When you hear the phrase “digital nomad” it can seem glamorous to say the least. There’s the misconception that being a digital nomad means you’re traveling the world while making plenty of passive income and being your own boss, with hardly a care in the world.

All of these things can be true, but for many people, that’s not what actually ends up happening.

As with any career path or lifestyle choice, you need to be prepared to avoid the possible pitfalls of being a digital nomad, and you need to be strategic to be successful.

The following are some tips that can not just help you work remotely but to be successful at combining work and travel.

How will you travel?

Before you start planning the specifics, you need to have a general idea of how you’ll travel. There are a lot of different options to consider here.

You might rent RVs from people in different locations throughout the U.S., or maybe you’ll travel from hostel to hostel. You might even stay in one place for a more extended period of time and rent a house or apartment.

However you plan to travel, you need to think about how this will affect your work.

For example, if you’re going to be renting RVs, how will you ensure that you always have Internet access and the tools you need to work?

Plan all of this out well in advance of making any big career decisions. This will allow you to consider possible limitations in your work environment, and address them before it becomes a crisis.

How will you work?

If you already have a successful business that you can run from anywhere then you’re pretty much ready to go, but what if you don’t?

You’re going to have to think about the type of business you’re going to have, for example, maybe you’ll offer your skills as a freelancer, but how will you deal with lulls in business?

Maybe you’ll completely do your own thing such as operating an e-Commerce site, but will you be able to make enough money to realistically support your lifestyle?

You need to take off the rose-coloured glasses and think about how much you will need to live comfortably, and how your work will fit into that. It can be best to start building your business before you start traveling, to make sure that you have the momentum to allow you to be a successful digital nomad.

If you want something steadier, you might think about being a telecommuting employee for an existing company.

Understand that it won’t be easy

Finally, if you want to be successful as a digital nomad, you need to eliminate the misconception that somehow this will be an easy lifestyle choice.

It may be a fulfilling lifestyle, but it can often be more difficult to work this way than it would be to go to 9-to-5 office job every day.

You have to be completely self-motivated and often entirely dependent on yourself in your career. You have to balance your time well so that you’re able to support yourself and grow a business, and you have to be prepared to weather possible downturns in your business. It’s a difficult undertaking, although it can be rewarding as well.