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8 Mistakes Digital Nomads Want to Avoid

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With remote work on the rise and the introduction of new visas, there are tons of people trying on the digital nomad lifestyle for the first time.

And that’s awesome. But while living in foreign countries while you work from your laptop can be fun and rewarding, it’s not without its difficulties.

Traveling Too Much

Just because you can travel as much as you want as a digital nomad, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, the more you jump from place to place, the harder it is to maintain some sense of a normal life and work routine, which we’ll talk about more below.

Not to mention the money and time investment needed, from paying for flights and hotels to researching visa requirements. Most successful digital nomads stay in place for at least a few months at a time and limit any travel to quick getaways.

Choosing the Wrong Location

There are endless posts online about the “best digital nomad destinations”. And most of them do offer good info and suggestions.

That being said, there’s more to choosing your next home away from home than just picking one off a list that seems cool. Because most nomads have different preferences and tolerances depending on their personality, travel experience, age, income, etc.

For instance, the rather shoddy infrastructure of a developing country can be an adventure for some and a nightmare for others.

Spending Too Much

Most people don’t want to stick to a strict budget when traveling. After all, vacation is all about cutting loose and relaxing, right?

But you’re not on vacation. And that means you need to have a budget, whether you’re making $1,000 per month or $10,000.

The good news is, many of your potential destinations have a low cost of living, and your money will go a lot further than it would back home. But that’s not a license to spend money with abandon.

A budget will not only make your digital nomad lifestyle maintainable, it’ll allow you to work less and/or save more.

Not Progressing

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as a digital nomad. You work whenever you want, live in a cool condo in an exotic city, eat delicious street food all the time, and have beautiful beaches or mountains or historic sites nearby.

Your desire for advancement and raises and promotions that you had at your regular job may disappear. You could find yourself content with just coasting along.

And that might work out in the short term, but in the long run, your lack of progression in your life and career can leave you feeling unfulfilled.

Thinking It’s Easy

Social media makes the digital nomad lifestyle look so easy. Just hang out in an exotic country, drink coffee, send a few emails, and then boom, millionaire.

Yeah… that’s not really how it works. In reality, living and thriving as a digital nomad requires hard work, discipline, and a lot of self-motivation.

Is it “easier” than, say, working at McDonald’s or on a construction site? In some ways, sure. You’ll clock less hours, have more freedom, and possibly enjoy your tasks more.

But that freedom is a double-edged sword that a lot of people struggle to manage.

Lacking a Routine

Ugh… routine.

The mere mention of the word is enough to send some newbie digital nomads running. Isn’t the daily grind of a 9 to 5 one of the things we were trying to avoid?

Look, we’re not saying you have to wake up at 7am – or even 10. Wake up whenever you want. That being said, most remote workers find it helpful to have some kind of work routine, as well as a consistent schedule for things like eating and exercise.

Not Saving Money

If the ongoing pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t always predict what’s going to happen when you’re traveling, especially when you’re traveling long term.

Tons of digital nomads found themselves scrambling to scrape some money together to afford last minute plane tickets, deal with flight cancellations, and pay for various medical expenses. But even in more normal times, it’s always a good idea to have a little savings in the bank in case of emergencies.

Travel insurance is a good idea, too.

Bad Internet Connection

You’re not always going to have a stable, fast internet connection when you’re living abroad.

Sure, the wifi in your rental apartment may be decent enough. But what happens when it goes out – or the router is on the fritz? In some countries, blackouts are a real possibility as well.

So, plan ahead. Research internet reliability beforehand, know the places around the city with good connections, and buy a mobile plan for your phone or a dedicated wifi hotspot. You should also try to minimize your reliance on the internet, if possible, at least to the point that it’s not a complete catastrophe if you can’t connect for a few hours or a day.

8 Tips for Succeeding as a Digital Nomad

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