Tag Archives: nomad

Digital Nomads Part 4


I spent 5 weeks in Spain. There’s some benefits to choosing Spain, as it has a quite favorable cost for rent and food, while still being totally modern. See the other posts for thoughts and advice. This one is just numbers.

Airfare for Tourism$1,400
Food and Restaurants$4,000
Costs at Home$500

There is more money spent on tourism things. Turns out if you aren’t in Europe often and you’re very close to Paris and London that it’s very tempting to go visit. This added a lot of costs that could have been limited. But watch out, if you have the ability you’ll probably spend a lot in this category.

Digital Nomads Part 3

Time Zones

The most obvious issue. It’s challenging to work several hours from where your coworkers work. Many of us have worked with remote teams, for example Hyderbad or Prague. There’s people that take meetings very early or very late their local time, and they do it every day. That doesn’t make it easy.

The city you’re living in may have more defined hours than in the United States. The rest of the world doesn’t quite have the 24 hour culture of availability. It’s easy to get a Chipotle burrito at noon, 2pm, 4pm, or 8pm. But there may be smaller ranges of hours these things are available. So if you want lunch, let your coworkers know what hours you are taking off for lunch.

Work Expectations

Set some goals ahead of time. Ask your boss what you should be working on.

When you’re far away and some time zones different is a great time to accomplish some of those tasks that you can do alone. Like some of those things you’ve been putting off when new problems get brought to your desk at work to deal with immediately. Think up some tech debt or a cool new feature that you’ve been meaning to finish when you get some time.

Just make sure it’s aligned with what your company, managers, and team members want from you.

Travel Planning

Do a lot of this ahead of time. You will be able to take some improvised trips to nearby attractions. But if things aren’t already planned you’re taking away time from your temporary home to plan things. So have the big things ready to go.

Do you want to take a train or plane to another nearby city? Have the transportation and hotels planned. Maybe even a day trip or museum tickets. Leave some room for spontaneous decisions, but having to work and be a travel agent takes up a lot of time.

Electrical Connectors

Your technology runs on different connectors than the rest of the world. Most AC/DC adapters, like a phone charger or laptop power supply, work on almost every power supply. You just need a safe way plug in a connection. Bring an adaptor everywhere and look up which ones you’ll need in different countries.

What it’s all like

It’s amazing. It’s tiring sometimes. You’ll get a bunch of stories. It’s worth it.

Meeting People

You’re not on study abroad anymore. This is tough now. It’s only getting tougher. We all have technology that connects us to the people we already know. If you’re traveling full time you have the energy and time and ability to seek out those places and times you can meet locals or other travelers. If you’re working and spend many hours in meetings or programming, you’re connected to home instead of where you’ve traveled.

I don’t have a great answer to this. But make sure when you put the laptop away that you’re off of work time. It’s worth it to make that clear boundary even if you don’t define work and home time as much at home.

Digital Nomads Part 2

Putting your home on hold

You live somewhere. And you’ll be pretty far away from that place for a long time.

It may be surprisingly difficult to use some internet services. Logins that are simple from home may ask for additional information when accessing your account from another continent. This gets even more difficult if you’re using a different local phone number. Most of these you won’t know about until you try to use them.

See if you can access your texts or voicemails from somewhere else than your phone.

Get rent or mortgate, utilities, insurance, and any other bills onto autopay before going anywhere. I have my bank lookup utility bills and send payment rather than the utility just taking money out of my account. In the end, that just works the same way.


You’ll miss your furry friends and they’ll miss you. Arrange for someone to send you pictures to remind you they’re doing alright. And leave a way to get them some treats.


Have some people nearby that you can trust with your home. Whether you’re in a condo building or live on acres, looking out for each other is what makes everything work.

Someone coming by once in a while to check on things can let you know about leaks, flooding, failing equipment, and any other issues.

Home Automation

A lot of peace of mind can come from a couple of cameras. Reolink makes a few that aren’t subscription services. But the Google and Amazon devices work great too.

