How to travel the world as a digital nomad? Wow, where do I start? That is a huge question. And a huge change if you are moving from a typical 9 to 5 office career.
Are you seeking instability, constant surprises, crazy working hours and having no time to settle? Great, I was just checking. Let’s jump right into it!
Unless, of course, you’d like to hear a bit more about my transition between the office job and a life of full-time travel.
Table of Contents
- Travel the world as a digital nomad with these simple steps…
- Ready to Travel the World as a Digital Nomad?
Travel the world as a digital nomad with these simple steps…
Getting started is going to be challenging, and somewhat risky! To help ease the mind funk, I’ve split this process into seven steps which can be completed across weeks or even months. Unless you are a badass, of course, then try days!
STEP ONE: Cut All Non-Essential Costs
You will not and do not need any subscriptions. This is especially true when you are travelling full-time. There will simply not be enough hours in the day to watch episodes back-to-back of the latest Netflix series. Or even, an address to receive a delivery in no time with Amazon Prime. Also, don’t forget to cut your mobile data contract, and complete your final month in the gym.
Ditch them! Ditch them all.
Subscriptions and any other outgoings are one surefire way to drain any cash from your bank account. While looking into your finances, pay off those debts and sell your belongings to make up for your loss. This is the time to sort out your financial balances. You want to leave with a fresh start and a clear conscience. You want to be able to feel financially free.
STEP TWO: Find an Income
Ideally, you should find an alternative income whilst you are still living in a state of stability. And by stability, I mean, you have a roof over your head, there’s still a monthly or weekly income coming in, and you have the time to invest in looking for alternative career paths.
You should now be looking for a job that offers the opportunity to work remotely. Firstly, if you work digitally, I’d suggest mentioning your plans to a current employer who may be able to adapt their workload to your new lifestyle. This would be the greatest and easiest of options.
Alternatively, if that doesn’t work, you should start an online job hunt. This guide on How to Make Money Online is a great starting point! There you will find realistic suggestions with links to online resources that connect digital nomads to potential job opportunities.
RELATED: 25+ AWESOME Resources for Digital Nomads
STEP THREE: Quit Your Job
Not going to lie, I have no advice for you here. This is the daunting step where you have to corner your boss into a meeting room to explain your shift in lifestyle.
If you are a great employee, they may even try to convince you to stay. It’s up to you whether you fall for that, or stick by your guns and follow through – good luck!
STEP FOUR: Join the Community
Understandably, this can all be an intimidating process. However, there are many online communities for you to connect with others who either lead by example or are following these same steps. Let them be your source of inspiration. If they can do it, you can do it!
Here are some Facebook groups that may help. They have very welcoming members who are also digital nomads:
- Digital Nomad Girls Community
- Digital Nomad Jobs
- Female Digital Nomads
- Global Digital Nomad Network
- Digital Nomads Around the World
Additionally, there are many companies nowadays that aim to nurture the digital nomad community. They can also provide a fast-track way into the lifestyle, provided that you have an income to cover the expenses. See The Best Digital Nomad Companies That’ll Get You Going to find an organisation that suits you.
STEP FIVE: Pick Your First Destination
Don’t worry if you feel totally overwhelmed by the choices. My suggestion would be to start with a popular destination that has an existing community of travellers that welcome digital nomad newbs. This would be Canggu in Bali, Indonesia. Here is Why Canggu is Perfect for Digital Nomads.
Need more inspiration? These travel guides are tailored to the digital nomad lifestyle:
- Dubai for Digital Nomads: Your Complete Travel Guide
- How to Live as a Digital Nomad in New York City
- Digital Nomad in Morocco: The Ultimate Guide
- Los Angeles as a Digital Nomad (How I Survived LA)
- A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Tokyo
STEP SIX: Pack Your Bag
Unless you are an outright diva, you should be aiming to pack two bags: the standard carry-on backpack or suitcase, and your daypack (which is otherwise known to airlines as a ‘personal item’). Follow the size guidelines of a European airline, as Americans tend to have larger height and width restrictions. You want to limit your baggage fees, as flying is going to become a regular occurrence.
Carrying your life, like a tortoise, will be your new norm. Do yourself a favour by starting your journey with the lightest luggage possible. That way, you’ll hate yourself a little less every time you change trains, run for the last bus, have to squeeze into a TukTuk with others or need to cram your belongings onto the back of a moped. Check out these Ultralight Packing Secrets for Digital Nomads & Full-Time Travellers. They are my absolute must-have travel items!
Every product in my bags has taken years of consideration. They’d have to be as light as possible, durable and compact to be allocated a space. If you’d like to find out more about the contents of my ‘personal item‘ backpack then read The Best Camera Gear & Travel Essentials for Digital Nomads. That packing list also reveals the all-time favourite backpack that I’d highly recommend to every adventurous traveller!
