Data from Statista shows that there are around 17 million digital nomads from the United States. That is more than double the number in 2019. There can be no doubt that the digital nomad lifestyle is growing in popularity, and it is not just the U.S. where it is getting so much attention.
Being a digital nomad means you get to work while enjoying a nice vacation in a remote location. It could be in a different state, country or continent. This lifestyle takes the work-from-home trend and adds a little bit of finesse to it.
However, there are drawbacks as well. From visa issues to trouble fitting in, a lot can go wrong when you are a digital nomad. Thus comes the need to understand where you might go wrong on your journey as a digital nomad and how you can prevent them from happening.
In this article, we will discuss five common digital nomad mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Ignoring Remote Work Best Practices
If your team leader or manager has experience working with digital nomads, they will know how to manage a remote team efficiently. If not, they can always learn more about remote team management from the internet. Managing a remote staff is not that hard, but it does require a lot of patience and effective communication.
Once your team leader has done their part, the rest falls on you to ensure that your lifestyle as a digital nomad does not affect your employer or their business. The best way to ensure that is by following the simplest of remote working best practices, which many often ignore.
Some digital nomads fail to showcase basic time management skills. Some end up underperforming at their jobs as they get too consumed by their remote environment. Others might end up failing to deliver their daily deadlines because of technical issues, most of which can be taken care of with a bit of precaution.
Not Understanding Visa Regulations
Earlier in October this year, The Washington Post announced that Bali would allow digital nomads to stay up to five years on the digital nomad visa. However, sometime in November, it was announced that the five-year stay had been cut short to just 60 days. Anyone who is not aware of this will very likely get into a bit of trouble when they arrive at the visa office for their digital nomad access to Bali.
Similarly, according to the Costa Rica Tourism Board, digital nomads are allowed to open a national bank account in Costa Rica. If you are not aware of that, scammers in that country might try to scam you by charging extra money for opening a local account. However, there are no additional fees involved in this account opening process for digital nomads.
Not understanding your visa regulations and limitations can get you in a lot of trouble. At the same time, it can prevent you from seeking a lot of facilities you are entitled to. Either way, unawareness regarding the power and authority your digital nomad visa holds can be detrimental to the overall experience.
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Not Planning Your Finances and Logistics
As a digital nomad, you must be diligent about your finances and logistics. Not planning these things properly can make things a lot more difficult for you.
Without planning your finances, you will probably end up short on cash. It is possible that you will overspend on your vacation and completely forget about your daily necessities, including food, accommodation, internet bills, mobile bills and so on. That, in turn, will hamper your professional activities, and you could even end up losing your job or suffering a loss in your business.
As for logistics, digital nomads need to thoroughly plan their travel and pack lightly. If any of these two things go missing, you will find it hard to adjust to the digital nomad lifestyle. You will also struggle to move from one place to another since you are not fully sure of how you might be traveling to your destination.
Neglecting Your Health
Digital nomads often overlook their mental and physical health. When someone ventures into this lifestyle for the first time, it is easy to mistake it as just another vacation.
However, the digital nomad lifestyle is not just about enjoying a holiday. It is also about working alongside it. That means you not only have to bear the physical and mental stress of planning how you are going to enjoy your time as a digital nomad, but you will also have to bear your regular work-related stress.
As you try to strike a balance between work and vacation, the digital nomad lifestyle will start taking a toll on your health. Initially, it will mostly be the mental stress that overcomes your mind. Slowly, that stress will start affecting you physically, and your body will eventually succumb to the growing stress.
Once that happens, you can neither enjoy your vacation nor can you carry on with your work properly.
Isolating Yourself from the Community
You are a digital nomad, not someone who is self-isolating in a remote corner of the world. Then why would you isolate yourself from the community?
The digital nomad community is growing exponentially, and there are several opportunities for you to network and connect with other like-minded individuals. You can also connect with locals just for fun. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to fit into the culture of wherever you are staying and gets super lonely at one point.
As a digital nomad, you can never ignore its best practices which include efficient time management, proper technical awareness and communicating with your employer, among other things. You must also be fully aware of your visa’s limitations and regulations. Clear these things up with the respective authorities if necessary.
You must also plan your trips beforehand and learn how to travel in a minimalist way. Once you have started life as a digital nomad, you should make sure you do not keep yourself isolated from the local and digital nomad communities while keeping a close eye on your mental and physical health.
If you can avoid these mistakes, life as a digital nomad will surely feel very enjoyable and refreshing.