And finally, you may not be able to put everything on hold. Life happens. Hopefully you don’t have an issue like a family emergency call you back home. But have enough money in a savings account to get yourself home on relatively short notice.

Digital Nomads Part 1

You’ve noticed that as a programmer you can work from anywhere. So how do you begin checking in to your daily standup from Starbucks in Paris?


If you don’t have a passport, get one today. Even if you’re not going anywhere soon. US passports are good for about 10 years. They can take three to six months to get, though. So start today before you need one. It just takes a few documents copied and get your photos taken.

Passport photos have special requirements. But there’s no need to pay $15 – $20 at the drug store. Turns out they just use your phone to take a photo now, which you can do yourself. Walmart will print a 4″x6″ matte photo for $0.12 and you can pick it up almost immediately. I recommend IDPhoto4You to adjust the image. You may need a few of these photos. Keep some around for various government services. You may even use them for city transit cards.


Easiest way to get into a country is visa free as a tourist. If you have a return flight already booked and know where you’ll be staying then you can usually stay 90 days without any trouble or extra paperwork at all. The different ways to do this can have a huge depth. Passport Index is a great way to start seeing where you can go without a visa, where you can apply when you arrive, and where you’ll need to apply ahead of time.

Always check on any additional requirements, though the airlines are pretty good at pointing you in the right directions, the responsibility lies on you to know what’s going on. There were additional forms for COVID in 2022, but those were generally gone by 2023.1

Digital Nomad Visas

A lot of countries are making it easier for remote workers to stay even longer. Long stay visas, digital nomad visas, and temporary worker visas all run a spectrum of different ways belong in a country.2 Many give you access to other EU countries and some can start the clock on time for attaining a new citizenship. Some allow benefits for immediate family and some allow access to the school system for children.

For short stay visas you may be able to get away with only paying income taxes in your home country. Some digital nomad visas won’t require full income tax where you’re staying, but do require something back for what they’re offering. The longer and more permanent your stay, the more you will be expected to pay taxes. And the US always taxes its citizens, even abroad.


Many countries will allow you to use your normal driver’s license. Some require and some recommend the use of a translated license.3 In the US, this is a document you can get from a AAA office by showing your driver’s license and giving them two of those extra passport photos. It is good for one year, but you need to get it before traveling.

Public Transport

Many public transport systems have their own cards. If this is available before you leave, go ahead and get one. Usually they are available only in person and will require a photograph or another one of those passport photos you are carrying. Local transport cards can save you a lot when you purchase by the month rather than the tourist rates.

For example, Madrid’s 30 day pass was €21.80 in 2023.4 Far less than paying by the trip. But they only mail the card within the city, so make an appointment to pick one up after you arrive. But don’t worry in London, where you can just use any credit card to tap into train stations or onto busses.


In 2023 most highly developed or touristy places will just prefer you use your Visa or Mastercard. You may not need much paper currency or coins at all. Having a Revolut debit/ATM card can help you avoid bank fees.

Try to always pay in the local currency.5 Most payment terminals and ATMs may ask if you want to exchange into your home currency. Especially the ATMs you may even have to reject their conversion before moving on. This conversion is generally way worse than what your bank would offer.

  1. U.S. Ends Last Covid Travel Barrier, Vaccine Mandate for Foreign Arrivals, NYTimes, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/12/travel/covid-vaccine-mandate-us.html, 2023 ↩︎
  2. 66 Digital Nomad Visa Countries in 2023, CitizenRemote, https://citizenremote.com/blog/digital-nomad-visa-countries/#:~:text=Europe%20Digital%20Nomad%20Visa%20Countries, 2023 ↩︎
  3. Geneva Convention on Road Traffic 1949 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Convention_on_Road_Traffic and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic 1968 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_on_Road_Traffic ↩︎
  4. Madrid Temporary Discounts, https://www.metromadrid.es/es/descuentostemporales, 2023 ↩︎
  5. How to manage your money as a digital nomad, Lonely Planet, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/managing-finances-digital-nomad-remote-work#:~:text=Credit%20and%20debit%20cards, 2021 ↩︎