Digital nomadism is a great way to actually live a life that doesn’t revolve around work, which is, sadly, the case for many workers. The rise of remote work has made a revolution that is yet to be embraced by myriads of people.
And while the prospect of living whenever in the wide world you like and be financially independent does sound like a dream come true, the truth is that there is so much more to digital nomadism than meets the eye. For one thing, there’s paperwork to consider and for another, the drastic change to your lifestyle may unearth many unknowns.
Luckily, you’re not the only one thinking of changing your life, so there’s a number of tips that can be helpful to any digital nomad. Let’s consider some of them.
1. First Things First: Paperwork
Many countries require that foreigners be holders of an appropriate visa if they plan to work while there, meaning that there are also local taxes to consider.
As regards the paperwork necessary for the visa, you’ll be able to find relevant information on the website of the respective local embassy.
However, there are other documents that you may or may not need and it may be difficult — if not outright impossible — to obtain them once you have relocated.
If you’re planning to visit a UE country, familiarize yourself with EU travel laws beforehand.
It’s always a good idea to obtain an International Driving License so that you can rent when needed.
Keep the copies of all documents with you and with a trusted relative or friend back home. If you’re planning to relocate permanently, think outside of the box. Some documents that may be called for include the birth/marriage certificate and all relevant documents for your family members, if they’re living with you.
2. Other Necessities or Insurance
If you don’t have a permanent employer (freelancing and consultant work, for example), you may wish to explore additional insurance options.
It’s not a secret that people are now buying life insurance policies at a younger age, so the right question to ask yourself is when you should get life insurance.
Some countries have certain requirements in this matter, notably in terms of medical insurance, but you should look up all available options to find the best one for your particular situation.
3. Managing Expat Taxes
As mentioned above, working in whichever country doesn’t come for free. You’ll need to consider local taxes, as well as the regular ones. There are certain expat income exclusions you should familiarize yourself with in advance.
If it’s all Greek to you, it might be a good idea to hire professional help, or you can make inquiries from the local expat community. Just remember that it’s imperative to have the right information.
Keep in mind that it will take you some time to get to know the locals, so experienced expats can be of great assistance when you’re settling in.
4. Digital Nomadism Doesn’t Equal a Vacation
This is the most common misconception about digital nomads, at least for people looking from the outside. If you’re new to the trend and have any illusions, inform yourself properly.
If you’re unfamiliar with remote work, and especially freelancing, you’ll need to get used to necessary adjustments. Travelers supporting themselves in this way should be prepared for any eventuality.
You don’t want to find yourself short of jobs for longer periods of time, so some savings should always be handy. It can be rather difficult to find yourself penniless in a foreign country with unfamiliar regulations.
5. Continued Learning
It goes without saying that digital nomadism is suitable for tech-savvy people and for those who adapt to the rapid changes.
Up until now, freelancers and remote workers, in general, have been relying on eLearning to polish their skills, but of late, a new trend has emerged — mLearning.
The benefits of the latter chiefly lie in the fact that you can learn whenever, wherever — quite similar to digital nomadism, in fact. As a result, many are turning to mLearning for much-needed skills in an attempt to remain competitive in the rapidly changing gig economy.
6. Productivity Apps
Remote work wouldn’t be remote work if it didn’t rely on digital technologies. There are apps and apps suitable for any task that may come to mind, and with more people turning to the gig economy, many more are certain to come along.
Instant messengers, communication and meeting tools, top Gmail apps and project management tools are only some of the necessities, all of which you need to familiarize yourself with as soon as possible.
It may sound like a lot but, in fact, it is common sense. The best-rated apps will always be widely employed by a number of clients, so the only effort you need to invest in is to actually stay on top of the trends.
7. Find Your Way Around
Lastly, here’s some practical advice. Once you have settled in, work on the basics first. Familiarize yourself with the locale and get in touch with the local expat community.
There are so many things to keep in mind, so start small. Where and how do you pay your bills? How should you commute? Where and when should you pay your taxes? Which paperwork should you get, and where should you get it?
There are always tourist organizations that can help you get started, but they provide only the basic info. You’ll need to get to know the locals to become privy to the best deals, but if you don’t know the language, that can prove difficult indeed. Rely on the expats, at least in the beginning.
As you can see, there are some things about digital nomadism that aren’t so straightforward. To remain productive and make the best out of this exciting way of life, you’ll need to put in some effort first.
However, that doesn’t differ much from any relocation scenario. Seriously, no one can just up and move somewhere without a clue about what to expect in the new environment.
What sets digital nomadism apart, however, is the liveliness of the community. Shared working space and cohabitation are two of the most common examples. We’re talking about open-minded people looking for freedom, so you should embrace it. The only initial hurdles are those mentioned in the beginning, after all. Once you’ve finished the hassle with the paperwork, tax inquiries and insurance matters, you can truly enjoy your life to the fullest — wherever you decide to go next.