You want to begin your Location Indie lifestyle — become a digital nomad — live and work abroad.
But you’re a bit scared because you don’t want to screw it up.
Or maybe you’re already on this path but you feel like you haven’t quite figured it out yet.
Living as a digital nomad is not always easy, contrary to what some “working from the beach” Instagrammers might have you believe.
In fact, there are times when it’s downright challenging.
So we want to offer up our best digital nomad tips to help you get started.
Because we’ve learned a few things as we’ve built this lifestyle and we want to share these insights with you so your journey is as smooth as possible.
1. Be able to make money as a digital nomad
The first tip if you want to be a digital nomad is to have some work lined up before you even leave on your travels.
Maybe you are starting your own business.
If so, then give yourself time to build it up and get clients and customers so you have an income stream.
Maybe you do freelance work.
Then be sure to have a few signed contracts so you know you have work and a steady stream of money funneling into your bank account.
Maybe your current employer will allow you to work remotely, or you’ll be able to do remote work for a new employer.
Get your ducks in a row with the employer before taking off.
Whatever you do, don’t just quit your job and expect to figure it out on the road with no safety net.
Trying to find work or start your business AND deal with the logistics of booking accommodation and transportation as you are traveling is very difficult.
Take it from someone who tried this (me, when I started as a digital nomad).
It doesn’t work — at least not easily.
Making money as a digital nomad is key to sustaining this lifestyle.
If you have your business up and running, it will make life less stressful and your travels more enjoyable.
2. Successful digital nomads travel slowly
It’s so tempting to move quickly so you can see and do ‘all’ the things.
But fast travel to many countries in a short period of time is not conducive to working as a digital nomad.
It may be fine for people who are travelers.
But you’re a digital nomad.
You live and work on the go.
So while, yes, you want to travel and experience the destinations you are visiting, you also have an obligation to your boss(es) or your clients to actually work while traveling.
Traveling slowly is one of our most useful tips for anyone who works remotely.
It’s a tip that we at Location Indie all believe in — 100%.
Of course, slow travel can mean different things to different people.
Some of us may be good with spending two weeks in each destination.
That may be slow enough.
Many digital nomads may need at least a full month in a location while working from their laptops.
We’ve heard some of our members even say they need to be in a place for 2-3 months.
And with digital nomad visas cropping up in places around the world, you may now be able to spend even more time in each country, and really immerse yourself in the culture.
The digital nomad lifestyle is going to be a little different for each person.
The main thing is to simply slow down to a pace that feels right for you.
3. One of the top digital nomad tips: make sure you have good Wi-Fi
It goes without saying that if you work online, having good Wi-Fi is vital.
After all, if you want to become a successful digital nomad, you need to be working!
And “work from anywhere” should probably really be rephrased to “work from anywhere as long as there’s a decent internet connection.”
Because the last thing you want to be doing in a new country is trying to finish up a project over dial-up speeds when you could be out exploring your new surroundings.
One of our top tips for being a successful digital nomad is to ensure you have a good internet/Wi-Fi connection before you plan to stay in a destination.
How do I do that, you ask?
One way is to talk to other digital nomads to see what they have to say about a destination or a specific accommodation/apartment.
You can also simply ask before you book.
In other words, if you are going to stay at an Airbnb in Berlin, ask the owner before you actually book the property.
Another way to ensure you have good internet access is to sign up with a co-working space if this is an option in your destination.
Do everything you can to be sure there are no surprises when it comes to Wi-Fi.
It may still happen, but if you do a bit of research and planning before you land at your new place, you can avoid some frustration.
4. Have a comfortable place to work
One of the tips for success as a digital nomad that may not come to mind immediately is to have a place to work.
In other words, make sure that when you choose an apartment, room, or hostel, there is a comfortable place for you to sit at a table or desk.
We’ve all probably worked in bed or on a couch with our laptops.
But really…is this sustainable?
Of course not!
So be sure there is a desk and chair or at least a dining table and chair to sit at so you can avoid messing up your back and neck leading you to have to call your travel insurance for an emergency evacuation.
Or perhaps it means finding a cafe or co-working space to do your work.
You just want to ensure that you aren’t uncomfortable as you sit at your laptop.
Your body will thank you.
The other consideration is your work environment.
It’s easier to work when you can focus.
Some people can work anywhere.
But if you’re one who finds working in busy environments to be a challenge, you’ll want to see if you can find a quiet place to help you become focused and productive.
5. Digital nomad life can be lonely: stay connected to your community
Digital nomadism can get a bit lonely sometimes.
You need your community — family, friends, fellow remote workers.
