More and more people are becoming digital nomads every year.

With coworking spaces and flexible offices popping up all over the world, remote work becoming more common every year, and large swaths of young professionals setting their eyes on interesting and enriching ways of life, it’s easy to see why the population of digital nomads is rising.

If you’re unfamiliar with this phenomenon, a digital nomad is a person who works remotely, but instead of working out of one home base, they travel from location to location, sometimes even moving between many different countries, all while maintaining a work schedule. 

It certainly sounds glamorous, but how luxurious is it really in practice?

Even though technological advancements have made digital-nomading more attainable, it still can be a lot of hard work. Dealing with things like visas, safety issues, prices, healthcare, loneliness, and more, can be draining. 

That’s why we put together a guide for how to become the best digital nomad you can be.

So You Want the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

But does the digital nomad lifestyle want you? We encourage you to ask yourself the hard questions to gauge if being a digital nomad is right for your personality and interests. We’ve included some questions below to get you started:

Can you handle being independent?

Can you trust yourself to set boundaries and make sure your work doesn’t suffer as a result of your travels? Can you set your own schedule and stick to it, regardless of where you live?

How outgoing are you?

Will you be able to make friends in new countries? Because, if not, then being a nomad can come with a lot of loneliness.

Do you have an open mind?

If you’re traveling to other countries, are you ready to leave all prejudices behind? As guests, we must avoid thinking ourselves above our host countries and host communities.

Is the digital nomad lifestyle attainable with your job? 

How strict is your job about the internet connection you use? Do you ever have to come into the office? Have you spoken this over with management to ensure a hitchless transition? There are also time zones to take into consideration. A New York nine-to-five is the night shift in Bali. Many digital nomads have jobs that allow them to complete their work on their own time, or they opt to live in places where the time zones aren’t drastically different.

Will you travel alone or with someone? 

There are people who travel with pets and kids, but it can limit your options. Traveling with one other adult, like a spouse, partner, sibling, or friend, can significantly ease the burden. Just ensure that you are compatible travelers and that you define travel responsibilities clearly (Who books the flights? Who finds the lodging? etc.), and that your relationship is strong enough to withstand the test. It will probably be best to try out shorter trips together first before fully committing. 

Digital Nomad and Remote Work Skills

To be a remote worker who travels, there are a few skills you’ll want to have in your toolbox:

  • Time management
  • Self-discipline
  • Communication
  • Being a “doer”
  • An open mind
  • Problem-solving
  • The ability to stay cool under pressure

If you are worried about staying productive and focused while working remotely, consider the following tools and tips:

  • If you work on your own time and don’t need to fulfill a specific schedule, it can be helpful to add some structure to your day by scheduling a class or appointment with a trainer at the same time each morning. This will ensure that you are awake and ready to start while also offering the added benefit of getting a bit of a local social circle.
  • Look into online courses or coaches who can talk you through the whole process.
  • Engage with productivity tools and habits, such as:
    • A Pomodoro timer
    • A mindfulness or spiritual practice
    • Journaling about your adventures and your work
    • Turning your phone off during work hours
    • Leaving your clothes out the night before

How to Find a Remote Job

Perhaps you’re dead-set on being a digital nomad, you just want the remote job to back it up. Fortunately, there are many options, several of which might be in your own niche or field, that will allow you to work and travel full-time. 

The Most Common Jobs of Digital Nomads

According to research from MBO Partners, the most common jobs and fields that digital nomads work in are:

  1. Tech:
    • Software developers
    • Startup founders
    • Web developers
    • UI/UX Designers
  2. Creative services:
    • Writing
    • Design
    • Influencers
    • Photography
  3. Sales, marketing, and PR
  4. Finance
  5. Consulting, research, and coaching
  6. Teaching and tutoring

Because those are the most common fields that nomads work in, it could be useful to gain the skills necessary to build one of those careers. While digital nomads tend to make a good living, consider that if you are living in a country or area with a lower cost of living, then your salary standards may be lower than if you were living in a big U.S. city.

3 Quick Tips for Finding Remote Work 

Finding a remote job may not always be an easy process, but there are steps you can take to improve your search and start making income quicker. Consider the following tips.

Join the gig economy

Consider freelancing or building up a profile on a site like Fiverr or Upwork. It can take time to build profiles on these sites, but after putting in the effort, they can offer many opportunities. There are also websites more specific to certain fields or freelancer education levels. For example, teachers can look into sites like Italki, graphic designers might look into sites like Dribble, and people at the top of their field can look into websites like TopTal. You also might want to join Facebook groups relevant to your skill where people share work opportunities.

Gear up

Make sure you have the necessary tech to work remotely. If you say you’re ready for remote work, but during your interview, you don’t have a stable internet connection, and your camera won’t work, then you might not get that job.

Look on remote-specific job boards

Job boards like FlexJobs and JustRemote are a great place to start your search. If you make it to the interview stage, show recruiters and hiring managers that you are trustworthy and a self-starter. If they are allowing you to work remotely, then they are placing a lot of trust in you. They need to know that you will be communicative, effective, and efficient. Show them that they won’t need to be looking over your shoulder for you to get your work done.

Creating a Financial Foundation

From the outside, digital nomads can be stereotyped as hippies or backpackers. In reality, they’re a group of educated professionals, and they’re especially productive workers as well.

Having a financial foundation will, of course, help keep you safe and comfortable while traveling. The worker in an air-conditioned coworking space tends to get more done than the worker crashing on a new friend’s couch.

