Fact checked! This material was written by an expert

3 min read 22.02.2022 259
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim is a fintech writer at AskWallet
Life Hacks for Digital Nomads

Life Hacks for Digital Nomads

When you’re working as a digital nomad, you have to be smart about how you live your life. You’re not tied down to one location, and that gives you the opportunity to work wherever you can find an internet connection, whether it’s in your apartment or at the beach, or on the top of a mountain. That’s where these life hacks for digital nomads come in handy.

Get Travel Insurance

Many nomads will agree that one of their favorite parts about being a digital nomad is being able to travel and live abroad. But, living as a digital nomad comes with some unique risks, such as leaving your bank account far behind. The last thing you want is to be in Southeast Asia or Europe on your long-awaited vacation only to come down with a cold or toothache and be forced to pay exorbitant medical fees out of pocket (or not at all).  Many companies offer a travel insurance that covers these exact things, but it can be tricky when trying to buy it online—look for an agency that allows you to apply directly from their website and take care not to lose any documents during processing.


 

Use super-smart banking 

Take advantage of tools that help you track your spending and find areas to cut back on. This includes setting up a budget so you know how much money is coming in and going out. You can also try using automatic transfers to prevent frivolous spending, or at least make it easier to catch when you overspend.

Best banks for Digital Nomads

N26 



If you’re frequently traveling abroad and need to use your bank account while you’re away, N26 is a great option. It’s a digital bank, meaning it has no physical branches—although there are some exceptions for customers in Germany. For example, if you have N26 Black (their highest tier), you can withdraw up to 1,000 euros per day from an ATM with free withdrawals anywhere in Europe. The best part is that all of their account benefits are completely free. They do charge a small fee for withdrawing money from ATMs elsewhere around the world (1% withdrawal fee plus $5).
 

Revolut

Revolut has changed the game by providing accounts connected to a contactless prepaid debit card. You may use the mobile app to effortlessly access your current account and transfer funds from your bank account to the card. Revolut has set itself apart from the competition by offering a safe and easy travel card. The beautiful thing about Revolut is that it is not just for travelers; companies freelancers and digital nomads can also benefit from minimal costs.
 

Bunq

Bunq is especially useful for persons who live an international lifestyle since it enables simple and low-cost international spending and transfers.
 

Banks for Crypto enthusiasts 

Best for the EU

Monolith 

Monolith is an Ethereum-based crypto banking system that enables companies and people to trade and pay in cryptocurrency. The firm provides a prepaid card to help with everyday payments. The wallet accepts Pounds and Euros and is accessible in over 31 countries. The wallet given can be accessed only by the wallet’s owner and no one else. Also, you can pay in stores using your cryptocurrency via a monolith card.
 

Black Cat Card

Blackcatcard is a fintech company that provides an instantly ready European Mastercard that is fully intended for online and offline purchases and is accepted globally. Get up to 2.2% back in cashback! Simply keep a minimum of €300 and spend more than €200 every month via card. In addition, you get 0,1% cashback on all card purchases excluding ATM withdrawals and transfers.


Best for the US

Cash App

The Cash App is a mobile payment service that allows you to transfer money to others using a mobile phone app. Cash App allows you to instantly transfer, receive, or request money from other users using a simple debit or credit card. You should also be aware that if you pay with a credit card, you will be charged an extra 3% fee. 
 

Wirex 

Wirex is a global pioneer in digital money solutions for personal usage and an FCA-licensed company. Wirex Ltd provides its customers in the EEA with a debit Mastercard and a debit Visa card for those in APAC, as well as currency conversion for people all over the world. Wirex’s services are offered in a variety of countries, and customers may conduct transactions in a variety of currencies.
 

Crypto.com 

Crypto.com is a globally known cryptocurrency platform with a cryptocurrency-powered ecosystem. The payment business offers a plethora of options, including a metal VISA card, a non-custodial wallet, rapid loans, NFT, and many others. Despite the fact that the firm was created in 2016, it still has a lot to offer its people all around the world.
 

Best cards with low fees 

Wise 

Wise provides a multi-currency debit card linked to their Borderless Account. Wise consumers will convert their currencies at market value to avoid overpaying. The payment system accepts more than 50 currencies and provides cheap conversion rates. For a one-time price of 5 EUR, users may buy a prepaid debit card with their borderless account. Wise will eliminate all of your exorbitant expenses on currency rates and ATM transactions.
 

