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Ready to work remotely from a new country? 2022 is the year to start putting the gears in motion to switch to a digital nomad lifestyle. With the increasing access to remote work, acceptance of digital nomad visas all over the world, and people looking to change up their daily routines, there’s never been a better time to pack your bag and purchase a one way ticket. This year alone, the number of digital nomads has grown to more than 15.5 million in the United States. It’s time to swap your current residence for an apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand in Southeast Asia — or Medellin, Colombia in South America. With the accessibility of global coworking spaces and comprehensive travel programs, a digital nomad lifestyle is more achievable than ever before.

Here at Remote Year, we’re all about traveling the world while working remotely with a community of like-minded adventurers. To help navigate work and travel, we’ve crafted a Remote Year’s beginner’s guide to the digital nomad lifestyle. Discover how to balance technology, packing, money, wellness, itinerary-building, and community – all from working in unique locations around the world.

Navigate remote work with the latest tech and gadgets.

With remote work jobs increasing and a work-from-anywhere mentality becoming more popular, online jobs only require employees to have an internet connection with sturdy wifi– no matter what time zone you’re in. Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or working for a giant corporation, it’s possible to travel and work from different coworking spaces or internet cafes worldwide. 

If you’re looking for gigs that allow you the freedom to become a digital nomad, there are online hubs and job boards to help you find your dream career. While platforms like Upwork or Fiverr are valuable assets for freelancers looking for project and contract work, and LinkedIn Jobs or Zip Recruiter are great resources for those looking for a more traditional work trajectory – Remote Year wanted to offer something different. As a part of our community platform membership, digital nomads have access to remote work job listings curated by digital nomads. If the desire to travel and work remotely has you wanting to develop new skills to suit your unique lifestyle, many members of the Remote Year community have become ESOL (English as a second language) courses or virtual assistants that give them more flexible work hours. 

Managing your money as a digital nomad

Full-time travel doesn’t have to burn a hole through your wallet – in fact, it can be cheaper than a mortgage or high-costs rent in major cities around the world. Learning to budget you your income while traveling is an art – and members of the Remote Year community have perfected it – and want to share their insights with some helpful hints:

Join a 1-month program in a country with a lower cost of living. Remote workers loved working remotely in Chiang Mai, where dinner-out costs $2.50 and dental cleanings with X-rays only cost $35. 

Community members recommend banks like Charles Schwab, as they waive all ATM fees*, no matter the country. Making local currency withdrawals easier than ever.

Sign up for an international credit card that waives all foreign transaction fees. 

Learn about taxes while traveling, your home country may have a tax break or incentive for those traveling outside the country for extended periods of time

Have valuables back home? Give someone you really trust the power of attorney to act on your behalf. 

Build a community – all over the world!

One of the best perks about becoming a digital nomad is connecting with a like-minded community in over 80+ global destinations. Surround yourself with people from all over the world. At Remote Year, we have over 4,000 members worldwide – ages 21-77, with 57% of our members being persons of color, and 14% a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The joys of being a part of a collective of remote workers mean there’s never a dull moment in sight, as there’s always someone to learn from and explore with.

There are a few ways to connect with a new travel community – and once you find them, they’ll be in your life forever! One of the easiest ways to meet people in a new country is through travel programs. Brands like Remote Year, build online community platforms to engage travelers with travels. Helping join people together in different local excursions, activities, and even networking events pertaining to remote work. This is especially helpful if you’re on the road and looking for a job.

Another great way to meet people is through social media apps; whether you’re joining new Facebook groups or putting your itinerary on your feed – there may be a friend or a friend-of-a-friend ready to connect. 

“The best part about the people you meet through the program (Remote Year), is that they have similar spontaneous thoughts about travel. We forever now have a community of family that is down for anything – anytime, any place. Mostly because my new community prioritizes experiencing the world as a major life priority.” – Paige Jewel.

Map out your perfect itinerary 

Trip planning and itinerary building are the most exciting yet integral aspects of taking on a digital nomad lifestyle. How you organize your calendar can help maximize your budget, foster a community, and set you up for success. Travel programs take the hard work out and allow travelers to focus on working remotely and exploring. Here at Remote Year, we take care of housing (so you don’t have to worry about hidden Airbnb fees), coworking spaces, excursions, and community by organizing 1-week wellness retreats, 1-month, 4-month, or 1-year programs around the world.

When traveling, it’s essential to map out your itinerary to determine whether you’ll need to apply for a digital nomad visa or a tourist visa. As certain countries have limitations for how long you can visit, it’s important to have a flight or train for travel outside the country within the visiting limitation. 

“Spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of the experience, be it places you want to go or things you want to try. With so many options to choose from, it can help with planning and budgeting.” – Griffin Glaze.

It’s time to pack your bags for worldwide travel!

Your life in one suitcase? To some, this can sound like a challenge – to others, a fun and exciting adventure to build a capsule wardrobe and practice a minimalist lifestyle. As luggage fees can add up and trekking luggage on side trips can be difficult – optimizing your suitcase to be light and resourceful is crucial. When packing clothing, remember to stick to neutral colors and the art of layering. The rule of thumb for travel traveling? Less is more – and more is heavy. It’s also helpful to remember that anything you may need, be it toothpaste or shampoo, can always be purchased at your next destination.

There are a handful of items you can’t forget to pack before your venture on your worldly travels. While light in weight, their necessities get you from one place to the other safely. These essentials include your passports, travel insurance, health insurance, and visa-requirement information. 

“When you’re packing, think about what you’ll wear on an everyday basis. You’re probably not rocking stiletto heels every day (so they shouldn’t be added to your suitcase).” – Susan Paredes  

Fostering wellness and practicing safety while traveling 

Just like every other day, time spent traveling or working remotely from a new city requires conscious effort in protecting both your mind and body. When it comes to safety, always be aware of your surroundings and try to check in with members of your traveling community, or community at home every so often – it’s good for your mental health too! Speaking of mental health, making sure to carve out time for ongoing exercise and eating a healthy meal (or two) every day, is a great way to ensure you’re keeping yourself a priority – and giving you energy for all your adventures. 

If you’re looking to take your mental health goals a little deeper, try remote therapy. With easy access to telehealth, there are so many options for counsiling while traveling – for anytime you need someone to talk to. Even digital nomads living in a world of wanderlust have things to world through.  

“What’s awesome about traveling, is that your excursions can be your exercise! Want to do a sunrise hike of Lisbon’s skyline? There are my steps. A community class learning local Croatian dance? I’ve got down my cardio.” – Elizabeth Blasi 

If a digital nomad lifestyle seems like a dream come true – that’s because it is! The ability to work remotely from anywhere in the world can introduce you to new cultures, an amazing community, and lifelong memories. Interested in trying the digital nomad lifestyle for yourself? Reach out to Remote Year, and join our community of over 4,000+ remote workers, entrepreneurs, and creatives. With programs on six continents in over 80 destinations worldwide, there are exciting opportunities, adventure, and remote working opportunities waiting for you!

What Makes Remote Year Different Than Other Travel Programs

*Remote Year is not a financial institution and should not be solely relied upon as financial experts when it comes to budgeting, managing money, or sourcing credit/bank accounts. Instead, we provide guidance and tips given from previous Remote Year members on what has worked for them.

Cover image shared by Tyler Taboada, Remote Year Product Lead