You’ve Decided the Digital Nomad Life is For You – What Next?

by Manindra Singh

So you’ve decided the expat or digital nomad life is for you. Where do you start? Maybe you’ve always had a dream to live in a specific country, or maybe you are just itching for adventure. We’re here to help with our handy guide on where to start!

Tips to Start Your Digital Nomad Life:

Do Your Research

It may seem painfully obvious, but before you pack your bags, make sure the country you are headed to is where you actually want to be! Whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife, serene mountain views, or after-work surf sessions, you’ll want to make sure your lifestyle is a match for your new home. Check out information about how noisy or secluded the place is, whether you’ll be able to make friends, and whether your hobbies or interests can be supported there.

You can gain a lot of information by looking up news stories about your target country, reading blogs of expats who currently live there, and checking out travel blogs. Check out our destination guides for a wealth of information on many different destinations around the world!

Start Your Paperwork

Once you decide where to live, you’ll have to start the expat initiation process of sorting out your visa. Every country on the planet has very different processes for entering and staying long-term. Some of these processes can be quite grueling and take a long time, so you’ll want to look into this process as soon as you decide where you want to live. (Check out our visa guide here.) You should also talk to an expat tax expert as well!

Visa paperwork can be full of unpleasant surprises like long wait times, additional documents, and background checks. We recommend looking into the process right away and starting as soon as possible!

Look for a Place

Where will you live? Starting to look for housing can give you an idea of how to answer some questions like budget and what you’ll need to bring. This step isn’t about finding THE place you will live, but looking at potential homes will help you become aware of how much you want to spend, whether places come furnished, and how much housing is available. You’ll also get to observe quirks to be prepared for, whether that’s a 6th-story walk-up, proximity to noisy bars, or distance to shopping.

Starting to research housing options can also give you information on where you want to live within the country or city you are headed to. The difference between one or two blocks can mean the difference between being in the middle of wild nightlife or being in a quiet, calm environment. If you’re a digital nomad that has to be up at 5 AM to meet with clients, you might prefer an area where you can sleep early. Or maybe you want to be able to meet up with friends for drinks after work. Whatever your lifestyle, keep it in mind when you’re starting to research places to live.

Decide What to Take

Are you planning to live abroad temporarily or permanently? Making this decision can mean the difference between selling most of your belongings and packing your life into suitcases or renting out your home with your stuff still in it. Will you need to move your stuff into a storage unit? Are you planning to take just the necessities, or will you pack holiday decor, sentimental items, and hobby supplies? Answering these questions is vital as you decide where you’ll live and how much it will cost you to get there.

There are great shipping companies like Seven Seas Worldwide or Send My Bag that specializes in helping ex-pats and global nomads move internationally. They can help you handle all of the logistics of shipping, including duties and customs.

Speaking of which, you’ll need to…

Build a Budget

How much will you need to spend on airfare to get where you’re going? Will you be expected to put down a hefty deposit for your new apartment? How much stuff are you going to need to get to your final destination? Having some financial padding is necessary to avoid getting yourself into trouble down the road. You’ll need to consider factors like airfare, hotel stays en route to your final destination, extra baggage or shipping fees, apartment deposits, and the cost of setting up your life.

Global Healthcare for International Living

While the locals in your new country might enjoy fabulous healthcare, expats are often not so lucky. Having international health insurance is indispensable for an expat. Including your healthcare costs into your budget can be overwhelming, so let the experts at Expat Financial help you find the plan that’s right for you.

Becoming a digital nomad – or any type of expat – can seem prohibitively overwhelming. Many people have found the expat life to be a very adventurous, fulfilling one. For most people, the work required on the front end is absolutely worth it. Like most things in life, the first step is just to get started!

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