Monzo

Monzo provides a Mastercard-enabled debit card to travelers and digital nomads. You may use the card to make payments anywhere without incurring any additional costs. Monzo provides real-time mid-market exchange rates to its consumers. Because the FCA oversees the organization, you can be certain that your money is safe with this mobile bank. Monzo’s only disadvantage is that it is only accessible in the United Kingdom.

 

Best money transfer services

TransferGo

TransferGo offers international money transfer services to individuals and businesses in the majority of European nations. It accepts transfers to over 65 countries and pays out in local currency.
 

PayOp

PayOp is a payment platform that provides payment solutions to companies of all sizes. It is available in over a hundred countries, has numerous payment options, and can handle multiple currencies. It enables you to take payments from customers all around the world.
 

Paysend

Paysend is a global financial technology firm that enables customers to conduct cross-border card-to-card transfers as well as payments to bank accounts and digital wallets. Paysend is devoted to meeting the growing need for low-cost money transfer services in an increasingly linked world.

Learn to be a minimalist 

There are a few choices that you have to make as you plan your lifestyle. How much money will you need to live on? The more money you need, it seems, the less likely it is that you'll work out of a country other than your own. But if your income can easily support you somewhere like Thailand or Bali, why wouldn't you? 

Even if there's not an office where everyone sits around in air conditioning and writes copy all day—how expensive could it be to set up an office like that in either of those countries?—you should probably still try it. Your goal should be to spend as little money as possible while maintaining a reasonably comfortable life. You can accomplish that by moving abroad, living frugally, and relying heavily on location-independent business opportunities. 

In fact, these hacks really only apply to digital nomads who don't want to start companies. If you do want to have your own start-up, it may take months before you even have enough working capital to think about traveling abroad. So most of these tips are going to sound useless until they're extremely useful later on. It's okay! Just hang in there and keep looking for good deals on accommodation or server space; odds are good something will come along eventually.

Accommodation is very important as it going to be one of the constant things you have to pay for on a monthly basis. Finding roommates and living with other digital nomads can be a good way to reduce the amount of money you will be paying every single month. 

Working while living abroad can definitely take its toll. You might find yourself not being unable to concentrate on work or the furniture in your apartment isn't conducive for your work. Then there is one cheap and easy way to fix that - workspaces. There are workspaces available in almost every major city and countryside that digital nomads can take advantage of. However, most of the co-working space charges by the hour. If you are looking to completely save money, you can just find a coffee shop like Starbucks get a cup of coffee, and voila you have access to free wifi and a place to work. All for the price of a simple cup of coffee.

Join Digital Nomad Groups on Facebook

There are tons of digital nomad groups on Facebook; some have more than 100,000 members. In addition to offering advice and support, they are an excellent way to meet people who are doing what you want to do. When you’re just starting out, it can be helpful to know someone in your new city before you get there. Consider reaching out to these folks. Alternatively, ask if there is a local meetup group (or several) so that you can meet people face-to-face before committing long-term to any one group or location. The best part about these groups? They're free! Take advantage!
 

Unlock Your Phone Before You Travel

If you’re planning to spend any time outside of your home country, unlock your phone before you travel. If you don’t, and you try to use a SIM card from another country, your phone could become permanently locked. Even if it doesn’t lock up, your carrier might place a restriction on international usage that will kill your data speed. Once you've unlocked your phone, buying an international SIM card (usually available at airports) will be much easier in foreign countries.  

Plus, many carriers subsidize devices by requiring customers to sign two-year contracts; unlocking is a good way to get around paying for that extra year. Whether you're planning to head overseas or not, though, remember to always do your research before switching cell phone providers. You'll want one with great coverage in where you live as well as all of the places you'll be visiting often—and there's no guarantee that just because company A has great coverage in Australia that they also have great coverage at home! So shop around!

Get a VPN

A VPN is one of your most important tools when you’re working remotely. It allows you to create an encrypted tunnel that connects your computer to a server operated by a VPN service. All internet traffic flowing between your computer and servers is encrypted, protecting your personal data and identity as well as allowing you access to geo-restricted content. 