STEP SEVEN: Find Accommodation
Have you had any thoughts on where you are going to stay? Hostels? Hotels? Airbnbs?
The question is, have you heard of co-living spaces? If there is one in your desired country, I’d totally recommend that you stay there.
A co-living space is shared accommodation that welcomes location-independent individuals. They normally organise group activities, masterminds or house dinners for the guests to socialise in their downtime. During work hours, most co-living companies have created sophisticated workspaces that cater to the different needs of various remote workers. You can trust that a co-living space will provide you with everything you’ll need in your first location.
Here are 27 Coliving Spaces that Digital Nomads Should Know About. Make it, your new bucket list.
MORE: How to Find the Perfect Coliving Space
Ready to Travel the World as a Digital Nomad?
Yes – you are! As long as you follow these steps, then you will be well on your way to living the life of a full-time traveller:
- Cut All Non-Essential Costs
- Find an Income
- Quit Your Job
- Join the Community
- Pick Your First Destination
- Pack Your Bag
- Find Accommodation
That’s you! There’s nothing left to do, other than say your goodbyes (my least favourite part).
Let this guide on ‘How to Travel the World as a Digital Nomad’ empower and inspire your journey, whilst I personally, wish you all the best on your new adventure. Hopefully, we can cross paths on the road one day.
And hey – share this article with a friend who you reckon needs the motivation to quit their 9 to 5!
Did You Know…
If you purchase through a KatieGoes link, we receive a small amount but you still pay the same. This contribution helps keep this blog moving – win, win! Nevertheless, I only recommend personal favourites…
🎒 My Gear: Check my travel essentials for backpacking, van life and outdoor adventures.
🏥 SafetyWing: Stay protected with travel insurance made by nomads, for nomads.
📱 Airalo: Always be connected with a super simple eSim for almost every country!
🦈 SurfShark: Safely explore the internet with a world-renowned and trusted VPN.
💰 Wise: Send or receive money internationally for minimal fees – my life saviour!
👫 GetYourGuide: Find group tours, guides and day trips at unbeatable prices.
Good for you. My husband and I took off to travel for a year, however being abroad is VERY exhausting and none of the “YouTubers” we watched was real and honest about full-time travel. We ended up getting burnt out and came home after 4 months.
Hey! My goal is to work remotely…In six months my goal is to start making passive income. I enjoyed reading your posts.
These are some really helpful suggestions for anyone interested in the digital nomad lifestyle!
Excellent article! The big one for me was quitting my job! Best decision I ever made!
Hi Katie, thanks for the advice!
My boyfriend and I are just ending our travel after 9 months (corona’s a bitch), and we are talking about going back to 9-5 jobs. The thing is, none of us are really ready. I’ve just started being serious about our travel blog and we have been running a YouTube channel for some time now, but building up an income takes so long! Guess we just have to put in more hours and less Netflix (Yes, I have read step one haha).
Thanks for the Nomad Facebook groups, will definitely help. I just started freelancing, even though it’s little money, it’s a start 🙂
Hey Cecile! Thank you for commenting, it’s always great to hear from readers. I feel your pain, I also had to fly home from the travels. Sorry to hear it’s affected your travels too.
Freelancing is definitely the quickest way to make an income! Focus on finding some returning clients. Then both you and I can only hope to find that luscious ‘passive’ income one day, haha. Good luck.
Great article! Have a safe travel!
These are wonderful tips – I wish I could do this (before coronavirus), I am having a hard time convincing my husband it’s a good idea though – any suggestions there? Hope you’re safe and well.
Oh no! There are sooooo many married couples AND families out there on the road which I’m sure also have a blog with stories to tell. I guess you could set a time limit and say, try for just 6 months. See what happens. There is only one way to find out and I’m pretty darn sure he would not look back once he’s left – haha. Good luck convincing him – I’m rooting for you!
Great post! We´re actually on our free year (stuck in lockdow atm, but hope to continue soon) and due to these unexpected turn of events looking into ways of earning a bit more on the side 🙂 So this is very useful, thanks
I can see that your article is full of info and you wrote a lot about this topic! I am not really a digital nomad as such, but I did quit my corporate job so I can be more free and travel more often, and I love it!
Great tips and resources. You give realistic points of view and really helpful pointers!
Wow, you’re brave! I could never, too afraid to get out of my confort zone. It’s not for everyone, of course, but sounds amazing for you!
Definitely! I also admire people who have managed to find peace in the stability! That makes more sense – haha.
I love this post! It just goes to show how easy it is to quit your job and travel the world.
How is the quarantine treating you? I hope you are well!
amy x wandering-everywhere.com
Great post! Cutting all non-essential costs is key to being a digital nomad. That was the first step I took before I became a digital nomad.
very useful article, especially as this is something I am considering to do in the future! 🙂