Recent trends in the workforce are slowly making the office and other centralized workspaces a thing of the past. The onset of new technologies and the increased flexibility of the workplace have meant that more and more Americans have begun working remotely.
In fact, according to a 2016 poll of nearly 200,000 workers from Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report, around 43 percent of respondents spend at least some of their time working remotely. Around 31 percent of employees who worked remotely at least part of the time spent 80 to 100 percent of their workdays out of the office.
One of the coolest things about this trend is that once you’re not tethered to a specific place, you have the opportunity to do your work from literally wherever you choose. And, an increasing number of people are choosing to do work while they travel the globe, encompassing what has now come to be known as the “digital nomad” lifestyle.
However, as amazing as working while travelling the globe can be, it can also come with some pretty big expenses. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you save money, time, and effort while you take your work on the go.
Here’s what you’ll get in this guide:
Six of our best tips for living the digital nomad life on a budget
50+ tips for saving money on travel, housing, gear, and insurance
20+ technology items you’ll need for your trip and how to save on them
If you work for a company instead of freelancing or running your own business, see if you can get them to cover a remote work program. Even if they won’t cover the expenses, you may be able to work out a deal where you are able to work remotely while traveling.
Of course, if you’re looking to go where the wind takes you this won’t work. But, the further you plan in advance, the cheaper the travel and accommodations will be.
People who live in a particular area are going to know the best places to find affordable food and fun. Check with your new neighbors to find the best deals.
When you’re planning where to stay, make sure that there’s somewhere nearby with reliable WiFi access, a quiet place to work, and any other necessities you’ll need to be able to work seamlessly.
If you’re traveling abroad, you’re going to be operating on a different schedule than the folks back home. Make sure you’ve got a plan in place to account for time differences.
If you’re on the go, the last thing you want is to have too much stuff. Make a list of the essentials you can’t make do without and leave everything else at home.
Nomad Gate members get exclusive deals on LeapIN, a service that helps you run an Estonian business as an e-resident, and a $25 discount on Taxes for Expats, a tax preparation service that’s especially helpful for Americans living abroad.
These programs offer the complete package at one convenient price for digital nomads who want to travel the world, but need someone else to take care of the details:
Remote Year offers digital nomads the opportunity to take four or twelve month adventures around the world while working remotely. Participants make a down payment and pay a flat monthly fee which includes travel between destinations, accommodations and co-working space in each city, and immersive activities that show you what it’s like to live like a local.
Past participants get special pricing on future trips. Sign up for their mailing list to get special offers, updates, and announcements.
WiFi Tribe is another travel program for digital nomads that offers trips to a new location or “chapter” each four to six weeks. Members pay a one-time subscription fee and then pay a monthly rate for accommodations at each location.
If you choose to do more than one chapter per year, your monthly rate will decrease with members opting to do six or more adventures each year paying the lowest monthly rate.
Nomad House offers themed 30-day retreats at locations around the world. During your retreat, you’ll co-live and co-work with 15-20 other people of varying ages and career paths.
The objective of the retreat is to help you build an idea for an online business and take the first steps towards making it a reality. Your fees include access to a co-working space, a SIM card, a bicycle, and free breakfast every weekday. Save money by sharing a room with another person.
The WiFly Nomads program offers virtual training to help you learn about options for working remotely in order to help you find a job. As part of the program, you’ll spend two weeks living and working remotely in Bali with perks including free breakfast, scooter rental, a SIM card, yoga classes, co-working space, a hotel or villa equipped with wifi and a pool, and more.
Whether you’re just headed to one destination or looking to jetset around the globe, travel expenses can really add up. Check out these comparison sites and other deals to get the most affordable rates on travel:
Skyscanner. Allows you to search for the cheapest flights, hotels, and rental cars from your location to a predetermined destination. One of their coolest features, however, is Skyscanner Everywhere, a search engine that allows you to find the cheapest flights from your location to anywhere in the world. Skyscanner promo codes here.
Kayak. Offers a comparison tool for flights, hotels, rental cars, package deals, and more. Check out their deals page for special offers and their low fare tips page for great advice on saving money while you travel. And here's a 10% off Kayak discount code to boot.
Orbitz. Another useful comparison site that searches for the lowest rates and offers special deals. Orbitz users earn rewards points for each service booked through them and for purchasing special promotions, all redeemable towards future travel. Here's a 15% off Orbitz promo code.
