What do you need to become a digital nomad?
For many people, being a digital nomad is the dream. Working for yourself and regularly traveling to new places are attractive prospects. But how exactly do you make it happen, and what do you need?
Being a digital nomad isn’t all about taking fun photos for social media of you on your laptop with a beachside view. The life of a digital nomad can be difficult and sometimes means sitting at a library or a cafe for hours on end so that you have reliable WiFi. Still, if you desire a life of freedom, travel and new experiences, becoming a digital nomad might be just what you need.
What is a digital nomad?
Digital nomads are people who earn their living online and live a nomadic lifestyle, traveling consistently and calling new places their home every so often.
Digital nomads can be stock traders, writers, artists, drop-shippers or a range of other things. Some digital nomads live in RVs or travel trailers, and use mobile hotspots or satellite internet for work, while others might opt for AirBnBs, hostels and hotel rooms.
Many digital nomads find themselves in state and national parks, foreign countries, and unique places they never knew existed.
Digital nomad jobs
There are several ways to earn your living online and become a digital nomad, but don’t allow yourself to get tricked into any get-rich-quick schemes. Making a living online usually doesn’t happen overnight and might require spending your free time learning new skills or hunting for jobs. If you choose to start your own small business, you’ll likely benefit from bookkeeping software like Wave by H&R Block.
Here are a few ways that you can make your living online:
Get a job at a virtual call center
This can be a pretty accessible way to start your digital nomad lifestyle. Many large corporations like Amazon, Apple and AT&T have call center roles available virtually, but you might have to stay on top of online job boards like Snagajob, Monster and Indeed to find them.
If you have the experience, you could even find yourself in a virtual management or HR role, and if you don’t, you could work your way there from a support role. Most virtual call center roles do require that you have a headset and computer to be considered.
Start a blog
Many digital nomads write blogs about their travels. By adding advertisements or affiliate links, they earn an income. As you can imagine, it takes some time to build a big enough following to earn any income with this route. If you aren’t a digital nomad already, you’ll have to think of a unique topic for your blog.
Start a drop-shipping business
You can sell products online without ever even seeing or touching them yourself. To do this, you’ll need startup capital and a small team of people you trust.
Many people that go this route come up with a private label product idea, such as shoes, backpacks, coffee cup lids, curtains or virtually any other thing that you could safely ship and find an affordable supplier for the item. You’ll also need a designer to make unique labels and someone who will receive the inventory and send them to your customers.
Digital nomad health insurance
With the amount of traveling you’ll do as a digital nomad, you’ll want to have an insurance policy that fits your lifestyle. If you work virtually for a corporation, they will likely have an employer health insurance plan that fits your needs, but if you don’t, you’ll be left finding your own policy.
You shouldn’t rely on travel insurance to cover you in the case of a medical emergency. Although travel insurance could provide limited coverage if you’re injured while traveling, it will not likely offer the same coverage as a health insurance plan. Many health insurance providers offer adequate plans for nomads, including those like SafetyWing and World Nomads, designed with digital nomads in mind.
Digital nomad gear
There are certain essentials that every digital nomad needs and other things that will depend mainly on our method of travel. Ensure you have a solid plan in place and know what you need to take with you before leaving for your life of adventure.
Digital nomad packing list
A computer: No matter how you choose to make your living as a digital nomad, you’ll likely need a computer to be successful. Some entry-level virtual jobs might require that you use a desktop computer, but if you’re working for yourself or not required to use a desktop, you’ll likely want to opt for a laptop for extra portability.
If you decide to use a desktop computer, the HP EliteOne 800 G5 All-In-One PC makes an excellent choice thanks to its advanced tech and thin design. If you choose to use a laptop, the Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro is our top pick. It’s a powerful PC with an ultra-bright screen that withstands glare better than most laptops.
A wireless hotspot: If you plan to live a nomadic lifestyle in an RV or travel trailer, a wireless hotspot is an absolute must. Even if you plan to stay in hotels and AirBnBs, you’ll likely occasionally run into rooms with no WiFI. The NETGEAR Mobile Hotspot is an excellent choice for the United States. Still, if you’re traveling abroad, you may want to consider an international hotspot like the highly capable GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot.
Bedsheets: Staying in new destinations and hotels feels a lot more like home when you bring bedsheets and pillowcases with you.
A reusable bottle: No matter how you choose to travel, a reusable bottle will save you plenty of money on bottled water and drinks, not to mention you’ll lower your carbon footprint.
A camera: The more you travel, the more you will begin to wonder if your phone is capturing the beauty you get to see around you. The Canon M50 Mirrorless Camera is a great entry-level camera for capturing breathtaking photos.
Best digital nomad products
Packing cubes are an incredible way to sort your clothing and other items in a convenient way that will completely change the way you think about packing.
A portable charger can be a lifesaver if you find yourself on a wilderness excursion or even just needing to do some work while exploring a new city. The Ekrist power bank is a highly efficient model with two USB and one USB-C port.
Sold by Amazon
This backpack is made of waterproof and cutproof material, has a metal wire lock and helps relieve the stress off of your back. An anti-theft backpack is a great way to protect your laptop and other valuables while you’re traveling.
Sold by Amazon
Glare is the bane of every digital nomad’s existence. If you want to work outside, you’ll want to pick up an anti-glare screen protector.
Sold by Amazon
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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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