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Nomadic Traveling: How to Get Started

Learn how to get started with a lifestyle of nomadic traveling: what to do before you start, remote work opportunities, and more.
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What is Nomadic Traveling?

By Merriam Webster’s definition, a nomad is ‘an individual who roams about’.

Also known as? A drifter, vagabond, wayfarer, wanderer…

In today’s world, nomadic traveling means ridding yourself of a home base and living a travel-centric life. It typically refers to travelers with no set plans who frequently move from place to place.

Within the nomadic traveling community, the reasons how and why individuals choose to live a wanderer’s lifestyle are infinite. 

From working jobs abroad to working remotely (as a digital nomad,) it’s becoming easier – and increasingly more accepted – to live a life “unsettled”.

How Do I Become a Nomadic Traveler?

Nomadic Traveling should be as simple as packing your bags and leaving. But nowadays, there are a few more steps involved. Here are the most important: 

1) Nix your permanent address

But maybe not entirely.

If you own your own home, consider renting it out while you’re gone. This can provide a significant stream of passive income to help fund your travels. This is also true if you can sublease for a higher rate.

If you can’t rent your home or room, moving out will eliminate monthly rent/mortgage payments, electricity/water payments, and loads of unnecesarry worry.

Donate or sell everything except your valuables (both monetary and sentimental). Once you’re living out of a backpack or suitcase, you won’t want to also feel the weight of hundreds of possessions back home.

2) Travel health insurance for nomadic traveling

Accidents happen. But travel insurance isn’t for the $5 doctor visit in Thailand. It’s just in case something much worse happens. Nobody wants to pay for a Helivac or a month-long hospital stay out-of-pocket.

Nomadic traveling is certainly possible without health insurance, but a solid,  comprehensive insurance plan can be found for under $30/month and will allow you to travel with peace of mind.

3) Get your affairs in order

Make sure you have everything squared away at home. This includes things like:

  • Setting up your bank account to eliminate foreign transaction fees and maximizing your travel rewards
  • Setting up autopay on any recurrent expenses (loan payments, dental insurance, cell phone bill, etc.)

Charles Schwab is great for reimbursing all foreign ATM fees. The Chase Sapphire/Reserve cards and the American Express Platinum card offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, trip protection, and more. They also reward you generously when spending money on travel and dining.

If you have a particular airline you’re loyal to, consider opening a credit card with them to earn bonus miles while enjoying the same travel protection and benefits.

4) Packing for nomadic traveling

While generally straightforward, be sure to think about things that you may not be able to get in other countries.

It’s helpful to have a mini first-aid kit with you (ibuprofen, antihistamine, etc.) You can also ask your doctor to write a just-in-case prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Otherwise, don’t stress too much about packing. Keep your clothes lightweight, easily washable, and versatile (neutral colors are key).

Make sure you have a spare of anything you can’t live without– this includes keeping things in multiple places in case you lose your wallet/fanny pack/etc. Make sure you have two ATM cards and two credit cards with you. Keep the spares inside your passport case. 

How Do I Afford Nomadic Traveling?

Save before your trip.

For most people, if you aren’t planning on traveling nomadically for more than a few months to a year, it’s possible to save enough money to sustain yourself for a long period of traveling.

By sticking to regions of the world that are more affordable, you can easily spend under $1000/month on the road. Once you’ve eliminated your expenses at home, the money you’ve saved will go a lot further abroad. 

Work along the way

Websites like workaway.org make it easy to connect travelers looking to volunteer 25 hours per week with people/businesses offering free food and accommodation. The opportunities on Workaway are diverse— travelers can find everything from hostel jobs to au pair positions, to farm work and carpentry gigs.

Set up a remote career

In today’s world, the physical office is becoming obsolete for many career paths. Computer programmers, web designers, writers, social media managers, virtual assistants, life coaches, online poker players, traders… the options are endless for remote work. And new opportunities are being created all the time.

Ready to Try Nomadic Traveling?

The beauty of nomadic traveling is in the lack of commitment involved. Craving pizza? Head to Italy. Nothing ever has to get in the way of doing exactly what you want at any given time. 

It may seem strange at first to not book flights weeks in advance or have hotels sorted out before you arrive, but the more you can keep your options open, the happier you’ll find yourself in your nomadic traveling lifestyle.

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