How to Become a Digital Nomad and Travel the World Full-Time
Ready your Suitcase!
We all want to have full control over our lives. The problem is, our responsibilities, obligations, and debts sometimes get ahead of us, which hinder us from doing what we want to do in life. The result is - many people fall into the trap of living a monotonous life with the endless cycle of waking up, going to work, going home, sleeping, and repeating the same cycle all over again. If you've been in that situation, the chances are high that you're already exhausted – which is even worse if you're stuck in a job you don't love.
That is precisely why the digital nomad lifestyle rose to fame in recent years. Digital nomads are individuals who are always on the move from one country to another while they're working remotely. They are world-travelers whose jobs are location-independent, which allows them to earn money while enjoying what the world can offer – their office is the entire world.
Sounds lucrative, isn't it? But how does one become a digital nomad? In this blog, we'll give you the best way that we know how you can efficiently and effectively transition to become a digital nomad. However, note that there isn't one specific path to becoming a digital nomad, so these are simple guidelines that can help you jumpstart your journey to becoming one.
Make Money Online
The first thing you need to do is research all the possible ways to make money online. There are tons of options for this, whether you're planning to start an online business, invest in online trading, or only getting an online job. Most people have this notion that you can make money online either by setting up a business or merely getting a job online – but there's more to it than that.
For quick reference, here are some of the best ways on how you can make money online:
- Start an eCommerce Business
- Try Drop Shipping Business
- Sell Your Photos and Artwork
- Create Online Courses
- Sign up for Copywriting / Content Writing Gigs
- Teach English to International Students
- Start a Podcast
- Take on Virtual Assistant Jobs
- Start a Vlog
- Try Affiliate Marketing
- Sell Old Stuff Online
- Get into Online Trading
The list goes on, so you're sure to find something that will suit your capabilities and needs. And in case you don't find anything that works for you, it's never too late to learn! This is usually the part where you can already know if you can be a digital nomad. Understanding the opportunities available to you is essential to sustain a digital nomad's lifestyle once you become one. For instance, if you love writing, then you might want to create a blog site, which you can monetize through affiliate marketing while at the same time you can get clients that you can write for. By doing so, you'll be enjoying both passive and active income.
So, if you don't know where to start, check this blog on how you can make money online. As for me, I was able to do it by running a dropshipping business. If you want to know how I started my digital nomad journey, here's my story on how I went from side-hustle to full-time income dropshipping business.
Escaping the 9 - 5
Another way to successfully transition to the digital nomad lifestyle is by practicing work from home or remote work setup. Working from home gives you more flexibility in managing your personal and professional life. With this setup, you can bid goodbye to the traditional office-setting jobs, where you spend all day stuck in the office, which, most of the time, feels exceptionally exhausting.
Once you have successfully landed an online job or built an eCommerce store, the next thing to consider is how you can grow your earnings so that you won't be dependent on your day job anymore. However, please take note that we don't recommend that you leave your day job instantly the first time you land a sale or get a payout. Instead, the wise thing to do is have a day job and work on your side hustle during weekends or at night and save up before you successfully give up your office job. This is so you'll have enough safety net if there are unprecedented events – like the pandemic, for instance.
Gearing up for the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Now that you're slowly shifting to your new routine, this is the perfect time to figure out what you need to set up and organize those you'll be leaving behind. One is getting an international driving license. Then it would help if you also secured yourself with travel insurance to ensure that you'll be taken care of from anywhere in the world. Another is getting separate credit cards for your business, for your travel, and perhaps for your personal use – getting yourself different credit cards that serve different purposes can be helpful in the long run as it will make your budgeting a lot easier than dumping all your expenses in one card, which sometimes is difficult to track. I made an article specifically for credit card selection if you need advice on entrepreneurs and digital nomads' best credit cards.
If you're running an eCommerce business, you must make sure that your business is duly registered before leaving. If not, then here's a list of the best business formation experts that can help you expedite the process.
Before you pack your bags, you also need to sign up for a virtual mailing address that can receive letters and packages on your behalf. If you're renting out your apartment or selling your car, then this is also the perfect time to do that.
Plan Your Itinerary
Once you've covered the administrative part, the next thing to do is the actual plan of your digital nomad journey. Where do you want to go, and how do you want to do it? Will you be flying in and out of different countries? Or are you going to live in a boat or an RV? Perhaps you want to go to Bali, Chiang Mai, Spain, or Mexico, which are the hottest destinations for digital nomads right now.
In choosing a country, there are several factors that you need to consider since you're not only traveling as a tourist but also as a digital nomad, which means that you should only travel to places where you can work.
There are four key factors that you need to consider in choosing where to go:
- Strong and Stable Internet / Wi-fi Connection
- Low cost of living
- Great working environment
- Visa requirements
Of course, you need to have a stable internet connection since you need to make a living. Plus, living in a country with a low cost of living will allow you to enjoy great perks and even a lavish lifestyle without hurting your pocket. It's nice to have like-minded individuals with whom you can connect; this will allow you to get more ideas and grow your network globally.
So now that you're ready to go, there's one thing that you need to understand when traveling - budget travel. Budget travel is not just about paying less and sticking to your budget. It's about getting the best value for your money. Essentially, it's about traveling smart by paying less and getting more. To do this, you should know how to make practical choices when traveling.
One major hack that most people do when traveling is booking their flights on sale. However, during the actual trip, they tend to spend on anything lavishly. They stay in the most excellent hotel and pay for hefty hotel meals. While this is great if you're purely on vacation, this may not be sustainable in the long run for a digital nomad. Of course, you can reward yourself every once in a while, but once you dive into the digital nomad world, you will need to spend your money wisely to sustain your lifestyle in the long run - unless you're earning a lot of money, then you can probably sustain it.
For instance, making the most straightforward decisions in eating and traveling can significantly affect your budgeting. For instance, eating at a local diner or street food is way more practical than dining at a restaurant; the same way goes with renting a motorcycle or bicycle than getting an uber from one point to another. These are simple decisions that will undoubtedly double your unnecessary expenses. Here are our Top 10 Travel Tips for Budget Travel.
Don't worry, though; this does not mean that you won't be able to enjoy traveling to the fullest. In fact, some of the best finds do not have a ridiculous price tag. This is especially true when searching for authentic local food. You'll be surprised to know that the best Pad Thai in Bangkok only costs 100 THB ~ $3.33.
Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Once you arrive at your first destination, you need to decide how you want to settle down. If you want some privacy, then better book your room or villa, but if you're a social butterfly, then staying in a hostel might be the right choice for you.
In finding a room/villa, there are several apps/platforms that you can use to expedite the process. There's Booking.com for short term stays if you haven't decided yet on your long-term plan, then there's Airbnb, where most digital nomads find their homes for long-term stays, and you might also want to try out Coliving.com, which focuses on offering long-term sharing stays with other digital nomads around the world.
You can either take the public transport system or rent a motorcycle/bike in terms of transportation. In some countries, you won't need to have your transportation since you can entirely rely on their public transport system, but there are places wherein you need to rent a car/motorcycle, especially in the coastal areas, which are usually far from the city.
In case you're traveling alone, you won't have the problem of not talking to anyone since you can just connect with other digital nomads; this is especially true if you decide to go to a digital nomad hotspot country. Sure, it can be lonely traveling alone, but you can always meet new people along the way. In fact, in case you'll be staying for at least a month in a particular place, you can just apply for a local job like bartending, front desk jobs, DJ, chef and the likes – that way, you can quickly get to know the community and grow your network. Now, if you're still lost, check out my guide to becoming a digital nomad.
Travel The World
Now that you're a step closer to your goal of traveling the world, I'll just give you my final advice when traveling as a digital nomad – keep it simple. While digital nomad is a well-known concept for many countries, there are still those who do not fully understand how it works.
When you become a digital nomad, you get full control over your life in terms of where you want to live and how you want to live it – giving you the most incredible sense of freedom, all while exploring what the world has to offer. In fact, as of writing, I'm in Bali, where I get to surf early in the morning any day I want, which is so lovely – a lot better than waking up early just to avoid the city traffic.
So, when are you taking that step towards a digital nomad lifestyle?
Let us know in the comment section below!