In a recent study by MBO Partners, 4.8 million US citizens defined themselves as digital nomads. Digital nomads are people who have jobs that can be done from literally anywhere in the world, so they spend their working time travelling. Many take advantage of this by showing off working on the beach, in a ski chalet, or even halfway up a mountain. But it goes beyond that; a Gallup poll in 2016 found that 43% of office workers spent at least some of their time working from outside the office.
As our jobs have migrated to digital locations and we have the ability to be freer with where we choose to work, could we see a rise in professionals travelling while working? But if so, where would some of the best destinations for that be and what is the case with existing digital nomads?
The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Bali has long been a place for nomads to retreat to and has worked on its digital nomad offering to provide a host of coworking spaces and strong internet connections. Thailand has also wised up to the fact that digital nomads will often combine their ventures with South-East Asian travel. Chiang Mai, for instance, has a slew of coworking spaces and 24-hour internet cafes. Meanwhile, Europe has cities such as Budapest in Hungary, Krakow in Poland, and Lisbon in Portugal that benefit from international business – so have the provisions for those who need business resources as they just pass through.
Cost of Living
To make the digital nomad life work for you, there has to be an affordable cost of living. Somewhere like Buenos Aires – and many other cities in Argentina – has a low cost of living and strong transport links, so you can live outside the city and have an easy commute. In fact, the Expatistan 2019 ranking found many Argentinian cities are some of the cheapest to live and work in the world. Memphis, Tennessee, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East in the UK were among the cheapest cities to live in for the USA and UK respectively.
But, Don’t Forget You’re Still a Business!
Of course, it can be easy when working off the grid as a freelancer or small business owner to forget some of the more important aspects of running a business. You’ll still need to ensure that you are ingrained in the tax system and contributing, if you are required to. You’ll also need to ensure that you have small business insurance to protect your lifestyle in case a client or customer makes a complaint. Standard business insurance will usually cover you for any issues and could prevent the headache of having to head back to base to sort things out.
With an estimated 1 billion people being digital nomads by 2035, it’s important that cities provide strong provisions for them. Being a digital nomad and working from around the world is likely to increase, as barriers to it are being worn down. Thanks to the latest technology, you can receive payment in most banks in most currencies, can submit work on the go and have internet connection and facilities to conduct the work in most places. In other words, the world’s your oyster.