Skiplagged. Uses loopholes in airline and hotel pricing to find you the best deals. Search by destination or just look for the best deals to anywhere from where you are.
Hipmunk. Compares flight prices as well as lodging prices that include Airbnb from hundreds of travel sites. Their unique Agony filter makes comparisons between price, duration, and number of stops to help you find the most comfortable travel at the best value. Here are some Hipmunk promo codes.
Compare All Travel. Aggregates information from 700 travel sites to find you the best deals on planes, trains, cruises, campers, rental cars, and more.
Check My Bus. Allows you to search for and compare bus prices around the world.
Save money on travel by rail throughout Europe by purchasing a Eurail Travel Pass. Passes offer you unlimited access for a given number of days per month to up to five different countries. Travel with a group of two to five adults and save 15% for each additional adult you add to the trip, or find more promo codes here.
Happy Rail offers discounted train tickets and rail pass packages in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. Most passes allow you unlimited travel for a certain number of days on a number of different rail lines so you can explore each country at your own pace.
Figuring out your housing situation is one of the more stressful things about traveling abroad. These options are some of the best for finding your own housing, living with other digital nomads, or getting housing in exchange for providing labor and services:
Searching for housing on your own can be a lot of work, but that work can definitely pay off. Check out these sites for inspiration:
Airbnb. Did you know that you can get more than just short-term rentals from this popular homestay site? They offer listings of sublets in hotels, apartments, villas, or private rooms in homes across the globe in addition to quality short-term stays. Get a $20 credit on Airbnb for every friend that you invite who rents through them, or try this 25% off promo code.
Digital Nomad House. This site offers a housing list in over 20 different countries as well as reviews of each property from their trusted reviewers. Options range from monthly home or apartments sublets to nightly stays at hotels and homes, plus their search function allows you to seek out options based on your location and price range. Sign up for their mailing list to get exclusive travel discounts, offers, and tips for traveling.
Couchsurfing. Founded in 2004, Couchsurfing helps over four million surfers find free accommodations in over 200,000 cities across the globe each year. All you have to do is sign up for their website and search for hosts who are willing to share a couch, a bed, or a room with you completely free of charge.
Hostelworld. If you’re traveling on a budget, staying in a hostel is a great way to find a bed for a night or a few nights at a super affordable price. Hostelworld offers listings of 36,000 hostels in over 170 countries available with free cancellation and no booking fees. Sign up for their mailing list to get their best hostel deals. Here are some Hostelworld coupon codes.
Hotel Tonight. This app gives you last-minute and same day discounts on hotel rooms in tons of locations around the world. Regular users get access to HT Perks which includes extra discounted rates and promo codes for spending. Refer a friend to get a $25 discount for both of you towards a future purchase, or get $25 off with this code.
It’s likely there are other folks out there living the digital nomad life just like you. These websites connect you with other nomads to share the cost of housing and co-live and co-work together:
CoWoLi. The name of this company is an abbreviation of co-working and co-living. Users can search for housing on their site based on what they want in a remote work location whether it’s nature, sunshine, proximity to bars and nightclubs, hacker spaces, and more.
CoNomad. Offers a free forum for digital nomads to connect with each other in order to find shared housing situations. You can also sign up as a host to let other digital nomads stay in your home or apartment while they’re traveling in your area.
Sharing your labor and skills in exchange for housing is one of the most economical ways that you can travel. Check out these opportunities:
Worldpackers. Provides a listing of homestays, hostels, Eco-Projects, and NGOs across the globe that offer free accommodations in exchange for a few hours of work each day. Verified members get access to exclusive discounts on travel products and accommodations plus all of the site’s features for an annual fee of $49.
Working Traveller. This site also allows you to search for housing in exchange for sharing your skills, but as it’s newer than Worldpackers it has significantly fewer options. Sign up for their site for free and once you find a host you want to communicate with, you’ll pay an annual fee of $10 to make unlimited connections. Get the app to geolocate jobs near you.
Trusted Housesitters. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll definitely want to check this site out. Sign up for free and get connected with folks who need someone to watch their pet while they’re away in exchange for free housing. If you're looking to get your house sat while you're away, you can get 20% off with these promo codes.
Having the right gear on your trip can make things go much more smoothly. These travel bags and packing lists can help you make smart preparations for your trip:
Nomatic has a line of minimalist travel bags and gear suited for everyday use or trips of up to seven days. Sign up for their email list to get the latest sales and news, and there are plenty of 20% off promo codes available as well.
