When I started my nomad journey, I felt like I could go ANYWHERE. And it was a big challenge because I had to actually start making decisions on where I want to live, where I want to travel to and how to manage all of this sudden freedom I got. That’s why here’s a guide new nomads might find useful: starter guide on where to move as a digital nomad!
I started my digital nomad journey back in 2014 with the first destination being Sarande, in Albania. Afterward, my road took me to Split, in Croatia, which still is one of my favorite places to live in Europe. I’ve also spent some time in Denmark (expensive!), Italy and now I’m living in Portugal.
As you see, for now, all of my long-term destinations have been limited to Europe but this guide is not all about that.
Let’s dive into it, shall we?
Starter guide on where to move as a digital nomad
TIP #1 Start with the comfort you know
If you’re not 100% adventurous type, day in and out, it’s good to start your digital nomad journey with a place that is rather well-known and comfortable for you.
Is there anywhere you’ve traveled to that you loved?
Is there a city or country similar to your hometown that you’d love give a try?
Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean moving to Thailand just because you have to. There is no requirement to move overseas. Or do anything that scares the shit out of you.
If it’s your first time living abroad for a longer time, getting cold feet is normal. And it’s also absolutely okay to choose the safe option. Start out easy.
When making the decision on where to move as a digital nomad, consider what you already know and love. Give yourself some time.
For example, for Europeans, it’s rather easy to move all over Europe. In most countries, there is no need for a visa, there will be no surprising systems waiting for you, no unexpected requirements.
Each new country still is unique and each new move will consist of a surprise moment or a few. But don’t risk it big time before you’re ready.
TIP #2 Always check the connectivity
The internet. The transportation. The people.
CONNECTING is important for digital nomads. It includes both internet and many other things.
(1) Check the internet speed in your chosen country
If the overall speed is low, maybe think twice about your preferred destination or be ready to be VERY patient. Nothing can be as horrifying as a slow internet… Even if you think like you could bear with it, very often a slow internet is close to non-existent…
(2) Make sure to check transportation connections
Like I recently discovered, while living on Krk, it IS possible to end up in a place with no public transportation. It’s even more possible to get stuck in a place with bad flight connections which is a pity if you’re flying often. It’s also a matter of busses or trains between cities. There are towns where the connectivity can be really poor. Make sure to prepare yourself beforehand!
(3) Connections with people are just as important
If you’re moving to a place where there is no nomad community, there’s lack of any kind of travelers, no coworking spaces or maybe even no international community at all, it can be very hard to find new friends or even connect with anyone in general. For example, in Saranda, Albania, there were no locals around my age range, older generation didn’t speak English and there really was a lack of tourists.
TIP #3 Make it a nomad-friendly place
If you don’t have many options to choose from, you might want to stick with a nomad-friendly place where to move as a digital nomad.
There are some “nomad Mekas” all over the world. They’re well-known for location independent travelers since they fill all of the checkboxes:
- Fun to be in
- With many entertainment options
Those places include but are not limited to Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest, Bali, Lisbon, Mexico City…
You can use some Facebook nomad groups to learn more about these places that are very nomad-friendly.
TIP #4 Check the weather!
Many nomads are moving across the globe not because of money or adventures but because of the weather! While it might seem like a ridiculous thing to do, having a nice (or whatever you prefer) weather IS an important part of making the decision.
I personally prefer warmth but can’t stand hotness for a long time. We were just traveling through Europe in August and for a month it was 30°+ degrees and sun, day in and day out.
While I truly enjoyed this hotness, it’s also rather hard to work in such weather, not even talking about going for a run or sightseeing.
The amount of water drunk at this time is INSANE. And living in such conditions for a long-term might not be the best pick for everyone.
Therefore, make sure to really check the weather in different parts of the world and educate yourself about the differences. Sometimes, being in a humid environment is even worse than crazy hotness. Some people just can’t stand being too cold or not seeing sun enough. So take a well-informed decision!
TIP #5 Don’t overthink it
Where to move as a digital nomad is the last thing to overthink – once you become a digital nomad, you have all of the freedom to move as often as you want and choose any of your preferred destinations.
Therefore, my last but not least tip is to not overthink it.
If you have a destination you want to go, go for it. There is no need to start with a long-term commitment and arrange a living there for months or years… You can easily travel first, explore new destinations and only afterward make some more serious decisions.
Another thing: very often we read or think that our chosen places will be THE best. Just the way we’ve read and imagined. And we’ll love them! But we don’t.
Sometimes the actual vibe of the place just doesn’t work.
How did you choose your first location as a digital nomad?
Got any questions or tips to add? Let me know in the comments!