How to Become a Digital Nomad

Category: Travel Tips
Date Posted: 2013-11-07

If you are tired of having the same routine day after day, going to the same office building and doing the same things over and over again, perhaps you should consider becoming a digital nomad. The lifestyle itself isn’t as easy or as romantic as people are led to believe. In fact, it requires a lot of careful preparation and organizing but, if it’s freedom to explore the globe that you crave, it’s the best way to go. Here are steps which will help you go on your way towards becoming a digital nomad.


Save Money

Photo Credit: Save Money by 401(K) 2013, on Flickr  


Cost out your first year of travel


Put your savings to good use and get on the road immediately. You don’t need a lot of seed money to start your nomadic life. The key is to look at it as a lifestyle and not a vacation. Cost out your first year and set yourself a budget while you’re building your income system online.


If you’re building up a location independent income, you’re better off doing it from a cheap base like Chiang Mai in Thailand than struggling with first-world costs at home. Rent directly through local owners instead of sites online like Airbnb and you can get by easily on under $1000 a month in spots like Thailand if you’re renting an apartment long-term, cooking for yourself a bit and focusing on work rather than travel.


The travel insurance policy you choose is important. You want something that provides good cover for your electronics as they’re your livelihood while you’re working on the road. For Kiwis and Aussies, the best option is Travel Insurance Direct. You can cover individual items up to $4000 and you can also extend your policy after 12 months without having to return to your country of origin.


job hunting

Photo Credit: job hunting by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr  


Create an income system

Let’s face it: most of us have to work for a living, and that also applies while you’re living the nomad life. You might be travelling from one place to another, but you’ll still need some form of income to justify the expense. By relying on the internet to make money, you are well on your way towards living the life of a digital nomad, especially since you don’t need a fixed location to work from. All you have to do is bring your laptop and have wifi access. Here are some of the jobs you can start to generate an income: freelance writer, photographer, teacher, web designer, and SEO consultant. Start by looking at sites like to see if there is a demand for your skill set. If you’ve got the courage, you can even start your own online business and run it from wherever you want. If you’re not sure which path to take, simply put together a list of all your skills, and you’re bound to find something that fits. It can be a lot easier to do this once you’re actually on the road and free from the constraints of everyday life. Once you start to travel your thinking expands and so does your creativity when it comes to ways to make money online.


Digital Nomad in Iowa

Photo Credit: Digital Nomad in Iowa by theregeneration, on Flickr  


Downsize your non-digital life


Believe it or not, you can save a lot of money if you are location independent. First of all, you don’t have to worry about paying utilities for an empty house, and you certainly won’t need a car if you’re travelling all the time in various places around the world. You can sell the car and save the money for travelling (or simply put it in a bank account and make use of the interest). As for your home, if you’re not completely convinced about selling it, then you can rent it out to someone and have a second income source to make your travelling easier. If you’re having problems with your digital job, or you’re going through a medical emergency, for example, you won’t have to worry where you’re going to get some extra money.


This is probably something you’ll struggle with if you have the habit of keeping knickknacks and hoarding all sorts of items. One of the keys to becoming a digital nomad is travelling with as few items as possible. If you can’t part with some of the keepsakes you’ve accumulated throughout the year, consider placing them into storage somewhere. Other items such as books, CDs, and DVDs, can easily be digitalized (buy e-books instead of regular books and buy all your music and movies online via media library applications such as iTunes). You can donate the books and CDs you don’t need to schools, shelters, or various charities, or you can even sell books to used book stores to have some extra money for your travels. That way, you can fit in more essential items, such as clothes.


There are more aspects to becoming a digital nomad, many of which you learn through your own experience. However, these steps will definitely help you take the next step and change your lifestyle.



Feature Image: Flickr