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Remote Culture 13 min read
Written by Ayesha Renyard
Content Writer @ Galactic Fed
Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter
Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed
Published 27 Oct 2021
Digital nomad: a remote worker who travels to different locations regularly—including to sunny beach destinations. (Yes, seriously).
It sounds too good to be true, right? No more clocking in and clocking out. No more commutes. You can work wherever you want, whenever you want. The digital nomad lifestyle is pretty sweet.
And it’s totally achievable. Here’s proof:
Yep—that’s one of our growth marketing consultants, Sam, working from the beach.
As more and more companies transition to remote work, the idea of becoming a digital nomad becomes more and more enticing, doesn’t it?
So why not be one yourself? As a remote company full of experienced digital nomads, we’re here to provide the lowdown on:
As part of our Remote Culture Series, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a digital nomad in 2021.
The definition of a digital nomad sounds pretty appealing, but let’s dig into it a bit deeper.
Digital nomads aren’t on vacation—they still work, but they do so remotely. Thanks to modern technology, it’s pretty easy to do so! All you need is a laptop and access to a strong WiFi connection. Coffee shops, co-working spaces, hotels, and libraries are all dependable spots to plug in and get some work done.
There are many types of digital nomads out there. You might find folks traveling around in a campervan or RV. Others may stay in backpacking hostels or rent Airbnb hotels. Some might even travel around by boat!
Typically, digital nomads try to embed themselves in the local community because they’re spending weeks or months in one place. Let’s just say you won’t see many staying at the Ritz Carlton.
While I have to admit we’re biased towards the nomadic lifestyle, it’s important that you hear both the benefits and the challenges.
Got ten minutes? Hear from millionaire digital nomad, Sorelle Amore, on her experience as a digital nomad in this video.
If you kept reading, you’re still interested in trying out the digital nomadic lifestyle. Woop, woop—welcome to the club!
Instead of spending hours Googling and taking notes, we’ve pulled together our top tips for you right here.
If you’re not working a remote job yet, let’s first find you a gig. Digital nomads can work for remote companies, or they can create their own online-based businesses.
Some common digital nomad jobs are:
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of jobs that are remote—especially since COVID-19. If you’re on the job hunt, we recommend looking at remote job boards. Here are some popular ones:
While there are tons of websites you could leverage, here are some of the most popular remote job sites:
While you technically have the flexibility to work wherever you want, there are a few things you need to consider when choosing your next destination.
First, there may be some constraints depending on your job, the company you work for, or your clients.
Some companies are remote but still require you to be available during the company’s primary work hours. So if the majority of the company is operating in Vancouver, Canada, then it’ll be tricky to attend meetings from Bali, which is 12 hours ahead. So we recommend choosing a location that jives well with your company’s hours.
Or, if you’re self-employed, you should aim to be available during your clients’ work hours. They won’t want to attend meetings at 8 PM!
Secondly, you’ll want to explore destinations that are digital-nomad-friendly. Many digital nomads congregate in certain countries due to a combination of low-cost living, decent internet access, and the ability to renew tourist visas.
Not only do these countries make it easy to be a digital nomad, but they’ll also introduce you to other digital nomads! Sure, we may all be independent. But friends are nice, right?
Ah, now for the fun part: paperwork and logistics. (Boooring!) While this is undoubtedly the dreaded part of becoming a digital nomad—it has to be done! Luckily, with our tips, it’ll be a whole lot easier for you.
Some banks are a traveler’s best friend, and some banks aren’t. It’s best to do your research and identify banks that don’t charge ATM withdrawal fees and credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Here are four banks that are top picks for travelers:
For credit cards, Chase and American Express both cater to travelers. (Depending on the card, there are a ton of perks too!)
To be safe, we recommend getting more than one credit card and debit card. If one gets lost or stolen, you can cancel it and continue on with your life (instead of spending hours on the phone trying to get another one set up.)
If you’re a freelancer or contractor, you’ll also need to create a way for your clients to pay you! While many banks support wire transfers, many also charge fees. Here are two that we’ve used for the Galactic Fed team:
Depending on where you travel to, local healthcare may be relatively inexpensive compared to coverage in the U.S. That said, you should still consider purchasing travel health insurance in case you experience an emergency. Most U.S.-based insurance plans don’t cover you internationally.
Here are three insurance companies that are top picks in the digital nomad community:
For many years, digital nomads would apply for tourist visas, which sits in a legal grey area because, technically, you shouldn’t be working on a tourist visa. Unfortunately, digital nomads aren’t well understood in many parts of the world, and laws aren’t set up to accommodate them. Sure, they’re working in these countries, but they’re not taking jobs away from locals—which is what work visas try to prevent.
But we’ve got good news. In recent years, many countries have created “digital nomad visas,” which give you the right to work remotely while residing in a different country. (Please note that the term “digital nomad visa” isn’t often used by the governments that issue them.) Their names, requirements, and costs are different in each country, so be sure to scope out the details beforehand.
As of July 2021, there were 24 regions offering programs for temporary remote workers, which you can see outlined in this map.
You can find the whole list of countries here. The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for remote work—and we’re sure that more and more countries will soon introduce similar visas.
Digital nomads depend on technology to get work done! While you don’t have to scour the streets for hours to find an internet cafe anymore, you should prepare your technology, so it’s smooth sailing once you arrive.
If you keep your phone plan as is, you’ll run into a ton of roaming fees. A standard travel hack is to buy a prepaid SIM card with a data plan at your new destination. Store your existing SIM card in a safe place and replace it with your new SIM card. Trust us—this will save you a lot of money!
Plus, it’s super annoying to have to find a WiFi network to use your phone. Sure, you can deal with it for a week trip. But it’s not a sustainable solution when you’re living abroad as a digital nomad. Think of all those times you’re calling an Uber on the streets or looking for directions. Each time you turn on your data, it’ll cost you around $15 a day!
The internet is censored in many parts of the world. To ensure you can access the websites you want (plus an extra level of privacy), it’s essential you download a good VPN (virtual private network) before you leave. Here are a few notable options for you to scope out:
Source: PC Mag
Right now, we’re living in a wildly unpredictable world, especially when it comes to travel. We’ve pulled together some considerations for becoming a digital nomad right now—amid a global pandemic.
Ready to become a digital nomad? We’re excited about this new adventure of yours. You’re going to feel on top of the world! (That’s what our co-founder, Zach, must’ve felt when working on a literal mountaintop.
Here are a few blog articles that might come in handy for you:
Content Writer @ Galactic Fed
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