According to veteran nomad Chris Backe, “Careful planning is crucial for stress-free, productive digital nomad travel.”
I travel to new countries every few months for my job online.
It’s fun but can also be stressful if I don’t plan ahead.
To prep, I make detailed schedules and lists before each trip.
This helps me get my work done and enjoy new cultures without problems.
Read my guide to learn my tips for happy travels and good remote work.
Let’s explore how smart planning helps people like me see the world while working!
Digital nomad travel planning, what to know?
Digital nomad travel planning is about balancing work and exploration, finding ideal destinations, and creating a budget for a fulfilling, sustainable lifestyle.
How to Succeed in Travel Planning as Digital Nomad
Define your remote working skills
To join the growing community of digital nomads, you first need to equip yourself with skills that allow you to work remotely.
The best remote working skills are digital ones like coding, graphic design, writing, and social media management.
Spend time building up your abilities in one of these in-demand fields so…
…you can offer services as a virtual assistant, programmer, content creator, or online marketer.
That will give you the flexible income stream needed to support the nomadic lifestyle.
I personally learned to code during my evenings after work which eventually allowed me…
… to quit my office job.
It was challenging balancing learning and full-time work, but being able to work…
… from anywhere in the world made it worthwhile.
Choose destinations wisely
Choosing where to go is one of the most exciting parts of the digital nomad lifestyle!
Make sure to research countries thoroughly to find ones with reliable internet connectivity…
… at affordable prices – this will make or break your work. (1)
Also look into average monthly living costs, weather and cultural considerations, visa requirements,…
… and the size of the existing nomad community.
Coworking spaces in places like Chiang Mai, Thailand and Medellin,
Colombia have been nomad hotspots thanks to the low cost of living and modern conveniences.
I opted to spend a summer working from the gorgeous beaches of Portugal…
… thanks to the EU’s digital nomad visa scheme.
Wherever you go, budget wisely and have a plan B in case you need to relocate.
The flexible lifestyle allows you to be spontaneously adventurous!
Make money as a digital nomad
As a digital nomad, your income comes from online sources you can do anywhere with a laptop and internet connection.
Offer freelance services in your field of expertise to local clients in your current destination or global clients online.
Run an online business selling products, services, or information.
Monetize a blog, YouTube channel, or social media presence with ads and sponsorships.
You can also make great money teaching online courses on platforms like Udemy.
I taught myself web development during my corporate career and eventually was able to quit and work for myself.
Now I easily support my nomadic lifestyle by building websites for small businesses I meet during my travels.
The freedom is worth the hard work of building diverse remote income streams.
Finance your travels
To make the nomad lifestyle sustainable, be sure to save up adequate funds in advance.
Have at least 2-3 years of living expenses covered before hitting the road.
Once traveling, continue to secure remote work through freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
Turn hobbies like photography, crafts, or cooking into income streams by selling products or experiences to other travelers.
Monetize your travels!
I worked 3 side jobs while living frugally to save up $30,000 before embarking on long-term nomad life.
Now I earn additional income by selling photos of my adventures on stock image sites and running a travel blog.
Proper planning goes a long way when financing this nontraditional lifestyle.
The digital nomad life is exhilarating, but also challenging.
With proper diligence building your skills and financial cushion, you too can experience…
… the reward and freedom of working remotely while seeing the world!
Travel gear essentials
To stay productive on the road, invest in the right travel-optimized gear.
Must-haves include a lightweight laptop, smartphone, backup battery packs, and…
… international power adapter so all your devices stay charged.
A portable WiFi hotspot keeps you connected remotely, while a portable printer and scanner let you manage documents.
Noise-cancelling headphones help you focus anywhere.
Through trial and error across dozens of countries, I’ve created my perfect nomad gadget toolkit.
My favorites are the ultra-slim MacBook Air, Anker battery packs, and Sony noise cancelling headphones.
Don’t skimp on technology – it’s your digital nomad lifeline!
Health, safety and visa tips
Make health and safety a priority when traveling abroad for extended periods.
Purchase comprehensive travel/health insurance, get recommended vaccinations, and…
… research security considerations for new destinations.
Visas are also key – look into visa options for longer stays in countries like…
… the digital nomad visa programs popping up around the world.
Join local nomad Facebook groups to get insider tips and support once on the ground in a new place.
I always get travel insurance through WorldNomads and…
… make sure to get health checkups before extended stints overseas.
Researching visa rules has allowed me to stay in some places for up to…
… a year that would otherwise only offer 30 day stays.
Don’t neglect the logistics – plan properly!
The digital nomad lifestyle provides unmatched freedom and fulfillment.
With proper research, gear, and a sense of adventure, you can craft your own journey working and exploring the world.
The rewarding nomad life awaits!
Digital Nomad Destinations
One of the best parts of the digital nomad lifestyle is getting to see the world! (2)
Here are some top destinations by region:
Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines lure nomads with tropical beaches, incredibly low costs of living, and delicious food.
Malaysia boasts modern amenities and infrastructure along with natural beauty and a rich multicultural society.
I split my time between Chiang Mai, Bali, and Saigon when I first got started as a digital nomad.
The community and amenities across Southeast Asia are ideal for remote workers.
Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica have thriving expat/nomad communities and jaw-dropping natural wonders.
Uruguay, Chile, Panama, and Brazil offer stunning landscapes and emerging tech startup scenes.
I’m currently based in Medellin, Colombia to take advantage of the perfect weather, low costs, and great nomad infrastructure.
