Guide For Digital Nomads

Source: Renee Altrov

Source: Renee Altrov

If you are interested in a digital nomad lifestyle and running a business remotely or working from anywhere, this guide can help. Here are key things you need to know about being a digital nomad.

The complete guide to being a digital nomad

Everything you need to know

Nomadic life is part of the human experience. In some areas it declined with the advent of agriculture while in other areas it is the norm even to this day. A recent twist on this phenomenon is the the modern-day digital nomad — someone who lives and works from any location they choose.

 If travel and freedom from the 9-to-5 sound perfect to you, keep reading. This guide will cover the key things you need to know about being a digital nomad. 

How to be a digital nomad

 Social media often gives us a skewed vision of the digital nomad life. The bloggers, high tech nomads, and freelancers you follow on Instagram and Tik Tok make it all look so easy. But becoming a digital nomad requires planning, creativity, and hard work.

 Follow these five steps to begin making the switch to a location-independent lifBuild your skillset

  1. Decide where to start
  2. Establish a source of income
  3. Sort out banking and health insurance
  4. Find a community

1. Build your skillset

Whatever skills or knowledge you have, you can turn them into remote work, especially if you’re willing to think creatively. This is the silver lining behind the pandemic — many more employers realize employees can work outside of the office and be just as productive. Traditional computer-based jobs like development or graphic design are easier to do from any location. But with the help of video calls and online collaborative platforms, the sky’s the limit!

If your current career makes it hard to work outside of an office, think about ways you can take your skills and move them online. Are you a teacher? Perhaps you could teach English online. Are you a psychologist? Maybe you could do sessions over Zoom. Take what you know and look for ways to branch out and build your skillset to make working remotely a possibility.

2. Decide where in the world to start

Where you live matters. Running a remote company from a small island with unstable internet connectivity probably won’t get you very far. Trying to live in Paris on a tight budget might have you heading home early.

You also have to consider your legal right to work and reside in a country. Many countries, such as Estonia and Malta, are catching on to the trend and have created digital nomad visas or remote worker permits.

Budget, legal rights, internet connectivity, and ease of living should all contribute to your decision.

Take these European countries into consideration when you’re looking for your first destination:   

3. Establish a source of income

If you’re going the freelance route, start building up a portfolio. Small gigs might not pay the best and the work might be tedious, but experience is everything. Once you’ve got a steady stream of income and multiple clients, you can move into creating your own business.

Of course, it’s also possible to be a digital nomad while being a full-time employee or doing contract work for one company. You’ll need to find a company that allows you to work from anywhere, not just from your home next to their headquarters. In this day and age, even if your company doesn’t have a set policy on remote work, you could put together a convincing argument. Don’t be afraid to ask!

4. Sort out banking and health insurance

As a digital nomad, you’ll be on the move every few months. You need to find an easy way to save and access your funds regardless of the country you’re in. Some of the newer online borderless banks may be a better fit for a nomad life than a traditional brick-and-mortar bank back home. Do your research, taking into consideration the currency you’ll be paid in and where you’ll be paying taxes.

Health insurance is another thing to consider. Depending on your citizenship and where you’ll be living, you may not qualify for free or low-cost local healthcare. For example, if you’re an EU resident and you decide to head to another EU country, then you may be covered with the European Health Insurance Card. However, if you’re an American digital nomad in the EU, then you will likely have to purchase private health insurance.

5. Find a community

The best part of being a digital nomad is finding new communities of like-minded people. Being part of a community is not only good for business but also good for your well-being!

Not only will socializing make you happier, but it can also connect you with potential clients and job leads. As a digital nomad, this can be a crucial part of your success. Check out co-working spaces, cafes with good WiFi, and meet-up events to find your community and meet like-minded people. Here’s a guide on how to find a digital nomad community.

Pros & cons

The high-tech digital nomad life may sound enticing. Working in a beautiful European cafe or from a lounger on a white sand beach sounds amazing compared to your average dull office space. Unfortunately there are some downsides to being a digital nomad. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of digital nomadism.


Freedom is, of course, the biggest advantage to being a digital nomad. You have the autonomy to choose your location, your work hours, your vacation hours, and much more. Plus, saying good-bye to rush-hour commutes does wonders for decreasing stress.

Let’s not forget the intangible upsides to being a digital nomad:


No job or lifestyle is perfect. Being a digital nomad is hard work. You need to figure out paperwork, visas, health insurance, new languages, and international business on your own.

Another potential downside is motivation; to be your own boss or run your own business requires a tremendous amount of dedication and self-motivation. People who prefer to be told what to do and when to do it may run into trouble here.

The cons of choosing the digital nomad life should be taken into serious consideration:

Finding a legal place to work

Being a true digital nomad doesn’t mean you’re packing along your laptop while you go on vacation. And if that’s what you plan on doing, think twice. You may face some serious repercussions down the line if you choose to work in a legal gray area.

You don’t want to face deportation just as you start to get settled or overstay a visa and then not be allowed to come back. Therefore, some type of legal residency is a must. Check what types of visas are available for those wishing to live and work; some might be straightforward, like Estonia’s digital nomad visa, other countries might require more complex paperwork. For example, Czechia requires you to secure a trade license and pass an interview along with lots of other paperwork.

As the saying goes, there are only two things for certain in this life, death and taxes. Even digital nomads have to file their taxes. Your legal residence in a country may make you liable to pay taxes in that country. Other countries, like the United States, require citizens abroad to file taxes regardless of place of residence or income level — you may not have to pay, but you always have to file!

Is the digital nomad life for you?

The digital nomad life isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to live in one location and have a full-time job. The stability can be very attractive.

Before setting out into the world and starting the nomad life, you need to figure out what kind of person you are. If you love challenges, independence, and travel, and are highly self-motivated, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have what it takes to become a digital nomad. As the first country in the EU to offer a digital nomad visa, Estonia might be the right place to start your journey!