When choosing a VPN, consider speed and security – both are critical factors in online safety – with price being another factor if cost is something you can work with. (Although all reputable services offer free trials or money-back guarantees) . If you travel internationally, then it may be worth looking into a location-specific service like HideMyAss or UnblockUs, which both offer high speeds at competitive prices.

While most VPNs are easy to use, they can be frustratingly slow, sometimes cutting your internet connection by as much as half. A Virtual Private Network is most useful when you’re using an unsecured network (like one at a coffee shop), and there may be times when you want to temporarily turn it off. But without a virtual private network on your device of choice – whether that’s a phone or laptop – you might find yourself losing speeds or forced to install extra software. Get a VPN that offers you flexibility in terms of devices and clients so it doesn’t slow down your connectivity on devices like tablets or smartphones.

Back-Up Your Data

Although your data is likely backed up on a remote server somewhere, it’s still wise to back up all of your digital files in case something goes wrong. If you have documents that haven’t been saved recently, you might want to consider using another device to update them in case something happens with your laptop. 

There are also great cloud storage services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive that allow you to save documents directly from their sites. Saving your files onto a USB drive or external hard drive is also another option that can be taken anywhere without being tied down to a laptop. However, if you do go with an external hard drive, it’s important to remember where it is so it doesn’t get lost in transit or stolen while traveling.

If you are planning on starting your own digital nomad business, you should always back up all your data before shutting it down. If something were to happen, it could be very costly in terms of lost revenue and productivity if you don’t get your work backed up and running as soon as possible.

Maintain your work-life balance

The most important hack, and one that every digital nomad has to be cognizant of, is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. A challenge that's unique to digital nomads—the absence of an office! You have to work hard when you're working and need to be able to switch off when you're not. It's easy for those roles to get blurred, so keep on top of it by planning your days out in advance, scheduling breaks into your day (even if you don't take them), and keeping lines of communication open with colleagues. 

Communicate clearly about deadlines, as people in different time zones can find it challenging to know whether emails should be read at night or during daylight hours. Most importantly: Do what works for you! Being remote doesn't mean being alone; seek support from other remote workers, especially when you’re just starting out.

Make sure you don't let work bleed into your leisure time, and vice versa. Going out with friends at lunchtime is fine, as long as you are able to be fully present with them. If not, send regrets and eat your lunch on-site so that you can keep in touch via email or make calls from a landline. The best digital nomad advice I ever received was You can only lose your job if you stop doing it. That's very true! All it takes is about 3 days of being unreachable to get fired for all but extreme circumstances!

Create a Computer Stand (or Buy One)

For most people, a small computer stand is a simple yet extremely useful tool. They allow you to type comfortably at your desk while lowering your posture and taking pressure off of your wrists. Not only that, but they help keep dust and debris from accumulating underneath your computer. While you can buy one if you like, it’s often much cheaper to build one on your own by repurposing things around your house.  

Overusing your hands can lead to serious health problems, but a good ergonomic setup can help relieve some of that stress on your joints and fingers. Consider adding a footrest to keep you comfortable while you work, as well as anti-fatigue mats to keep yourself standing at your desk longer. Working from home may seem like an easy task, but it does take more effort than one might think. Making sure you have everything set up properly will not only make things easier on your body, but it’ll also boost your productivity thanks to fewer distractions.

Live it fully

To be a successful digital nomad, you need to be organized, flexible, and focused. The best way to get there is by figuring out what works best for you through trial and error. In order to do that, I recommend starting with one idea at a time. Figure out what your routine looks like and stick with it. Stay away from distractions and don’t lose focus on your goal of making money online by freelancing or setting up an online business. After a month of working on your goal without fail, take a step back and see how you can optimize things in your routine that have helped you move forward towards your dream lifestyle.

Always remember, whatever life you choose to live, try to live it fully. Don’t spend too much time focused on your distractions and disorganization. At some point, all of us need to take a step back and realize what we are missing in our lives if we stay lost in self-defeating thoughts. 

Give yourself a little push and build up that determination. Whatever challenges you are facing, there will always be someone who has had a harder situation. You just have to find that person and learn from their story of success. Set your own standards of excellence and constantly strive to be your best version of yourself no matter where you go or what opportunities come your way.