“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson (1878)
Could there be any better reason to pack up your bags and head off to pastures new? For digital nomads, the answer is ‘No’ (or Non, Não, Geen, Yox, नहीं। … you get the picture).
Best of all, digital nomads can pack their job into their luggage and take it with them. That’s the whole point – you can work, earn and even grow a business on the move. As Mr Stevenson himself once said, “The great affair is to move”, and 21st century mobile technology has made living, working and travelling more accessible and infinitely more enjoyable than ever before.
That’s not to say it’s all plain sailing. Travel and work are never without challenges – but isn’t that half the fun? Still, to help would-be digital nomads enjoy more time travelling and less time problem-solving in the lost passport office, we’ve pulled together a no-frills guide on working and travelling, digital nomad style.
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Check it out, and let us know if you have a recommended resource to add to the list:
Your first port of call should be Nomad List. This truly extensive resource, geared towards digital nomads and globe-trotting explorers, serves up an impressive array of information with an equally astounding range of search filters. Want to go somewhere that’s rated ‘Cheap’, ‘Cold’, ‘Mega City’ or ‘Clean Air’? There’s a search for that, and plenty more besides.
The Web Work Travel Guide is packed to the hilt with details of over 60 work and travel destinations along with recommended Wi-Fi spots, cafes and local must-do activities. For those heading to South East Asia, Travelfish is a good resource while Bridges & Balloons serves up a small but neat collection of destination guides on digital nomadism.
You’ll find stacks of user-generated and digital nomad-friendly resources on Wiki Voyage, home to varied information covering everything from local history and geographical data to politics, climate and transport options. Just like Wikipedia, Wiki Voyage can be edited by absolutely anyone, which often ensures a fairly in-depth level of local knowledge and been-there insights.
Local Cost of Living
Numbeo is the best number-cruncher for cost of living, offering a vast database of user-generated data about cities and countries all over the world including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.
Another great resource is Expatistan. It allows you to compare the cost of living between two cities and gives an average percentage drop or rise in your chosen destination. Exchange rates are taken into account along with cost of food, clothes, transport and other top expenditures.
Travel and Transport
Flights often take up the lion’s share of your travel budget, so be sure to shop around before surrendering your hard-earned cash. Online flight comparison tools like Kayak, Sky Scanner, Adioso and even Google make the arduous task of finding budget flights significantly easier.
As for general advice on getting around, Rome 2 Rio is a great resource that covers end-to-end travel arrangements, including flights, taxis and local bus routes.
Travel blog Nomadic Notes recommends Agoda or Airbnb for short stays of a few nights up to a week, along with alternatives like Roomorama, Tripping.com and Hotel By Month. You could also try shared accommodation options like Nomad House or Krash.
Hostel World currently lists 33,000 properties around the world while All The Rooms offers a room search service, scanning all major travel websites worldwide to bring you real-time availability and rates.
Some accommodation providers offer shared coworking space too, such as www.TheSurfOffice.com (Portugal and Gran Canaria), Outsite (California, opening soon in Hawaii and Costa Rica), Ko Hub (Thailand) and Sun Desk (Morocco).
Regardless of how long you’ve waited to visit that special place, safety is paramount. It pays to keep close tabs on sites like the Global Peace Index, which measures national peacefulness based on extensive qualitative and quantitative indicators.
Check your local government website for travel advice (U.S. travelers, check travel.state.gov) which covers not just conflict abroad but also information on diseases and recommended vaccinations. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers in-depth information on destinations all over the world.
Be sure to get to know the local culture in the country you are visiting, and be aware that some travelers — including women and people with disabilities — may face additional challenges when abroad.
Forums and Online Communities
If you hadn’t already noticed, the digital nomad lifestyle is catching on pretty fast. That means there are tons of great forums and online discussion threads to help guide you from place to place, and from one Wi-Fi hotspot to the next. Check out Reddit’s digital nomad category to get started, or for more tailored advice turn to the Digital Nomads Forum.
There’s no shortage of inspirational online sources to fuel your work-anywhere bug. We particularly love these channels:
- Nomad List – Blog
- Digital Nomad Travel Magazine
- Almost Fearless – Blog
- A Girl Who Travels
- As the Bird Flies – Life as a Digital Nomad
If you want to fit work and travel around your studies, or you’ve recently graduated and want to experience the digital nomad lifestyle, this awesome infographic from Open Colleges will help you get started.
There are many more amazing resources we could add to this list. What’s your top pick?
Remote Work and Tax
When it comes to earning a bit of cash for the next part of your trip, a lot of digital nomads work on a freelance basis. They find freelance gigs through sites like Upwork, goLance, People Per Hour and Guru.
Of course it’s not all cash in your back pocket. You still have to pay tax, and this great blog post by Making It Anywhere explains the ins-and-outs of tax contributions as a digital nomad.
When you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to make sure you’re suitably protected to cover health problems along with unwelcome scares like a lost passport, stolen cash or a broken laptop. Advice varies considerably, so be sure to do your homework on this one — you don’t want to jet off to paradise only to return weeks later with broken dreams (or worse) and a huge hospital bill.
Check out World Nomads for travel insurance tailored for digital nomads, and read these posts for an overview of some of the options available: