22/04/2024

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How to make travelling work for you – the life of the digital nomad

5 min read
How to make travelling work for you – the life of the digital nomad

Over the last 20 years, a new type of professional has emerged. They harness the power of technology to break free from the constraints of a traditional 9-to-5 existence. Known as “digital nomads”, they have redefined the way we think about work and travel. 

But what does it mean to be a digital nomad? Which careers are best suited to this kind of wanderlust lifestyle? And where are the best places to stay along the way? 

Read on for our hints and tips to succeed in making this on-the-go lifestyle work for you. 

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is someone who uses digital technology to earn a living while travelling and living a location-hopping lifestyle. They leverage the internet to work from anywhere in the world. Whether it’s a beach in Bali, a cafe in Barcelona, or a co-working space in Chiang Mai. Digital nomads have the freedom to choose where and when they work. This allows them to explore new cultures, meet people from different backgrounds, and live life on their own terms.

Careers best suited for digital nomadism

Digital Nomad

Not all careers are conducive to the digital nomad lifestyle. However, many professions have embraced remote working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore making it possible for both freelance consultants and permanent employees to work from anywhere. Here are some careers that lend themselves well to being a digital nomad:

  • Freelancers and creatives: Writers, graphic designers, web developers, photographers, and other creative professionals can easily work remotely and find new clients on the move.
  • Online entrepreneurs: E-commerce businesses, drop shipping (a retail venture that allows you to sell products via an online shop without having to run the physical location where the inventory is kept). Together with affiliate marketing are just a few examples of online ventures that allow for an independent location.
  • Software developers and IT professionals: With the rise of remote collaboration tools, tech-savvy individuals can work on software projects and provide IT support from pretty much anywhere in the world.
  • Digital marketing and SEO specialists: Marketing professionals who specialise in online advertising, social media management, and search engine optimisation can work remotely for clients worldwide.
  • Virtual assistants: Offering administrative support, scheduling, and customer service from a remote location is a growing trend in the digital nomad community.

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Best locations for working as a digital nomad

Choosing the right destination is crucial to your overall success as a digital nomad and will have a huge impact on your enjoyment of the experience. Factors to consider include cost of living, internet connectivity, visa arrangements, safety, and the availability of co-working spaces. Here are some of the best places in the world to work as a digital nomad currently:

  • Bali, Indonesia: Known for its affordable living costs, beautiful beaches, and thriving digital nomad community, Bali is a top choice for both seasoned and novice digital nomads alike.
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: With its low cost of living, friendly locals, and excellent co-working spaces, Chiang Mai has become a digital nomad hub in Southeast Asia.
  • Lisbon, Portugal: European digital nomads favour Lisbon for its mild climate, good internet, and vibrant culture. Portugal also offers great (and affordable) travel connections with the rest of Europe and the UK. 
  • Medellin, Colombia: Medellin offers a temperate climate, affordable living, and a growing number of co-working spaces. Whilst Medellin is considered one of the safest places in Colombia for solo travellers, if you plan to travel further afield in the country, or the wider continent, take a common-sense approach and do your homework to avoid high-crime areas which are unsafe for travellers. 
  • Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgia’s capital has emerged as an affordable and welcoming destination for digital nomads with a unique blend of history and modernity. However, it is worth being aware that Georgia itself is still quite a conservative country if you do plan to travel outside of Tbilisi. Be respectful of local customs and dress codes. 

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Hints and tips for success

Becoming a successful digital nomad involves more than just having a laptop and a passport. Here are some essential tips for thriving when it comes to the wanderlust lifestyle:

  • Establish a routine: According to Boris Jensen of Erobella “Creating a daily schedule and set working hours is essential for effectively balancing work and leisure time. Make sure you adjust to the local time zone straightaway and plan your leisure time around local working hours and public holidays. There’s no point going sightseeing if everywhere is closed!”
  • Manage finances: Keep track of your expenses, save for emergencies and unforeseen costs, and be mindful of your budget to sustain your nomadic lifestyle. This is particularly important if your work is freelance, and you will have quieter periods. 
  • Network: Connect with other digital nomads and local communities to share experiences and opportunities. Regular face-to-face interaction with like-minded individuals is invaluable if you are travelling solo. There are times when Zoom just won’t cut it! 
  • Prioritise health and wellness: Protect your physical and mental health. Do this by maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise. Together with a balanced diet and plenty of downtime in between work and travelling. 
  • Stay organised: Use digital tools and apps for project management, communication, and time tracking when it comes to work and plan ahead to get the best deals on your travel and accommodation. If you are travelling somewhere more remote, make sure you have up-to-date information when it comes to suitable working spaces. Together with Wi-Fi connections plan any work deadlines accordingly. 

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The life of a digital nomad offers a unique opportunity to blend work, travel, and personal growth. With the right destination, planning and mindset, anyone can embrace this adventurous lifestyle. As digital nomadism continues to evolve, it presents an exciting path for those of us who seek freedom, flexibility, and a world of new experiences.

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