Not long ago, endless travel was seen as a “rich person” thing, and working online was a pipe dream. In fact, whenever I’d talk about being a digital nomad back in 2018 with my friends or family, most of them thought I was crazy.
Fast-forward five years and a global pandemic, and there are over 35 million digital nomads worldwide.*
I don’t see that trend stopping any time soon. If anything, the rise in remote careers and digital nomad visas will only motivate more people to do the same.
So why is digital nomadism becoming so popular in the first place? In this article, I’ll walk through how it works and how this lifestyle can be a creative way to save over the long term.
How Does Digital Nomadism Work?
Digital nomads pick up remote skills to find work online or start a freelance business. Since we’re not tied to a place, we’re mostly free to go wherever you want as long you have stable Wi-Fi (it’s our lifeline!) and a decent workspace.
While every nomad’s journey differs, you generally stay 1 to 3 months before moving to a new destination. This gives you enough time to get a taste of a city while also having the stability to get some work done and save a little something for your next adventure.
Is Being A Digital Nomad Expensive?
This one’s a bit tough to answer because no two journeys are alike.
For example, I was a digital nomad in Vietnam and other parts of SE Asia for years.
With a budget of $600-$700, I rented a small but comfy bungalow near the beach, went out to eat 3 to 4 times a week, and traveled on my days off. On the other hand, I also know digital nomads living here who live in luxury penthouses and can spend well over $1,000 monthly on rent alone.
Ultimately, your budget will mainly boil down to the city you choose, your lifestyle, and how often you travel.
Once you find your sweet spot between the three, you can travel as much as you want while staying within your budget!
How To Save Money As A Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad can be cost-effective, whether just starting your career or simply trying to meet your financial goals faster. Here are three practical tips to help you save money on the road:
It’s easy to let FOMO kick in and go everywhere at once.
When I first started roaming around SE Asia, I constantly hopped from city to city every few days. It was awesome initially, but even with the cheapest flight tickets and simple rooms, your expenses rack up quickly the faster you travel.
Constantly being on the move will get physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting after a while, too.
Traveling isn’t a race, and not seeing everything won’t make you less of a digital nomad. Staying in a place for a few months lets you vibe with people more and have stability without worrying about where to go next.
Depending on where you go, most places have steep discounts the longer you stay. Since accommodation is one of your most significant expenses, slow travel will save you money over the long term.
Budget Your Living Costs Ahead
Some famous digital nomad hotspots are known for being expensive, while you could be living like royalty in other cities for less than $1,000 a month.
Once you decide on a place, save at least three months of the average cost of living if you have a remote career. If you don’t, have a cushion of at least six months to keep you afloat while you find work.
Opt For Less Touristy Cities When You Can
While a few months in London or NYC sounds like a dream, you also get much less for your money.
Unless you make decent money or are willing to compromise on housing quality, look for other cities in that country that are cheaper but still offer a decent quality of life.
This way, you can still enjoy living there without paying exorbitant prices. And you could always take a quick trip to the big city while you’re there!
The Bottom Line
Working from anywhere has been one of the most drastic changes in the world of work in recent years.
Don’t get me wrong. You still need to meet deadlines and get your projects done. Depending on where you are, you may need to work at inconvenient times because of time differences.
After doing this for over five years, the pros far outweigh the cons. I’m much happier and more productive than I’ve ever been.
And it’s incredible seeing so many people recently take the plunge and do the same.
Never let fear stop you from being a digital nomad and building a lifestyle you love. As long as you research and plan ahead, there’s no reason you can’t make it possible!