The digital nomad lifestyle offers an abundance of attractive benefits. However, it comes with just as many pitfalls that can cause you significant distress. If you want to reap all the rewards without stumbling into any disasters, learn from those who have gone before you and avoid committing the following common errors:
1. Thinking tax laws don’t apply to you
If you’re traveling and working down under, it may not occur to you to figure out whether you owe taxes in Australia. However, this can be a fatal mistake. So, before you set off, look up the tax laws, establish whether you’re a resident for tax purposes, and if so, Google “income tax calculator Australia” to get a feel for what you’ll need to set aside.
The same is true of many other countries around the world, so make this step a part of your travel procedures, especially if you prefer slow travel and longer stays. If you move from place to place every 1-3 months, don’t think that excuses you from your tax obligations. If in doubt, an accountant in your home country can offer guidance.
2. Not working with a budget
Budgeting is boring – we’re with you on that. However, it’s also crucial if you want to be financially stable. Digital nomad forums are full of panicked posts from people who failed to budget and ended up stranded far from home with quickly dwindling funds. There’s often little anyone can do to help, so to avoid this stressful situation, create a budget, and live within your means.
3. Saying yes to everything
When your life is constantly changing and you lack stability, it’s easy to say yes to every opportunity, fearing that you’ll miss out on something important if you say no. This can leave you far too stretched, with more clients than you can handle and more social engagements than you have time for. To avoid this issue, budget your time as carefully as you budget your money. Say yes to only the most valuable events and projects, and share work with other freelancers. Such reciprocal relationships can ensure you’re never short of work in slow times, as the people you helped will often be able to help you.
4. Not having backup plans
What will you do if the power goes out at your house sit? How will you get work done in a hostel? What will you do if your laptop gets stolen? Many digital nomads have gotten themselves in trouble by not having backup plans for such events. Scrambling for a solution in the moment is far too inefficient and can lead to you letting down clients or wasting money. So, think about what could go wrong and come up with some contingency plans.
5. Not thinking about seasonality
You may love the beaches of Bali, but that doesn’t mean you want to be there during the monsoon season. The same is true of every location on Earth. Wherever you go, there will be high and low tourist seasons and times of uncomfortable weather. So be sure to research these factors before setting your travel plans.
6. Ignoring your health
If you spend your evenings drinking with new friends and your days working without breaks, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. From the food you eat to the exercise you do, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drink plenty of water, take plenty of breaks, and take it easy on the booze and coffee.
Keep these mistakes in mind as you explore the world, and you’ll be far more likely to have a long and prosperous career as a digital nomad.