territory. Preparation is half the battle!

It’s never been easier to be a digital nomad. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan and prepare. Doing so will ensure the experience is one to remember for all the right reasons.

Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, health, and travel.

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