So one of our best tips for a good digital nomad life is to be sure to stay connected to YOUR community.
This will be personal and different to each person.
Some people may find community in Facebook groups.
For most of us, we may need that in-person connection.
So this may mean joining a co-working space or some kind of expat community.
Or it may mean simply finding locals to hang out with through some mutual interests — hiking, reading, gaming.
For others, virtual connections may suffice.
Scheduled Zoom calls with family and friends back home can help stave off loneliness.
Having a digital nomad community, such as Location Indie, where you can share the ups and downs of LI life and talk about what you’re working on is also a good way to feel less isolated.
Whatever connections you need, be sure to make them a priority.
6. Be disciplined so you can get your work done
Remember that as a remote worker or digital nomad, you are not on a permanent vacation.
You may travel the world, living in different locations around the globe, but you’re also working.
So you have to work.
And this means you have to set boundaries so you can actually do this work.
Being disciplined so you can be productive is vital to being successful.
For each of us, this will look different depending on the type of work, time zones (and their importance) and our personalities.
Some of us are naturally more disciplined than others.
And some of us struggle with self control and are easily distracted.
Mornings are a great time for some digital nomads to be effective while for others late day or even evenings are better.
Some of us will need a rigid schedule while others will be okay with a more flexible calendar.
Some of us have time-specific work or meetings, and it’s important to think about the time differences for these more rigid work schedules as you consider your destination options.
Even though you may have the freedom to travel anywhere in the world, consider your day-to-day quality of life.
You don’t want to work at 4 a.m. to attend a meeting, do you?
Even some popular digital nomad destinations may not be the best choice for you if you’re tied to working during a specific set of hours.
Maybe you’ll need to save those countries for true vacations and pick a time zone closer to home — or find a job that allows for time freedom as well as location freedom.
Know yourself and how you work best.
And stay disciplined to get your work accomplished.
After all, this lifestyle is not free!
7. Enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle: take time to explore where you are and have fun
The reverse of the above is to be sure to not be so disciplined that ALL you do is work.
That’s no way to live.
You are living this nomadic lifestyle so that you also have the time to do the things you love.
Maybe it’s taking a hike in the morning before you start your day of work.
Perhaps it’s exploring a museum later in the afternoon.
Or maybe you want to take a cooking class so you can learn how to make authentic Thai food.
You want to travel the world… so be sure you enjoy where you are — explore, learn, connect and have fun.
Work AND play.
This is definitely one of the best things about working remotely while traveling.
8. Burnout is real: take time to take care of yourself
All this traveling around the world while working can, however, take a toll on you if you’re not mindful.
So one of the tips for digital nomads that we stress is to be sure to take care of you.
This is, again, a very personal thing to each of us.
It might mean getting some sort of physical exercise each day.
Perhaps it’s a routine of morning meditation or yoga or journaling.
Maybe it’s a weekly massage.
Or perhaps it’s giving yourself permission to turn off from all technology at a certain time each day or at least once per week.
It may even mean checking in with a friend or therapist on a regular basis to keep your mental health in order.
Burnout is real.
Travel fatigue is real.
Loneliness can happen.
So look after yourself.
9. It’s all an experiment: make adjustments as you need to
Our favorite digital nomad tip is to make adjustments.
When you are first living the Location Indie lifestyle, you’ll probably find that you make some “mistakes”.
But we’re also betting that you will learn.
Work and life balance take on an additional layer of complexity when you’re traveling abroad as a digital nomad.
It’s all an experiment, as one of our members likes to point out.
And it really is.
Try different ways of traveling and working.
If a certain schedule or technique doesn’t work, then try something else.
If a particular destination isn’t a good fit for you, the advantage of being a nomad traveler is you can try a new one.
You need to be flexible and open to change as you build this lifestyle.
And you need to be gentle with yourself if something doesn’t work out.
Just say, “Ok. Well, that didn’t work. What can I do differently so it does work out better for me?”
For me personally, I’m currently traveling too fast over too long of a period of time.
So I know I won’t do this again.
Can I travel quickly and still work?
But not for 4 months.
So I’m learning on this trip and will make adjustments in the future.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Those are our 9 best digital nomad tips
There are more, but these 9 tips and tricks are the top digital nomad bits of advice, in our experience.
We truly believe in the Location Indie lifestyle.
Living as a digital nomad is an exciting way of life.
However, we know that it can be challenging at times.
You’re going to hit highs and lows just as with any other lifestyle.
Having some good information and some awesome tips will help you avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.
We want you to be a success!
And if you have some tips to add, just hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy traveling and working abroad!