So, you’re ready to become a digital nomad—congrats! No matter where you are in life, it’s exciting stuff—the flexible hours, ability to work wherever, opportunity to travel—we definitely get it.
Despite the persistent image of a DN working off their laptop from some idyllic location (usually in a swimsuit), digital nomad life still has its challenges like any other venture, especially when you’re starting out. There’s the grind to establish yourself. The uncertainties. Beyond everything, there’s logistics.
Lucky for you (and us!) there are TONS of resources out there to take some weight off your shoulders and work off your plate, plus the DN community is incredibly supportive. Everyone started somewhere—everyone. We rounded up some of the best tips and resources from around the globe to get you started as a digital nomad.
Preparing mentally and physically
The digital nomad life certainly has its sexy moments—you meet tons of different people from all over the world, you’re on the road living life to the fullest, right?
Like anything in life, traveling has its ups and downs. Preparing mentally for life on the road and simultaneously working is essential to adjusting and chasing the life of your dreams without getting worn out.
Reducing ties back home
Unless you’re rolling in dough and can simply up and leave, you’ll need to reduce ties to your initial physical location—slowly start selling your stuff, maybe move things into a storage unit, sell/rent out your car, arrange any care for your pets, etc. This also includes refilling any prescriptions, ordering backup contact lenses or taking care of any other physical/mental health needs you normally have.
Before you jet off into the sunset, do your research. Everything depends on what country you go to and how much money you expect to make on the road, but a few questions need answering beforehand:
-Do you need a visa to visit a region or country?
-Do you need any vaccinations?
-Are there any religious restrictions or customs you might need to be aware of?
-Any political dangers or potential conflicts to avoid?
-What bills, debts or obligations will you still have at “home”?
We highly recommend buying travel insurance before you go in order to avoid any terribly expensive mishaps or (gulp) evacuations. Better safe than sorry!
Project Visa (https://projectvisa.com/)
Visa HQ (https://www.visahq.com/)
WebMD - Vaccination resources (https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/features/travel-vaccines)
Passport Health - US vaccinations (https://www.passporthealthusa.com/vaccinations/)
World Nomads - insurance you can adjust for length/countries/etc. (https://www.worldnomads.com/)
Allianz - World travel insurance (https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/)
Insure and Go - World travel insurance simplified (https://www.insureandgo.com/travel-insurance/worldwide-travel-insurance)
Establishing an income
What can you offer the world—or simply one client? What kind of skills do you have—what’s your “thing”?
You don’t necessarily have to be a freelance writer, graphic designer, web developer etc. to get a remote job (although there are plenty of opportunities for people with those skills). You don’t necessarily need a degree, either. If you have a computer and know how to type/perform basic functions, there are many remote jobs for virtual assistants, translation, data entry, customer service, etc.— you just have to find them!
Remote Work Sites:
Remote OK (https://remoteok.io/)
Indeed Remote (https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Remote&l=Remote)
VIP Kid (https://www.vipkidteachers.com)
DaDa ABC (https://www.dadaabc.com/teacher/landing)
Besides a standard check or electronic funds transfer through your bank, here are several other resources for getting paid.
Gusto (for HR/payment) (https://gusto.com/)
International money transfers:
Payoneer - popular but with fees (https://www.payoneer.com/main/)
Transferwise - very popular platform known for being cheaper (https://transferwise.com/signout)
Xoom - Paypal product (https://www.xoom.com/)
Revolut - International banking with free transfers (https://www.revolut.com/en-US/)
Other general resources - (http://internationalmoneytransfers.org/)
Contracts and Invoices
Bonsai - contract/invoice creation tools (https://www.hellobonsai.com/)
And Co - contract/invoice creation tools (https://www.and.co/)
HelloSign - (https://www.hellosign.com/)
XE - Currency app for iPhones/Android (https://www.xe.com)
Oanda - Currency converter (https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/)
Currency Converter - Google app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.easy.currency.extra.androary&hl=en_US)
For some reason there’s a stereotype that DNs are lonely creatures isolated on an island somewhere. Sure, starting out as a DN can feel a little daunting, and yes, you’ll spend time alone. But the DN community is actually incredibly supportive and there are TONS of ways to get involved. There are DN retreats, cruises, meetups, conferences—you name it!
In recent years, Facebook has become an incredible tool for meeting fellow DNs (and even finding jobs!) thanks to its Groups feature. Simply search for digital nomads, remote workers, freelancers, or whatever industry you’re in—it’s probably there. You even join a group for Digital Nomad Academia, as well as strong women-centric resources like Digital Nomads Girls, Freelancing Females, etc.
Pssst— speaking of Facebook groups, join ours! Mexico Digital Nomads Facebook Group
Staying focused + organized
Sure, DN life is full fun and games sipping margaritas on the sparkling beach with your laptop, right? Hold on—you have to work! Even though it’s remote, all the standard questions apply: how do you stay organized? How do you track your time and priorities?
Establishing productive, healthy habits around your workflow and schedule is imperative to having a successful digital nomad setup. Since many DNs are traveling AND doing what they love to do work-wise, you have to stay organized and not get overwhelmed.
1 Password (https://1password.com/)
Asana - collaboration and project management software (https://asana.com/)
Airtable - collaboration and project management software (https://airtable.com/)
Trello - collaboration and project management software (https://trello.com/)
Basecamp - project management + communication software (https://basecamp.com/)
Evernote - Organize your notes (https://evernote.com/)
Calendly - Create meeting invites without worrying about time zones (https://calendly.com/)
Time tracking software:
Due Time Tracking (https://due.com/time/)
Maybe you’re Van Gogh or have some other unicorn-type job where you don’t need the web. Awesome! Great for you. If not, you’ll probably need a solid WiFi connection to work remotely. Plus, you’ll want to keep in touch with everybody back home and show them what you’re up to, right?
CoPass - pass for coworking spaces worldwide (https://copass.org/)
Work Hard Anywhere - resource for trustworthy WiFi cafés (https://workhardanywhere.com/v4-3-landing-page/)
Coworker - coliving/coworking spaces around the world (https://www.coworker.com/search/coliving-spaces)
Whatsapp - a MUST for any international traveler (https://www.whatsapp.com/)
Zoom - ideal for video meetings, webinars etc. (https://zoom.us/)
Skype - communication all over the world (https://www.skype.com/en/)
Google Translate - (https://translate.google.com/)
Freedom App - blocks out chosen websites on your phone/computer (https://freedom.to/)
Focus App - website blocker for Mac (https://heyfocus.com/)
Simply Noise - white noise app for sleeping or blocking distractions (https://simplynoise.com/)
One eternal question for DNs is: how do you stay fit on the road? Besides hiking ancient ruins and swimming in crystal-clear waters (hello, digital nomad life!), getting a challenging workout while traveling can feel like… a challenge. Thankfully there are international gym passes you can utilize, as well as workout apps to kick your own butt.
Headspace - Meditation and sleep made simple (https://www.headspace.com/)
ClassPass - Local classes all in one place (https://classpass.com/)
Zeamo - International gym passes (https://zeamo.com/)
GymPass - International gym passes (https://thegympass.com/)
Global Fitness Pass - International gym passes (https://globalfitnesspass.co.uk/)
Sweat - app built with female trainers (https://www.sweat.com/)
MapMyFitness - app for tracking fitness (https://www.mapmyfitness.com/us/)
Skimble - workout app/trainer (https://www.skimble.com/)
On & On
There are sooo many resources for Digital Nomads just starting out! You just have to be proactive, organized, and focused on figuring out your dreams. We believe in you! Also, if you enjoyed the resources here, sign up for our mailing list :)