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Want to be a digital nomad? Here’s what to do. 

Are you tired of being stuck in an office all day, dreaming of travelling the world? If so, you’re not alone. In the past few years, more jobs are allowing for remote work, so people are choosing to become digital nomads. 

Why? Without the need to be in the office, people can work from anywhere in the world and still earn a living. According to Buffer’s 2023 State Of Remote Work, 98 per cent of respondents would like to work remotely. Furthermore, 19 per cent said the biggest perk of remote work is the flexibility to choose where to live. 

But before you grab your laptop to work at a beach, here is what you need to do before you become a digital nomad. 

Review your financial stability

Having the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world is incredible, but it’s important to consider financial security while on the go. Unexpected expenses or a business downturn can significantly affect a digital nomad’s financial stability.  

So, aim to have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in savings to cover you in case you lose your income or suddenly decrease. Diversifying income sources can also protect against any sudden loss of income.  

Another factor to consider is tax obligations. You must follow tax laws in your home country and the countries where you work. Therefore, researching tax requirements and understanding any tax implications of working in different locations is essential. The Government of Canada has a helpful guide on what Canadians living abroad need to know about taxation. 

Choose your destination wisely

Woman resting in chaise-lounge
DragonImages | iStock

Working abroad as a digital nomad can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but you must carefully pick your destination. According to Nomad List, some of the fastest-growing remote hubs in 2023 include Lima, Bali, and Lisbon. 

When picking where to move, compare the time difference between your destination and your team. For example, if your employer is in Ottawa, but you move to Tokyo, there is a 13-hour time difference, making coordinating meetings with your team challenging. 

It is also wise to compare the cost of living in your destination and how much you will be earning. You’ll want to ensure that you can sustain your lifestyle and cover your expenses comfortably.  

Other vital factors to consider are the area’s security, language differences, cultural norms, and other benefits like a warm climate or nearby attractions you are excited to visit. 

Join a co-working space

Digital nomad in Co-Working Office
AzmanL | iStock

One challenge some people face as a digital nomad is the need for more social interaction. If you miss in-person office banter, consider joining a co-working space. They provide a physical workspace with a fast internet connection and an area to network and socialize with like-minded individuals. 

When choosing a co-working space, consider the amount of privacy, monthly fees, location, and amenities. A wide variety of co-working spaces are available, including open-plan spaces, private offices, and hybrid spaces that offer both. For example, do you need a quiet writing space and want to meet new people? If so, a hybrid space that gives access to a private office or the bustling workspace perfect for collaborating could be best. 

The cost of co-working spaces can vary significantly depending on the location and features it offers. Before signing up for a year membership, see if you can get a day pass to test the workspace to see if it is a good fit for you. 

Stay connected

digital nomad in headphones having video call

Socializing and chatting with colleagues virtually is an essential part of staying connected. According to the 2023 State Of Remote Work, “75 per cent of remote workers feel connected to their colleagues, even though a majority work across time zones”. However, according to the report, “those who don’t feel connected say there is no opportunity to connect socially (56 per cent), or they don’t interact with their colleagues (53 per cent), or they don’t know about them as a person (51 per cent). 

If you wish to better connect with your work teammates, use video conferencing applications like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to have virtual coffee breaks, like in the office. It will help build a relationship with your colleagues to enhance collaboration. Even if you don’t have the time for a video call, consider sending a few friendly messages to your team to get to know them better. 

If you still feel isolated, you can always speak to your boss or HR for ideas on connecting with the team. Or consider meeting with friends after work (virtually or in person) to satisfy your need to socialize. 

Have the right gear

Remote workers rely heavily on their gear to stay productive and efficient. One essential item that all remote workers need is a good-quality webcam. A reliable webcam is necessary for video conferencing and virtual meetings.  

A headset with a good microphone is also essential to ensure clear communication during calls. Investing in a comfortable headset is also crucial to prevent discomfort and overheating of the ears. A good choice is gaming headsets, or if you have a private at-home office, consider using speakers and a microphone instead for added comfort. 

Another item that can improve a remote worker’s performance is a second monitor. According to a 15-year Jon Peddie Research study, using multiple displays can increase productivity by up to 42%. In addition, the study found that numerous monitors can improve task switching and reduce errors, resulting in faster and more accurate completion of tasks. 

Get travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential for anyone working abroad, especially for medical coverage. From needing to visit a doctor for a cough that won’t go away to a hospital visit after an accident, having CAA Travel Insurance can protect you from large and unexpected medical bills. 

In addition, CAA Travel Insurance can offer protection for lost luggage. When moving to a new country, you’ll stuff your bags with valuables, like your laptop and clothes. The last thing you want to worry about is the airport losing your bags and not having insurance. 

Flight cancellations or delays are another factor to consider when working overseas. CAA Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, on the other hand, can cover these situations, including your accommodation, meals, and other expenses that may arise as a result. 

It’s important to carefully research travel insurance options and choose a plan that meets your needs. By investing in travel insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re covered in an emergency or unexpected situation. 

Our CAA Travel Consultants are happy to help with travel insurance and make sure you get your CAA Member discount of up to 20% off.* You can book an appointment online. They’ll answer all your questions about travel insurance and get the best coverage for your budget.  

CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days.  

* Applies to CAA Members in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by Membership expiry date). Up to twenty percent (20%) savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. CAA Everyday, Classic®, and Plus® Members save 10%. CAA Premier® Members save 20% at CAA Stores or by calling 1-800-267-8713. CAA Premier Members save 10% and earn 10% in CAA Dollars® when booking online. 

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association. 

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