It has never been easier for individuals to work remotely and when there is no need to commute into an office every day, or even remain in the UK, many young workers are relishing the opportunity of becoming Digital Nomads – working abroad with just the use of their laptops.
Like many expats before them, digital nomads will find that moving abroad does not come without complications and that there are various practicalities to take into account before they pack up their laptops and head to the airport.
First and foremost an aspiring digital nomad needs to ensure that the country they are traveling to will grant them entry when they arrive. This means keeping up to speed with the travel advice given out by Gov.uk and being sure to follow the instructions given concerning travel visas. It’s also important to check whether there are any additional restrictions or requirements for foreign workers, a classification often given to digital nomads who are not traveling for leisure. This was a lesson that many people learned the hard way when popular digital nomad spot Chiang Mai, Thailand, began to crack down on foreign remote workers.
Another key piece of advice for remote workers looking to move abroad is to ensure that they have saved enough money for the move. Whilst they will clearly intend to work whilst abroad and earn an income, it they are not already employed and instead are relying on starting their own remote business, it’s important to allow for the business to grow slowly and this means having a bumper emergency fund in place to pay the bills until the digital work starts to pick up.
An additional monetary concern will involve currency. It’s probable that a digital nomad’s bank account will be in their home currency, and it’s also quite likely that their future earnings will be too. In order to ensure that they are not hit by expensive currency conversions fees or lousy exchange rates, it’s important to shop around and find a bank that supports travel. There are various credit cards on the market aimed at regular travellers which solve both these issues whilst also offering free cash withdrawals abroad. This is a great way to ensure that no money is wasted on easily avoidable fees.
If a remote worker is going to be traveling long term it’s also imperative that they purchase a good health travel insurance policy before they head off. Many expats have been tripped up in the past by failing to consider what would happen to them if they had an accident or sustained an illness whilst living abroad. Without the trusty NHS to pick up the bill, a small trip or unexpected illness could land a foreign traveler with a sizeable medical bill which they simply could not afford to pay. It could also prevent them from receiving medical treatment as healthcare facilities would be keen to know that a patient was able to pay for their care before receiving it.
A long term traveller such as an expat or digital nomad would not be able to purchase a standard travel insurance policy which is generally designed for short trips, however they will find that many insurance companies like Now Health now cater for long term travellers and offer expat health travel insurance policies to protect them should they need medical treatment.
A digital nomad may find that they want to rent a car or scooter whilst living abroad which is often a great way to get around and help them to make their new country home. Before doing so, however, it’s worth ensuring that their driving license is accepted and that no additional training is required to enable them to comply with local laws. For example many travelers in popular digital nomad destination South East Asia will think nothing of hiring a scooter to get around, however, it’s likely that without a motorbike conversion course, their license does not cover this activity which could land them in hot water with local police!
A final point to note for digital nomads who often move around countries rather than settling down, is to ensure that they are up to date on their vaccinations. Taking the time to visit their doctor before heading off on their trip is time well spent and could help to prevent against avoidable but very possible illnesses such as yellow fever, rabies, hepatitis and cholera.
Digital nomads are only going to grow in number as it becomes easier to work remotely. By taking some steps to ensure safe travel, they can enjoy the incredible benefits available to modern workers.
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