Being a digital nomad is a lot more than sitting at the beach with a laptop and a cocktail all day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it a number of times, but you’re going to be a lot more productive in a space that’s set up for work. For one, there’s not usually power or an internet connection at the beach, and you have a constant battle to keep your laptop from filling with sand! Your friends all envy your digital nomad lifestyle, but to become awesome you need planning – especially if you want to simply up and change cities whenever you feel the inkling to move.
I’ve had so many friends tell me
“You get to work wherever you want, that’s freaking awesome!”
but there’s so much going on behind the scenes they never see. You need an iron clad will to balance work and travel, and personally I just want to get my work done, so I’m free to go out and enjoy the city I’m in. After a year and a half
as a remote freelancer, I’ve discovered a certain art in finding the right place to stay.
First you need to decide what you’re looking for. Do you want a fun social environment or peace and quiet to knock out a ton of work?
Enjoy a party atmosphere and an unbeatable price on a dorm bed, and the best time to work is while everyone is out sightseeing. Combine this with a fun and social vibe as the evening kicks on, and you’ve got an ideal place to stay in almost every city. Check Hostelworld for the best deals or if you’re feeling adventurous Couchsurfing is another budget-friendly option.
Perfect when you need to focus without any distractions and knock out massive work days. Combined with room service, a gym and even a swimming pool, and you’re all set. Agoda is a great site for hotels in Asia, or Booking.com for everywhere else in the world.
This is my favourite because it’s more comfortable than a hotel when you’re staying somewhere for more than a week, and can be even better for your budget. Check out AirBnB to see your choices.
For the room there are basic necessities you need to get your work done effectively. Make sure that wherever you stay there is:
- Internet. It’s impossible to work remotely without it, so double check there’s WiFi available.
- Work space. A desk or table is essential, and saves your back from hunching over on the bed or the sofa.
- Power points. Hard to judge, but conveniently located power points are vital for a remote office. Check the pictures and see if you can spot lamps (which mean power) on the desk, or on any bedside tables.
- Kitchen. I don’t like eating out everyday, and cooking is a great downtime after 12 hours staring at my laptop.
- Laundry. Being able to throw a load of washing on is a godsend, and saves you time that would otherwise be wasted sitting at a laundromat.
- Size. The bigger the better, so find somewhere at least 40 square meters and you won’t mind being cooped up all day with your laptop.
- A Separate Bedroom. Having a separate bedroom is fantastic if you’re travelling with your partner. It let’s you both have different areas to work, so you can get in the zone without being right on top of each other.
- Location. Find a place with a large supermarket nearby to stock up on groceries, as well as being close to an internet cafe so you can change scenery whenever you need it. I like to be a little bit removed from the tourist centers to avoid all the commotion, so long as there are a couple of nice restaurants nearby.
- Cleaning gear. Not the most exciting item on the list, but if you’re anywhere for more than a week it’s nice to be able to give the floors a sweep and keep your temporary home fresh.
- Reviews. Read through what the others who stayed here have said. You don’t want to be stuck in a dark little apartment with dingy furniture and a shaky WiFi connection, so do your homework before you book!
If you follow this advice you’ll find the perfect place to get your work done, so you can get out and enjoy the best attractions in the city once you’re on down time.
The life of a digital nomad is unique, so set yourself up to work effectively and you’ll be out enjoying the local sights before you know it – as you live a lifestyle many others only ever dream about!