REI offers an extensive selection of travel backpacks and other gear you need, particularly if you’ll be camping during your adventures. Check out their deals and discounts here, or use this 15% off code. Co-op members also get exclusive deals, 10% back on purchases, and more.
eBags has a variety of different travel bags and luggage options. Sign up for their mailing list for a 25% discount code. Students signed up with Unidays can get a 30% discount on their items. Their free rewards program offers 10% back on purchases and exclusive discounts, and get 20% off with this code.
Perfect for city travel, Tortuga Backpacks offer a variety of travel bags and backpacks. Save money by purchasing a bundle of different travel gear. Sign up for their email list to get a free packing list and check out their blog for useful travel tips.
Packing cubes. Lightweight fabric and mesh cubes that help you to organize your luggage in the most compact and efficient way possible. These are great for helping you fit more items into your carry-on and checked luggage, saving you money on extra fees. Amazon offers a basic four-piece set for just $22.99.
NODESK. Offers a great list of things to pack and gear you’ll need to travel as minimally as possible.
Spartan Traveler. Check out their article A Digital Nomad Pack List After 5 Years on the Road.
You’ll want to be sure you and your assets are covered while you’re trotting the globe. Most travel insurance will take care of you in the event of a medical emergency, lost baggage, delayed or cancelled flights, and emergency evacuations. These sites and plans offer the best deals:
Travelinsurance.com. This site allows you to compare prices of travel insurance plans to find the best fit for you. Most of their plans offer a free 10 to 15 day review period where you can cancel at any time.
SquareMouth. Allows you to compare 114 travel insurance policies from 22 different insurers to find the best price for your adventure. They offer a Zero Complaint Guarantee where they’ll agree to mediate between you and your provider if you’re not satisfied with their coverage.
Insure My Trip. Provides free quotes from 21 of the top providers to help you find the best deal for your travels.
QuoteWright. Also offers free quotes on travel insurance searchable by the type of insurance you need, how many travelers need coverage, and your dates of coverage.
World Nomads. Their plans cover medical emergencies, evacuations, trip delays or cancellations, accidental death, collision damage, and over 100 different adventure sports and activities. Travelers who are writers and digital storytellers can apply for their scholarships as well.
Allianz Global. Offers plans for either one trip, multiple trips, or annual coverage. You’ll have 10 days to get a full refund if you’re not satisfied. They also offer rental car coverage and emergency assistance for just $9 per day, much cheaper than most rental car insurance policies.
Travel Insurance Select. Has plans for students, families, business travelers, and digital nomads that cover emergency medical issues, travel cancellations and delays, and more. Get a quote quickly through their homepage.
Everything is easier with an app! These apps offer useful services for you while you’re on the go:
Viator connects you with the best local tours, activities, and experiences at locations across the world. You can also find private tour guides to show you the sights only locals know about. Sign up for their mailing list to get 10% off your first purchase & get access to members-only sales, VIP experiences, and travel tips.
Tripit is a free itinerary app where you forward all of your travel and lodging confirmation emails and get one convenient master itinerary accessible from any device, even if you’re offline.
Fancy Hands offers digital assistant services for quick 20-minute tasks at prices as low as $4 per request. You pay a monthly rate to get a certain number of requests like booking hotel rooms, performing minor administrative tasks, or anything else that can be completed quickly, then their team of digital assistants will take care of it for you. Refer friends to get free credits.
If you’re traveling to lots of different locations or one where you just don’t know the language, having a translator app like Google Translate in your pocket is invaluable.
Duolingo offers quick, easy, gamified lessons to help you pick up the basics of a new language in a short period of time.
Spotted by Locals provides information on stuff to do in different cities curated by locals for just $3.99 per guide.
Having the latest technology can make all the difference between doing your remote work seamlessly or experiencing interruptions that can throw you off track. Be sure to check out these crucial tech gadgets for your adventure:
Of course, the main thing you’re going to need for work is reliable internet. You can hit up the local cafe or co-working space, but the safest bet is to have your own mobile hotspot just in case. These mobile hotspots are a great deal:
FreedomPop MiFi 500 4G LTE. Best Buy is currently offering this hotspot at a reduced rate of just $29.99. Your purchase includes 500MB of data at no additional charge with the option to add more data for starting at $3.99 per month. You can also buy directly from the FreedomPop website, and use Dealspotr's promo code for 30% off your order.
