Take it from us: becoming a digital nomad and working while you travel is a fantastic goal and one that can help you to live a much richer and fuller life as you see more of the beautiful planet that we are fortunate enough to live on.
And as the pandemic challenges have clearly demonstrated, people are able to break the bonds of the 9 to 5 office and work from home. So, why not work from the road?
The lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and it’s not as easy as a lot of people make out. What if you’re not accustomed to working online? What if you can’t find WiFi? If you’re up to the challenge, here are some suggestions on how you can do it.
Make the Transition
A lot of people think they have to quit their job and start an online business to become a digital nomad and this can be very off-putting if you’re scared at the prospect of not making enough money.
You don’t have to be so reckless.
Instead, consider making the transition more slowly: start running a business in your spare time and build it up to the point where it is making enough money that you can live off it and quit your “day job.” We’ve been working with health coaches for years and can help you take a step in that direction if you’re interested.
Or instead, why not ask your current employer if you can continue working your job on the road? Or maybe working another job within the organization. You might be surprised at just how eager they are to help – especially if you’ve already made the transition to working from home.
If that fails, you can consider looking for a regular job that will give you that freedom. In other words: there are plenty of options here.
Know Your Budget
The next step is to simply know your budget. This means you need to know precisely how much you need to earn to fund your travels. It might surprise you to learn that you can actually earn enough with a part-time job. Look at ways to make your travel cheaper too: for example, by staying in Air BnBs, or by using CouchSurfer to find accommodation. Or our personal favorite, get an RV!
Overcome the Practical Challenges
As for the practical challenges of working online, there are plenty of solutions again. For instance, you should always research where you’ll be visiting in order to make sure you can find WiFi easily and that you know good places to sit and work. There are plenty of apps to help here.
In our first years of travel, we ran up significant internet bills. If you need a lot of bandwidth – especially if you like to steam your TV and movies – you’ll need to find a solution that will give you truly unlimited service. The plans offered by the major cell phone carriers fall short despite their claims of “unlimited” internet.
Over the years we’ve found several truly unlimited plans. Currently we‘re using unlimitedinternetprovider.com. It runs on the AT&T network and does not get slowed down by AT&T’s 22gb limit. The cost is only $99/month. There are other options like unlimitedville.com which we’ve also used. They’re a bit more expensive but have other carrier options beyond AT&T.
As RVers we learned right away that you cannot rely on campground internet connections. They’re incredibly slow and unreliable. Once in a while we’ll find a campground with excellent internet (and more and more campgrounds are upgrading their systems), but if you’re needing internet for work, it’s best to carry your own.
If you’re willing to work around the challenges, you’ll often find that this is actually quite rewarding! We’ve been tremendously blessed to see the US and we’re looking forward to more travels into Canada and even up to Alaska.