Making the decision to become a digital nomad is exciting. Not only do you have the freedom to travel the world while working, you get to do life on your terms.
Of course, making the decision to become a digital nomad and actually doing it are two different things. Once you decide on this lifestyle, there are a few important things you need to do to get your life as a working nomad going. Here are the steps you need to take to become a digital nomad in 90 days — or less.
1. Get your work situation up to speed
If you’re already working remotely, this shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. But if you currently have an office job, you’ll need to transition to something remote. You can go about this one of a few ways. You could ask your boss if you can work remotely, look for a job with a remote company, form your own company, or go freelance.
If you’re planning to go freelance, it’s worth picking up some side gigs now to make sure you’ll be able to make ends meet once you leave your existing job. Once everything is in order, you can give your notice. For a more in depth look at this, Traveling with Kristin offers some excellent advice on “How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work Remotely”.
2. Have a backup plan
Sure, odds are this new lifestyle will work out great for you. But it’s good to have a backup plan just in case you decide digital nomadism isn’t right for you, or you end up running low on money. It doesn’t have to be anything intense: Just think about where you’d go and how you’d change your work situation if things don’t pan out. Then, move forward.
3. Make sure your passport isn’t expiring anytime soon
You’ve probably already made sure your passport is valid, but you’ll want to ensure that it’s at least good for a year, maybe more. After all, renewing it while you’re traveling can be tricky. You can usually renew your passport any time, so try to do it before you leave to buy you years of uninterrupted travel.
4. Get your computer up to snuff
If your computer is iffy on a good day, it’s probably time to invest in a new one.While there are computer stores in locations outside of home, you really don’t want to be scrambling to find a new laptop when you’re on deadline in a foreign country.
5. Get rid of unnecessary stuff
You won’t need cable at home when you’re traveling and, if you’re planning to be a nomad for a while, you may want to consider selling your car and off loading furniture. Otherwise, you’ll have to think about (and possibly pay for) storage, and that’s an annoyance you’re not going to want to deal with on the road.
6. Lock down a mailing address
You’re still going to need an address for some kind of mail. It could be your parents’ address or that of a friend. Or you could rent a mail address that can forward mail to you or send email snapshots. Traveling Mailbox and Earth Class Mail are two good options.
7. Check your finances
You’ll want to have at least some money saved up so you can have a cushion to fall back on. While you have finances on the brain, make sure that your bank has an ATM network that works abroad and that your credit card company won’t charge you foreign transaction fees. Since you will be traveling and working around the world, a couple great online financial institutions with low fees are TransferWise, Revolut or Schwab. And, be sure to get a great credit card with strong insurance protection sand rewards system such as the Chase Saphire Preferred Card.
8. Pick a first destination
You don’t need to map out everywhere you plan to go, but you’ll want to at least figure out where you’re headed first. The options are pretty much limitless, but popular digital nomad destinations include Portugal, Bali,Hungary, and Thailand. The NomadList is a great site to find your ideal destination to get started.
9. Find housing
Staying at a hotel is incredibly pricey and Airbnbs can add up after awhile. That’s why a lot of digital nomads in the know use services like NomadX, a company geared toward digital nomads that helps you find affordable mid-term housing in Lisbon and Porto, Portugal. NomadX offers up full apartments for rent, along with rooms and coliving spaces, in case you prefer to live with a local host. The prices are also designed for a digital nomad budget, so you won’t blow your budget on housing. Also, there are great co-living operators popping up all over the place too.
10. Buy your tickets
Once everything is sorted, you’re ready to go! Buy your tickets (flying mid-week is often cheaper), back your bags, and get ready to enjoy everything a digital nomad lifestyle has to offer. A great app for cheap on sale tickets is Hopper to make sure you get the best deal!