For a digital nomad, saving money overseas is just as important as experiencing everything an unfamiliar country offers. As a result, standard frugal financial advice won't cut it. Luckily, there are plenty of under-the-radar tips to ensure your bank account stays healthy while working and adventuring! Recently, digital nomads met in an online discussion to reveal expert savings strategies and hacks that will ease the burden on your wallet.
1. Travel Slowly
Experienced digital nomads are near-unanimous in the following advice: Travel slowly. The rationale is simple. The less you move around, the less money you'll spend! It might go against your nature to stick around in one place for more than a few days, but in the end, your wallet will thank you for it. It's crucial to realize that being a digital nomad isn't the same as being a vacationer.
2. Start Practicing Now
If you want an idea of your overseas life, start practicing before you leave. “Start now with eating at home and packing a lunch,” advises one woman. “Try to do this as cheaply as possible. Don't spend any money until your trip. Pack your bag with what you have now, and don't upgrade. It's better to pinch pennies in the luxury of your own home.” This practice will prepare you for life as a digital nomad, and there will be less of an adjustment period.
3. Pack Lighter Than You Normally Would
I made the cardinal error of overpacking when I was overseas late in 2022. I bought the largest suitcase available and packed it to the brim. Let me tell you: Lugging that monster around was terrible! To make matters worse, I didn't wear half the clothes I packed. Pack far more lightly than you usually would for sheer ease of moving from place to place; your body will thank you, and you'll spend less to get there!
4. Utilize Digital Nomad Groups
Before you embark on your trip of a lifetime, check out websites and Facebook groups that cater to digital nomads like yourselves. There's only so much research you can do before you leave; connecting with people who will be in the same area as you can make the journey infinitely more enjoyable! It doesn't hurt to make friends who can share their frugal nomad tips.
5. Bring Backup Chargers
Your laptop becomes your lifeline when living the digital nomad life. Therefore, you must always expect the worst when protecting that lifeline. Bring a spare charging cable and battery bank to ensure you never run out of juice wherever you work. Doing so will give you peace of mind and confidence in working in a new environment. You can never be too prepared.
6. Keep a Work-First Mindset
Keep reminding yourself: You're there to work. I know it's hard to visualize yourself in a foreign country and not constantly see historic landmarks and cliff-diving into the Mediterranean Sea, but you must keep a work-first mindset, or you will fail. Being a digital nomad means understanding the precarious position you put yourself in. Don't worry; there will be plenty of time for fun activities. Just remember to make money during the trip!
7. Don't Underestimate the Importance of Socializing
Never forget you are a digital nomad, not a digital hermit! Socializing will do wonders for your mental well-being and help balance your work/life schedule, which will most likely be thrown for a loop. It can be hard to carve out time to socialize when you're overseas and on a budget, but even an hour in the local pub during a football match can lead to some invaluable relationships forming. The more friends you make, the more money you can potentially save.
8. Find a Month-Long Airbnb
The quickest way to drain your bank account is by constantly hopping from one lodging to another. “If you want to save money but still have a reliable office situation, pick one city or country you want to go to and look for a month-long Airbnb or other short-term rental,” reveals one man. “Typically, you can get good discounts once you have a month's duration.” It's true! You'll be shocked at how much money you can save by booking a property one month at a time.
9. Don't Wait To Buy Cheap Flights
While enjoying the digital nomad life, it's easy to daydream about a quick, inexpensive round-trip flight to a larger city like Paris or London. However, please don't make the mistake I made when I lived overseas for three months: I waited too long to book those mini-trips! I assumed these $30 round-trip RyanAir flights would still be available once I arrived in Europe; to my dismay, they had increased into the $150 range! Do yourself a favor and book these flights when you book your primary flight.
10. Ask Locals for Advice
Sometimes, all the research in the world can't fully prepare you for the whole digital nomad experience. Fortunately, you'll have an invaluable resource: the locals! Whether it's a retailer worker, a bartender, or someone you bump into along the way, the most fantastic resource for activities, experiences, and information is the people who live where you do. Don't be shy!
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