To help you understand how to use your cell when traveling overseas (and what it means if you do), I’ve addressed some of my most frequently asked questions so you know exactly what to expect if you decide to keep in touch with family and friends via your mobile phone while on your next far-away adventure.
Can I Text Someone in Another Country for Free over WiFi?
Usually, to send an SMS or text messages, you need to be connected to a cell tower. That’s not always the case though. Times are changing and cell phone carriers are making it easier than ever to stay connected.
For example, T-Mobile has introduced texting and calling over Wi-Fi. This allows you to communicate using Wi-Fi or an internet connection as though it were a cellular connection. You still need to be careful though. Just because you’re on Wi-Fi doesn’t mean your carrier won’t charge you for data usage, international calls, and international texting.
Your best option for free international texting, video calls, and international calls over Wi-Fi while overseas is to use a third-party messaging app. Using a free app will make international texting free and allow you to communicate with your friends and family for free even when you’re in other countries – as long as you’re on Wi-Fi.
Will My Phone Use Data When I Am Connected To Wi-Fi?
It depends. Your phone cannot use both mobile data and Wi-Fi at the same time. Your phone may have settings, however, that allow you to use mobile data to connect to the Internet instead of Wi-Fi when you have a poor connection.
For example, iPhones have a feature called “Wi-Fi Assist.” When toggled, you’ll keep your internet connection (via cellular data) if your Wi-Fi slows down.
The good news is, according to Apple, your iPhone won’t make the switch when you’re data roaming.
How Do I Turn Off My Cell Phone Data So I Don’t Get Charged Roaming Fees While Overseas?
To understand roaming fees, it’s important to first understand what cellular roaming is.
International roaming is when your phone uses cellular data to access the Internet using a different cellular network than your carrier. Depending on your network carrier plan this setting may or may not be included with your international data plan. If it’s not, and you’re traveling overseas, you could incur some very large fees for international communication like SMS messaging and video calls.
Even if you aren’t actually using your phone to make calls or texting internationally, many apps use data in the background without you realizing it.
To avoid charges from roaming, you have a few settings on your phone depending on your needs:
Turn off cellular data
Turn off roaming
Although turning off cellular data and data roaming will prevent your phone from using data, these won’t necessarily stop phone calls and SMS messaging. To completely avoid these costs when traveling abroad, be sure to set your phone to AIRPLANE MODE.
The simplest way to ensure you won’t be charged for roaming is to put your phone in Airplane Mode. Airplane mode will prevent you from using cellular data abroad as well as receiving unwanted international messages and phone calls. Additionally, with Airplane Mode on, you can still enable Wi-Fi which allows you to access the Internet without worrying about data plan roaming charges.
Here’s how to enable Airplane Mode based on which smartphone you have:
Go to Settings and the very top option is Airplane Mode. Set this to ON and wait for the airplane icon to appear. Then go to the option below it for Wi-Fi. You can set this to ON so it picks up any network that is available; otherwise, just leave it off for now.
Additionally, you can simply swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap the top left airplane icon. If you wish to enable Wi-Fi, simply tap the button below the airplane button and wait for it to turn blue.
Click Menu and go to Settings. Under Wireless & Networks, select MORE. You will see that the top option is Airplane Mode. Check the box and wait for the ON button to turn blue.
Turn Off Cellular Data
The next best way to avoid data charges is to completely shut off cellular data. This restricts all cellular data to Wi-Fi instead, keeping you from using data unintentionally for things like emails, browsing apps, and app notifications.
With cellular data shut off you can still receive text messages and phone calls, which means if your plan charges you for these, you should just turn your phone to Airplane Mode.
To turn off cellular data on an iPhone go to Settings -> Cellular and toggle the Cellular Data switch to off. Additionally, you can also swipe up from the bottom and toggle the button next to the airplane from green to grey.
On an Android, you have more options. There are also tools that allow you to warn you when you’re approaching your monthly limit. You can also choose to use apps only over Wi-Fi.
Turn Off Roaming
Turning off roaming means that you won’t access other cellular networks when you’re out of your cell phone carrier area. Depending on your plan, you may be able to roam and enjoy unlimited texting without being charged.
Better safe than sorry though, it’s good to also put your phone in Airplane Mode when abroad.
To turn off roaming on an iPhone, go to Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Options. Toggle the roaming switch from on to off.
To see how to turn off roaming on Android, you can visit here.
(Note: If you do not have a smartphone (i.e., iPhone, Android phone, or Windows phone) or a phone that allows you to turn off your data and still access Wi-Fi, then you should turn your phone completely OFF while traveling.)
If My Data Is Turned Off, Will I Still Get Charged?
As long as your phone’s data is turned off, then you cannot be charged for any data roaming charges, even with Wi-Fi enabled. You may still be able to send and receive phone calls and text message. This means depending on your cell phone plan, you might still get charged. To be completely sure you won’t be charged, you should enable Airplane Mode.
In other words, the safest way to use your phone abroad is while you are in Airplane Mode. No carrier fees will apply, and you can still enable Wi-Fi.
What Is The Difference Between Cellular Data and Wi-Fi?
The difference between carrier’s network cellular data and Wi-Fi is that cellular data is transmitted over your cell phone network (think of your cellular network like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint), whereas Wi-Fi data is over a wireless Internet network, such as what you would have when using Starbucks Wi-Fi.
Should I Get A Local SIM Card or International SIM Card?
If you’re planning on using your cell phone overseas to make cheap calls, or for text messaging, it is probably a good idea to change your SIM card. You may also need to unlock your phone. If your carrier doesn’t have an option for extended stays, then you’re going to need a new SIM card.
When getting a SIM card for international travel, you have two options:
International SIM Card
Local SIM Card
While they both have their own benefits and drawbacks, international SIM cards are ideal if you plan on moving around while overseas, while a local SIM card is great if you just plan on spending all of your time in one country.
Here’s some more information on both:
International SIM Card
When you’re planning to travel abroad, international SIM cards are usually the best way to go. They’re best used by someone who is traveling to multiple countries, as it’s difficult to keep track of phone numbers, unlimited data plans can get expensive, and some data carrier options can be limiting.
With an International SIM card, you get a designated phone number, and you can manage your entire account in one place. Additionally, an international SIM card is great because you can get everything set up and ready to go before you even leave – without any language barriers.
Although they can be slightly more expensive than a local SIM card, typically the small increase in cost is worth avoiding the hassle of getting a local SIM when you arrive at your destination.
One SIM Card and World SIM are some of the possible choices you have when selecting an international SIM card.
Local SIM Card
Another option if you want to get Internet while traveling abroad and not roaming, is to get a local SIM card with a data plan. Most SIM cards can be purchased at a local gas station, drug store, or, of course, one of your cell phone carrier’s stores or kiosks.
What Is the Difference Between a Local SIM Card and a Regular SIM Card?
The difference between a local SIM card and your regular SIM on your phone is that, with a local carrier, you will have a local number. This means that friends and family trying to reach you will have to text you on your local number.
For example, let’s say you go to Berlin, Germany and you get a local Vodafone SIM card. Your phone number will begin with “49,” which is the country code. It’s a great option for texting within the city, but not such a great option for contacting mom.
You do have a few options when getting a local plan, though.
Buy a phone with a SIM card that you can recharge. These usually start at around USD $20 and you can add credit as you go.
Buy an unlocked cell phone and purchase a SIM card. I currently have an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus with a T-Mobile SIM card on the US-based Magenta plan. This means that I don’t have to change out to a new SIM card when I arrive in a new country and I get unlimited data and texting, Wi-Fi calling, and in-flight texting. Plus, if my plan goes over, data doesn’t shut off, it just slows down. This can come in very handy when you would have otherwise been stuck with zero Internet. Also, with the T-Mobile plan in the US, you can call many other countries for only $15 per month, and international texting is free.
Here are some examples of local SIM card providers:
Mexico – TelCel (wider coverage) and Movistar (cheaper)
Germany – Vodafone, E-Plus, and Telekom
USA – T-Mobile, AT&T, and Boost
Can I Use My Phone As A Mobile Hotspot While Overseas?
Most major carriers allow you to use your compatible smartphone to act as a mobile hotspot. You just have to turn your phone on as a hotspot and connect to it via your wireless device.
However, as of this writing, I carry my mobile phone as a hotspot, as well as carry 2 additional mobile hotspots depending on whether I’m traveling in Europe or in the Americas.
If you decide to use your phone as a mobile hotspot when traveling overseas, be sure your plan includes data roaming, otherwise you’ll be racking up a huge bill.
What is Mi-Fi?
Mi-Fi is a brand name for a wireless device that functions as a mobile Wi-Fi router. Your device may or may not technically be a Mi-Fi device, but the term has become shorthand for any mobile hotspot.
A mobile hotspot will typically work in a wide range of countries. Many of these devices use “virtual” SIM cards that allow you to change regions with just a few buttons.
Does my Mi-Fi work in other countries?
It isn’t enough to simply have a mobile hotspot, you need to be certain that your device is actually going to work in the places you travel. Many countries actually have different service frequencies, which means a lot of devices (even “unlocked” ones) may not work all over the globe.
When you purchase a Mi-Fi device, be sure to check how many frequencies it supports. The more it supports, the better it will do on your globetrotting adventures. For an in-depth guide, check out Best Mobile Hotspot Devices .
Subscription vs. non-subscription Mi-Fi devices
Traditional Mi-Fi devices are non-subscription. You insert your SIM card and the device creates a mobile Wi-Fi network with a password that you can connect your devices to. However, in the last few years, a new breed of Mi-Fi device has become prominent: the subscription model.
Think of subscription Mi-Fi like a hotspot crossed with a global data plan. With these devices, you have the option to swap out the SIM card associated with your global plan and replace it with a local SIM, giving you 100 percent control over when you use your plan data and when you don’t.
How to Text Overseas: What Services or Apps Can I Use?
Most travelers and remote workers want to know how to receive text messages overseas without roaming. They want to know ways to send free text messages and voice messages, get free data, or other free services while traveling abroad.
Typically, you aren’t technically sending SMS messages or “international texting” when you have Wi-Fi on and data off, but you can still enjoy SMS messaging or send text-like messages to your family and friends using services like these.
Even now with Wi-Fi-enabled ways to send text messages and calls, your provider still may charge you the same as for a normal text message.
(Note: If you have AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or a regular T-Mobile cellular plan and you set your phone to Airplane Mode, you will not be able to send text (SMS) messages.)
To text with a family member, a friend, or go on group chats while abroad, make sure your Wi-Fi is turned ON and that you both have one of the following services on your phones:
How to Send Texts Over WiFi
This option causes the most confusion and the reason is that if you and five of your friends all have iPhones, each iPhone user can engage in “text messaging” as if nothing ever changed. However, you aren’t actually sending international texts; you’re just using Apple’s messaging service to send correspondence (or send “text messages”) back and forth over a Wi-Fi connection. Therefore, you can only converse with others who are also iPhone users or use an Apple device.
Does iMessage Work Internationally?
With iMessage, you can still send text messages and receive messages abroad while data is turned off. You can iMessage free internationally. And if you’re in Airplane Mode but have Wi-Fi set to “on,” then you can receive iMessages which appear like text messages but they will be in blue versus green, like this:
Ultimately, you will not receive the green message when you are abroad and your cell phone data is turned off. So, if you have data turned on and you see green messages – look out! You may be getting charged insane rates. Remember, Airplane Mode – on; Wi-Fi– on.
This one has been around for a while and is still quite functional, but not the most popular messaging app. To use it, simply download the Google Voice app, sign up for a Google Voice phone number (free in the U.S.), and you can send international texts back and forth from that number. They will appear on your phone via the app, allowing you to send messages overseas as much as you’d like!
Google Hangouts may start to soon replace Google Voice, but for now, it’s still a great option and I use it all the time for international messages and even voice messages. At the very least, it’s like having a second number on the same phone so you have two options. Give friends and clients your Google Voice number so you’ll always have a local US number for international texts.
WhatsApp became very popular when it was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. To utilize it, just download Whats App, find your friends, and send messages back and forth. It’s not the first of its kind, but it is fairly popular and growing in popularity. If your friends are tech or travel savvy, or if they/you are European, you’ll most likely find them here. It’s a must-have app for travelers or for communicating and texting your friends overseas.
To use WhatsApp (and all the other apps), you must be connected to Wi-Fi.
A kind of fun feature of WhatsApp is that you can send MMS, or picture messages, for free as well – all over Wi-Fi.The images will also automatically be added to your photo album on your phone (at least on iPhone). No more asking your friend to share an album with you and no more having to ‘save image’; it just shows up.
Not dissimilar to Google Voice and WhatsApp, Viber takes the best of the two and combines them. Once you download the app, you find your friends who are also using Viber, and you can connect immediately. The nice thing about this particular messaging app is that, not only can you send free messages back and forth inside of the app, but you can also make free calls. Viber even uses your cell phone number as your identifier.
There are a growing number of options for sending messages to family and friends, and these are just a few. For instance, GroupMe is another popular group messaging app that allows you to communicate with a number of people at once (and you can still use emoji!).
When traveling overseas, you have a few different options for receiving SMS messages:
Option 1 – International plans via US carriers
For most providers, you have an option to use an international plan, which covers international texting. Here are some common providers, and some of the options available for international plans:
The T-Mobile Magenta plan is great for short trips, where you don’t plan on staying abroad for an extended period plan. With the T-Mobile Magenta plan, international texting and data are unlimited in 210 countries and nations. This plan also includes calling landlines in 70+ countries, or calling and texting to cell phones in 30+ countries. You can check to see what kind of coverage you will have here.
Verizon offers multiple plans for either short or long term international trips international plans depending on how connected you need to be.
If you’re having a difficult time deciding which plan you need, Verizon also has a great guide to help you pick out what plan or upgrade you will need for your travels.
With Sprint, you have free unlimited SMS and basic data abroad with any smartphone enabled plan in 200+ countries. You only have to pay $.25/call while abroad.
AT&T offers a passport plan for either short term trip or for extended international stays.
Option 2 – Google Voice Phone Number
If you’re looking to ditch your cell phone contract, Google voice is a great option. This allows you to be able to send and receive text messages and phone calls via Wi-Fi, making this a much cheaper option. All you have to do is set it up and tell your friends and family about your new phone number.
Additionally, if you’re not on Wi-Fi, Google voice will transcribe the audio so you can read it later. You can use the google voice app to text or you can text via Wi-Fi anytime you’re on Wi-Fi.
Can You Text on Airplane Mode?
This varies depending on each provider, but as a general rule, anytime you need to have your cellular data shut off for more than 2 days (48) hours, you may not receive the messages sent to you.
Each provider will have a unique “retry” period, in which it will attempt to send the message. If the message is not delivered within this period, the provider will stop trying to send the message, and it will be discarded.
Summary Of International Texting
Just to hammer the main points home –
DO NOT send SMS messages or text messages while traveling overseas unless you want to pay out the nose for them. (Also remember that it’s usually not possible to send SMS over Wi-Fi.)