It feels so liberating to work outdoors here!
Mediterranean countries like Portugal, Spain, Croatia, and Greece have rich culture, history, architecture, and beautiful beach towns.
Central/Eastern European cities like Prague, Budapest, and Tallinn have thriving startups, low costs of living, and central location.
I split a summer between Lisbon and the Azores thanks to Portugal’s digital nomad visa scheme – being steps from the beach and still on European time was a dream!
Middle East and Africa
Morocco, Turkey, UAE, Oman provide ancient cities with modern amenities.
Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa offer stunning wildlife and natural scenery.
So much of the world is open to digital nomads! Do your research to find the perfect places that fit your lifestyle.
Digital Nomad Planning Toolkit
Embarking on the digital nomad lifestyle requires researching and organizing the right tools.
Here are some top resources to have in your toolkit:
- Remote working tools like Slack, Trello, Google Workspace, and Asana facilitate collaboration and task management when working with distributed teams.
- Travel planning sites like Skyscanner, AirBnB, Hostelworld, and Hostfully help you find affordable accommodations and cheap flights.
- Transportation apps like FlixBus, Omio, Uber, and local transit apps get you around efficiently once on the ground.
- Pocket Wifi, Weblink, and local SIM cards ensure reliable internet access abroad.
- Lifestyle sites like Meetup, Facebook Groups, and Eventbrite connect you with fellow nomads and local happenings.
- Finance tools like Revolut, Transferwise, and Payoneer make payments, banking, and money transfers simple.
- Language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel help you pick up basic local language skills.
- Insurance from WorldNomads and health resources like the Yellow Fever Certificate and Tripadvisor give peace of mind.
With the right mix of digital tools, you can plan your nomadic adventure seamlessly.
I rely on my tested toolkit to keep life and work running smoothly on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What travel tips should I keep in mind as a digital nomad?
As a digital nomad, it’s important to plan ahead and think about practical travel tips.
Doing research on time zones, SIM cards, local culture and attractions, hotels and restaurants in each location can help your trip go smoothly.
Remembering to pack everything you need and having backups of important documents is always a good idea too.
How can I create a digital nomad itinerary or plan for multiple locations?
When working remotely while traveling to different places, having some kind of digital nomad itinerary is helpful.
You can decide on your best places to visit based on factors like weather, living costs, working spaces available and how easy or hard it may be to meet new people.
Tools like the nomad list can help you discover new locations and find forums to ask other like-minded people for local travel guides and tips.
Remember to plan enough time in each spot and account for travel between locations in your schedule.
What types of working spaces are available for digital nomads?
Digital nomads and remote workers have many options for productive working spaces during their travels.
Cafes are ubiquitous and allow you to work surrounded by other energetic people.
Coworking spaces catering specifically to digital nomads provide fast WiFi, other professionals to meet, and sometimes even working events.
Homestays or longer-term apartment rentals provide privacy and quiet when you need focused time.
Doing research beforehand ensures you’ll have a comfortable place to be online and meet deadlines wherever your journey takes you.
What are some of the best countries, cities and places for digital nomads?
When deciding where to live and work remotely as a digital nomad, it’s wise…
… to consider locations with a low cost of living, plenty of beautiful attractions, and…
… vibrant communities of like-minded people.
Popular spots include Chiang Mai, Bali, Medellin, Lisbon, Tbilisi and Berlin.
These areas draw huge numbers of digital nomads and remote workers…
… thanks to affordable housing, fast internet, flexible tourist visas and…
… generally safe, welcoming environments.
Using resources that highlight the best places can help…
… narrow your options based on your preferences and budget.
How can digital nomads manage their budget and finances on the road?
Creating a budget and financial plan is important for any long-term travel.
As a digital nomad, having some emergency funds set aside is wise…
… in case of unexpected expenses when switching locations or countries.
Using only one credit card abroad makes payments and tracking spending simpler.
Reviewing your budget regularly allows you to track your costs real-time and…
… adjust your spending if needed to keep within your travel goals.
Opting for affordable housing, cooking your own meals and…
… utilizing free attractions can help reduce costs throughout your nomadic adventure.
How can digital nomads meet new people and make connections while traveling?
Meeting new people and making connections is an important part of the digital nomad experience.
Popular methods include attending local coworking space events, taking classes…
… to learn local skills like cooking or language, and joining activity groups…
… or tours recommended by travel guides and expat forums.
Sites like Meetup help digital nomads and remote workers find others interested…
… in similar hobbies, careers or cultures.
Don’t forget local cultural attractions and parks are also great places to naturally strike up conversations.
With an open and curious attitude, it’s easy to make friends along your journey.
Embarking on the digital nomad lifestyle is an exciting adventure that allows you to work and travel the world.
With proper planning, you can build remote income streams, choose exciting destinations, and craft your own journey.
Define your skills, budget wisely, research visas, and leverage the best digital tools.
The rewarding nomadic life awaits!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other digital nomad tips to share! I’d love to hear your experiences.
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I’m Robert C. L., an associate professor of management at Washington & Jefferson College. With a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from The Ohio State University, my passion lies in exploring the realms of creativity, innovation, and the evolving landscape of work. Delving into the digital frontier, my expertise extends to the world of digital nomads, remote work, and the liberating concept of travel freedom. I’m also an author of the book “Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy” which is sold on Amazon. As a dedicated mind behind timecurvesoft.com, I’m committed to unraveling the dynamics of the digital workforce and sharing insights into the future of work. Join me on this journey of exploration and discovery!