A digital nomad is an individual who is location-independent and uses technology to perform their job remotely.
Traditionally, digital nomads work in information and communications technology. Since the pandemic and increased flexibility, people working in other sectors have also embraced the digital nomad lifestyle.
Digital nomads perform their jobs remotely rather than commute from one physical location to another, either in a full-time, part-time, or freelance capacity.
Instead of working from a company’s office, digital nomads work from different locations such as their homes, coworking spaces, coffee shops with reliable internet access, and even on the road.
A combination of the pandemic and various technological innovations have made the digital nomad lifestyle more efficient and productive for both the individual and the organization. For example, content management software, accessibility to wi-fi, and smartphones have streamlined communication and productivity.
The world has adjusted to the rise of digital nomads, and several countries are actively seeking ways to attract remote workers — both individuals and families.
For example, countries such as Australia, Mexico, and Portugal offer digital nomad visas to attract remote workers.
Other popular digital nomad destinations, such as Thailand and Bali, have a thriving digital nomad community due to the low cost of living and established expat community.
Advantages and disadvantages of being a digital nomad
Remote workers are attracted to the freedom and flexibility of the digital nomad life, but they also need to prepare accordingly to overcome certain challenges.
Advantages of being a digital nomad
The digital nomad lifestyle offers many benefits, broadening the appeal from the wanderer and backpacker to families and professionals.
- Freedom to work outside of the traditional office setting
- Flexibility to work on your own schedule
- Opportunity to travel and experience new cultures and countries
- Meet new people and build a global network
- Low cost of living when traveling to more affordable destinations, such as Indonesia
- Increased autonomy over how to spend your time
Disadvantages of being a digital nomad
There are a few downsides to being a digital nomad which need to be considered before packing your bag:
- Expensive to travel regularly
- The need to juggle different clients in various time zones
- Loneliness due to separation from friends and family
- Demands specific skills to manage a work-life balance
- Administrative complications such as permits, tax codes, and location-based bureaucracy
Key considerations when preparing to be a digital nomad
These advantages and disadvantages can be appropriately managed with a little bit of preparation.
Consider the following tips:
- Ensure that you have enough income to support a digital nomad lifestyle
- Get travel and health insurance, and research healthcare options in each location
- Join a digital nomad community for support and access to resources
- Prepare your telecommunication options, including mobile phone and internet connection
- Choose an affordable city
- Decide what to do with your belongings in your home base
- Book long-term stays at the accommodation, such as Airbnb, to benefit from discounts
Examples of digital nomads
Various types of digital nomads exist, making the option appropriate for various lifestyles and professions.
- Entrepreneur nomads — self-employed business owners that run a remote online business
- Remote workers — individuals who earn an income from an established company while working remotely
- Freelancers — individuals that work on a flexible basis, picking up gigs as needed
- Pandemic digital nomads — desk jobs moving remote in response to the lockdown
- Nomadic families — parents work remotely, and their children travel with them (either being homeschooled or attending virtual classrooms)
Digital nomad jobs
The best digital nomad jobs allow you to work from any location at any given time. In most instances, all that is needed to do an effective remote job is a laptop and an internet connection.
Some of the most common types of remote jobs include:
- Social media manager
- Web designer or developer
- Graphic designer
- Customer support specialist
- Virtual assistant
- Content writer
- Account manager
- Data capturer
- Project or product manager
- Software developer
- Online tutor
Remote work is more accessible than it was before, with digital nomad hubs popping up all around the world. With the right skill set and business arrangement, it’s easy for people to make the switch.
With the help of Deel, businesses can also adapt to the modern working world. Explore our robust platform, which makes it easy for businesses to hire and manage international employees while remaining compliant.