You CAN receive SMS messages/texts, but you might pay for them. So turn off your cell phone data by putting your phone in Airplane Mode and turning on Wi-Fi.
You CAN receive messages (non-SMS) over Wi-Fi, for free.
You CANNOT send or receive SMS messages (“texts”) via your cell phone carrier when you are in Airplane Mode.
Eventually, we may not even need cell phone carriers to keep in touch but, until then and until you get rid of your cell phone plan, be careful of extra charges when traveling overseas. They’re simply not worth it when you have so many free options available.
Again, just remember that SMS is always associated with your carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.) and a message can be either a text message synonymous with SMS or a non-SMS text message image, or other form of communication.
What Have YOU Learned about Sending SMS or Text Messages Overseas? What Would You Like to Learn?
Do you have other questions or see anything I’m missing? Please feel free to drop your questions or comments below.
A laptop is a digital nomad’s best friend. Most remote workers can get by with virtually any type of laptop, but that’s not the case for digital nomads. Finding the best laptops for digital nomads is a top priority if you want to have a smooth sailing remote work experience. Besides, it’s called a “laptop lifestyle” for a reason!
It’s your office, your library, your entertainment center, and your lifeline to the rest of the world. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Not only do you need a working lightweight laptop, but you need the right kind of laptop for your digital nomad lifestyle.
The best laptops for remote workers who are also digital nomads have some unique characteristics, so budget laptops that suit work-from-home needs may not be enough.
What to Look for in a Digital Nomad Laptop
Every digital nomad has different requirements when it comes to remote work. Some digital nomads prefer Windows laptops while others want Apple laptops.
There are those who want to limit their search to the best budget laptops and lightest laptop lists while others want to look for powerful laptop and performance laptop options.
Most digital nomads prefer an ultraportable laptop, weighing under 3.5 pounds. The best laptop is compact and won’t weigh you down (or break your back) when you’re on the move.
Ideally, the best lightweight laptop for a digital nomad on the road would be something you can easily and conveniently use in tight spaces such as airplanes.
When you’re working from anywhere, you need a laptop with long battery life. Look for laptops with at least 8 hours of battery life. This digital nomad laptop will give you enough power to get through a full day of work, even if you’re not near an outlet.
When checking this detail on a performance laptop or a budget laptop, make sure to look at third-party reviews because manufacturers tend to exaggerate details in terms of battery power.
Another important factor to consider is connectivity. If you’re going to be working from different places, the best laptop for working can connect to the internet no matter where you are.
Look for digital nomad laptops with built-in LTE or at least have the option to add an external modem. This way, you won’t have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi hotspot when you’re on the go.
The processor is the heart of the best digital nomad laptops, so you need to make sure it’s powerful enough to handle all your work needs.
For digital nomad laptops, an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processor should be more than enough. Anything less may lead to a laggy remote working laptop that can’t keep up with you.
You also need to think about storage capacity when choosing the best laptops for digital nomads.
If you plan to work with large files or store a lot of data, the best digital nomad laptop options have at least a 256GB solid-state drive. This will ensure your laptop’s storage space can keep up with you, no matter where you are.
Replacing a laptop while on the go is not fun. You want a thin laptop that’s durable enough that it won’t snap in half when you’re lugging it around in your backpack exploring a remote tropical island.
Outstanding laptops not only have amazing battery life and cool features but also have a long-lasting build. This includes an aluminum chassis, reinforced corners, and a sturdy hinge. You’ll thank me later.
Of course, price is always a factor to consider when choosing a reliable laptop. The good news is that there are plenty of light laptop and quality laptop options on the market that won’t break the bank.
However, if you plan on using your laptop for more demanding tasks, you may need to invest in a more expensive top performance laptop and splurge on higher specs than a normal laptop like a full HD monitor display, more powerful Intel core processor, laptop accessories, and even additional USB C ports.
The Best Laptops for Digital Nomads
Now that you know what to look for in a digital nomad laptop, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the best options on the market.
Keep in mind, though, that a particular laptop that I consider the best laptop for working as a digital nomad might not be the best option for you.
So, I’ll break up each laptop recommendation based on the type of remote worker you are and what you will use the laptop for as a digital nomad.
Whether you’re searching for a budget laptop, a more versatile laptop, the most lightweight and ultraportable, or the one with the most high-end specs, this guide got you covered.
Overall Best Laptop for Digital Nomads: MacBook Air
You’re probably not at all shocked to see the new MacBook Air at the top of the list of best laptops for digital nomads. After all, it is a fan favorite among remote workers. And for good reason, too.
The MacBook Air is one of the most well-rounded laptops on the market.
This affordable laptop won’t blow you away with incredibly high-tech specs, but it’s more than enough for a digital nomad to do practically everything you need it to–and do it well.
It’s lightweight and ultraportable at just 2.8 pounds (1.29 kg), making it easy to carry with you wherever you go.
Offering a fantastic battery life, the Apple MacBook Air has a new M1 chip that can guarantee up to 18 hours of power on a single charge. The long hours of battery life are clutch for digital nomads who are working remotely in areas with no or limited outlets.
The build quality is second to none, as you would expect from a MacBook, making it a durable laptop.
Unlike most laptops, the aluminum chassis is sturdy and the keyboard can withstand some serious abuse. In other words, it’s the perfect laptop for those who are constantly on the go and need a machine that can keep up with them.
The base model is offered at 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which is already extensive for an average user. You can customize it if you need more, but at that point, it might be a better idea to simply buy a MacBook Pro.
If you’re someone who does graphics-intensive work, such as photo editing or editing 4K videos, then you’ll most likely want to buy something more powerful.
Overall, if you’re simply looking for an all-around great laptop that won’t break the bank, the MacBook Air is one of the best options out there for digital nomads.
Best Laptop for Digital Nomads in Tech: Huawei Matebook 13
It might be heartbreaking to pry yourself away from your state-of-the-art machine at home, something you’ve built to be so fast and powerful it could easily fly you to Mars and back.
But, the digital nomad life is beckoning. That means you need to downsize and streamline.
Huawei has been slowly breaking into the laptop world and is becoming one of the most reliable names when it comes to building high-tech, reliable machines.
The Huawei Matebook 13 is an excellent representation of that reputation.
This is one of the more distinctive laptops on the market thanks to its 3:2 aspect-ratio touchscreen, which is a feature that only a handful of devices offer.
The Huawei Matebook 13 also has one of the best HD camera features on the market, which is something that’s often overlooked but can be incredibly important for digital nomads who rely on video conferencing for work.
It’s great for light gaming and can even handle some more intensive games if you’re willing to lower the graphics settings.
Moreover, the MateBook 13 is compact and surprisingly portable despite being described as a flagship laptop powered like a gaming laptop. Plus, it has an incredible battery life of almost 9 hours.
Weighing only about 2.87 pounds (1.3 kg) and measuring roughly half an inch thin, this lightweight laptop barely takes up space in your backpack but still manages to deliver a powerful performance.
Basically, this laptop can do almost everything–a jack of all trades among the best laptops for digital nomads.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Digital Nomads: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible is one of the best laptops for digital nomads who aren’t big fans of Apple. In fact, others would claim that it outshines the MacBook in some areas.
For one, the Dell XPS 13 is lighter and even more compact compared to the already very lightweight MacBook Air.
It comes with a 14+ hour battery life, which is a bit longer than the 15-hour battery life of a MacBook with Intel chips.
Unfortunately, it cannot compete with the battery life offered by the new Apple M1 chip.
With that in mind, how often do you actually require over 15 hours of battery life without charging anyway?
Its InfinityEdge HDR is one of the very few laptop screens that can go head-to-head against Mac’s retina display. Plus, the Dell XPS 13 comes with convenient anti-reflective technology.
This is a great feature for digital nomads looking to complete some remote work tasks while lounging around on the beach.
The 2-in-1 feature turns this version of Dell XPS 13 into a transformer-esque gadget that can change from a laptop to a tablet in seconds, offering you a dual-computer solution.
The tablet configuration of the Dell XPS 13 lets you use the attached stylus to drag, draw, and tap to your heart’s content.
And, there’s no need to worry about the screen since Dell secured it by using Corning Gorilla Glass that would most likely survive a coconut falling on it (don’t test this at home!).
Best Laptop for Digital Nomad Creatives: MacBook Pro
If you want to ramp things up a notch, go for the MacBook Air’s big brother: the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro is arguably the most powerful option among the Apple laptops and it comes with an impressively strong processor, heaps of RAM, and all the shiny bells and whistles that you’d ever want from a brand new laptop…and then some.
When you buy a MacBook Pro, you can choose between the Intel core processors or the new Apple M1 chip.
Between the two, the M1 chip comes at a lower price tag and practically double the battery life. So, I recommend this option for digital nomads.
In terms of size, the MacBook Pro is just about the same size as the Air. It’s a bit heavier at 3 pounds (1.3 kg), but the performance it delivers is well worth the extra weight.
For most people, the MacBook Air is enough. But digital nomads who are into intensive video editing and photo editing might want the power of the MacBook Pro.
The downside of the MacBook Pro is obvious: it’s more expensive than the other laptops for digital nomads.
Given its price point, you might get a bit more paranoid about getting it damaged to stolen while traveling. That said, if you’re a remote worker who needs the power of the MacBook Pro to get things done, then you’ll thank yourself for opting for quality.
Basically, the Pro is like the MacBook Air on steroids. It has a better display, more customization alternatives, louder speakers, a larger trackpad, and, of course, more processing power. On top of these, it gives you 20 hours of long battery life!
Ultimately, it all boils down to how crucial are these extra features to your life as a digital nomad.
If they’re vital to your remote work, then don’t hesitate to go for the MacBook Pro. You won’t be disappointed.
If you can live without them, then save your cash and opt for the MacBook Air (or the other non-Apple options here on the list).
Best Laptop for Digital Nomads on a Budget: Lenovo Flex 5 14″
If you want a quality portable laptop but are on a tight budget, then you can’t go wrong in choosing the Lenovo Flex 5 14.
While it’s not as powerful as the other laptops on this list, you can still complete day-to-day tasks. You may not want to edit videos or even photos on this bad boy, but it can work perfectly fine for most remote work projects.
Actually, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 comes with a flip-around screen and a stylus. While it’s not as small and portable as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, the tablet mode still makes this model convenient to use on flights and in cramped spaces.
While it’s chunkier than the other ultraslim laptops listed above, Lenovo Flex 5 14 boasts a dongle-free experience thanks to its two USB-A ports, USB-C port, HDMI port, and SD card reader. That’s actually an edge it has against the likes of the MacBook Air.
All in all, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 is a starter laptop for remote workers and digital nomads.
Although it is a bit heavier, has a slightly less bright screen, and has unimpressive battery life, this is still a good laptop for digital nomads on a tight budget.
What’s the best laptop for digital nomads?
The best laptop for digital nomads ultimately comes down to your remote work requirements, budget, and preferred features.
If you’re a remote worker who’s only starting out and still don’t have the extra cash to splurge on one of the best laptops for digital nomads, then budget laptops with decent to long battery life can be great starter devices.
But, if your budget allows you to spend on a more powerful machine, go for one of the best laptops for digital nomads on the market. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.
Not only will it make your life easier, but you’ll also be able to work more efficiently and enjoy better results.
After all, your livelihood depends on it. So choose wisely and enjoy the journey!
When you can work anywhere and know where to find the best places to work remotely, you can have almost anything at your fingertips–sun and surf, inspirational views, a mid-afternoon glass of wine or beer (I’m not here to judge).
But when you don’t have a dedicated office—or when you’re traveling away from your home office—there’s one thing you can’t count on “anywhere” to provide: a quiet space with wifi to get some real work done.
The term “quiet” is relative. You may need absolute silence, a bit of open space, or some white noise. Everyone is different, and you’ll determine what’s best and the types of quiet spaces for you based on your own remote working style.
You’re less productive in your remote work when you’re stuck in a cubicle working for a boss and chatting with most people passing by and co-workers. As digital nomads and remote workers, you need to figure out how to be productive when working for yourselves. You need to find the best places to work remotely and focus – no matter where you are in the world. A daunting yet doable task.
How to Set Up a Quiet Space for Remote Work
Before we get down to the good stuff on the quiet spaces to work with reliable wi-fi, let’s talk first about getting set up when working remotely. Let’s face it – finding quiet spaces to work in any location (particularly with good wi-fi) is not an easy task in general (which is the reason you’re reading this article).
So, let’s get set up:
1. Use Noise Cancelling Headphones
Imagine sitting in an airport (I bet you can) and there are people constantly walking by you. Or you’re in coworking spaces and everyone wants to come up and chat with you.
The only time that noise-canceling headphones didn’t work for me was when I was working in Buenos Aires. I was in my own apartment, on a conference call, when suddenly, the power company started to jackhammer into the side of the building, unannounced. The video calls were dropped when the power cut out… but that’s another issue and a story for another time.
Noise-canceling headphones won’t block out a jackhammer below you, but they will allow you to block out most background noise. An added bonus is that these will allow you to focus intently on your remote work.
Pro tip: When people, especially fellow digital nomads and remote workers, see you with those giant earmuffs hugging your ears and your laser-like focus, they tend to give you space and leave you alone.
I’ve tested dozens of in-ear headphones and regular headsets and my favorite – based on feedback from people I talk to that can actually hear me and based on the amount of background noise that’s reduced, are the Logitech USB headset.
Another pro tip: The $30 USB headphones are actually better for noise reduction to keep you on track in your remote work than the more expensive wireless version.
2. Set Up a Mobile Hotspot
Don’t you love sitting down to work in your favorite coffee shop in New York, San Diego, or San Francisco, ordering your latte and biscotti? Imagine what a long day it would seem if find out that you can’t get online to work remotely after making all these plans to sit and work in a great place. Try to picture your disappointment when you approach the barista, who would then inform you that the wi-fi is down and the technician won’t be in until the following day. Bad luck for you.
As a backup for digital nomads and remote workers, a mobile wi-fi hotspot, also called mi-fi, needs to be top of your packing list. When you don’t want to spend your entire day or weekend trip remote working in a coffee shop, coworking space, or any space with wi-fi access, as we’re about to get to below, you’ll need backup.
I use a T-Mobile hotspot that’s pre-paid monthly and I also have a T-Mobile iPhone in which I can very quickly upgrade my plan for extra gigabytes and downgrade when I no longer need the wi-fi boost.
Whether you’ll only use them on weekend trips when doing some outdoor activities like exploring a national park, watching sporting events, or staying and living for one month or more in a different city or country with warm weather to avoid the harsh winter months, having mobile wifi access means you can easily spend time in the best places to work remotely.
Phones as hotspots are nearly catching up to the power of the non-phone hotspot. However, it makes more sense for digital nomads working remotely to have both. The phone as a hotspot is a great backup but also uses more battery power. You never want to be without wi-fi, so I recommend both.
