5 Little-Known Perks of Being a Digital Nomad

Lots of people like the idea of being a digital nomad, and it’s usually for two reasons: It lets you travel as much as you want, so you don’t need to see what you can fit in one or two weeks of vacation time. And you can afford a much better lifestyle, since many countries have a lower cost of living than the United States.

Those are both great benefits, but they’re far from the only ones. After more than five years as a digital nomad, I’ve found that there are lots of other things I like about it. Here are the perks that don’t get discussed as often.

1. It gives you a more minimalist life

As anyone with an Amazon Prime membership knows, it’s easy to accumulate things we don’t really need. There’s no better way to practice minimalism than to become a digital nomad.

When you need to pack everything you’ll take to start your new life, it forces you to make tough decisions. You carefully consider if each appliance, gadget, and piece of clothing deserves some of the limited space in your suitcase. Arguments that “I may use this someday” or “I paid $30 for this” suddenly aren’t as convincing.

I had never tried minimalism before. Like many digital nomads, I started following its principles more and more as I got tired of lugging around massive, overstuffed suitcases.

What I love about this is how it helps you figure out what you truly value. I haven’t taken minimalism to an extreme so I can fit everything in one backpack — I still don’t exactly travel light. But I’ve learned to prioritize the possessions that matter to me and leave the rest behind.

2. You’ll probably have fewer bills to pay

Most digital nomads live in furnished rentals on a short-term basis. These normally cost more than unfurnished rentals, but they almost always include utilities. You won’t need to pay for internet, electricity, water, and gas. It’s more convenient for budgeting and could save you $100 or more per month.

You also won’t need a car anymore. That means no car payment, auto insurance, gas, maintenance, or parking to worry about.

You might end up spending more on taxis and ride-hailing services. I’ve found that I still spend less on transportation than I used to on insurance and gas. If you don’t mind walking and taking public transportation, it’s not that expensive to get around.

3. You could save and invest much more

A lower cost of living is a big advantage of being a digital nomad. In many parts of the world, your salary will go much further. I’ve lived in three-bedroom luxury apartments for under $1,000 per month.

Digital nomads often look at this as a way to afford a better lifestyle. That’s one benefit, but it also allows you to save much more. Having lower expenses is a tremendous opportunity to turbocharge your savings and ramp up your investing.

If you’re going to be spending less on bills as a digital nomad, I recommend saving a portion of that newfound money. There’s nothing wrong with using some of it to enjoy yourself. But don’t blow it all on going out and living the high life. Try to find a balance between enjoying the present and building wealth for the future.

4. You can really get to know the places you visit

You don’t just get to see more of the world as a digital nomad; you get to learn more about the places you visit and experience them like a local would. For me, this is the best part. When you’re visiting for a few days, you’re under pressure to do all the popular activities. No one wants to come back from Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.

When you’re visiting for weeks or months, you don’t need to rush. You’ll be working, shopping for groceries, and getting the experience of living in that city. The longer you stay, the more you’ll learn about where you are and what the culture is like. This is why I prefer the “slowmad” approach — traveling slowly and spending months in one place.

5. You become a pro at traveling

Traveling isn’t something most people do all that often. When Statista asked Americans how many times they’ve traveled in the last year, nearly half (46%) had taken zero or one trips.

When you’re a digital nomad, you’ll be traveling much more. And that means you’re probably going to get very good at it. You’ll learn how to get the best deals, whether you’re paying in cash or miles earned on your travel credit cards. You’ll know exactly where to store your laptop so it’s easy to take out for airport security.

Most of all, you’ll simply be more comfortable with traveling. When you only do it once in a blue moon, it can be stressful to figure out what you need to do and where to go. When you travel often, it becomes a regular part of the routine.

The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t perfect. But it has plenty of unsung benefits that could be good for your finances and your quality of life.

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