Karma WiFi. Offers mobile WiFi hotspots along with data plans to use their internet service. You can select an occasional use plan for $3 per month plus $10 per GB used or sign up for one of their premium monthly plans if you’re a more frequent user. You can earn a $1 credit for free data by having your friends use your Karma Go hotspot. Monthly plan or “Pulse” users get a free month of their Premium service when you sign up. Join their email list to get free shipping on your order, or use the promo code here.
Internet on the Go. Purchase one of their wireless hotspots for $50 or less, then get data from them on a pay as you go basis for as little as $8 per GB. When you sign up for their service, you’ll also get a free US phone number with free texts and inbound calls. Earn extra credits with them by watching videos or completing offers.
You probably won’t be able to use your normal phone abroad without incurring some massive fees, so check out these alternatives to keep you connected around the world:
Google Voice. Anyone with a Gmail account can get a free phone number from Google Voice which allows you to make calls from the US and Canada for free. International calls from anywhere in the world to the US are available for just 1¢ per minute while text messages to the US and Canada are always free.
Skype. Video chat on Skype is offered for free from anywhere in the world. You can also make phone calls through Skype for 2.3¢ per minute to the US by purchasing credits as you go. Skype also allows you to purchase a phone number for use in 23 countries around the globe where you pay a small flat fee for each incoming call and have your calls forwarded to any phone number. Finally, you can purchase a monthly unlimited world plan with unlimited calls to 63 countries for just $13.99 per month or a lower rate if you pay for three months or a year at a time.
Project Fi. This phone service is operated by Google. Their domestic service offers unlimited calls and texts for $20 per month and data for $10 per GB. You can use your data abroad in over 170 countries without incurring any additional fees, plus you’ll get unlimited texting and low-cost calls while you’re out of the country.
T-Mobile. Users on their T-Mobile ONE, Simple Choice, New Classic and Select Choice get unlimited text messages and data in over 140 countries internationally. Users on a postpaid plan besides T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice get discounted rates on international data in any of their Simple Global countries when they purchase on-demand data passes. Here are a few T-Mobile promo codes.
Tracfone. They offer pay-as-you-go prepaid plans including their Basic International plan which gives you international calls for as low as 1¢ per minute. You can also purchase a $10 Global International plan for needs beyond their basic international plan. Bring your own phone and purchase a SIM card for less than a dollar to make your phone available internationally. You can get 15 - 30% off promo codes for Tracfone as well.
Tile. Use their devices to keep track of items via Bluetooth and prevent yourself from incurring extra costs on the things you might lose. You can set them up with your keys, electronics, phone, wallet, luggage, and more to make your items easy to find. Find Tile deals here.
Portable chargers. There are a number of different products on the market to charge your electronics on the go. Best Buy offers the Tzumi Pocketjuice, which works on most devices with USB capabilities, for just $25.99, plus you can save 25% from Best Buy when you purchase three or more cell phone accessories.
Universal travel adapter. Again, there are many items like this out there on the market that allow you to use your electronics with most sockets around the world. Walmart offers this universal plug that works in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand for just $6.89. If you’re staying in a hotel or other lodging, you might be able to ask for a converter as well. Walmart usually has various sales going on, many of which you can find here.
When you’re traveling the world, you want to make sure you’re packed light which means that books probably aren’t the best use of your luggage space. Check out these e-readers to save room and get access to millions of books at your fingertips in one small device:
Kindle. Amazon’s e-reader is available as a tablet device or as an app that you can use on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Get Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 per month to get unlimited access to over one million e-books, thousands of audiobooks, and a bunch of current magazines.
NOOK. Barnes and Noble’s e-reader is available as a standalone tablet, an app, or as part of a Samsung Galaxy tablet deal. NOOK gets you access to tons of popular titles. Check out the Special Values tab to get some deep discounts on books. Right now get 15% off your first order using the code: SUMMER, or see more codes for NOOK.
This list has only barely scratched the surface of the best ways to save on your journey as a digital nomad. With a little research and some thoughtful planning, you can travel the globe, advance your career, and create the adventure of a lifetime for yourself.
Interested in finding discounts, savings, and financial advice on tons of other topics? Then be sure to keep up to date with the Dealspotr blog and check out the Dealspotr homepage for promo codes and coupons on thousands of items you purchase every day.