3. Get Comfortable, Get Power, Block Time
Quiet usually means you’ll be sitting and working remotely for a little while. So plan things like:
comfortable seating with back support
close proximity to power outlets or power supply
check the hours for closing times
4. Consider Using White Noise
Get your playlist for your favorite time-to-focus music ready to go if background noise and headphones aren’t enough to keep your attention on your remote work tasks.
5. Plan for Interruptions
Some people love to talk – no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen while you worked remotely will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters. But, it’s sometimes unavoidable even when you’re in quiet spaces like an office or coworking space.
One of the best lines I’ve found in recent years when someone interrupts your quality quiet time for remote work time is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have too many things to do and a deadline due. Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly, especially in quiet spaces dedicated to digital nomads to work remotely.
Most importantly, get back to work immediately. Don’t allow an interruption to the flow of your ideas and turn it into a break to check out more “fun” activities like the best places to visit on the East Coast, Fort Lauderdale, Grand Canyon, Pacific Coast, San Francisco, New York, or San Diego.
Okay… Now that you’re comfy, have your wi-fi hotspot or any other internet access, and noise-canceling headphones, you are prepared for anti-breaking concentration, and you have a dedicated time and space where your power won’t go out or the shop won’t close – you’re ready to get into the zone.
Where Are the Best Quiet Spaces to Work with Wi-fi?
If you’re a working traveler (or a traveling worker), here are a few of the best places to work remotely when you really need to buckle down to come up with great ideas and deliver quality work.
I love airports. Really. They have everything you need: wi-fi (if not free, then through partners like Boingo), coffee, food, restrooms, seating, power outlets.
I don’t mind getting stuck on a long layover or even spending the night (as long as I’m prepared) because airports offer great places to work and rest.
With a little preparation, like the noise canceling headphones and a wi-fi hotspot, you can create quiet spaces for yourself to work remotely and brainstorm your next batch of big ideas. There are all strangers around you so it’s easy to be ignored. Find a great place near a plug and get to work!
There are probably no better places to work than the blend of traditional office setup and the new world of flexible entrepreneurship than the concept of coworking spaces. Virtually every major city—and many smaller ones—has coworking spaces available, and they can give you the best places to work remotely when you’re out seeing the world.
Just in case you aren’t aware, coworking spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically rent a desk alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies.
They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, and let solopreneurs, as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies, find affordable, dedicated spaces where they can work remotely on their budget.
Much of the coworking space industry is geared towards companies that don’t need much dedicated spaces and want to spend less and split other office expenses. They also cater to local solopreneurs who don’t like working out of a home office.
And most of them, often in big cities, have the odd desk available for short-term rentals…like if you happen to be passing through or visiting for a few days and just need a quiet, professional office place to set up shop.
There’s obviously a cost component to consider when it comes to co-working, but you’re virtually guaranteed a place where you can focus on work without being completely isolated.
Plus you’ll have a solid WiFi connection (I can’t imagine a co-working space that doesn’t provide one), which you know is a must when you’re working on the go.
Many co-working spaces are divided into separate levels. Traditional co-working space may also be called “hot desk” – an open floor plan surrounded by several other busy bees like yourself.
The only potential downside to this type of setup, of course, is a distraction. Community sharing is great, and valuable, but not conducive to getting real work done without interruption. Coworking spaces will often also have the option of a private office or the ability to rent a conference room.
If you need a quiet space to work, without distraction, then opt for the private space or the conference room.
Pro tip: If the conference room or office has windows, shut the door and face your back to the windows for the least amount of visibility (disallowing interruptions). If all sides are windows, make sure to wear those headphones and make little eye contact.
Wi-fi is all but ubiquitous in coffee shops these days, too. Most of them are fine with you camping out by a power outlet for hours at a time, but only if you order every couple of hours and leave a nice tip!
This might not be the best solution if you need absolute peace and quiet to get work done, but many people find the background buzz aka white noise, and people-watching opportunities provide just enough distraction to keep their minds from totally wandering.
Some coffee shops have conference rooms or private rooms that you can rent or arrive early to get a good seat.
Switch it up and find a quiet coffee shop on the outskirts of town or in a new neighborhood – this is a great way to find a seat or a table, unfamiliar faces for less chitchat, and some on-hand caffeine to fool those productive hours.
Renting a private room, or better yet, a studio, on AirBnb can really help you get some quiet time to yourself. A studio allows for no roommates or distractions.
Tip: Before you book you’ll want to make sure that this is one of the best places to work remotely. That means they should have good wi-fi. To test wi-fi, you can ask your potential host to go to speedtest.net.
The minimum connection I recommend is 8 gb down, but that depends on what you’re doing.
If you’re just checking emails or a simple Skype call, 4 mb is fine.
The right accommodations can mean the difference between productivity and lack thereof.
The difference in cost for private versus shared will likely be the difference between less stress and business progression versus delays and less productivity.
Your Car / Boat / Van / RV
Dead serious. This is one of the best places to work remotely. However, it only works, obviously, if your travels include a personal vehicle, whether it’s your own car, a rental, or borrowed from a friend—it’s probably not worth the Uber rates 🙂
Some may object to the cramped quarters and lack of amenities provided by the typical automobile or boat, but there are actually a lot of advantages to using a four-wheeled or floating office.
First, you have total privacy. You don’t have to worry about anyone else setting up rules or causing a distraction. Your space is entirely your own, just like you had your own (small, bathroom-less) office.
Second, you can get a corner office view if you want one. A scenic overlook, the top of a midtown parking garage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean—whatever vista you want to visit, your car can get you there and give you a quiet workspace when you arrive.
Last but not least, your car (or boat, or van / RV) gives you an easy way to get connected almost anywhere. Plenty of businesses, including many big box stores, food chains, and of course coffee shops, now offer free wi-fi to anyone in range. Find a parking spot in close range and you’re good to go.
I’ve spent months working from my houseboat in Seattle, and this morning I was working from my Mitsubishi Delica overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. until the beautiful sunset. A T-Mobile hotspot and a 12-hour (okay…8-hour) battery on my Macbook Air, with a laptop table, a good 4G signal, and a latte and it’s the ultimate quiet spot – with the ultimate view.
Once upon a time, libraries were the ultimate place to get work done. Quiet, technologically connected at a time when many businesses weren’t (albeit dialup!), and the best repositories of research material you were likely to find in any given locale.
Things have changed a bit—OK, a lot—for libraries in the Internet Age, with virtually all the world’s information now at your fingertips and digital communication with all points on the globe available in your pocket.
Libraries are still great places to get some work done when you need some peace and quiet in and don’t have an office to head to. Librarians are great at enforcing the “quiet” rule, and most offer free wi-fi.
Some even offer private or even soundproof study rooms to really shut out the distractions, and if you happen to want or need a book for some reason – in the age of Google, there are plenty on hand.
Public Parks and Campgrounds
Though not always reliable wi-fi (hence the mobile hotspot backup), you can still find free networks in many city centers and even parks. Several campgrounds have wi-fi and once again you can work from your moving vehicle or your picnic table!
If you don’t have a hotspot or your phone doesn’t have hotspot capabilities that would allow you to find the best places to work remotely….change that. For the traveling entrepreneur/freelancer it’ll pay for itself many times over!
Get Down to Business Without Being Tied Down to an Office
Freedom. It’s what our lifestyle is all about, and it’s what we build our working life around. It doesn’t mean we work less hard or are less productive, it just means we get more creative in the way we do things.
Finding best places to work remotely in every city on earth—and all the non-cities in between—is just one of the perks of the job.
These are a few solutions to the workplace solitude situation. Is your favorite on the list? Have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments, and tell everyone in the world where you’re posting from!
WiFi is the lifeblood of any digital nomad, but it’s often the most challenging to access. After all, how will you stay connected with your clients and deadlines if you don’t have a reliable internet connection? That said, though, finding good signal can be challenging even in more developed areas like cafes or hotels. Meanwhile, that becomes downright virtually impossible when you travel to remote villages. This is where mobile hotspot devices come in.
Best Portable Wifi Hotspot Devices for Traveling and Working Remote 
For digital nomads and remote workers, stable internet access is a must. Whether you’re working on a laptop at a cozy coffee shop or trying to get some tasks done on your mobile phone during your commute, being able to connect to the world wide web is a gamechanger when it comes to productivity.
Mobile hotspot devices provide a great option to ensure a reliable internet connection. These devices create a small wireless network that you can connect to with your devices.
As a digital nomad, you may benefit from mifi device features such as a battery-saving mode and the ability to connect to multiple devices simultaneously. You can gain a more in-depth understanding of global wifi and mobile hotspots in our Ultimate Internet Guide for Digital Nomads.
Mobile hotspot devices can connect more than your laptops to the internet. These can also work just fine with your tablet, camera, and pretty much any gadget that’s wi-fi enabled. These can support multiple connections better compared to your phone’s mobile wifi hotspot mode as well as ensure that you don’t drain your phone battery.
In certain countries where cellular coverage might pose a problem and you might be worried about getting a secure connection, you can hook up these portable wifi hotspot devices to antennas to achieve better internet connection.
When looking for a mobile hotspot for digital nomads, keep the following factors in mind:
A vital consideration when it comes to choosing a mobile hotspot device for international travel is battery life, which can range from lasting a full day on a single charge to a measly few hours. Some devices provide extra portable batteries, while others allow you to even use the mobile hotspot as a powerbank.
Determine your expectations about your wifi connection. If you plan to use the internet all day long and need to be constantly connected to search for restaurants or museums, you might need a mobile hotspot device with a longer battery life. Meanwhile, if you don’t really need wifi connection for the entire day or only need WiFi for a handful of hours, then splurging for an extra battery might not be worth it.
Budget and data allowance
The price of the device isn’t the only consideration when it comes to portable WiFi for travel. Depending on your provider and chosen mobile hotspot plan — whether you’re opting for international roaming plans or buying a local sim card when you visit other countries — you will probably have a limited use rate monthly or even daily. On top of your general mobile plan, this will also determine how much data you can use. This would also most likely affect your data speed.
If you’re under a tight budget, you should figure out how to compromise with regard your plan’s speed or data cap. Generally, though, the longer you avail of the hotspot plan, the lower the costs.
Size and weight
Mobile hotspot devices need to be exactly that: mobile. Your device needs to be portable and easy to pack. While opting for the more compact devices is the norm these days, the decision is dependent on your needs and how you envision your days.
If you’re mostly on the move, particularly on foot or use public transport, then choosing a smaller mobile hotspot device for international travel would be better for your needs. On the other hand, if you’re one of the remote professionals who plan to use the wifi device for business or corporate trips and have remote jobs requiring you to spend most hours in a single location, then a bigger hotspot device that offers longer battery life or a portable battery would benefit you more.
Check out our list and find the best mobile hotspot that suits your needs.
Best overall mobile hotspot: Skyroam Solis X
Skyroam Solis X is a new addition to the Skyroam family of mobile hotspot devices. This Skyroam device is different from its predecessors. This sleek little gadget, which basically looks like an orange puck, offers lightning-fast wifi speeds, allowing you to stay connected anytime, anywhere. Plus, the Skyroam Solis X comes equipped with a built-in power bank to keep your devices charged while you’re on the go. Simply plug your gadget in the allotted USB port, and you’re good to go.
The Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot sold out within the first day of its release. In fact, there were overwhelming positive Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot reviews from those who were able to get their hands on one. Now that the Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot is back in stock, I decided to take a closer look at this Skyroam device and see if it lives up to the hype.
The power button can be found at the top part of the device. A white stripe serves as the indicator for your remaining battery life, while three blinking indicator lights will tell you whether you have a good data connection.
One side of the Solis X is equipped with an 8MP camera, while the other side holds the USB-C port that you use to charge the mobile hotspot and connect your gadgets when you need a powerbank. While this is a great feature, one concern is that the powerbank can be very slow in charging your gadgets.
At the bottom, you can find a QR code. Scanning this will lead you to the Solis app, which you can connect to your smartphone. If that’s not enough, the Skyroam Solis X’s LED display can also be used as a flashlight or an emergency beacon.
Skyroam offers multiple plans depending on your needs, ranging from a single day pass to month-long contracts with unlimited data. Check out the pricing plans here.
The expected battery life for the Skyroam Solis X is 18 hours, but it only lasted roughly 10 hours when I used it. Considering that I tested it by connecting my two smartphones and laptop while also using it as a powerbank, this is pretty impressive.
With that in mind, one thing I found challenging with the Skyroam Solis X is the design of its charging port. The USB-C charging port for this device has a tiny ridge that makes it incompatible with many types of USB-C cables. Skyroam solves this issue, though, by including a USB-A adapter in the package.
After testing the Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot, I can say that it is an impressive device that offers excellent value for its price. Although it doesn’t come with a rental option, this device works in more than 130 countries covered. So, the Skyroam Solis X can be considered a worthy investment for digital nomads.
Best no-frills mobile hotspot: Skyroam Solis Lite
For those who don’t need the bells and whistles offered by Skyroam Solis X, there’s Solis Lite. Like the Solis X, this portable wifi device can also support up to 10 devices. It’s also small enough to easily fit in your pocket and weighs roughly the same as a regular smartphone. Considering that this gadget offers a rental option starting at $9 per day, this is a great alternative for those who want a no-frills Skyroam device.
It has the same look as the Skyroam Solis X, including the convenient QR code at the bottom for the mobile app and the problematic USB-C charging port that makes it challenging to use third-party cables. It also works as a powerbank, but likes the Solis X, it charges devices quite slowly at 5V/1A.
What differentiates the Solis X from the Solis Lite is the absence of the remote-enabled camera, speaker, and microphone, which are used for the built-in smart assistant. That means the Solis Lite is simply your basic international hotspot device with no special features and focuses solely on providing internet access. Truth be told, I didn’t really miss the smart features of the Solis X and actually prefer this option for my digital nomad needs.
Best 5G mobile hotspot: NETGEAR Nighthawk M5
NETGEAR’s Nighthawk M5 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro is one of the latest mobile hotspot devices to hit the market. NETGEAR is known for its high-quality router products, so I was curious to see how its portable wifi device would perform. The Nighthawk M5 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro did not disappoint. The device is easy to set up and use, and it offers fast reliable connectivity. I was also impressed by the Nighthawk’s battery life; I was able to use it for several hours before needing to recharge.
Theoretically, 5G can go as fast as 10 to 50 Gbps, but that’s a long way off. 5G mobile broadband should be 11 times faster than 4G if the signal is strong enough. However, there’s a catch: the Nighthawk M5 will only run at 5G speeds if you have a strong 5G signal. If you are in an outlying area, you may only get 3G or 4G speeds.
In real-world testing, I was able to consistently get speeds in excess of 100Mbps on both bands. The Nighthawk M5 also supports up to 32 concurrent connections, so you shouldn’t have any trouble connecting all your devices. It’s ideal for teams or small groups.
