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Things to Consider Before Becoming a Digital Nomad

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Things to Consider Before Becoming a Digital Nomad

Digital nomadism sounds dreamy, right? Working from anywhere, hanging by the poolside in a hammock and clocking off whenever you want to run around a foreign city, beholden to no one? 

In the real world, life as a digital nomad can be a little less like a dream. It can be lonely, stressful, scary, and more than a little financially stressful if you don’t get it right. However, if you can nail the basics and roll with the punches, it can be such a freeing experience and allow you to really rid yourself of the pressure of a 9-5. 

To help you get it right, here are some things to consider before embarking on the digital nomad journey!

Bring in multiple sources of income

Many people who become digital nomads are full-time employees who have found they can work from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. If you’re lucky enough to have a guaranteed salary in your pocket every month, this might not apply so much to you – but it’s still not a bad idea! 

However, many other people interested in the digital nomad life are freelancers, which means that from month to month they can never be completely sure of the income they may bring home. It’s common for freelancers of any kind to have busy periods and quiet periods, and the only way to ensure the quiet periods don’t screw up your travel plans entirely is to have backups. Having multiple income streams will be a life-saver for freelancers and stop them from having to call in a loan from the bank of mum and dad. 

Whilst these income streams could come from anywhere, trying to bring in passive income is a really great step to take. Passive income is money that rolls in every month with little to no effort needed on a day to day basis. Investing money or buying stocks that pay you dividends is a great way to go, but you could also look into things like renting your room back at home to make sure you have a nice reliable cash flow. 

Keep your living costs low

For many, digital nomadism is about seeing the world whilst still making bank. It’s about not just dragging your feet through a 9 to 5 job five days a week and actually experiencing the world. In places like the UK, living costs and house prices are so high that many people on a lower income can’t afford to save after they’ve paid their bills. This takes travelling off the table.

If done right, the life of a digital nomad can vastly improve the quality of life for people who spend a large chunk of their income on living costs and can’t afford to get out and experience the world. It can be tempting to blow a lot of cash on nice hotels and exciting local food, but there are many ways to keep costs low when travelling.

Accommodation is a very big part of where you might find your money goes, which is why so many digital nomads have taken to #vanlife, which gives them a reliable roof over their head, whilst requiring them to only pay for things they would have been paying for if they wanted to continue owning and driving a vehicle whilst travelling (like fuel, vehicle tax, insurance, repairs and an MOT).

Van life isn’t right for everyone though, so if you don’t fancy it then just make sure you can keep your accommodation costs low. A good rule of thumb is to keep your accommodation costs below one-third of your projected monthly income. Of course, this depends on your income and your priorities; you may prefer to opt for a bare-bones living situation so you’ve got more cash to splash on the fun bits of travelling, or you may be used to living in style and need to opt for somewhere a little pricier. It’s still a good rule to try to live by though, as it leaves you with plenty of cash for food and activities. 

Find a good work space 

There’s this idea that digital nomads are really working on the beach or on a mountain top every day – but this just isn’t true. Having a comfortable working space that allows you to meet your deadlines and continue doing your job to a high standard is important. As much as working on the beach sounds like a dream, it isn’t exactly the ideal place to knuckle down and focus or take client calls. 

The good news is that with the rise of the digital nomad comes the rise of flexible co-working spaces. These are a great way to meet fellow nomads and do some great networking, as well as allowing you somewhere to work where you know you can get your head down and get the job done. 

Getting sick is going to suck

Being poorly sucks enough when you’re at home and you can tuck yourself in your own bed and stick a movie on. 

When you’re alone in a foreign country with no home to call your own, it can be a nightmare. This is especially true if you get too sick to work and you can’t bring in an income. One way to protect against this is with Income Protection. Income protection is a type of insurance that pays you a percentage of your monthly wage (usually about 50-70%)  if you become too sick or injured to work. When you’re relying on your income to keep travelling or to stay afloat in a foreign country, this sort of insurance cover can be invaluable. 

Income protection can offer a huge amount of peace of mind for digital nomads who would be lost without their monthly paycheque.  If you’re self-employed anyway – which many nomads are – then income protection is such a smart choice. If you get sick, you don’t have an employer to pay you sick pay. Instead, you’re on your own. You can fall back on savings if you have them, but would these last if you were too sick to hold down a job for years? 

Be smart with your savings

Speaking of savings… there’s one very important cost you should always know you can cover. No matter how much you want to dip into the last few pennies in your savings when you’re hard up, you should always have enough in your savings for the flight back home. 

Knowing you can get home right away if needed can be a huge weight off of your shoulders as a full-time digital nomad. Hopefully, you’ll never need to touch it, but just letting it sit there and knowing you can access it if needed is a comfort. 

Are you considering becoming a digital nomad? What would you like to know about the lifestyle? 

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