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How to Become a Digital Nomad | 5 Steps to Get You There

Working as a digital nomad: laptop and camera on the bech

Ever dreamed of becoming a digital nomad? Escaping the 9 to 5 grind, feeling like you're on holiday all the time - sounds pretty great right? It might seem like a crazy and far-off fantasy, but the reality is that you're only a few steps away. Trust me, I've been there and here I am living it now.

It took me 2.5 years to make the jump and become a digital nomad. It wasn’t easy finding jobs that would allow me to work remotely, figuring out how my husband’s job could fit in, and choosing the perfect destinations that would work for both of us. And don’t even get me started on all the administrative stuff - visas, taxes, flights, internet, finding a place to stay, the list goes on and on.

I know it sounds overwhelming, but the best thing you can really do to become a digital nomad, in my opinion, is to break up the journey and start with step number one. Once you’ve conquered your first hurdle, you’ll move on to the next step, and so on. It may take some time, but if you’re really committed to working remotely, I promise you that it will all be worth it in the end. Ready to become a digital nomad? Here are the 5 steps that will get you there.

Step 1. Find a remote job

So this will most likely be the hardest part. Finding a job that allows you to work remotely and become a digital nomad can be a challenge, but it’s definitely not impossible. In general, there are two paths you can take: freelancing or working a full-time job.

Becoming a digital nomad while working a full-time job

While this would have seemed like an impossible option a couple of years ago, times have definitely changed. Since the pandemic, more and more companies are open to remote work.

Large and popular companies like Airbnb, Doist and GitHub are known for being remote-work advocates, but they are not the only options. Have you ever thought of the job you currently have for example? If you have a job that you love that initially doesn’t allow for remote work, try having a conversation with your manager about the possibilities. Explain why it’s important to you, how you are convinced it won’t affect your work, and ask for their concerns. Some managers may be open to the idea of you working remotely for a trial period, such as 1-2 months, before making a final decision. You’d be surprised how flexible your employer can be, as long as you’re able to make a convincing statement.

If your work doesn't allow you to become a digital nomad, it’s time to look elsewhere. There are tons of lists to be found online, with names of companies working fully remotely. Don’t be discouraged if a job you’re interested in doesn’t advertise remote work though. It can still be worth it to apply and bring up the topic during your interview. I was surprised to experience that various companies I applied with were open to the idea of me working remotely, even if they had never considered the option before. Worth a try, right?

Becoming a digital nomad as a freelancer or entrepreneur

The most popular way to become a digital nomad and escape the 9-5 lifestyle is by starting your own business. Scary maybe, but again, not impossible.

Before randomly googling ‘digital nomad jobs’, I would always suggest identifying your own skill set first. You don’t want to find yourself doing a job that you hate or aren’t good at. Take a step back and think about your strengths - what are you good at and what do others admire in you? Use this as a starting point and then focus on further strengthening those skills. There are thousands of (free) courses available to help you turn your hobby into a career.

Once you feel confident and ready to get started, it’s time to start growing your network. Improve or set up your LinkedIn profile, attend networking events, join networking groups and get yourself out there. If this part is challenging for you, consider hiring a business coach to help you become more visible and build a customer base.

Examples of typical digital nomad jobs:

  • Online teacher

  • Online coach

  • Copywriter

  • Designer

  • Data Analyst

  • Online Marketeer

  • Virtual Assistant

  • Influencer

Want to know more? Read my detailed blog on how to find a remote job:

Step 2. Research your dream destinations

Woman working as a digital nomad on the beach

The hardest part is over and now the fun begins! It’s time to start envisioning your dream life as a digital nomad. Where do you see yourself? What are your dream destinations? What does a perfect day look like for you? Don’t hold back, let your imagination run wild and have fun with it. Once you have a clear idea of what you want, you can start matching your dream life to reality.

Think about which destinations align with your vision. Do you need white sandy beaches, a bustling city life, or just enough distance between you and certain family members? Once you have a shortlist of potential destinations, it’s time to consider the practicalities. Do the time zones align with your working hours? If not, are you willing to adjust your schedule? How is the general internet speed and will that be sufficient for your work? Are there co-working spaces or digital nomad communities available? Do you need a visa and how do you go about obtaining it? Is the country safe and is the weather suitable for you? And importantly, can you afford to live in any of your shortlisted destinations?

A great website to help you answer a lot of these questions is Have you got your list narrowed down to a solid top 1, 2 or 3? Then it’s time to move on to the next step!

Step 3. Let go of the old

You’ve chosen your destination, now it’s time to figure out how to leave things behind at home. Unless you can afford the costs of maintaining two homes, you’ll likely need to rent out your current house or - if no other option - get rid of it altogether. I have had great experiences renting out my apartment using an agency, but platforms like Airbnb or Facebook are also viable options. I would always advise you to go the legal route, but also choose someone you feel comfortable with to take care of your home while you are away.

It’s also important to start thinking about what to do with your belongings. Living life as a digital nomad means living “on the go”, and you will need to learn to detach yourself from things you think you can’t live without (trust me, you can). Renting a storage unit is a great option, but before you do that, you’ll already want to start decluttering. Believe me, you really don’t want to drag too much with you on the road.

Step 4. Get accommodation and visa sorted

Before booking your ticket, it’s crucial to make sure you’ll be able to enter your chosen country in the first place. Now is the time to get your visa sorted, which - depending on your destination - can be done either online or at a nearby consulate.