One of the best features of the Nighthawk M5 is its battery life. NETGEAR claims that the Nighthawk M5 can last up to 13 hours on a single charge. In practice, I discovered that this varies greatly; Wifi-6 and 5G / LTE are simply power hogs. Nonetheless, a realistic time frame of 6 to 9 hours is still good value.
However, what makes the Nighthawk M5 stand out is the fact that it’s the first C-Band hotspot in the US. Let me offer a bit of context to explain why this is a great feature. While the services of the 5G networks aren’t exactly noticeably faster than 4G networks these days, this situation will change in the coming years. When this happens, you will need a C-Band gadget to be able to take advantage of the additional capacity.
Actually, the iPhone 12 and up phones, the Samsung Galaxy series starting from the S21, and Google Pixel 5 and above are already using C-Band. Before the Nighthawk M5, no mobile hotspot has ever supported this technology.
All these features come at a steep price of $699.99. This is generally more expensive than most mobile hotspot devices and plans.
Before you get one, make sure to check the model you’re buying. The US version doesn’t seem to support 5G outside North America, which means it’ll only work as a 4G hotspot abroad. According to Netgear, this hotspot device is most compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. If you get the international version, you’ll be able to take advantage of a different group of 5G bands in most countries.
Best plug-and-play mobile hotspot: GlocalMe Mini Turbo Wi-Fi Hotspot
You can say goodbye to expensive international roaming charges and spotty public Wi-Fi with the GlocalMe Mini Turbo Wi-Fi Hotspot. This handy little device offers fast connection and dependable LTE coverage in over 140 countries, making it an indispensable travel companion for the modern digital nomad.
I had never used a touchscreen portable wifi before the GlocalMe G4 Pro Smart 4G Mobile Global Wi-Fi Hotspot. The previous mobile hotspots I used made the apps linked to the devices indispensable, which means I needed them whenever I had to check my remaining data or battery life. This made this particular mobile hotspot different. All those information are readily displayed on the 5-inch touchscreen of the GlocalMe G4 PRO as well as in its user friendly app.
The touchscreen makes it easy and convenient to add data. Plus, it already has Google Maps, voice recognition translator, and TripAdvisor installed. Its straightforward interface and limited but essential options almost feel like a user-friendly apps on my smartphone, so there is an innate comfort in using it to set things up.
The GlocalMe Mini Turbo is also extremely simple to use; just insert a SIM card and connect up to 10 devices to the hotspot. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, you can be confident that you’ll always have a reliable connection, even on long trips.
Best unlocked mobile hotspot: Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G
The Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is one of the low-cost options for mobile hotspot devices on the market. I was curious to see how this device would perform and how it would compare to the more expensive options, so I decided to put it to the test. I have to say, I was impressed with the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G.
With 150Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps uploads, this is a great mobile hotspot option that’s tiny, lightweight, and easy to transport. You can also connect up to 10 devices to this 4G mobile router, which has a standby time of 350 hours and a working time of 6 hours, thanks to its 1500mAh battery.
The Huawei E5576 was easy to set up and use, and it provided a reliable connection even in areas with poor cell coverage. Unfortunately, this device only works in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. For countries outside this list like the US, Canada, and Mexico, you’ll need to get a separate Huawei hotspot device.
Overall, the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is relatively affordable, making it a great option for budget-conscious digital nomads. Like the Skyroam Solis Lite, the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is simply a no-frills low-cost mobile router. Basically, this mobile hotspot device focuses solely on connecting your gadgets to the internet, no matter where you are.
Best mobile hotspot for remote areas: Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L Wi-Fi Hotspot
Verizon’s Jetpack MiFi 8800L is one of the best mobile hotspot devices on the market. Like the previous models, this one also comes in matte black and gray and is a plastic oval that’s about the size of a deck of cards with a touchscreen front. It has two external antenna ports plus a USB-C port.
It can connect up to 15 devices at once and has a built-in battery that lasts up to 15 hours. On top of these, the Jetpack MiFi 8800L also works great for digital nomads who want to explore extremely rural areas. This is because unlike other units that can only see 3G in these remote places, Verizon’s wifi hotspot can actually still offer 4G LTE.
If you’re worried about data overage charges, don’t be – Verizon offers unlimited data plans for Jetpack MiFi 8800L devices. So whether you’re working on the go or just want to stay connected while traveling, Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L is the perfect solution.
Best low-cost prepaid mobile hotspot: ZTE ZMax Connect MF928
As long as you have a compatible AT&T or T-Mobile prepaid service plan, you can use the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 hotspot. Like most low-cost mobile hotspots, this device also comes in the form of a tiny black box that’s roughly the size of a playing card. Unlike the more expensive options like the Skyroam Solis X, it has no dedicated indicator for battery life or signal strength.
However, the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 offers a special feature. It has a pair of TS9 antenna ports, which could be used to attach an external antenna to boost the signal. Its LTE covers AT&T and T-Mobile but doesn’t include Verizon and other foreign providers. Moreover, the hotspot’s internet speed tends to flounder when it reaches LTE performance. It becomes more problematic when additional you try to add more than two devices at a time, with the issue being more obvious when you’re having Zoom calls.
I appreciate the wifi management options, though. I like the accompanying mobile app, which sends me updates on data usage and allows me to tweak the hotspot’s settings.
The ZMax Connect MF928 supports up to 10 devices at a time and can last up to 10 hours, making it ideal for international travelers and digital nomads who need to work remotely while on the road. Overall, the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 is a great option for those who need a reliable and affordable mobile hotspot device.
How to maximize your mobile hotspot plan
Mobile hotspot plans evolve all the time. If you add a hotspot data plan to an existing “unlimited” phone plan, Verizon gives you up to 50GB of high-speed data, 40GB from AT&T, and 40GB from T-Mobile. Once you consume that, the carriers tend to “deprioritize” your data or start to throttle it randomly.
So if you’re an AT&T or Verizon subscriber, the best way to make the most of your mobile hotspot data plan is to add your hotspot line as a separate line to your pre-existing phone plan. That offers you the most data for your budget.
Admittedly, some of the devices listed here are pretty old. That’s because mobile hotspots have not exactly progressed as quickly as other technologies. While I’m not thrilled over this lack of innovation, I’m still grateful that these mobile internet devices are available to make our lives easier. However, I’m hoping to see more wifi hotspots with the most advanced 5G technologies out in the market soon and making our digital nomad life easier and more convenient!
Talking about portable hotspot devices brings back memories, particularly one that started out cold and daunting. I was driving around the Ring Road in Iceland when the roads got narrower and icier. Everything was foggy, and I had no idea where I was since I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t tell where I was going. Eventually, I realized that I had been driving in circles for hours on end, and it felt like there was no way out.
Thank goodness I had my mobile hotspot device with me, which turned out to be a lifesaver. I used it to help me navigate the Ring Road. The fact that I had something with me that allowed me to still be able to communicate with my family and friends as well as help me navigate the unknown place offered me an invaluable sense of comfort and relief.
Truth be told, I would have felt a lot less safe traversing that road in Iceland without my mobile hotspot device. It just felt better because I knew I could rely on something in case of emergencies–or in this case, led me to a spectacular town with hot springs that soothe my frayed nerves and sore muscles.
These days, it’s hard to imagine life without the internet. Whether I’m working from a cafe in Barcelona or a hotel in Bali, I need to be able to stay connected. Plus, mobile hotspot devices have been a lifesaver. On more than one occasion, I’ve been out and about without any wifi, only to find that my mobile hotspot device has come to the rescue.
I’ve also used mobile hotspot devices to stay connected when travelling through remote areas where there is no cell service. So if you’re looking for a way to stay connected while on the go–whether you’re trying to check directions, find a nearby restaurant, or just stay connected with friends and family–I highly recommend investing in a mobile hotspot device. You’ll never know when you’ll need it!
Being on a beach and making money from a laptop is the dream of thousands of aspiring digital nomads. With just a laptop and an internet connection, digital nomads can work from anywhere in the world – whether they’re exploring Europe, soaking up the sun in Southeast Asia, or enjoying a coffee in a local cafe.
Of course, becoming a digital nomad is not as simple as packing your bags and saying goodbye to your cubicle. There are a few things you need to do before you can start living a digital nomad life.
What is a digital nomad?
The best way to become a digital nomad is to first understand what it is and what it isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, being a digital nomad doesn’t mean working from a laptop on a beach somewhere and sipping cocktails (though that is certainly part of it). It’s actually a lot more than that.
A digital nomad is someone who uses technology to make a living, whether that’s through freelance work, online businesses, or some other form of income. The key defining factor is that they’re location independent, which means they can work from anywhere in the world.
Basically, a digital nomad is a term used for people who travel the world with a laptop and a backpack. It used to primarily mean young professionals and entrepreneurs who could up and leave, travel somewhere warm and inexpensive, and play geographical arbitrage with where to live/work.
But the truth is that anyone can become a digital nomad, even with no prior experience or skills. I started LiveWorkAnywhere in 2007 with the goal of figuring out how to become a digital nomad. I bought a one-way ticket to Costa Rica in 2009 and never looked back.
I learned the hard way, on low-bandwidth, shared Internet, and before smartphones existed. I want to help you navigate the hurdles I experienced and get you living the digital nomad lifestyle now.
We’ve come a very long way to 2022. Really, with high-speed Internet being abundant and everyone having a laptop and smartphone, there’s no excuse not to become a digital nomad. The only obstacles typically are planning and preparation, and taking the leap.
I still have the same mission – for every single person to be able to become a digital nomad and be location independent if they choose.
So if you’re curious about digital nomadism or want to become a digital nomad, here’s everything you need to know.
First things first – let’s start with the basics.
Who is a digital nomad?
The term “digital nomad” conjures images of 20-somethings working on their laptops from exotic beaches, but the reality is that anyone can become a digital nomad. As of 2022, almost half of digital nomads across the globe are in their 30s, with roughly 35% being in the 40-59 age group.
A digital nomad is simply someone who works remotely, without being tied to a specific location. This can be done by working for a remote company, or by running a location-independent business.
A digital nomad is someone who uses technology to work remotely, often from different locations around the world. This can mean anything from working on your laptop at a coffee shop in Paris to running a business from your RV as you travel across America. There are many benefits to being a digital nomad, including the ability to work from anywhere in the world and the freedom to create your own schedule.
The key defining factor of a digital nomad is that they have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection.
Simply, it’s a person with a laptop who works online and has the freedom to be anywhere, anytime.
Digital nomadism is a rapidly growing lifestyle with more and more people looking to escape the traditional workforce and live a laptop lifestyle.
Before learning how to become a digital nomad, it’s important to understand the two types of digital nomads:
Type One: The digital nomad who wants to live the laptop lifestyle but also maintains a home base. They often have an apartment or condo in a city they frequently return to.
Type Two: The digital nomad who wants to travel the world and work from anywhere. They often have no permanent home base, living out of a suitcase most of the time.
The digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone – it takes a lot of planning, self-discipline, and motivation. But if you’re looking for freedom, flexibility, and adventure, digital nomadism might be for you.
Here are some of the most common questions I get asked about digital nomads:
What are the pros and cons of being a digital nomad?
I’d love to tell you that being a digital nomad is all rainbows and butterflies. But, as with everything, you have to balance the good and the bad. Before you decide if you truly want to become a digital nomad, it’s crucial to know the pros and cons of the nomad life.
Pros of becoming a digital nomad
The digital nomad lifestyle is often romanticized as a life of constant travel and adventure. While it’s true that digital nomads do enjoy a great deal of freedom, there are also some very practical benefits to this lifestyle.
One of the biggest advantages is that it allows you to be with your family when they need you and without having to sacrifice your career. With traditional jobs, it can be difficult to take time off for family emergencies or even just for quality time together.
But with a digital nomad lifestyle, as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can work from anywhere. That means that if your family needs you, you can be there for them without having to worry about work because of your location independence.
As for those with young children, you can even homeschool them while you travel the world and work remotely. So if you’re looking for a way to balance your career and your family life, the digital nomad lifestyle is an excellent option.
Another major advantage of being a digital nomad is the ability to make money from anywhere across the globe online – and, never have to stop exploring the planet. The digital nomad life is the perfect way to see the world and have amazing adventures while getting paid to do it.
Being a digital nomad means having a remote job, which allows you to live a nomadic lifestyle. That means you can move around and travel as you please.
Plus, you have the freedom and flexibility to work on your own schedule. You’re your own boss, so you can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
One more benefit for digital nomads is that there’s no such thing as office politics. No more water cooler gossip, no more backstabbing colleagues, and no more worrying about what your boss thinks of you. No more having to tiptoe around the delicate egos of your co-workers or kiss up to the boss in hopes of getting a raise.
Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t any politics in the digital world – after all, there are still plenty of people vying for attention and clients. But digital nomads are quick to point out that politics are very different when you’re not dealing with people face-to-face.
When you work online, though, it’s easier to focus on improving productivity, becoming more efficient remote workers, and honing their digital nomad skills to land highly coveted remote jobs.
Finally, the digital nomad life is often one of increased motivation and effectiveness their remote jobs. Whether it’s the stunning beaches of Bali or the rolling hills of Tuscany, there’s no doubt that working surrounded by natural beauty can be a huge boost to creativity and productivity.
Being able to work remotely means that nomads are not tied to one location and can choose to work from wherever they desire. This flexibility often leads to nomads seeking locations that offer stunning natural beauty, as the peaceful surroundings can help boost their innovative spirit and ingenuity.
After all, there’s nothing quite like working from a sun-drenched beach or a snowy mountain cabin to get the creative juices flowing.
Cons of becoming a digital nomad
The nomadic life isn’t for everyone. It isn’t all Instagrammable avocado toast and #wanderlust. In fact, most digital nomads eventually crumble under pressure and give up on their nomadic dream. For those who manage to stick it out, there are a few disadvantages to contend with.
First, there’s the matter of constantly being on the move. Remote work may be freeing in some respects, but it can also be exhausting. You never really get to put down roots anywhere, and you’re always saying goodbye to friends and colleagues.
Second, there’s the issue of isolation. Most digital nomads work remotely, which means they don’t have the opportunity to socialize with co-workers or meet new people on a regular basis. When you’re living out of a suitcase, it can be difficult to connect with people on a deeper level.
Third, it can be really tough to stay focused when you’re constantly on the move. There’s no such thing as a “normal” day when you’re a nomad, which can make it hard to stick to a routine or get into a productive flow state to quickly fulfill your remote job responsibilities.
Fourth, let’s not forget about all the logistical challenges that come with living a nomadic life – think finding a place to live and work that has good stable internet connection. Whether you’re working from a co-working space in Bali or your van parked in a campsite in Joshua Tree, reliable internet access is not always guaranteed.
This can make it difficult to stay in touch with family and friends back home, as well as stay on top of work deadlines. Living a nomad life often means having to deal with unreliable internet connections and a lack of reliable infrastructure.
Fifth, the nomadic lifestyle has a few hidden costs that can add up quickly, such as health insurance and travel expenses. You’ll need to find a way to pay for your own health insurance. This can be a challenge, as most traditional health insurance plans don’t cover nomads who are constantly on the move.
