Jenna Cook shares 12 things that’ll make life a little easier for any aspiring digital nomad.Here’s a list of tips and tricks that’ll help any nomad on their journey:
1. Make digital copies of all your important documents
Before you leave, you need to make sure you have a digital copy of all your most important documents. Why? Travelling requires a ton
of paperwork! From your passport and ID to flight details and accommodation, the pages really begin to add up.
And while it’s a great idea to have a secure physical file where all your important documents are stored – think about having a digital copy that contains all of that information as well.
A digital backup is the ultimate safety net in case you lose or misplace any of your physical copies. You’ll always have them with you either on your mobile phone or laptop.
Here are the top 10 things you should definitely
have on backup:
- Visa or work permit
- Driver’s license
- Travel insurance policy
- Medical aid card or policy
- Flight details
- Job contract or letter of employment
- Vaccination card or medication scripts
2. Invest in a comfortable, but professional wardrobe
Every digital nomad has turned packing into an art. And it’s something you’ll soon learn as well – how else do you fit your entire life into a single bag?
Something that makes packing much easier is to invest in clothing items that double as comfortable and professional. Essentially, you want clothes that can be used for multiple purposes and scenarios.
A great example of this are pair of well fitted jeans – you can dress them up for work meetings or Skype calls with a jacket, and dress them down with a comfortable shirt for travelling during your time off.
3. Make sure you have access to your money
Having access to your funds is a very
big deal. Can you imagine being in a foreign country where you cannot draw money or use your card to swipe? It’s not a problem you want to have, but you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
While you can use your debit or credit card at any ATM, you first have to get authorisation from your local bank.
Most banks require you to call them up, share the details of your trip (departure date, destination, etc.) and voila!
It’s done. But, if you try to use your card without letting the bank know that you’re leaving the country – chances are that they’ll block it.
So in case your card gets blocked, it’s a good idea to have spare cards at hand – one or two will suffice. You can use your backup card you to pay for food and transport while you sort things out with the bank.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t take more than one card with you, draw cash in the local currency before you go. Carrying around a large sum of cash is not ideal, but it’s important to ensure that you have enough money to support you for at least two weeks, or until you can invest in a new card.
4. Activate transaction alerts
Next time you’re on the phone with your bank, you should ask to have all your transactions sent to you via email or SMS. Why? So that you can keep track of any activity that takes place on your account.
It’s also a good way for you to see the real cost of living in your new country, to know if you’re being charged too much or too little and be instantly notified if anything suspicious is happening.
5. Always ask to be charged like a local
The fact of the matter is, in many countries where tourism is one of the biggest boosts to the economy, tourists will get charged more. Sometimes double, or even triple, the price that the locals would pay.
While this doesn’t exactly seem fair, it’s business. But one way to avoid falling into this trap is to ask the taxi driver, the waiter or the hotel manager to charge you in their local currency.
How does this help? You have to remember that you probably look like a tourist, so locals won’t be shy to make an extra buck off of you. And most people wouldn’t know the difference between the tourist price and the local price.
But by asking for the local menu, the local taxi fare and the local accommodation rates, you’ll appear more knowledgeable about the amounts things should cost. And your chances of being ripped off will decrease.
6. Buy a local sim card
Your current network provider can provide international roaming – and all you need to do is call them to activate it.
Although this might be the most convenient option – you get to keep your number and you don’t have to worry about finding a new service provider or searching for Wi-Fi – it’s not the cheapest.
The best thing to do is to buy a local sim card. They typically don’t cost too much, and you’ll find them at the airport or at most convenience stores. Make sure to do research on local network providers before buying one; that way, you’ll know that you’re getting the best deal for your budget.
Also, think about what you’re going to need to use your network provider for:
- Are you going to be making calls locally, or internationally?
- Do you need Internet access?
- Are SMS’s necessary?
7. Coffee shops are great, inspiring work environments
As obvious as it sounds, you need to find a place that’ll inspire you to be productive. And while you may have had dreams of working on the beach, sand between your laptop keys is probably not the most ideal situation. So keep your eye out for a cozy coffee shop.
These days, most cafés will have Wi-Fi, a bathroom on site and a variety of food options in case you forget lunch. If you can’t find an ideally situated café, there are other environmental factors you can look out for – coffee shop or not – to ensure that your work environment stays a comfortable one.
Key things to look for are:
- Internet access – this goes without saying, but most of your work will require you to have an active Internet connection in order to keep up with your emails, stay in-touch with co-workers and do research.
- Comfortable seating – you’ll generally be working for the same amount of time that you would at your office job. That means eight hours of work a day. It’s best to get comfortable in your new ‘office’.
- Good lighting – lighting can impact your work ethic, which is why it’s important to find a place that’s not too bright, and not too dim. Try and look for a place that offers a lot of natural light to avoid straining your eyes.
- Close proximity to a bathroom – unless you’re working from the place you’re renting, it doesn’t make sense to have to pack up all your stuff and head back home every time you need the loo.
- Security – peace of mind while you work is super important. You’ll be carrying around your laptop, cell phone and any other equipment you need – so you want to know that where you’ll be sitting with it everyday is safe.
8. Download and log into all accounts you need on your phone
Before you leave, take some time to make a list of all the accounts, platforms, profiles, etc. that you’ll need to have access to while you’re away. Download each of the apps you’ll need to operate on those accounts, platforms and profiles.
The reason why you need to do this is because you don’t know if you’ll ever be in a situation where your boss calls you and urgently needs a password for something – you need quick access that information. And having all your emails, social media and work schedule on hand, at all times, is often more efficient than setting up your laptop.
9. Insure all of your digital equipment
So you’ve already got travel insurance that covers stolen or damaged belongings. That’s great! But, it probably won’t help all that much if something happens to your laptop or any other expensive digital equipment.
So when it comes to your more expensive pieces of technology, opt for additional cover to the value of each item. It might be pricier but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
10. Go for a medical and dental check-up
Before you leave make sure you give your doctor and dentist a visit. You may be the picture of health but it’s always a good idea to get checked out.
Your doctor may know something about your destination that you don’t, like common infections to look out for. They’ll then be able to prescribe you medication to combat said infections and save you the hassle of looking for a medical provider while you’re away.
It’s also a good time to make sure your teeth are up to scratch. A visit to your dentist before you leave could save you from a broken tooth, filling and a lot of pain while you’re away.
11. Pack an overnight bag or duffel bag as hand luggage
So you’ve chosen a country that you’re keen to explore, but you’ve only now had a real look at all the amount of things you’ve brought with. What do you take on your journey, and what stays at home? The best thing to do is to have a base where you can leave all your extra ‘homey item’s, and only take what you actually need when you go on trips.
Make sure you bring along an overnight bag that can fit a few days worth of clothing and toiletries. That way, you’ll be travelling much lighter and freer when you do decided to have a few nights away from your new home.
12. Make sure you have a fully charged power bank on hand
While you’re travelling it’s really important to have a source of additional power for your phone or laptop. Why? You may be in a place where you don’t have access to a power source, either because there is no electricity or because your plugs don’t fit the sockets.
A good power bank will give you an extra day or two to find a power source or an adapter for your plugs, meaning you can still get your work done.
There you have it! 12 life hacks you’ll need to make it as a digital nomad. Do you have any travel tips of your own? We’d love for you to share them in the comments section below.
Do you feel a desire to travel the world, but with the security of a full-time job? Well, if that’s the case, then you should definitely read our article, Five simple steps to becoming a digital nomad.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy