Things to consider if you want to become a digital nomad

Written by Jess Shanahan

Future of Mobility expert writing on electric cars, entrepreneurship, and freelance life.

February 25, 2019

As a semi-nomadic business person, I understand the dreams of people who want to travel the world while working. As much as I love my home city of Norwich, I appreciate being able to spend periods of time in other parts of the world. Not only does this makes me more productive and creative but I get to immerse myself in all sorts of other cultures.

If you want to be a digital nomad, there are some things you need to keep in mind. I wanted to create a guide that would act as the first port-of-call for any travellers or entrepreneurs who were looking to adopt this way of life. Here are some things to consider if you want to become a digital nomad.

Are you allowed to work?

Depending on where you were born and where you’re travelling to, you may need a work visa to be able to live and work in the country. You might need proof of employment or proof that you have cashed saved up to cover your costs. Do your research thoroughly and never assume you can work on a holiday visa as you could be thrown out of the country.

Some countries will allow you to work online only under a normal tourist visa. says: “As long as they [digital nomads] only stay for the legal amount of time and don’t work for, or employ, locals, they can enter any country and work online with just a tourist visa.” Check the restrictions before you go and, if necessary, check with a legal or travel professional to get clarification on what kind of work you can do.

Follow the laws

Do your research on local laws before you travel. It’s unlikely that you’ll accidentally break a law but it’s good to know what you should look out for. The UK Foreign Office has country-specific advice on its website.

Drive safely

Some of the laws that often catch out travellers are on the road. If you’re in the UK and are thinking of taking your car to the continent, you’ll need a prominent GB stickered displayed or you’ll need to get replacement number plates that show your country code. Driving in Europe is usually quite easy but make sure you brush up on local laws before you set off on a big road trip.

What kind of work should you do?

If you’re not already working online or need some more income to fund your travels, most digital nomads find success teaching English online. You usually need a TEFL qualification but you can usually find a relatively inexpensive course on Groupon.

It might also be considering how you can set up a business that brings you passive income. When I work with coaching clients on this, we start by talking about skills and interests and whether there’s anything they’re good at that other people would want to learn. Consider this yourself and start to think about whether there are any courses or ebooks you could create to start generating a little residual income. This is your best option if you want to freedom to explore and have fund without behind stuck behind your laptop for hours a day.

There are also plenty of remote jobs out there for anyone that’s skilled in translation, transcription or editing.

How much money you’ll need

A few countries that appeal to digital nomads are Bali, Thailand and Vietnam. The cost of living in these places is relatively affordable (especially if you’re used to the cost of living in North America and Western Europe), but you’ll still need a decent income to live a stress-free life. Again, do your research into living costs in your chosen countries so you know exactly how much money you’ll need to get there and live comfortably.

If you have the dream to become a digital nomad, you should follow it but always do your research and make proper preparations first.
Do you work while you travel?

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