There are a few options available, such as nomadic insurance plans or international health insurance, but they can be expensive. Make sure to do your research before choosing a plan.
Finally, there’s the question of financial stability. For most digital nomads, being financial unstable is just a part of the package. Remote work gives us the freedom to pick up and move to wherever we want, but it also means saying goodbye to the stability of a regular paycheck.
Because when your income is derived from remote work, there’s always the possibility that you could lose your job or clients at any time. And even if you do have a steady stream of work, the nomadic lifestyle can be expensive, since you’re always on the move and often have to pay for things like accommodation and transport in advance.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, just know that it’s not all glamping and yoga retreats. There’s a lot of hard work and uncertainty involved. For those who live nomadically, financial insecurity is just a fact of life. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sure, it can be scary not knowing how much money you’ll have coming in each month. But it also teaches us to be resourceful and budget carefully.
Path One: Quit your job and travel the world. This is the path I took and it’s not for everyone. It requires a high-risk tolerance. I tend to leap and then figure out the steps.
Path Two: Transition into digital nomadism gradually. If you’re not ready to quit your job, you can start by working remotely a few days a week. Once you’re comfortable with that, transition into working remotely full-time. You can kick off with a side hustle then move into that or ask your boss for a few days per week to prove you can be productive.
Requesting that arrangement from your boss shouldn’t be a problem. After all, the remote working trend is not new, and it appears to be taking off due to the changes caused by COVID-19.
In 2021, many companies are beginning to offer their employees a chance at permanently being able to do their jobs from home. In 2021, 42% of US employers report that their staff have to work from home. While we have yet to see permanent changes, 66% of the respondents are optimistic that remote work will become a fixture in time.
Path Three: Start a digital nomad business. This is the path most digital nomads prefer as it gives them the most flexibility and freedom. Actually, over 53% of remote workers point out that flexibility is the most highly appreciated perk they enjoy in being a digital nomad. You can work from anywhere, anytime, and don’t have to quit your job.
If you’re ready to take the leap and become a digital nomad, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started and give you an idea on how to become a digital nomad.
Step One: Plan Your Escape
The first step is to plan your escape. For the remote worker, the appeal of the digital nomad lifestyle is obvious: freedom. But with that freedom comes a great responsibility: choosing the right destination.
After all, not all remote-friendly destinations are created equal. Some offer access to fast internet and a vibrant community of other remote workers, while others are nothing more than a remote wasteland where you’ll be lucky to find a decent cup of coffee, let alone a strong Wi-Fi signal.
So how do you choose the right destination for your digital nomad adventure?
Some popular digital nomad destinations include:
For starters, there’s Bali. This Indonesian island is a mecca for remote workers, thanks to its laid-back vibes and idyllic setting. Bali has everything a digital nomad could want, from beautiful beaches to jungle trekking and amazing food. Plus, it’s relatively budget-friendly and easy to get around.
If you’re looking for a more urban experience, Taipei is quickly becoming one of the most popular digital nomad destinations in the world. There are plenty of coworking spaces and cafes where remote workers can set up shop, and the city is incredibly easy to navigate. And, thanks to its convenient location and relatively affordable cost of living, Taipei is an ideal base for exploring Asia.
Another popular digital nomad destination is Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why. The country has a great climate, friendly people, and plenty of remote work opportunities. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive to live here, which is important for location-independent workers who need to watch their bottom line.
Meanwhile, remote workers who are looking for a change of scenery will find Puerto Rico appealing with its mix of sun, surf, and culture. Best of all, it’s relatively easy to become a digital nomad in Puerto Rico. There are no special visas or permits required, and the cost of living is relatively low.
Mexico is also a convenient destination for digital nomads who want to be close to the United States. With its close proximity, it’s easy to hop on a plane and head back to the States for a quick work trip or visit with family and friends. And, of course, Mexico is also a popular tourist destination, so you can enjoy all the benefits of living in a beautiful country with plenty of things to do and see.
Barcelona is another great destination for digital nomads. The city has a lively atmosphere and is packed with bars, restaurants, and cafes. There are also a number of coworking spaces that offer reliable internet connection, which makes it easy to find a place to work. In addition, Barcelona is well-connected, with excellent public transportation and an airport that offers direct flights to many European cities.
If you have no specific country in mind, you can start your search with the kind of accommodation you envision living in.
For example, what better way to achieve location independence than by living on a boat? While it may sound like a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous, there are a number of affordable options for would-be digital nomads.
Houseboats, for instance, can often be rented for a fraction of the cost of an apartment, and many marinas offer special rates for long-term tenants.
If you’re a remote worker who wants to take the show on the road, there’s no better option than a yurt. These circular dwellings have been used by nomadic peoples for centuries, and they offer all the comforts of home while still providing a sense of adventure. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to set up and take down, making them the perfect option for the digital nomad who likes to move around frequently.
Most importantly, yurts can be easily adapted to any climate, whether you’re looking to escape the winter cold or enjoy a summer in the mountains. So if you’ve ever dreamed of living a life of location Independence, a yurt just might be the perfect option for you.
Step Two: Quit Your Job (or transition into digital nomadism gradually)
If you’re ready to quit your job and become a digital nomad, here are the steps to take:
Talk to your boss about working remotely. This is becoming more and more common as technology allows us to work from anywhere.
Give notice and start transitioning into working remote a few days a week.
Transition into working remotely full-time.
If you’re not ready to quit your job, you can transition gradually into digital nomadism by:
Working remotely a few days a week.
Taking vacation time to travel and work from different locations.
Starting a digital nomad business.
Step Three: Earn income online
The next step is to generate revenue. There are a few ways digital nomads earn income:
Assess your skillset. What kind of work can you do online? Are you a web developer? A graphic designer? A writer? Once you know what kind of work you can do, start reaching out to clients and employers in your field. Many companies are now open to hiring remote workers, so don’t be afraid to ask around.
Find something you’re good at and start offering your services online. Once you have a few clients, you can transition into working full-time as a digital nomad.
Step Four: Get Organized
The next step is to get organized and start planning your travels. Where do you want to go? How long do you want to stay there? What are your accommodation and transport options? Once you have all the logistics sorted, it’s time to hit the road and begin your digital nomad life.
If you choose to become a digital nomad gradually instead of jumping right into it, make sure to set up a workstation in your house with a good internet connection, power outlets, and a comfortable chair.
Step Five: Hit the Road
Now it’s time to hit the road! Start by booking your flight and accommodation. Once you’re in your destination, start looking for co-working spaces, cafes with good WiFi, and places to stay.
How do I make money as a digital nomad?
The digital nomad lifestyle offers a lot of freedom, but it also requires you to be more organized and self-disciplined than the average person. If you can master those two things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful digital nomad!
There are many ways digital nomads make money while they travel. The most popular include freelancing, consulting, online courses, blogging, and affiliate marketing.
Freelancing is a great way to make money as a digital nomad. You can work in a variety of industries and fields, from writing and editing to web design and development.
To get started, create a profile on a freelancing platform like Upwork or Fiverr. Then, start bidding on projects that interest you. Once you land a few clients, you can transition into working full-time as a digital nomad.
Consulting is another great way to make money as a digital nomad. If you have expertise in a particular field, you can offer your services to companies and individuals all over the world.
Another excellent way to generate income as a digital income is through starting a blog. You can monetize your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing, or selling digital products like e-books and courses.
Affiliate marketing is also a wonderful way to make money as a digital nomad. It involves promoting other people’s products or services and earning a commission for every sale you make.
To get started, sign up for an affiliate marketing program like Amazon Associates or CJ Affiliate. Then, find products or services that you believe in and start promoting them on your blog or social media channels.
How to earn passive income as a digital nomad
Passive income is the dream, particularly for a digital nomad – you never have to stop traveling. However, setting up passive income takes work.
As a digital nomad, an ideal way to continue funding this lifestyle is to generate passive income. This way, even when you’re not working, you can still earn money.
Investing in real estate as a digital nomad can be a terrific way to generate passive income. It’s the best way that I’ve found over the years to travel and have income. You can buy properties in desirable locations and rent them out to short-term tenants.
Or, you can purchase dividend-paying stocks and bonds or online real estate investment funds that will provide you with regular income payments.
Starting your own online business is also a fantastic way to earn passive income, as digital nomads often have a lot of flexibility in terms of what they can do. A survey among digital nomads worldwide in 2022 revealed that most are self-employed, with more than 65% owning their own business.
For example, you could start an online store that sells products related to your niche. Or, you could launch a blog and sell digital products like e-books and online courses.
There are many different ways digital nomads can generate passive income. By choosing a couple of methods that interest you, you can create a reliable stream of revenue that will help fund your travels for years to come!
If you’re interested in generating passive income as a digital nomad, I suggest checking out my guide on the best ways to do it.
How to find digital nomad jobs?
What are the best digital nomad jobs? Where can you find them?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. The internet has opened up a whole world of opportunities for remote workers. With a little ingenuity and some hard work, it’s possible to find digital nomad jobs that offer the ideal blend of location independence, remote work, and decent income.
The best way to find these jobs is to start by looking at the skills that you already have. That is, the best digital nomad job for you will depend on your skillset, interests, and goals. Wondering where to begin?
To find remote job openings, start by searching job boards and websitesthat specialize in this sector. In the past, remote jobs were mostly reserved for highly skilled professionals with in-demand skills, such as software developers and designers. However, with the rise of the internet and the growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle, there are now a number of job boards that target digital nomad communities.
These job boards offer a wide range of remote jobs, from customer service and administrative positions to online marketing and social media jobs. Because they cater to remote workers, they often have a number of free resources online and tips for landing a remote job. If you’re interested in working online, be sure to check out one of these remote job boards.
Once you’ve found a few promising leads, it’s time to start applying. When applying for remote jobs, be sure that your profile matches the job description and highlight your digital nomad skills, such as the ability to work independently and manage your time effectively. With patience and effort, you can land the perfect remote job and start enjoying the freedom of working online.
While this digital nomad lifestyle has a lot of benefits, it can also be difficult to find steady work. That’s why I put together this guide on how to find digital nomad jobs. It features a list of skills, courses, and even personality traits to help you with your digital nomad journey.
The courses include suggestions for those just starting out, or you are already mid-career. You can choose a niche and become highly proficient in that niche.
What kinds of online businesses are best to start for digital nomads?
Digital nomads are a growing breed of entrepreneur. These remote workers are not tethered to a traditional office, and they have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. If you’re a digital nomad, or if you’re thinking about becoming one, you might be wondering what kind of online business is best to start. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
There are many different types of businesses digital nomads can start.
A business you can jumpstart immediately is freelancing. If you have skills in writing, web design, social media marketing, or any other area, you can start offering your services to clients online. However, remote work is not for everyone.
If you’re the type of person who needs structure and support in order to get work done, then freelance remote work is probably not for you. You need to be able to motivate and organize yourself in order to be successful in this remote profession.
However, if you’re the type of person who thrives on independence and enjoys being your own boss, then remote work can be an excellent option.
You can offer your services as a virtual assistant. Also known as a VA, a virtual assistant is a remote worker who provides administrative, creative, or technical support to clients from a remote location.
Depending on the freelance clients’ needs, virtual assistants could oversee everything from social media management to graphic design to customer service. Versatility is key when it comes to being a VA. This is a great option if you’re organized, detail-oriented, and good at managing your time.
Another option is to launch a remote job board. This can be a great way to help businesses connect with talented workers from around the globe. To succeed in this business, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the market. You’ll also need to put together an effective marketing strategy to reach your target audience.
One more excellent track for digital nomads is starting an online store. The internet has made it possible for anyone to become an online entrepreneur, and there are a number of platforms that make it easy to get started. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you launch your e-commerce empire.
First, you need to choose a niche. What are you going to sell? For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you could leverage your own blog to sell travel guides or e-books on your website. Second, you need to decide how you’re going to fulfill orders. Are you going to dropship? Finally, you need to establish a remote work schedule and lifestyle that will allow you to run your business effectively.
Fortunately, there are a number of free resources online available to help you get started as a digital nomad. Once you have the basics down, you can start selling your products and services online with relative ease. You can sell physical or digital products related to your niche.
If you’re interested in becoming an online entrepreneur as a digital nomad, I suggest checking out my guide on the best businesses to start.
Where can I find digital nomad communities?
A full-time digital nomad can go anywhere. But, one of the biggest challenges digital nomads face is loneliness.
There’s no shortage of digital nomad communities out there. Digital nomad communities can be found all over the world, from the beaches of Bali to the streets of Berlin. You might say that there are too many of them!
There’s no one digital nomad community – they’re spread all across the globe. You can find digital nomads in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between. There are even digital nomad communities in remote locations, like deserts and mountains. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find the perfect one for you.
The first step is to decide what kind of community you’re looking for. Do you want a large, active community with tons of events and activities, or a smaller, more intimate group? There are pros and cons to both choices, so it’s important to decide what’s most important to you.
Once you’ve got a general idea of the kind of community you’re looking for, the next step is to start your search. The best way to find a digital nomad community is to search online. There are a number of online forums and groups dedicated to digital nomads, and many of them are very active.
You can also find digital nomad meetups in most major cities, and these are a great way to meet other digital nomads, gain new friends, and learn about the lifestyle.
Finally, if you’re traveling to a popular digital nomad destination, such as Bali or Chiang Mai, there are likely to be a number of digital nomad communities already established there.
For those who feel chained to their desk by the digital world, digital nomad communities may seem like a far-off dream. However, these digital oases are more common than you might think. Just a few of the most popular include:
NomadBase: A digital nomad community located in Thailand that is open to digital nomads from all over the world.
Nomad House: A digital nomad community located in Spain that offers temporary co-working space and lodging for digital nomads.
The Dojo: A digital nomad community located in Bali that offers a variety of amenities for digital nomads.
So, whether you’re looking for online or in-person digital nomad communities, you should have no trouble finding what you’re looking for.
Digital Nomad Checklist: Guide to Freedom
The digital nomad lifestyle is one of freedom and flexibility, but it’s not necessarily an easy one. There’s more to it than just packing your laptop and heading off into the sunset.
In order to be a successful digital nomad, you’ll need to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need to stay productive (and sane) while working remotely.
If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the world of remote work, there are a few things you’ll need to check off your list first. Here’s a digital nomad checklist to help you get started:
A good laptop
This is pretty much essential for any digital nomad, so it’s non-negotiable. To find the best laptop for your digital nomad needs, it’s important to do your research.
Remember, not all laptops are created equal. While there are many great laptops on the market, some are better suited for digital nomads than others.
In general, digital nomads should look for laptops that can handle the demands of remote work, such as video conferencing and multitasking, and promise long battery life and a good selection of ports.
If you’re constantly on the go, you’ll want a laptop that’s lightweight and portable. But if you’re mainly working from coffee shops and co-working spaces, you might prefer something with a little more horsepower. And of course, price is always a factor.
