Once upon a time, having a job meant you reported to a certain location on a regular basis. Now, 70 percent of people around the world work remotely once a week, and 53 percent telecommute for at least half the week—and a solid portion of those people are digital nomads.
You may have heard the term “digital nomad” before but don’t really know what it means, or maybe it’s completely new to you. Either way, it’s a phrase worth knowing.
So, What Is a Digital Nomad, Exactly?
Digital nomads are remote workers who are able to earn a living while moving from place to place. Think of digital nomadism as working from home, but on the go. Digital nomads still work from home, but their home base changes anywhere from every few weeks to every few months.
Being a digital nomad allows people to have the freedom of working from home and the income of steady work, but still gives them the opportunity to travel and immerse themselves in new locations and cultures.
What Does a Digital Nomad Do?
Digital nomads do just about everything. If a job can be done remotely, you can do it as a digital nomad.
Many digital nomads work for themselves. That could mean being an entrepreneur, freelance marketer, graphic designer, social media expert, copywriter, or programmer, among other things. However, some digital nomads work for just one company. If you work remotely for a company and you’re not required to do physical check-ins weekly or more often, you could technically become a digital nomad provided you’re OK with occasionally working in a time zone that’s different from the one where your main office is based.
Where to Live as a Digital Nomad?
Housing is a big factor for digital nomads, but finding a place to live simply requires a little planning. Many will find short-term apartment rentals in the city where they’re interested in living, or find co-living spaces where they can rent a room in a larger house or apartment.
As for location, it’s ultimately up to you. Popular destinations include Portugal (specifically Lisbon and Porto), Thailand, Bali, and Singapore, but again, you can technically be a digital nomad anywhere—you just have to find housing.
How to Be a Digital Nomad
Many people find that it’s helpful to build up some savings in advance. That way, if you go through a few off-weeks with work, you can still cover your expenses. It’s also a good idea to reduce your expenses before you set out (like ditching that gym membership and maybe even selling your car) and paying down debt as much as possible. You don’t want to have to worry about extra bills when you’re on the road.
Then, you’ll want to make sure you have steady remote work or, at least, work that’s steady enough to support your lifestyle. After that, make sure your passport is up to date and figure out where you want to go. You can plan out a few locations in advance or pick one destination and take it from there.
Figure out your housing situation before you arrive (paying to stay in a hotel before you find a more permanent place to live is a good way to eat up your savings), learn the basics of local laws and regulations, and go. That’s it!

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