Did you know that countries such as Portugal and Mauritius offer digital nomad visas nowadays? More and more countries are following in their footsteps, offering a great way to work and live somewhere for a longer period of time. I've recently uploaded a blog that features all digital nomad visas currently out there. Find out if you're dream destination is among them!

When it comes to finding accommodation, the safest option is to have everything sorted before you depart. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can choose to book only 1 week to start with, while continuing your search once you arrive. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for accommodation:

  • Internet speed (ask for the results of an online speed test)

  • Reviews

  • Monthly costs and whether you can afford them

  • Location (will you need to rent a car or can you use public transportation or a bike to get around?)

Booking platforms like Airbnb or Nomad Stays can be of great help when searching for accommodation. In case your destination doesn't offer many options, consider reaching out to local real estate agents, posting in Facebook groups, or checking out co-living spaces like Outsite or Selina.

Living and working remotely from Mauritius

Step 5. Organize the necessary paperwork and digital services

Besides getting your visa sorted, you’ll want to look into the following necessary paperwork before making the move:

  • Travel Insurance. A regular travel insurance policy may not cover trips longer than 60 days. It’s therefore wise to look into insurance options that fit your lifestyle, travel length and destinations. Coming from The Netherlands, I usually choose the Globetrotter Insurance from Allianz, but other popular international options include Safety Wing or World Nomads.

  • Passport. An obvious one but often overlooked: check the validity of your passport well in advance to avoid any issues. You’ll want to make sure it won’t expire within 6 months beyond the dates of your trip.

  • Driver's License. If you plan on renting a car, check if your driver’s license is valid in the country you’re visiting. If not, get an international driver’s license before departure.

In addition to paperwork, consider these digital tools to make your remote work experience just a little bit easier:

  • International Bank Card. When travelling abroad, you may be charged commission fees when making bank transactions or withdrawals. Consider using a service like WISE, which allows you to transfer money abroad easily and quickly with lower transactional costs. The service also offers a VISA debit card, making payments abroad even smoother.

  • VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your online messages and hides your IP address. Your online identity and data are therefore protected when working in public places like co-working spaces, libraries or coffee shops. As your location is hidden from the world, you can also bypass geo-restrictions which allows you to keep watching your favourite shows and movies on online streaming platforms.

There are tons of other products and services you may want to consider buying before you leave, such as a power bank, an international SIM card or a UPS device. For inspiration on some great digital nomad essentials, I encourage you to read my blog "The best gifts and essentials for digital nomads".

So that's that, 5 simple (or are they?) steps to becoming a digital nomad. The path to a nomadic lifestyle may seem daunting and overwhelming but trust me, it’s all worth it in the end. I find that the key is to take it one step at a time, and also enjoy the process along the way. Curious as to how I did it? Read my blog on how I became a digital nomad here.

Do you have any thoughts, additions, or questions about becoming a digital nomad? Leave a message down below, or follow me on social media or via my mailing list to stay in touch. I’d love to hear from you and learn more about your journey to becoming a digital nomad!

How to Become a Digital Nomad | 7 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

How hard is it to become a digital nomad?

Becoming a digital nomad isn’t exactly easy, but it’s not impossible either. Finding a job that allows for remote work, in particular, usually takes quite some time and dedication. It’s important to take it one step at a time though and not get discouraged. If it’s something you really want, you’ll eventually get there.

Which country is best for digital nomads?

It’s hard to say which country is the absolute best for digital nomads since everyone’s preferences are different. There are, however, some places that have a lot going for them when it comes to working remotely. Think of a nice climate, a low cost of living, a digital nomad visa, and a community of other remote workers or expats. Portugal, Bali and Mexico are all popular spots where you’ll find plenty of other digital nomads. If you’re unsure where to start, a website such as is a great tool to help you find the perfect country to align with your preferences.

What are the disadvantages of being a digital nomad?

The lack of stability, the feeling of loneliness, missing out on important things back home, struggling to find a work/life balance and dealing with loads of bureaucracy are just a few examples. It’s good to keep these things in mind when taking the leap.

How long do digital nomads stay in one place?

The length of time a digital nomad stays in one place really depends on the person. I have met remote workers who stayed put for over a year, and others that took a short 1-month trip. While constantly moving around might sound exciting, it can be stressful at the same time, especially when you’ve got work to do. When you stick around for a bit (also called “digital slowmadding”), you really get to experience a place and find a stable home base to work and relax from. Ultimately, it’s all about what works for you and going with it.

Is it lonely being a digital nomad?

Being a digital nomad can be pretty lonely, especially when you’re travelling solo. Some people also find going back home lonely, as the people there will have a hard time understanding what you’ve been through. A solution to avoid loneliness on the road is to look for places with a big expat- or digital nomad community, where you’re more likely to meet other people and make connections.

Where do digital nomads pay tax?

Digital nomads will usually have to file taxes in their country of residence. The specifics of this does largely depend on factors like where they’re from and where they earned their money. My advice would be to double-check the tax laws and regulations in your country of residence before making any moves.

Which countries offer digital nomad visas?

As of 2023, there are more than 40 countries offering a digital nomad visa. Want to find out which ones? Check out this blog for the most updated list.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Esther and I want to inspire you and get you excited about working remotely. Feel free to browse through my blogs, send me a message or follow me on social media.

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