It’s vital that you look for a machine that can handle all your work needs whether you’re a freelance writer, graphic designer, or web developer, there’s a laptop out there that will suit your needs. You’ll need something reliable to work on, after all!
A good internet connection
Digital nomads are a growing tribe of people who have embraced the freedom of working remotely. Whether it’s for a short-term project or an extended period of travel, digital nomads rely on portable wifi to stay connected and productive.
While the digital nomad lifestyle has its perks, it can also be fraught with challenges, particularly when it comes to finding reliable internet.
Fortunately, there are now some great portable wifi options available for digital nomads, making it easier than ever to stay connected while on the go. Portable wifi hotspots offer a fast, reliable way to get online, whether you’re working from a coffee shop in Bangkok or a hostel in Rio de Janeiro.
Since they rely on cellular data networks instead of wifi hotspots, they’re much more reliable than relying on public wifi. Moreover, the fact that they’re small and lightweight makes them easy to take with you wherever you are in the world.
A place to live
For digital nomads, the world is their oyster – but finding a place to stay can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a few great resources that can help digital nomads find housing in their next destination.
First, there are websites specifically devoted to digital nomad housing, like NomadBase and Roam. These sites offer a variety of options, from co-living spaces to private apartments, and they make it easy to find housing that fits your budget and lifestyle.
You can also try search engines like Booking, VRBO, and Airbnb, which often have an extensive selection of digital nomad rentals available for a few weeks or months at a time. Most digital nomads choose co-living spaces specifically designed for the digital nomad lifestyle.
Finally, don’t forget about good old-fashioned networking – tell your friends and family you’re looking for somewhere to stay, and they might be able to show you the ideal place to suit your needs.
A comfortable place to work
You’ll need to be comfortable working remotely. That means being able to stay focused and motivated without an office environment or set hours. You’ll need to find some remote work-friendly spots.
Coffee shops and libraries are always good bets. Some even enjoy working in hotel lobbies. But, co-working spaces are overall the best option for most digital nomads when it comes to remote work.
With the growing number of digital nomads, it comes as no surprise that there are also a growing number of coworking spaces that cater specifically to this group. These coworking spaces often offer features like fast Wi-Fi, plenty of outlets, and comfortable seating. In addition, some digital nomad coworking spaces provide amenities like bike storage, showers, and on-site cafes.
One great option is to search for digital nomad coworking spaces that offer a variety of seating options, like standing desks, lounge areas, and private meeting rooms. This way, you can mix up your workday and avoid sitting in the same spot for hours on end.
Another tip is to look for coworking spaces that have lots of natural light and plenty of outlets for charging your devices. And finally, be sure to check out the amenities offered and ensure they offer everything (or at least most things) you need.
Noise canceling headphones / earbuds
You’ll be spending a lot of time in coffee shops and co-working spaces, and trust me, you don’t want to hear your seatmate’s phone conversations. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones will come in handy, both for blocking out distractions and for making video calls in public places.
In picking what’s right for you, keep in mind that digital nomads need headphones that are durable and portable. We often work in coffee shops and other public places, so we need headphones that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. Since the digital nomad lifestyle means being always on the go, we need headphones that are easy to pack and carry with us.
A sturdy backpack
For the digital nomad, a backpack is not just a fashion statement – it’s an essential piece of gear. After all, when you’re constantly on the move, you need to be able to pack light and stay organized. That means your backpack serves as your office, your bedroom, and your home away from home. So it’s important to choose the right backpack for the job.
First and foremost, it should be spacious and well-designed, with plenty of compartments for all your digital devices and cables. Second, it should be comfortable to wear, with padded shoulder straps and a hip belt that distribute the weight evenly. Finally, it should be stylish – because let’s face it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in coffee shops and co-working spaces, and you want to look good while doing it.
A travel adapter
As a digital nomad, I’ve come to rely on my travel adapter to keep me connected while I’m on the road. Whether I’m working from a remote location or simply keeping in touch with friends and family, my travel adapter is an essential part of my kit.
If you’re going to be working from all over the world, you’ll need an adapter that can handle multiple types of plugs. After all, you can’t exactly do your work from a cafe if you can’t plug in your laptop!
Some adapters are designed to work with a variety of different electrical outlets, making them ideal for use in countries with diverse power standards. Some also usually come equipped with multiple USB ports, so digital nomads can charge all their devices at once. Many models even come with built-in surge protection, ensuring that delicate electronics are protected from power spikes.
A virtual mailbox
As a digital nomad, I often find myself on the move, with no permanent mailing address. And if you rely on friends or family to hold onto your mail for you, they might eventually get tired of playing postal worker.
Even if you have a forwarding address, it’s not always convenient to get to your mail in a timely manner. That can be a problem when it comes to things like bills, packages, and other mail. Fortunately, there’s a solution: virtual mailboxes.
A virtual mailbox is a digital service that provides you with a physical mailing address. This can be particularly helpful if you need to receive mail while you’re travelling.
Whenever you receive mail at that address, the virtual mailbox provider will scan it and send you a digital copy. You can then view and manage your mail online, and even have it forwarded to your current location.
Virtual mailboxes are perfect for digital nomads who need a reliable way to stay on top of their mail.
If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you’ve got a pretty good handle on remote work. But what about remote communication? Just because you’re not in the same physical space as your team doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch and stay productive.
There are a number of great communication apps out there that can help digital nomads stay connected not only with their teams but with their family and friends back home as well.
Slack is a great all-in-one communication tool that can be used for everything from real-time chat to video calls. Zoom is another great option for video calls, and it’s especially handy if you need to share your screen or record a meeting. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, consider using WhatsApp or FaceTime. If you need to collaborate on documents, Google Drive is an essential tool for digital nomads.
In today’s increasingly connected world, more and more people are choosing to become digital nomads, working remotely from wherever they happen to be. While this lifestyle comes with many advantages, it can also present some challenges, especially when it comes to communication.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that can make it easy for digital nomads to stay in touch with colleagues, clients, and friends. If you need more help in choosing the best communication apps for your digital nomad lifestyle, you can check out this article.
Local sim card
Getting a local sim card is now less important if you have an iPhone or Samsung that has a T-Mobile plan. You can get off the plane, turn on your phone in 152+ countries, and it will work seamlessly.
However, there are still some great local sim cards if you want to save on rates and get a local number. Getting a local number is great for long-term travelers who don’t want higher phone bills, less data, and don’t want to rely on Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and other apps to communicate while abroad.
If you do go the route of using your phone, there’s a trick I’ve used for years that still works to get a local US number while abroad.
If you’re a digital nomad, Google Voice can be a lifesaver. It’s a US-based phone number that you can use while living abroad, and it’s perfect for keeping in touch with clients, family, and friends.
Here’s how to set it up:
First, create a google account if you don’t already have one. Then, go to Google Voice and click on “Create a new account.” Follow the prompts to choose your Google Voice number. You can select a number from any area code in the US.
Now that you have your Google Voice number, you can start using it right away. Simply give out your Google Voice number when someone asks for your phone number.
Prepare a Pre-Travel Checklist
For a digital nomad looking to go on a next adventure, it’s important to check out this pre-travel checklist before you hit the road. From ensuring that your laptop is backed up to packing your nomad essentials, this checklist will help you make sure that you’re prepared for anything.
First and foremost, be sure to back up all of your important files before you leave. Whether you’re working on a new website or just have some photos that you don’t want to lose, backing up your files will give you peace of mind while you’re traveling. You can use an external hard drive or cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
You should also make sure your passport is up to date and that you have all the necessary visas for your destination. Don’t forget to make copies of all your important documents, organize your finances, and set up a budget for your trip. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises later on. Look into travel insurance to protect yourself from any potential risks as well.
For the longest time, the traditional 9-5 office job was the only way to make a living. But in recent years, that’s started to change. Thanks to the internet, more and more people are finding ways to make money online – and that’s led to the rise of the digital nomad.
So what is a digital nomad? In short, it’s someone who uses technology to work remotely, usually from a different location each day. That might mean working from a coffee shop in Madrid one day, and then from a beach in Bali the next.
These days, more and more people are opting to pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. There’s no doubt that the digital nomad lifestyle is alluring.
And who wouldn’t want to trade in their stuffy office and soul-sucking commute for a life of sunny beaches, tropical drinks, and working from wherever the wifi is strong? But is this idyllic lifestyle really all it’s cracked up to be? Is being a digital nomad worth it? That’s a tough question to answer.
If you value freedom and flexibility, then the answer is probably yes.
If you’re looking for stability and security, then you might want to stick to the traditional 9-5 lifestyle.
If you thrive in adventures, you will be forever altered.
If you’re open to immersing yourself in new cultures and learning about how the rest of the world works, it’s absolutely worth it.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be away from family and home, then this isn’t the best option for you.
If my family has a medical emergency, I get to go there right away with no questions asked and no restrictions to consider. Is that worth it? What’s the price or value of not being able to take care of your parents?
Being a digital nomad is the ultimate flexibility. To me, it’s worth it!
Running a business as an international globetrotter has never been easier, there’s no question. Getting from A to B is more convenient and more affordable than any other point in human history, and the Web means we can communicate with ease no matter where in the world we end up.
While the Internet has made overseas communication a lot easier than it used to be, there are still some gaps when it comes to convenient chatting. There’s the struggle to find decent WiFi in many parts of the world, the need for the right kind of power cord or adapters, and a few other hiccups you can run into when trying to get connected away from home. And the biggest pain in the neck by far is using the same smartphone both at home and abroad.
Use a SIM Card with Your Smartphone Overseas
The first major problem is that not all phones work with all cell networks. If you’ve ever bought a phone from someone other than your service provider—Amazon, eBay, a guy in a parking lot, whatever—you may have already run into this difficulty. Even if you’re staying in the US, you have to make sure your phone has the right hardware to work with your network of choice, and it’s not always as simple as it should be.
Second, assuming you’ve found a phone that works with all the networks you’ll be traveling through, there are roaming costs that can quickly send your bill through the roof. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, “roaming” simply means you’re using a cellular network that you don’t normally pay for. If you pay T-Mobile each month but end up making calls that go through a Verizon-only cell tower, T-Mobile has to pay Verizon for the use, and T-Mobile will pass those fairly significant charges on to you.
If you have a strictly US-based plan, you’ll be roaming anywhere else in the world you go. Even if you’re using your smartphone while connected to WiFi, you might not be safe—texting and phone calls might still end up on your cellular service plan, and they won’t be cheap.
There are a couple solutions to these international cell phone problems. Here are my two favorites—if you’ve found something you think we should know about, let me know in the comments!
T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan
AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint we could say have had a more US-centric approach to cell phone service. T-Mobile has long been owned by Deutsche Telekom, a German company that operates cellular networks and provides customers service in countries all over the globe. It makes sense, then, that T-Mobile is the most international-friendly of the major US service providers—if you’re on one of their Simple Choice plans, you already get unlimited data and texts in more than 140 countries (as long as you’re using one of T-Mobile’s networks—it’s still possible to get caught roaming, so be careful).
I was in Doha, Qatar recently and my T-Mobile plan allowed me to text friends, post to Instagram and Facebook, and do most of what I typically do with my phone without spending an extra dime. After years of unreliability when it comes to staying in touch while abroad, it was nice to be able to rely on!
The clear downside is that calls made over the cell network aren’t unlimited. In fact, they aren’t included in the plan at all and cost $0.20 per minute. You might be able to get around using a VoIP app like Google Voice or Skype, but these services tend to charge for international calls, too. And if you forget to use the app to make a call or pick up an incoming call without thinking, you’ll be hit with a surprisingly large bill.
Starting September 6th, T-Mobile introduced its T-Mobile ONE plan. At a glance, it seems pretty similar to the Simple Choice plans in terms of international benefits—unlimited text and data in most countries, but without calls included. You can also add a plan for your tablet and/or any wearables nice and cheap, though, so this might be worth looking into if you’re not already with T-Mobile.
AT&T Passport and Sprint Global
AT&T also has a Passport plan that offers unlimited texting and reduced prices for calling and data usage. There’s also an additional monthly fee, however, and all in all it’s pricier than T-Mobile. If you’re already with AT&T and only planning on traveling for a short while this might be your best bet, but if you’re willing to shop around I think you can do better.
A friend using Sprint also just informed me that they have a very similar plan to T-Mobile. It just launched a few months ago. So, T-Mobile now has some competition. But the fact that all the major carriers are recognizing international calling and communication via your smartphone and allowing you to use a SIM card with your smartphone overseas (in fact, the same card) while traveling is a giant leap forward in international communication.
Unlocking Your Smartphone and Getting an International SIM Card
T-Mobile’s plan is plenty for many, but there’s another way to achieve true smartphone freedom that any might find more appealing: an international SIM card for unfettered travel and spontaneity.
We won’t get too technical, but basically your phone’s SIM card allows it to”talk” to a cell network. If the network doesn’t recognize the SIM card, it won’t let you connect, or it will notify the network to charge those pricey roaming fees. You can get local SIM cards for each place you’re traveling, but you’ll need to get a local service plan, and international calls will still be expensive. An international SIM card that is designed to work with cell networks around the globe means you can use one phone to connect virtually anywhere.
Unlocking Your Smartphone
The SIM card is only one barrier when it comes to using your US-bought smartphone on international networks. You also need to make sure your phone has the right hardware to connect to a particular international network, which is pretty easy to do once you’ve selected an international SIM provider. Service providers also install software on their phones that can prevent you from using other carriers, so you’ll probably need to “unlock” your phone—mess with the software so your phone can work anywhere.
Unlocking your phone is perfectly legal and, when done correctly, perfectly safe. Digital Trends put together this awesome and updated unlocking guide that covers every major US carrier. You might have to bug your service provider a bit—they know that unlocking means you’ll be using someone else’s services—but they’ll get it done if you keep at them. T-Mobile may take up to 6 weeks to unlock whereas Sprint will unlock instantly with a phone call – but, they will only lock for overseas and disable unlocking on US soil. Once unlocked, you simply swap out your SIM card for the international SIM card you’ve purchased, and you should be good to go!
Getting an International SIM Card
Not all international SIM card providers are equal, of course. They all have their own coverage areas/countries and their own prices, and you should definitely research your selected provider based on where you want to travel. My personal favorite, and so far the one that has beat the competition hands-down for the places I’ve traveled, is OneSimCard.
OneSimCard sells you its international SIM cards for a flat rate of $29.95. There’s no monthly charge or connection fee, and your SIM card will work for calls and texts in more than 200 countries! You get both a US and an EU number for your phone, and incoming calls to the EU number are completely free, as are incoming text messages. Outgoing calls cost $0.25/min.—not bad when you consider you aren’t paying ANY monthly service fee—and you can also purchase them in bundles at a discount. Calls are even cheaper using OneSimCard’s VoIP app, which comes free with the SIM card.