  • If you relocate somewhere with a lower cost of living, invest and save your extra income; don’t spend it on a more extravagant lifestyle.
  • Make a budget for the new country or area that you’re traveling to. It’s going to be different from your current budget.
  • Try to live like a local and avoid those tourist prices.
  • Use credit cards as your allies and accumulate miles.
  • Try to stay out of a vacation mindset and remember that you’re still working.
  • Look into co-live chains, like Selina. They come fully furnished, offer many social activities, and tend to be cheaper than Airbnbs. 
  • Become a part of the local community and ask your local friends about what they pay for groceries, rent, etc. Shift your mindset to think in local prices, not in the prices of where you’re originally from. This can also help you avoid unintentionally raising prices and gentrifying local areas.

Embrace Minimalism and Mobility

As a digital nomad, new possessions become more weight on your back — literally.

Consider rejecting a consumption-based way of thinking and adopting minimalism. A few high-quality possessions — only the things you need — will be more than enough. If you like to have a lot of stuff, then go for it! Just remember that you might regret it when you have to lug it all through an airport!

Choosing Destinations and Planning Travel

So, how do you choose where to go when your options are, well, everywhere? Here are a few things to consider.

  • Time zone. If you have to work U.S. hours, it might be best to stay in the Western Hemisphere. Western Europe is an option as well, but you would have to work late. 
  • Visas. Seek out countries that allow digital nomad visas or that have lenient options for living there for longer-term. For example, if this country requires you to leave every 90 days and come back, then make sure there are other countries nearby where you can travel cheaply.
  • Cost of living. Digital nomads tend to seek out areas that hit that sweet spot between being developed enough to have widespread internet connectivity but still with an affordable cost of living.
  • Healthcare. Most countries outside of the U.S. will give you affordable or free healthcare even if you are foreign. But typically, if you want better care, you might need to get global insurance or travel insurance. 
  • The scope of your trip. Ask yourself if you want to leave the country. Many digital nomads from the U.S. are opting to stay in the U.S., traveling between different towns and cities.

Digital Nomad Countries, in Order of Popularity

These are the most popular digital nomad destinations, in order of popularity, according to Digg.

  1. The United States
  2. Spain
  3. Thailand
  4. Mexico
  5. France
  6. Indonesia
  7. Portugal
  8. Italy
  9. The UK
  10. Brazil
  11. Australia
  12. Greece
  13. Colombia
  14. Germany
  15. Canada

Managing Work-Life Balance

When becoming a digital nomad, it can also be hard to find (and defend) your work time. We suggest looking into a flexible workplace that has locations all over the US and world. For example, with the Industrious Global Access membership, you pay one monthly fee and gain access to state-of-the-art offices worldwide.

Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptation

We’d also like to take a moment to emphasize the importance of cultural awareness and respect while traveling to different areas. Open yourself up to adapting to new cultures, etiquette, and norms.

Research each country heavily before arriving. Some things to find out, for example, include:

  • Are there vaccinations required for entry? Are there diseases in this country that you haven’t been exposed to (for example, malaria, yellow fever, Hepatitis A) that you’ll want to be vaccinated for before leaving?
  • What does the State Department page for that country say online?
  • What should people of your gender wear in that country? For example, a woman traveling in Qatar may need to cover her shoulders, arms, and more. 
  • Will you need cash in local currency before arriving? Where will you get cash once you get there?
  • Are the police trustworthy in this area? How will you handle it if you encounter a corrupt officer asking for a bribe?
  • What is the quality and cost of healthcare in your host country?

Be Aware of the Challenges

According to Acer, some of the most common challenges for digital nomads include:

Language barriers

If you are traveling somewhere that speaks a different language, ask yourself if local people tend to speak English or if you will have to learn at least enough of the language to get by. If you don’t speak any of the language, try to learn enough words to communicate emergency scenarios.

Taxes for digital nomads 

If you are American, you will have to pay U.S. taxes regardless of where you live. However, you only have to pay federal taxes, not state and local, if your address is outside of The States.

If you are on a tourist visa, then you typically won’t have to pay income taxes in the country where you are living. But if you are earning money in that country or opening a business, then you will probably have to seek out other visa options, like a work visa or a digital nomad visa, and start paying local taxes on your income. 

Before becoming a digital nomad, talk to a tax professional and decide which address you will file your taxes from. Regardless of the address you choose for tax filing, remember that you will receive mail, like tax returns, to that address, so it can’t be somewhere you only plan on spending a few months. Many digital nomads pay for a P.O. box where they can receive mail.


What will you do if your laptop charger breaks? Many Airbnb owners will promise a stable WiFi connection, only for you to find out when you arrive that it is subpar. Ask them to run an Internet diagnostic test and send you a photo. If you’re going to be working at cafes and on public WiFi, do you have a VPN to protect yourself? We suggest using coworks, which get you out of the house and into a designated work area but also come equipped with all the technology that remote workers need.


Sometimes, you might not have support from your family in your lifestyle. Feelings of guilt, loneliness, and FOMO are completely normal. Remember to take time to not only build your local friend circle and community but also to stay in touch with your loved ones back home and support them when you can. Remind yourself that maintaining loving bonds isn’t about how far away you are physically but about how much time, affection, and trust you put into that relationship, regardless of where you both live. 

Look into Industrious

Becoming a digital nomad is a rewarding journey that requires careful planning, adaptability, and continuous learning. Embark on this journey not because it looks glamorous from the outside, but because you are committed to personal growth.

And when the road gets frustrating, know that Industrious can offer support in the form of beautiful and dependable office spaces, a social circle with other working professionals, and a workplace where digital nomads can feel at home. Visit our coworking page to learn more.


Siobhan Brier is a writer, editor, and translator. She has been a digital nomad since 2019, predominantly in Latin America.