Tips & Guides / Digital Nomads

How to Be a Digital Nomad

By Landing | Mar 18, 2020

These days, more and more people are ditching the office and working remotely, regardless of their industry. But they all do have one thing in common: They’re breaking up with their ZIP codes and becoming digital nomads, location-independent workers who are living wherever they want, however they want, all while taking their jobs with them. 

But how do you become a digital nomad and reap the benefits of such a flexible lifestyle?

It’s not as hard as you might think! All becoming a digital nomad takes is some preparation and a little know-how to get you on your way to living your best life. Want to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a digital nomad, including: 

  • What is a digital nomad?
  • The benefits of digital nomadism 
  • How to be a digital nomad in five easy steps

Let’s get started! 

What is a digital nomad?

Digital nomads are workers who have traded the geographic constraints that characterize in-person models for remote work that lets them travel and live more freely. They aren’t chained to desks or caged in by small offices or cubicles—instead, they travel the country, working out of coworking spaces, coffee shops, and their home offices. 

These people know a secret: The digital nomad lifestyle is full of spontaneity, excitement, and adventure. And, it’s incredibly accessible—you don’t need a decked-out van to match your adventurous spirit. 

The benefits of digital nomadism and remote work

The benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle cannot be overstated, as it offers the chance to live in many exciting locations, meet different kinds of people, and live according to your values. What’s more, the remote work that fuels the digital nomad lifestyle also poses a range of proven benefits, including: 

  • Better work/life balance: According to a University of Chicago study, people who have a remote job reported having less difficulty striking a healthy day-to-day balance between their work life and personal life.
  • Increased productivity: Remote workers overwhelmingly claim greater productivity when working from home than in the office. They also reported fewer distractions throughout the day. 
  • Better dispositions: According to that same study, remote workers are more than 20% more likely to describe themselves as happy than in-person workers are. 

Digital nomads also have the unique benefit of having a new city to explore right at their doorsteps, making the time they spend out of office all the more exciting and enriching. Remote jobs tend to naturally lead to more flexible hours, leaving more time to take a walk around your new neighborhood, swing by that hopping happy hour, or try out a new coffee shop.

How to be a digital nomad in five easy steps 

Ready to find out how to be a digital nomad? These five easy steps will set you on the path to pursuing your new nomadic lifestyle:

1. Identify your industry

Digital nomads don’t come from a single background or field. Instead, they come from a variety of industries and professions, including:

  • Graphic designers 
  • Freelance writers 
  • Digital marketers
  • IT developers
  • Consultants
  • Bookkeepers
  • Tutors
  • Virtual assistants
  • Social media influencers
  • Language teachers 
  • Web designers
  • Content creators 

It’s possible that you already work in an industry that supports remote work. If so, find out if there are remote options available with your company and how you can make the transition. If there aren’t any, seek out remote positions somewhere else. 

That said, not all jobs are possible to do from home. If that’s the case, you’ll need to think about switching careers and developing new skills. This can be intimidating, but bravery is a necessary trait if you want to be a location-independent digital nomad. To help with this, we recommend: 

  • Checking job postings: Scour the internet for advertisements for corporate remote positions. This will give you a better sense of what’s out there and help you identify your skill level and where you have transferable experiences. If there’s a gap between where you’re at and where you want to be, use these postings to identify new skills you should hone to make your dream a reality.
  • Freelancing: As an alternative to corporate remote positions, investigate freelance options. From writing and graphic design to web development, there are many ways you can get paid on a per-job basis. Online businesses such as Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru can aid in your search.
  • Getting creative: Digital nomads live and think outside the box, so imagine non-traditional ways to make money, like making passive income flipping items on eBay or finding ways to make money online.

You can also investigate other resources that can help you find a remote job. Joining a built-in digital nomad community, online resources, and even books on the subject can help get you started. 

2. Start the purge 

One of the biggest perks of being a digital nomad is the ability to roam freely without sacrificing life’s stationary pleasures, like comfortable dwellings and appealing surroundings.