Your international SIM card from OneSimCard will also give you access to mobile data networks in up to 180+ countries, depending on which SIM card you select (they have three available), with data rates as low as $0.02/MB. And of course, you’ll still be able to use data via any WiFi spots you find in your travels absolutely free.
For convenience and ease when you’re traveling to multiple countries, it really doesn’t get any easier than OneSimCard. When you’re back in the States you can swap out your cards again, and if you tuck your international SIM card somewhere safe—in a baggie with your passport, perhaps—it’ll be there for you the next time you’re ready for an international adventure!
Get Unlocked and Go International Today!
The barriers to international travel are falling every day. Whether you’re a business of one, have a small office you need to keep in touch with, or are a key figure in a multi-billion dollar enterprise, there are plenty of ways for you to stay connected as you travel. The Internet makes document sharing, social media, and a whole lot more readily accessible from your smartphone, and now you know a few tricks when it comes to texts and calls, too.
So what are you waiting for? You’re running out of excuses—stop reading, go get your international SIM card or switch up your phone plan (hint: try T-Mobile), and start booking those tickets today. The world is waiting!
The best part about working remotely or as a freelancer in the digital age is the endless possibility in terms of choosing the work site that works best for you. Want to work from your café or perhaps from a library? Or maybe you want to check a few items off your agenda while you’re enjoying the local cuisine at your favorite vacation destination?
Interestingly, as limitless or varied as your work locations can be, choosing where you next set up your work desk can also be quite limiting as it’s defined by the availability of Wi-Fi – the flip side of the digital age. If there is no reliable internet connection, it’d be impossible to work, unless you’re an artist trying to recapture the nearby scenery or spot. So no matter how fantastic your favorite jaunt is or how delicious the coffee they serve, you cannot operate from it if it doesn’t provide the best Wi-Fi hotspot for working remotely.
After all, operating as a digital nomad, a freelancer, remote worker or a startup entrepreneur, finding reliable wi-fi is CRITICAL to your daily operations. Wi-fi cannot be overlooked or underrated.
Not All Places with Free WiFi are Created Equal
I took off to Costa Rica in 2009 lured by the promise of wi-fi near the beach. Little did I know at the time … the line was shared with 12 other locations (just think dial-up speeds) and the power went out regularly – and by regularly I mean 1-2x daily.
Caution: Just because someplace offers wi-fi, it doesn’t actually mean you’re getting the type of connection that you’re used to.
So how do you ensure a dependable Wi-Fi connection when working remotely? Live Work Anywhere shares some fantastic tips for testing the internet speed as well as picking the best Wi-Fi hotspots for working remotely. Let’s get started!
How to Find Wi-fi that’s FAST and RELIABLE
When you set up shop and get ready to call your client for the big meeting, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper connection for the communication tool of choice.
First thing, always check your wi-fi speed to determine the strength. Generally speaking, you need at the very very least 1 mb download speed to be able to be functional and make a (choppy) Skype call.
Keep in mind, this 1 mb refers to a DEDICATED connection, not shared. It must be a consistent 1 mb or it will randomly drop the call. You don’t want this.
You’ll see a screen that comes up. It first detects your location and a place to “ping” a local server. Then you’ll see BEGIN TEST. Click Begin Test.
A little man will come up and your wi-fi speedometer will begin to calculate speed.
I prefer at least 4 mb download at minimum. Let’s be real, most of us are probably multitaskers and window or tab switchers. Having a call is one thing but you’ll need to switch back and forth to your notes. So, make sure to have at least 4 mb dedicated (there’s that word again) speed.
What do I mean by dedicated? Not a shared network – or, having a limited number of connections. If you have 10 people sharing the same 4 mb connection and one person attempts to stream a video on YouTube, he/she will hog all the bandwidth and leave you with very little or a dropped call.
Ensure the line is private and protected and that you know how many people are connecting into the same wi-fi network to avoid surprise drops and delays.
How Strong of a Wi-Fi Connection Do I Actually Need?
The answer to this is that it depends on what you’re actually doing. If you’re making a Skype voice call, you need less than 1 mb (though I wouldn’t recommend ever going below 4mb).
For a Skype VIDEO call, you need 4 mb non-shared minimum in order not to have any hiccups. I would suggest an 8mb connection if possible as your minimum target.
Here’s a handy chart you can keep with you when determining your connection speed and pairing it with the app you plan to use.
(Click image to see complete infographic)
Where Do I Find Strong AND Reliable Wi-Fi?
When you go to a new city, the adventurer in you most likely doesn’t want to find your usual Starbucks. However, coffee chains, particularly ones you know already, can offer reliable wi-fi, overpriced coffee, and a place to get things done.
1) Coffee Shops (particularly chains)
Sometimes I just feel like having a coffee, saying hello to friends, brainstorming something creative, and not having a meeting. For those times when I want to just enjoy local scenery or culture, I seek out a local independent coffee shop with a unique flavor and local vibe to study local culture.
But when reliability matters, I feverishly hunt down a chain location. These vary from country to country. A few staple chains are: Starbucks (worldwide), McDonald’s (worldwide), Burger King (Eastern Europe), Costa Coffee, Einstein Coffee (Germany).
I have yet to find a Starbucks anywhere in the world that doesn’t have good wi-fi, air conditioning, and doesn’t allow you to sit for hours at a time on your computer. This is my number one go-to for reliability. Tourists and large pre-work and mid-afternoon coffee drinker crowds may be your biggest noise distraction but generally speaking you can sit for hours and won’t be disturbed.
Note: Not all locations are identical – sometimes you’ll need to ask for the wi-fi code, and wi-fi times might be limited, so make sure to check before you plan out your meeting schedule. But at the very least you can start out at a Starbucks to figure out your next stop(s).
Here is a list of apps for finding wi-fi while you are mobile.
A couple that I’ve found useful are Free Wi-Fi and Passwords Hacker.
Always always make sure where you’re staying has wi-fi – and strong wi-fi that isn’t shared with everyone.
If you’re staying in a hostel make sure that the wi-fi is in the room, not just the common rooms, so that you can have quiet concentration time.
If your budget allows, grab an AirBnB studio apartment with wi-fi. It’s perfect for quiet space and your very own dedicated wi-fi. The extra price can be worth the potential loss in business. Make sure to ask your host to test your download/upload speeds using speedtest.net and make sure it’s not a shared line.
3) Co-working Spaces
Co-working spaces are popping up all over because of the need for strong, reliable wi-fi and consistent power. For a monthly fee, you get strong wi-fi, less noise than a coffee shop or cafe (though choosing the right co-working space for this is important), a community of likeminded people (again, choosing the right place will be important to tie into a community that will be mutually beneficial for business growth), consistent power, a desk to sit in, and long working hours.
Co-working spaces vary so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. Do you want a social community? Do you want business networking? Do you need quiet, private space? What kind of a community, if that’s one of your criteria, is important to you? Do you want a fancy, upscale co-working space or one that caters more to artists?
AnyPass can help you find the perfect space every time, especially when you are on the go and don’t have time to do the research. It’s helpful to know what type of place you’re looking for beforehand.
Some co-working spaces will offer you a free pass for the first time you visit. A google search for “co-working spaces in _____ (city name)” will help guide you. If you want to save time or if your time is limited, contact us at AnyPass and we will do the research for you so you have a place to plug into that’s right for you, right away.
4) Private Office Space
Co-Working spaces also offer private offices for those times when you need zero distractions. WeWork is quickly growing into a worldwide behemoth of private office spaces that are generally affordable for market rates.
Regus is another option for worldwide office locations with a variety of options from mail handling and phone calls to desks and conference spaces.
Be sure to join the network ahead of time to ensure seamless bookings and management of spaces.
5) Private Cable Wi-Fi Networks
In the US, most people have some sort of cable network for their Internet. We have networks like Xfinity and TimeWarner Cable (TWC). You may be out on the desolate coast working in a van (like I was recently in Western Washington near the surf town of Westport) and still see an Xfinity network pop up.
In South Africa, you might see Free Wi-Fi or Telecom Hotspot.
Sometimes all you need to do is log in to the network or buy a day pass and you can be up and running.
Boingo is also offered at 100 million hotspots worldwide so you might see this pop up at airports or public places like shopping malls in cities around the world. These are some sample venues of Boingo locations: Airports, Businesses, Restaurants, Hotels/Resorts, Public Spaces, Retail Spaces, Schools/Residential, Travel/Commute, Venue/Theater.
Some Unexpected Places
Wi-Fi isn’t limited to coffee shops or apartments. Here is a picture of me working in Namibia, Africa, getting speeds of 21-36 mb down from a 4×4 camper with CarFi, car wi-fi that plugs into the cigarette lighter.
I mentioned my Mitsubishi Delica earlier and working from the van with a Tmobile Hotspot. Watching the sun rise and set while spending the day by the beach are days I will never take for granted.
When not on the road, I’m often working from my houseboat in Seattle, again with a Tmobile Hotspot.
Some Cities are Better Than Others
While digital nomad cities are all the rage these days for amazing climates and inexpensive startup costs, what you’re gaining in a suntan you may be sacrificing in loss of connectivity.
Based on data collected from public WiFi hotspots across 172 countries, countries in Europe are the fastest and most well connected.
If you can afford the higher cost of living, then finding a spot in one of these countries might be to your favor.
So where’s a great place for you to live?
Stay tuned – we’re working on a reference chart that will help you determine the best places for you to live, based on your needs and preferences.
Where NOT to Find Strong Wi-Fi that’s Consistent and Reliable
1) Independent coffee shops
These CAN be a good bet in many cities and you absolutely can find them. Many cities, and with good reason, find cafes are for peaceful dining and socializing.
Here are some guides to finding wi-fi and places to work in nomad-friendly cities <link to LWA city guides>. However, when you’re first setting up shop, try a chain first so that you can (nearly) be sure of the ability to get work done.
2) Cheap Hotels and Hostels
While these locations may offer wi-fi, you always get what you pay for. Party hostels are cheap because they are overcrowded, there for you to socialize (not work), and wi-fi is not considered essential.
Mobile Wi-fi as a Backup: Mi-fi, SIM, Hotspots – even Car-Fi!
We’ve identified where to get strong and reliable wi-fi based on the best locations. But when you’re globe trotting you may be in some areas where there is no Starbucks, no McDonald’s, no Cable Wi-Fi network. Sometimes there’s no cell reception and you’re forced to work offline. But for those times when there IS cell phone reception and you are able to get data, it’s great – and highly recommended – to have a backup.
I recommend always having an unlocked hotspot with you, a local SIM card with a data plan and an unlocked mobile phone, and the ability to update your phone’s data plan in only a few clicks.
Do You Need Mobile Wi-fi? Hotspots versus SIM cards.
Well, that all depends.
If you have your AirBnB studio with wi-fi, then you probably won’t need it, unless you plan to be out and about a lot.
If you’re working from cafes with strong wi-fi that let you sit and work, you won’t need it.
If you choose to work from your hotel / hostel room, a boat on a marina, a campsite, a mountain (with cell phone reception), a bus/train, etc then you will likely want to have mobile backup.
I carry around a TMobile ZTE hotspot and I also have a TMobile simple plan iPhone that I can upgrade within 2 minutes online to activate as a hotspot.
Most cities will offer you a mobile hotspot option. Just go to the local carrier shop and ask for a hotspot. Generally speaking, it will cost around US $100 for the hotspot and some credits.
If you want to spend less, then make sure your phone is unlocked and buy a local SIM card with a data plan. You can start out this way from $20 USD and you’ll only have one device to worry about carrying around.
On the other hand, depending on how quickly you go through data, you may want to carry around a hotspot. Data plans for phones are catching up, but hotspots as of this posting are still faster and have better data capability.
How Does Mobile Internet, or Mi-Fi Hotspot, Work?
Mi-fi is a short term for mobile wi-fi. Since you are mobile, or planning to be, you should consider this as an option.
Does my mobile device work overseas? As of this writing no.
The reason – because it’s tied to a local cell phone carrier / company and there is high competition.
When you go to a new country, similar to purchasing a SIM card, you would purchase a data plan with that SIM card (to have wi-fi on your phone) or you would purchase a hotspot, or mi-fi device, like my TMobile hotspot.
The hotspots (mi-fis) also have a SIM card. Unless you plan on living in the same location for 2 years or longer, it’s best to find a hotspot with a month to month, or prepaid plan.
Some options in the US are: TMobile, Verizon, AT&T.
Mobile wi-fi also means being connected while in the air or in the airport.
Services like Boingo and GoGo offer services to help you stay connected in the airport and in the air, respectively. AnyPass automatically connects you with these services as your partners.
Any tricks you’ve found for finding fast and reliable wi-fi that aren’t listed here? Please share!
How to Get WiFi While Traveling: Conclusion
Hopefully, with these tips, testing and finding fast and reliable Wi-Fi for your remote work will be easy. Go ahead – hunt for a suitable co-working space, café, or maybe even a chalet with strong Wi-Fi to work remotely if you want to work in isolation. Live Work Anywhere remains committed to bringing resources and advice to anyone who wants to realize their dream of living and working from anywhere – literally.
Ever feel your heart pounding in your chest? Ever feel like you’re going to have a heart attack? I know I do. There is a term for this in Japan, they call it Karoshi.
I first learned of this term while watching “Happy”, a Netflix documentary.
Karoshi is a Japanese word literally meaning “Death by Overwork”.
I hit pause on the remote. This is a REAL thing. I’ve felt stress and I’ve felt my heart pounding in my chest when I am exhausted and overworked. But I never really paid full attention to it before – until I heard what can happen as a result.
Case Studies on Karoshi:
Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office.
Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37.
Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death.
Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.
TWENTY-TWO years old? 34? 37? Is this you? Stress and age do have a correlation, but don’t underestimate the toll that stress can have on you.
Causes of Work Related Stress:
All-night, late-night or holiday work, both long and excessive hours.
Stress accumulated due to frustration at not being able to achieve the goals set by the company.
Forced resignation or dismissal from staff cutbacks.
Acting as the middle man for layoffs.
This really struck me and also resonated with me – and maybe for you, too.
What can you do to not be a victim of Karoshi?
How to Manage Stress
1. Exercise – a lot, cardio in particular, to work the heart.
2. Force yourself to take breaks. Set a timer and get up when it goes off. Working longer hours doesn’t mean better results. Unwavering self discipline in practice will change your life.
3. Find a vice. Hot showers, going camping, playing guitar – do something that allows you to feel Zen.
4. Diet. What you put in your body plays a critical role in your output. Amp up your fruits and vegetables and lower your caffeine and alcohol.
5. Take walks. Apart from your exercise routine, get some fresh air during your work day.
6. Seek emotional balance. Spend time with the people who lift you up and give your heart joy.
7. Meditate. 20 minutes twice per day sit quietly with your eyes closed to calm your thoughts. Mental and emotional also effect the physical self. Meditation is proven to reduce stress.
In short, it’s just not worth it.
I had this post saved as a draft for some time. But today, I got a message from an ex coworker’s wife saying that he had passed. I spoke with him 12 hours ago and now he’s gone.
