Escape’s Digital Nomad To-Do List
If you want to ditch the office and your usual surroundings to go on a Digital Nomad adventure, working remotely from beautiful locations around the world - then we've created a to-do list just for you.
A whole new world.
Or the same world, we’re just able to travel to more parts of it and work.
The UK can be a slog sometimes. Skies the colour and weight of lead, dark and cold mornings funnelling you onto busy roads, high rises stretching into the sky as if pointing in the direction of the cost of living. If this is all weighing on you and you’re desperate to go somewhere new, meet new people, learn new things, or have an adventure… then this is a to-do list for you.
You may already know this but it’s still fun to talk about. Where do you want to go? What are your reasons for going? Are you someone that wants to move from place to place and only open the laptop when necessary? Do you want to learn a particular language or immerse yourself in a particular culture? Do you love the sea and want to learn to surf or do you love the cold and want to learn to ski?
There are so many options, but when you close your eyes and imagine working from anywhere… what image pops into your mind? for Escape’s co-founder Dom it’s skiing to the coworking space in Chamonix, whereas for Hilary it’s working from a remote island in the middle of the ocean.
Quite a lot has happened in the last 10 years, and one of those things was Britain leaving the EU. I know, it feels like a million years ago, it was a time when David Bowie and dinosaurs still walked the earth. The most obvious impact of this is the end of free movement, which makes things a little difficult for people who want to move freely.
Post-Brexit, unfortunately, things are a little more complicated and possibly a little more expensive, but don’t worry, it shouldn’t put you off, you may just need to save and plan a little more.
Generally speaking, the way to secure the easiest entry is to land a job in the country you’re hoping to move to. Check out our jobs in exotic locations for this. However, the nomad life is generally one of freelancing for different companies not resident in the country you are in.
This is where things get a little complicated. If you’re looking to settle in just one country with the potential of staying there for many years you can explore residency options that allow you to work. It is difficult to generalise and you will have to check out the requirements from your country of choice. This article is a good start to the requirements different European countries have. It is always worth checking out Gov.uk and here you can read all the living and working advice in all European countries. This route will require you to pay tax in that country, set up a bank account and/or get an address.
There is now also a new option, The Digital Nomad Visa. These are really useful, straightforward visas that cover you when you work remotely from a different country. They cost money but the price is easy to find and you can apply for them yourself. Check out this guide to the best countries for digital nomad visas.
Private health insurance is usually a legal requirement for digital nomads. It’s also an incredibly important safety net. Your health is high up on the list of things not to take risks with. If you are new to a country or travelling alone, it’s a really wise idea to insure yourself properly. Some visas may even require you to take out private health insurance. Check out this guide to Digital Nomad Insurance.
Accommodation and where to work
This is another area where things can get quite exciting. Accommodation and workspaces are exciting areas of research when you are planning your remote life. Housesitting is one option, especially for those who want to budget. You can housesit for people in some fantastic locations, look after their house and pets - especially great if you’re an animal lover. Websites such as Trusted House Sitters, Nomador, and House Carers are great. This is an amazing way to stay in a cool location rent-free!
Other options that cater solely for digital nomads are companies such as Outsite and Selina. These guys provide the option not only of great places to work with great internet and workspaces, but also a place to sleep. These stylish and comfortable rooms allow you to set up your work and sleeping arrangement easily and then focus on being productive and having fun. These arrangements have amazing benefits of bringing you together with other like-minded people who are also travelling and working remotely. They are all-in-one solutions to community, accommodation and work.
Community and socialising
This can be a big one for people who want to uproot in search of an exciting life. It can be one daunting task too many to consider how you will meet people and it can sometimes make people feel insecure. Let’s make it easy for you.
The accommodation options mentioned above are also fantastic ways to meet other nomads. There are also often Facebook groups for people moving to particular cities and this can be a good place to start. Nomad List is also a great community of remote workers living and travelling around the world.
If you are considering learning a language then finding out where language exchanges are taking place is a great way to meet people. This is where speaking English comes in handy, a lot of people want to learn to speak it. These events are generally free, take place in bars and involve speaking half of the time in your own language to a learner, and the other half in the language you are trying to learn. It’s a great way to meet people that doesn’t require fluency.
There are also apps such as eat with where you can join social meetups with locals and travellers over delicious food.
One other benefit of choosing an exciting or beautiful place to go to is that your friends and family won’t need much convincing to come and visit you!
Usefully, we at Escape have also written an article around How To Stay Social While Working From Home you can check out for some great tips. Also, give this page a visit that lists all the online groups where you can find a community.
Do you want to get ahead on learning the language before you go? The best app (in my opinion) for this is without a doubt (still just an opinion) Language Transfer. It uses the ‘thinking method’ and teaches and practices grammar in a way that couldn’t feel further away from your GCSE French classes. It is absolutely fantastic, and somehow, absolutely free. They cover lots of the main European languages such as Spanish, Italian, Greek, German, French and even some more interesting ones like Turkish.
If you want more practice speaking there are great websites such as italki that allow you to speak with native speakers from the country and even the specific regions that you are going to.
Money can be a big topic, so rather than rehash what we’ve said elsewhere, check out our guide on How To Live An Affordable Digital Nomad Life.
Once you consider everything on this list you’ll have a good idea of how much money you could spend on visas and accommodation and can then see what is realistic for you.
Also bear in mind there are some great apps that help you with money abroad such as Wise (formerly Transfer Wise).
Are you excited?
Yes, nerves still count as excitement. Remember that a lot of these suggestions can be ticked off before you arrive leaving you hassle-free on your arrival to enjoy yourself. We wish you a happy escape!