When the pandemic resulted in many people working remotely for the first time in their lives, many also realized they could easily become a digital nomad.
Digital nomads are location independent, which means they can do their job from anywhere in the world, as long as they have their laptop in tow and access to WiFi. Digital nomads often travel the globe while working a full-time job.
Imagine this: Your employer tells you that because of the pandemic, you can work remotely for the foreseeable future. Your bags are all packed, you bought a protective cover for your passport, and you booked a one-way ticket to a country you’ve always wanted to explore: You’re ready to be a digital nomad. However, whether you are a remote, location-independent employee of a company, or you manage your own virtual business, you need to make sure you are fully prepared for this new nomadic lifestyle. You must take necessary precautions that will ensure your life as a digital nomad is nothing short of incredible — and prevent possible pitfalls that can arise with this lifestyle.
How can you prepare for this journey? Below are some tried-and-true tips that will help you have the most amazing, successful, and hassle-free experience that’s possible as a digital nomad. Keep all of these tips in mind as you embark on your new adventure around the world:
Schedule Regular Calls Back Home to Prevent Loneliness
When you first embark on your journey as a digital nomad, you may not immediately meet a network of friends to hang out with, and it can get lonely. Thus, schedule regular Skype or Zoom calls with friends and family back home so that you don’t feel so alone in the new area you travelled to. This will really help you stay uplifted and motivated to continue on your adventure, as you know you have a support system (even if they are not nearby). Keeping in touch with friends and family back home requires initiative and effort, so try not to lose touch by scheduling weekly calls with them.
Find the Local Hangout Spots for Digital Nomads
Because loneliness can negatively impact your mental health, this is another tip to help prevent feelings of isolation. Everywhere you travel to, there will likely be a community of other digital nomads who are enjoying the same kind of lifestyle you are. Try to find out where they all like to hang out in each city you stay in, or look for possible online digital nomad communities for your area. You will make new, lifelong friends and meet others who have helpful advice on secret local hotspots to check out, safety tips, ways to better manage your workload while travelling, etc. You may even end up meeting someone that you decide to partner with on a future side hustle. In other words, hanging out with and networking with other digital nomads can be good for your bank account in addition to preventing loneliness.
Have an Emergency Fund
You must prepare for the worst-case scenario wherever you go. One way to do this is by always having an emergency fund of at least $2000 USD available to buy a plane ticket home in a moment’s notice in case something unexpected happens. We’ve already seen the complete mess that the coronavirus pandemic caused for international travellers trying to return to their home countries. I’ve also personally been in countries when they had earthquakes, hurricanes/typhoons, and military coups. It’s much better to always be prepared and safe than sorry.
Get Travel Insurance
Going along with the previous tip, preparing for the worst-case scenario also means purchasing some travel insurance for your journey. This will help you cover any medical emergencies that could arise (like if you accidentally fall and break a bone). Also, in the unfortunate event of your laptop or cell phone being stolen — which happens all the time to travellers – this insurance will help to cover these costs. This means you won’t have to drain your aforementioned emergency fund to buy a new laptop or phone.
Assess the Internet Quality of Each Place You Travel To
Having a high-quality internet connection is absolutely critical for digital nomads, as all of their business is conducted online. That said, wouldn’t it be such a bummer if you arrived in another country only to discover that the internet in your hostel and nearby cafes is really weak? Thus, check beforehand to make sure that the place you are staying at has great internet. If it doesn’t, ensure there are nearby internet cafes or coffee shops with a high-quality connection.
Be even more prepared for your journey by purchasing a portable WiFi hotspot router for your laptop that offers a fast and reliable connection wherever you go. This means you won’t just be tied to working in hostels or cafes — you can work on a lovely beach in Brazil, by a gorgeous vineyard in Italy, in a bustling city centre in China… The options are endless!
Keep Note of Time Zones and Changes in Daylight Savings Time
While you’re travelling, you don’t want to accidentally miss a meeting with a potential client just because you mixed up the time zones and hours’ difference between your country and theirs. Thus, it is vital that you stay on top of the various time zones of the countries you travel to (and the variances in Daylight Savings Time) so that you don’t miss important video calls with your clients or your team. You can use a service like Calendly to organize your meetings and integrate them into your Google Calendar.
Learn Useful Phrases in the Language of Each Country You Travel To
You may really love living in another country and end up staying there longer than you expected to. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could ask essential questions (like how to get to another city) to locals who speak another language? Therefore, before you embark on your journey, take the time to learn useful phrases in the language of each country you visit. You can seek out the help of Live Lingua’s online language tutors, who are available 24/7 and can also provide helpful insight on the culture of each country you travel to.
Be Flexible and Open-Minded
You likely planned out every key detail of your travels, down to the times you will board certain trains to travel to new cities or countries. However, keep in mind that everything will not always work out the way you planned. Weather could be unpredictable, your hostel could end up having issues, a bus may be late and cause you to miss your train or flight… be flexible and take everything in stride. This will help you have the most enjoyable experience possible as a digital nomad.
Bring Along Helpful Travel Essentials
There are many wonderful products out there that can help simplify your journey as a digital nomad. Knowing which travel essentials save you time and reduce your stress are important. For example, you can clean up after a long day exploring with Walton Wood Farm’s Waterless Power Shower (which offers a convenient and effective on-the-go body cleanse without having to take a bath or shower). This is helpful since while travelling, you won’t always have access to a bath or shower when you need one. Other products that are travel essentials include an RFID blocking wallet for credit card safety while travelling, and a secure anti-theft bag to carry your essentials as you explore each city.
Don’t Be a Workaholic: Remember to Enjoy Your Travels
It can be easy to get caught up in all the work emails, project deadlines, and video chats with employees and clients. However, don’t be a workaholic who forgets to explore the exciting new country they’re in. Take time to really enjoy where you are. Schedule designated start and stop times for each workday, and then make plans to visit landmarks, local hotspots, do exciting activities, or simply relax on the beach once you close your laptop for the day. You need to maintain a healthy balance of work and pleasure when you’re a digital nomad.
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