The reason, she said, is because of the first three reasons above – overworked, unachievable goals, and unforeseen dismissal for reasons not related to performance. He was stressed about work and he had a heart attack.
This message all too eerily reminds me of the phone call I got in November a few years ago. Richard was working at his desk when suddenly he had an aneurism that led to a stroke, and he instantly passed.
The saddest part of both of those stories?
They both left behind young children. Robert has a newborn baby boy, less than 6 months old, and a daughter whom he helped with homework every night. Richard had a four-year old daughter who considered her dad her best friend.
Now, because of unnecessary stress, they aren’t able to see their children grow. They’ve left their wives behind and they have become only memories.
Stress is a serious thing. No matter what path you take in life, you will always be okay. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re overstressed, get the courage to make a change for a path with more balance. You owe it to yourself and to your family, and to the lessons you can leave for future generations.
In several studies, he concluded that “most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose”
Extreme overworking, trying to impress the boss, getting your life out of balance – these are not heroism. Even a step beyond corporate slavery, it’s tragically fatal.
Life isn’t all about work. It’s about feeling a sense of purpose, and making an impact. When you create, when you give something of yourself, you want to see your work rewarded.
“Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes,” Ariely says.
What can you do if you aren’t feeling rewarded? Change jobs, become your own boss. But, do not fall into the trap of overworking and giving all of yourself, leaving your family behind, only to have your work not be rewarded. It’s not worth it. Wouldn’t you rather become a case study about what you accomplished?
Stress is manageable. You have to work at it. But working at reducing stress – THAT is worth it.
Source of case studies and causes https://www.ilo.org/safework/info/publications/WCMS_211571/lang–en/index.htm
Want to make a real difference in your life? You can and this begins with the actions that you take each day.
When you’re in the corporate world, your days all look relatively similar:
Listen to the news
Go to work
Check your email
Go to a meeting at 10
Have lunch at 12
Go to another meeting at 2
Go home at 5
However, they’re much different when you’re no longer in the corporate world because you get to dictate your own schedule when you work for yourself. This provides an overwhelming sense of freedom as you choose where to be and when. But… you might also feel a little lost. So, leaving the corporate world to work remotely requires that you establish a routine.
“Success is made in your daily routine.”
I remember when I left Adobe, trying to imitate my schedule each day. Wake up (well, roll out of bed and go to my desk), get coffee, and start working at 9 am. But, what was I supposed to work on, exactly? Should I create meetings? With whom? Should I eat lunch at 12?
I would stay up until 3 am sometimes doing work because, in my head, staying up late meant that I was being productive. But I never quite got momentum and I wasn’t sure where to focus.
I was burning the candle at both ends with unpredictable results.
It took years to learn how to establish a routine yet, looking back, I realize it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done. Creating a daily routine helps keep me focused, on track, and productive. Sure, you get to dictate your schedule, but it’s the details in your daily routine that matter.
Routine leads to success. Make your routine robotic and your life will become less chaotic. It sounds ironic, but adding discipline into your routine actually allows you to have more freedom.
What does my daily routine look like?
My Daily Routine
Though it may vary by location, especially as someone who travels around the world crossing different time zones and cultures, I have a routine that I follow each day.
My routine beings with waking up by 7:30, then exercise and meditation for 35 minutes minimum, and then setting milestones and reviewing them. If my schedule changes or I have to run out in the morning before exercising, I adjust. But I still get the most important things done.
Then, with a cup of black tea and a light breakfast, I sit down and get at it.
First – and very important – I write a to-do list. I just use Notepad or an equivalent. I’ve tried several other tools, but this one works for me and I always default to it. I think it’s because it’s quick and reliable and just easy to read.
Next, my to-do list must be prioritized and milestones set. This reduces the amount of stress I feel and really helps my focus and clarity.
I’ve actually written my routine down and taped it to my wall. I had a blue Sharpie and piece of typewriter paper. I wrote down everything I needed to do each day to keep myself on track (even feeding my cat and brushing my teeth – not kidding) and I pinned it to my door.
Here’s what my blue Sharpie’s list looked like:
Get up by 7:30
Eat small snack
Go to the gym
Work out for 35 minutes, burn a minimum of 500 calories
Eat blend of protein and carbs, low caffeine (exercise replaces caffeine)
Start work by 9 am
Make calls 10 am – 2 pm
Take a break at 2 pm go for a walk to energize
3-5 pm for afternoon meetings
5 pm take a break
Have dinner at 6 pm and spend time with family / friends
7-9 pm go for a walk and spend time with family / friends
9-11:30 pm prepare for the following day
Read something inspirational before falling asleep
Of course, life doesn’t always happen on autopilot, but what I am doing is forcing myself to create a schedule and stick to it.
Creating Your Own Daily Routine
Although this is what I do, don’t overlook the importance of establishing your own routine.
I suggest you come up with your own routine and write it down. I prefer not to waste paper and to have everything in one spot, so I use Notepad or TextEdit on Mac to store my daily milestone list. But come up with what works best for you.
I do want to note that there are a ton of productivity tools out there (Evernote, Reminder List, and tons of apps). Not that these aren’t good tools, but to manage yourself and your daily routine, you really just need something simple. By the time you learn to use a ‘tool,’ you will have wasted time you could have spent taking care of 5 items from your list. Notepad is just quick and what I call an anti- procrastinator.
(Note: Writing on a physical notepad works even better for committing thoughts to memory via the electromagnetic impulses in your fingers.)
Now, just do the routine for the habit-forming 21 days and you will start to do it without thinking. If you get off track, go back to your note.
But the important thing is, don’t delay. Create your list – and follow it.
With a posted routine, can you still be spontaneous? Yep. Can you go to your daughter’s soccer game? Yep. Just prepare your schedule in advance so you can arrange and rearrange and plan around it.
But most important is setting aside time to create and check in. Healthy body and healthy mind are of utmost importance. Find 4 hours per day. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Venice. You can find 4 hours to keep yourself on track.
Also, monitor what you do in your spare time. It’s good to be spontaneous but what you do in your spare time, how you choose to spend your time and with whom, is an indicator of your success.
We’ll get into more later about your routine and dissect your day but, for now, just remember routine is key. It may sound robotic but it’s a way to build routine into your day and to manage yourself and your life.
Go back to that list, often! Check in with yourself.
Tips for Daily Routine Success
Once you’ve established a routine, scripted it out, and learned how to have the discipline to follow your script, it helps to do some other things to help make the process easier.
Some of my best tips for daily routine success include:
Go to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. This keeps you out of trouble and helps you stay focused and fresh. The first thoughts of the day are most important.
Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Do not try to be a ‘useless hero‘. Get sleep every night. Good sleep. It makes a huge difference. Burning yourself out helps no one.
Exercise each day. Make this the first thing you do each morning (instead of drinking coffee). Aim for 35 minutes minimum, shortly after you wake up. No excuses. Do it for 21 days and you’ll notice the difference. Remember: Your physical health feeds your mental health. For me, this involves taking a walk, after which I am able to sit down, make a list of my milestones, and bust out the next 4-5 hours of hard, focused work.
Meditate each day. Some people prefer to meditate upon waking up. For me, this doesn’t work. Instead, I meditate and prepare for the coming day during my daily morning walk or exercise because this is when my mind is most open to creative ideas and better able to focus. During the day, when my mind needs a break from stress or fatigue, I take another walk or listen to a meditation app and take the time to slow my heart rate and mind.
Study each day. What you feed your mind is critical. Listen to audiobooks or read on Kindle. Consider business books or think about new skills you want to learn or practice. Reading in the morning stimulates creativity for later in the day and reading before you go to bed helps the mind stay focused and learning while you sleep. Steven Covey says that everything we know has a half-life of two years, so you must constantly be upgrading and sharpening your skills if you want to stay on top of your game and keep your business competitive.
Break tasks into milestones. As you’ve learned in the milestones post, you want to break your tasks into achievable chunks. Then, accomplish those tasks. If one takes too long, break it into smaller, more achievable tasks.
Think through your workflow. Think through your milestones in your head before you even sit down to produce. Envision yourself having a successful day. Visualize yourself accomplishing your milestones. Then execute like a boss.
Put a time limit on tasks. Forced deadlines help you get focused. That’s why it is beneficial to time yourself. Can you get that project done in 30 minutes? Try it. Do the best you can.
Don’t be a perfectionist. Perfectionists tend to either get termed lazy or uptight – neither of which is going to help you. Instead, set deadlines to let go of the sense of “perfect makes done.” DONE makes done. The more you time yourself to get things done in a limited period of time, the better you’ll train yourself over time to produce – and in a way that is satisfactory to you.
Practice self-discipline. The most important aspect of being an entrepreneur, especially a traveling entrepreneur, is self-discipline. It is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. Follow your list. If you have an off day, it’s okay. Just don’t let it turn into two days. Get up and get back in routine as quickly as possible.
Extinguish negativity. You only have so many hours in the day. Don’t get caught up in drama or in things that won’t move you forward. Don’t let other people, especially negative people, rule your thoughts during your day. Every second of the day belongs to you; it is your time, choose it carefully and selfishly. If you do have to interact with negativity, prep yourself beforehand and decide how you’ll handle the situation, how you’ll steer yourself back into focus. A little mental preparation before a tough situation can have a very powerful effect on the outcome.
Overnight successes take years on average. What every success story has in common is commitment. Never give up, ever.
Success is made in your daily routine.
This is one of 15 articles, each one addressing the 15 different mobility criteria necessary to live and work anywhere. To learn more about the remaining mobility criteria, click here.
So…think about your business goals. What’s important to achieve this year? This month? This week? Now the tiniest chunk…today?
What can you do today that will have an impact on your business and move it forward?
Remember we are aiming for success, so you want to make your milestones achievable.
If your milestones aren’t achievable or feel overwhelming, then they are too big. Reduce them until they are the right size for you to accomplish them.
Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Sure, you might not get everything done on your to-do list, but getting 3 things accomplished is much better than getting 6 things half-finished all because you were trying to rope the moon.
Success Begets Success
Setting achievable milestones is also important in order to feel “done” or that you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.
This makes you want to have that feeling over and over again so, in that way, success begets success.
Plus, there’s nothing more rewarding than deleting a task or milestone because you’ve accomplished it.
It’s done. No looking back.
You’ll sleep better, have more peace, and less stress.
Feeling overwhelmed and under-accomplished will kill you so you also have to remove guilt if you don’t accomplish every milestone you’ve set for yourself.
Things happen. If you can’t achieve them, just put them on tomorrow’s milestone list, and start over. Forgive yourself and move on.
This is important!
I am a perfectionist and a hard worker. If I can’t accomplish something, sometimes I take it personally. But we are human. We all fall. The important thing is to get back up and keep on going.
No strings. No emotion. Just get back in the ring. The sooner the better.
Are you ready to start creating your own daily, weekly, and monthly milestones?
Practical Exercise:Create Your Own Milestones
You are probably full of energy, ideas, and to-do’s that have been bubbling in your head as you’ve been reading. Now is the time to write them down and then narrow down the list.
Ask yourself: What’s been lingering that if you just took the time to get it done today you’d 1) feel better and 2) be able to focus on your other pressing milestones that you want and need to get to?
Right now, I want you to take out a piece of paper or your device and write:
What are my milestones today?
(Remember: Milestones must be achievable.)
Here’s an example list I’ve had:
Call / arrange the dentist (been waiting on this one forever even though it only takes 5 minutes!)
Call Raj and ask about his schedule for tomorrow and Friday, lock in interview time
Call Aweber and ask about transferring existing subscriptions
Release Father’s Day campaign for Beer2Buds
These are small tasks, but they are each profound. Let’s take a deeper look at each one and why it was so important to my success…
Health. If we don’t prioritize things like health they will come back to haunt us later.
Meetings. This meeting was for hiring a new employee to do sales/biz dev.
Task management. Calling a provider and technical setup for my user base.
Business Development. Crafted and launched a newsletter, outbound content marketing to drive inbound sales.
Even though each one was important, notice that I didn’t add things that took more than 2 hours maximum and, at minimum, 5 minutes.
Now that you have your milestones set, commit to achieving them first thing in the morning.
Use Your Mornings to Your Advantage
Your most important part of the day is the morning. You’re freshest, your mind is the clearest, and you have the most energy.
After 4-5 hours of hard core productivity, your battery will start to run low. So use the time when you’re at your highest energy to accomplish those milestones.
If, once these are accomplished, you want to take on more, by all means do. But what we’re trying to avoid here is burnout or creating an endless list that will not get done.
What we’re also trying to accomplish is the creation of successful habits. Feeling good, feeling accomplished, having enough rest to keep your mind fresh for the next set of milestones.
We want achievable goals that we can reach in one day. If a task is longer than 2 hours, it’s too big. Break it down into smaller pieces.
Do this and, at the end of the day, you feel accomplished for what you’ve been able to do versus overwhelmed by what hasn’t gotten done. Then, do the same for tomorrow.
Having a hard time staying focused on hitting your milestones?
Refer Back to the List
When I get distracted or sidetracked, as often happens, I remember I have a list. I refer back to it and, in all her glory, there she is, telling me what to do.
I’m instantly back on track.
The beauty about having it written down? Have you ever found yourself in this scenario:
You’re hard at work. You’ve had your caffeine, read you’re online motivation, and you’re fired up, ready to get at it.
About 45 minutes into your hard work, your co-worker walks in. He got a haircut and a piercing. You comment on it.
“How was your weekend?” you ask. And it begins.
Thirty minutes later, ugh, you’re wondering, “What was I gonna do again?”
You’re adjusting in your seat. You take a bathroom break. “What was I gonna do again?”
Twenty minutes later the mailman comes. Your new Kindle arrived. Yes! You can’t play with it now because you have a meeting in 20 minutes. But you open it, turn it on, and show it off. Then you diligently put it away.
After your meeting, you sit down. The client was angry. You’re exhausted. You stare at your screen. “What was I gonna do again?”
“Oh yea, eat lunch.”
Before you know it, the day is gone and you’re left with nothing done.
Now…this is what a day looks like when you’re being productive, in the same scenario:
Each time you ask the question “What was I gonna do again?” you Ctrl+Tab back to your notepad.
There is your list. You read it and it refocuses you.
You are now back on track.
Manage yourself by what you wrote in the morning when you were in your most creative and productive zone.
Crack the whip on yourself! If you want to, say “yeehaw, back in the saddle again” each time. Or not. It’s up to you.
But when you create daily, weekly, and monthly milestones—and meet them—you’ll feel that kind of excitement!
This is one of 15 articles, each one addressing the 15 different mobility criteria necessary to live and work anywhere. To learn more about the remaining mobility criteria, click here.
LiveWorkAnywhere connects you with resources including articles, products and courses that help you build an online business or find a remote job, allowing you to live and work from anywhere.
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LiveWorkAnywhere connects you with resources including articles, products and courses that help you build an online business or find a remote job, allowing you to live and work from anywhere.