Practical tips for Digital Nomads, travelers, and for everybody else! A collection of (sometimes hard-earned) learnings from traveling mostly in Asia.
is a common challenge for Digital Nomads. The lifestyle itself calls for traveling, rented accommodations, restaurant meals, etc; while normal business behavior must be maintained with mobile electronic equipment, internet subscriptions, rented office space, printouts, copy & fax services, mailing, SIM cards, data backups, customer care, company accounting and auditing, company administration, tax statements; maintaining company records, contracts and agreements; etc …
Digital Nomad life is often carried out in low-cost countries so food and lodging may not be an issue. Local travel is mostly cheap, however international traveling and the necessary electronics, not to mention possible commitments back home, still carry the same huge price tags. Furthermore, remote services and work carried out by a Digital Nomad tend to be far less paid for than if you'd do the same work on-site back home.
However, quoting Tony Robbins: “The defining factor for success is never resources; it's resourcefulness”
There are dozens of websites for cheap flights and I have found that differ very little prices. Note that many budget airlines only sell tickets on their own websites. The key to cheap flights for the resourceful Digital Nomad is FLEXIBILITY when it comes to schedule. Avoiding the big traveling holidays is a no-brainer – though knowing the BIG traveling holidays may be a challenge in its own right when you are in an unfamiliar country.
Try changing your departure date a few days back or forth and you may find the same (or a similar) flight substantially cheaper. If possible, try different airports for departure or arrival; It may be much cheaper – and a fun adventure experience – to eg fly to a smaller town and take a local bus or train to your final destination.
On the other hand … be sure to consider the end-to-end cost. A cheap flight that forces you to pay for an extra hotel night near the airport (which may be expensive also in low-cost countries) may turn out a worse alternative than paying a little extra for a more conveniently scheduled flight. Also assess the risk for delays, and your sensitivity towards such! An important delivery and a complicated travel with many legs and tight or unsecure connections may not be a good combination. A fun adventure perhaps, but with a possible additional cost of a missed delivery and an upset (ex-) client.
For hotel bookings I always use expedia.com, they seem to offer the best prices and their review system makes it easy to find good accommodation at a reasonable price. But be sure to check that there are a substantial number of reviews.
This is obvious but still worth mentioning over and over. There are only a few items you really need to bring along. When finished packing – throw out half the stuff! Tony Robbins again: “… is never resources; it's resourcefulness.” So throw out the stuff from your backpack and pack yourself full of resourcefulness! And you will be all ready to go!
Private bills back home
have a tendency to pop-up when least expected! Despite careful planning and “considering everything”, that yearly payment suddenly appears out of the blue. Arrange forwarding of mail to a trusted friend or relative, and perhaps deposit an amount of money with them for unexpected expenses. Much easier than if you unexpectedly need to make an urgent international money transfer when in some forgotten corner of the jungle.
Insurance: medical, traveling, lost / stolen property etc.
This is obviously not the most fun part when planning for your Digital Nomad career, but it is worth mentioning. What happens if you get sick? What if you have a fatal accident? What if you lose all your belongings including passport, money, credit cards, laptop, etc? Not very uplifting things to consider; but if the unlikely occurs you will be far better off with a good insurance.
May be worth considering. After all, life is short … The Digital Nomad does not benefit from an employers provisions into a retirement fund – it is entirely up to the Digital Nomad's initiative. Private savings or any other suitable way of creating assets that will generate sufficient and recurring income once needed.