With freedom as their motivating factor, digital nomads gleefully dispense with: 

  • Their furniture: Say goodbye to your sofa and bid farewell to your bed. Furniture items like coffee tables, bookshelves, and dressers will only weigh you down.
  • Surplus belongings: You don’t have to get rid of everything, but consider cutting down on books, dishes, clothes, and other personal belongings. Keep only what you love—you’ll thank yourself when you’re on the move.
  • Tell your friends and family: Unfortunately, you’ll also have to say goodbye to a lot of people you care about. Make solid plans to keep in touch, like scheduling face-to-face calls or future reunions. Worried about feeling lonely? There are tons of digital nomad communities throughout the country that can connect you to people in the same boat as you. 

3. Choose your destination

Now that you’ve committed to your nomadic lifestyle it’s time to decide where you want to go first. The globe is yours for the taking, so give it a spin and see where you land.

Just kidding. Eventually, you might start picking locations at random, but it’s best to be a bit more intentional than that to start. When choosing where launch your nomad lifestyle, here’s what to consider:

  • Where you’ve always wanted to live: Everyone keeps a mental list of cities they dream about living in. Becoming a digital nomad is a chance to make those dreams a reality. 
  • The season: Don’t care for subzero temps or snow? Spend the winter months in a warm climate. Love the color of fall leaves? Maybe a New England autumn is in order! Becoming a digital nomad means you can take cities at their best and leave them at their worst—weather patterns included.
  • Housing options: No matter where you go, you’ll need somewhere to call home, however temporarily. Investigate the temporary housing options before you lock yourself into a destination. The good news is, Landing offers hundreds of short-term apartments in nomad-friendly cities all over the country, from San Diego to St. Petersburg, and dozens of cities in between.

4. Make arrangements 

Digital nomads might be carefree, but they aren’t irresponsible. Before you set off on your first adventure as part of your nomadic lifestyle, there are some pressing concerns that need your attention:

  • Current living arrangements: If you rent an apartment, you’ll need to terminate your lease. Be sure to give your landlord advanced notice—you might need them as a referral at some point down the line!
  • Health insurance: It’s important to be prepared should you fall ill. Keep in mind that if you’re planning on freelance work to pay the bills, you’ll need to buy your own health insurance. You may be eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so know your options.
  • Financial arrangements: You’re likely no stranger to direct deposit, but especially if you’re freelancing, starting an online business, or making money online, you may need other services like PayPal, Venmo, or Cashapp. You should also talk to a friend or relative about using their address for your banking information.
  • Tax information: If you’re switching to freelance work or making passive income, your tax situation is going to change. It can get complicated, so it’s advisable that you work with a tax professional to know what to declare, what exemptions you can claim, and other deductions you can write off. 

5. Hit the road

If you’ve made it to this step, congratulations! You’re now a full-fledged digital nomad. It’s time to hit the road and take full advantage of the digital nomad lifestyle. Chase adventure, seize opportunities, and discover what the world has to offer.

Landing: Where digital nomads go when they go home

Now that you know how to become a digital nomad, you know that it doesn’t have to mean squatting in one uncomfortable location after the next. Gone are the days of couch-surfing and hotel hopping—these days, savvy digital nomads can live in short-term fully furnished apartments in the nation’s best cities. 

When you rent with Landing, you get the comfort of long-term living with the freedom and convenience of short-term housing. Including some of the best cities for remote workers in the country, Landing is reinventing the wheel of apartment renting, with:

  • Fully furnished apartments: Travel light with Landing. Our fully furnished, custom-designed apartments will make you think you designed them yourself. 
  • Flexible, short-term leasing: As a Landing member, the duration of your stay is always up to you. Whether you want to rent for one month or one year, the decision is yours! 
  • Seamless transfers: When you’re ready for your next adventure, just give us your notice and we’ll have you set up in a new Landing in the city of your choice. 

You deserve a life of freedom and mobility that doesn’t skimp on the finer things. You deserve Landing. Start your life as a digital nomad and become a Landing member today!

blog-cta-tips-digital-nomads

About the author

Landing

Fred may be the world's slowest typist and struggle to hold a pen, but he has mastered how to pursue a more flexible lifestyle throughout his airborne adventures around the U.S. Whether you're looking for more information before migrating to a new city or want to find an easier way to rent a nest—erm, apartment—Fred will always be here to share his best advice for where to live and how to thrive.