Living the life of a digital nomad means you get to travel while starting a business. It’s an exciting life, globetrotting and managing a startup, but it can be tricky to balance the different parts of your life, like managing plane tickets while trying to find a quality internet connection to keep in touch with your employees. Let’s look at the life of a digital nomad, how to break into the lifestyle, and how to keep yourself sane.
Other than getting to travel the world, the first tangible benefit of becoming a digital nomad is making your own schedule. What hours work best for you? Are you more creative in the morning or evening? You can decide when you work, and plan your day around when you are the most creative.
This is especially easy if you are freelancing or can manage a company on a delay instead of in a strict schedule.
Working While Traveling
The problem with traveling is that it takes time. This could be time spent working on your startup.
In the air, however, Wi-Fi can be outrageously expensive. Some cell phone carriers give you free in-flight Wi-Fi and texting, which can help you do business when you normally would be out of communication with your team.
If you freelance or are part of the gig economy, you can do your work on a laptop, send off the files, and take a nap, all while soaring above the earth.
Something important to note: there is a difference between having access to the internet and having a quality connection. Ask locals or other digital nomads where you can find quality internet with better download and upload speeds, especially if you need them for work.
Look for places that offer desks for rent. They often have good internet and are specifically meant for remote workers to drop in, get a few hours of work done, and move on.
Saving Money and Increasing Productivity
One big advantage, digital nomad, and startup founder Jay Meistrich found, was he saved money while traveling thanks to the reduced cost of living. Both San Francisco and Seattle’s monthly rents were much higher than in other parts of the world, such as staying in a hotel in Bali.
You can also join forums and couch surf. Network with people, especially other digital nomads, who are already at your destination. They will have good information to pass on to you about the area. This can help you save money by getting the best deals, as well as enjoying the area more than what a guidebook can tell you.
Plus, traveling increased his productivity, getting more work done in a shorter time. This gave him more time to enjoy the places he visited, such as Rome, giving him insight into other cultures and expanding his worldview.
Preparing to Travel
If all of those sound good to you, then it’s time to prepare to travel. Here are a few things you will need.
- A Visa. This does not apply to all countries, but some require you to apply for a specific Visa for entry. For example, if you have proven outstanding skills that are marketable, such as being a web programmer, artist, musician, or sound engineer, you can apply for an O1 Visa in America. Be sure to do research for your country of choice before leaving.
- Clothes. Your sizes may not correspond to the same number, let alone be available, in other countries.
- Toiletries. Quality around the world differs; be sure to have a stock of your preferred brands.
- Medicine. It may be harder to get medicine in other countries. It may also be illegal for you to have some of your prescription or over-the-counter drugs, so, again, do research before traveling.
- Money. Have extra cash that you can hide, as well as extra credit and debit cards available. Make sure your bank knows you are traveling, or you could be faced with a false positive fraud charge, freezing your accounts.
You can plan ahead by finding spaces to work at sites like Hoffice, Desksurfing, or ShareDesk. Sites like Roam and Outsite can help you find housing. FastCompany has collected a list of more resources that can help you find other digital nomads, jobs, and even ways to find cheap plane tickets.
If you are ready to try a new lifestyle, working from the road on your own schedule, flying to exotic places and soaking in the culture, all while managing a startup and being more productive than if you were chained to a desk, the digital nomad lifestyle might be for you. Do research and plan wisely — much like how you would form a startup — and you will have a solid base for travel and business plans.