Stepping into a nomadic lifestyle can be incredibly freeing but there are a lot of extra costs to take into account before blasting off. From flights, visa costs, alternative living arrangements, and surprise mix ups it can be hard to juggle all the new worries while settling into your new lifestyle. In this article, we will cover some of the major financial concerns that, if considered in advance, can help ease your transition and help you enjoy your newfound freedom that much more!
Fact: You will be flying...a lot. If you don’t plan on playing the complex visa game you will have to budget in a flight at least every few months. These can range anywhere from $20 to $2000. As a wanderer, you might not know where your wings will take you next. However, it is highly desirable to at least plan out your movements for the next 3 months in order to take advantage of cheaper flight deals.
#2 Visa Costs
If you plan on staying anywhere more than a few months you will likely need extra money for visa applications. You also need the time away from your work to visit embassies, figure out paperwork, and fulfill any visa requirements that often require extra money in the bank, minimal health insurance, or a long list of other steps to fulfill. Don’t forget, many times you will have to leave the country in order to apply for a visa. The world is not set up for us...YET! We will cover more on Visa logistics in future articles!
#3 Living Arrangements
If you’re a digital nomad, working from home, a peaceful living situation with strong internet connection is a necessity. This means the usual cheap hostels that you use when traveling will be a no-go. Many rental apartments require a hefty security deposit and minimum rental periods which makes this option also non-viable. Your most seamless option is to live the AirBnB life or use similar sites to book immediately. For the cheapest prices, you will again need to plan out at least 2 months ahead of time as many of these properties get booked up quickly in popular destinations. You will also have any fees associated with the booking website. Weigh the costs of these and don’t be discouraged, because $150 extra in fees per month is nothing compared to the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a clean, safe place to sleep and work with little to no set up hassle.
Even with sites like AirBnb or booking websites you are likely to run into surprises. Sometimes you have already been charged $1000+ and the accommodations will not be as described. In these instances you will need to have a financial buffer in place as you could be waiting as much as 30 days for a refund to clear into your account. This could really trip you up if you need to book a new spot and have your money tied up in transit. Good news is, most of the popular booking sites are reputable and will refund the money, they just may leave you scrambling to readjust for a few weeks if something goes wrong.
// Head over to AirBnb for $40 off your first trip!
// Consider hosting with AirBnb if you have property back home to help fund your adventures!
#4 Global Health Insurance
When you jump out into nomad world, your priorities will generally stay the same. Health is #1 and you want you body/mind fit for all of your coming adventures. In an Unpara//eled Dimension we are all covered with full healthcare for life but the world hasn’t quite made it there! Again, NOT YET!
There are a number of ways you can set this up and each one will depend on your specific situation. Travel insurance often isn’t enough for nomadic individuals so you are going to need a booster based on your situation. Note: Travel insurance is still good to have to protect things like any checked luggage and laptops/technology items crucial to your survival. *We are working on cutting down to carry on only for true freedom and to save on baggage fees.
EU Citizen — Citizens of the EU are extremely lucky. Many of these countries cover full health care and you can even get a card that will allow you the same coverage anywhere in the EU as you would get in your home country. If traveling, outside of the EU, consider purchasing travel or global health insurance to cover the gaps and avoid returning home to receive treatment for non-severe issues.
American with US coverage — Choose a global health care option to fill in the gaps or make sure that you go back to the US often to reset any travel insurance plans.
American without US coverage — While it might be the coined the land of the “free”, the US is actually the land of the free to pay insane amounts of money for healthcare. Even if your job covers half, you are likely to be paying upwards of $200-300+ in premiums each month. Yes, America has one of the most expensive healthcare costs in the entire world. So much so that you will be paying double on any global plan just to include US coverage. You have 2 decisions to make here.
Decision #1 — How healthy are you? Do you want to cover regular check-ups, preventative care, and normal prescriptions or do you just need coverage if something severe was to happen such as a car accident or cancer diagnosis? If you opt for no day-to-day medical coverage your premium will be significantly lower. In our opinion in may be okay to start out with just coverage for emergencies, however, if you plan to lead this lifestyle for the foreseeable future, you want to make sure your health is first and foremost in your mind. Full coverage is obviously the ideal. If you don’t use doctors often, choosing a high deductible will keep your monthly costs lower. Some options also do not apply the deductible to regular doctor visits.
Decision #2 — To include or not to include US coverage..that is the question! Do you plan on returning to the US every so often? If so, you will want to be covered for the days that you are there. Some global plans do offer short term coverage in the US without much of a surcharge but these are often for short periods of 15-30 days out of a 6 month period. This may be all you need to cover short term holiday trips home. Check out all the plans available to you. We recommend making a spreadsheet with all of the available options so you can come to the most informed decision.
#5 Health & Fitness
Most people factor in gym memberships and healthy eating to their normal home budgets. With global insurance, flight tickets, and pricey accommodations swimming around in your mind, this could be something you let fall to the wayside. Don’t! In our opinion this is even more important than regular health insurance as it is what keeps your mind and body in perfect sync! You can’t crush your goals and manifest your deepest desires without a sound workout regimen. Set aside at least $100 dollars a month for these activities. You probably exhausted all of the free/cheap trial weeks or months at your hometown gyms…that is the plus side to being nomadic! There are endless gyms to try out. You could even get away with working out everyday and spending nearly $0 if you research each new area and plan it out. Traveling all the time is a great excuse to test out new hobbies which will help you meet new people for free! Walking is also free! If it’s not too far, and you aren’t in a rush, walk it out. It’s a great way to explore each new location at zero cost while also getting those steps in and clearing your mind. Remember, we know you have goals to achieve, but you won’t achieve anything if you stare at a computer screen for the entire day. Shut the laptop down and move your body!
#6 Friends and Networking
This category doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money but is still something you need to worry about. If you traveled a lot in college or on arranged trips, it was probably extremely easy for you to make many contacts/close friends in each new country. The good news is travel is your life now! Congrats! The bad news is…travel is now your life. This means you aren’t just in a new place to have fun and go out, you are there to hustle, work, and get things done. This can be extremely isolating and freeing all at the same time. Your distractions are finally gone. Yet, you need balance and social time in order to maintain momentum forward and stay inspired. Networking is crucial to your success as a digital nomad since it will open endless doors of opportunities all over the world. Our advice is to be open to meeting people on the street if they approach you and go out for cheap coffees to find out more! Nothing has to be too expensive and conversation is free. At first you may need to skip this one, as you will first and foremost be concerned with financial numbers 1-5. Just work it into your budget as soon as possible to keep yourself happy and connected with other human beings! There is no point to an Unpara//eled Life if you never cross paths!
These are just a few of the main costs to consider when shifting into a nomadic lifestyle. Don’t be alarmed because there are countless ways that staying on the go will in fact, save you tons of money. We will be covering these financial benefits in future articles so stay tuned.
Do you have any tips for keeping your nomadic lifestyle affordable? Comment below or email email@example.com. We love to hear your thoughts and share // experiences!
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