Working from home for the long term is always an option, but if you’re looking to work remotely or become a digital nomad permanently, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Digital Nomadism can be feasible if you plan well. The key thing is to remember that you are not travelling for a vacation. You’re going to be doing the same things that you would do back home while exploring an entirely different culture. Knowing this is important to help you budget and travel accordingly.
Having said that, if you are someone looking to be a digital nomad on a budget, here are some tips from the community:
Planning your finances go a long way
Planning your budget as a digital nomad doesn’t end at “put some money aside for your travel”. It means that you will have to align your expenses with your income. Going to a new destination will be exciting, but if you’re going on a long-term workation, then you need to be economical. Accommodation, travel, food, utilities, transport and investment are some things that need to be taken into account while budgeting. Your budget is crucial to picking your workation destination. For example, while Bali could have you living on a shoestring, Vietnam could provide you with a more luxurious experience. In the same budget. So before you up and leave, take account of your finances. To ensure that your digital nomadism experience is smooth sailing, save up some money. Have a safety net in place. And don’t quit your job to freelance or start a business unless you have a solid backup plan.
Research your Digital Nomad Destination
Since not all destinations are digital nomad-friendly yet, the one you pick could direct your remote work experience. That could mean that they have poor connectivity, uncomfortable working spaces, or accommodations catering to tourists more than remote workers. This could make your expenses soar as you would have to shell out more for your work needs. Hotel rooms don’t offer coworking spaces and are inherently priced for short-term visitors. For example, try comparing Goa and Bali, two destinations that offer almost similar opportunities and experiences. Between the two, Goa could cut down on your travel and accomodation experiences and will be more affordable.
Some countries also offer exclusive Digital Nomad Visas that make it easier to extend the visa or even return to a country without having to re-apply for one. Your destination will majorly determine your budget and can help you cut costs while offering you some wonderful benefits! There are plenty of groups and forums for nomads to connect with online. Make sure to research your destination well.
Prioritise budget accomodation
- Start with finding affordable but temporary accommodation in your destination. Once you get there, talk to the property owners, meet up with locals to find what best fits into your needs and budget. Hostel dorms, a shared apartment, or a coliving space could be some great starting points. Facebook groups are also some great places to look up accommodation.
- Secondly, the longer your workation lasts, the cheaper it becomes. This is because you will get discounts on accommodation, you will familiarise yourself with the local spots and pick up some bargaining skills on the way.
Get to know your workation destination
Once again, remember that digital nomadism is not the same as being on a vacation. You can learn and pick up tips from the locals to cut down on expenses:
- Ditch the cabs. Take public transport, or just walk or cycle whenever you can.
- Find the local food joints. Yes, fancy food can be fun on some days, but not forever.
- Skip the bar once in a while. If you’re a digital nomad living on a budget, you can’t be bar hopping every weekend. Buy booze from the local stores to cut down on expenses. Some hostels or co-living spaces offer great opportunities to connect with a community. This can be a great way to catch up on drinks without having to go to a bar.
- Go Couchsurfing. This is one of the most beautiful discoveries by mankind. You find locals who’d be willing to share their living space with you. This way, you cut down on accommodation costs and learn all their tricks too! Sometimes, you make friends for life too!
Travel Hacks from NomadGao's Coconuts
- Travel light to avoid being charged for extra check-in luggage.
- Find connecting flights to make them cheaper. Sometimes direct flights can be more expensive. Use Skyscanner.com for finding flights.
- Get an international driving license so you can rent or buy a second-hand vehicle anywhere.
- Research what the off-season for your destination is. For instance, Goa would be more expensive between November to March than it would be from May to October.
- Carry your own water bottle and keep refilling it. You could save hundreds on buying water!
- Get travel insurance. It could save you so much. Safety Wing, worldnomads, Insured Nomads offer some great Digital Nomad insurance.