If you haven’t already read part one of this series, then head on over here. We’re onto steps four to six when it comes to becoming av new digital nomad and becoming part of the community. Last time we focussed on your job, housing and location preferences, and this time we delve into three entirely different topics. Let’s go!
Make budget calculations
Do you make a monthly budget for yourself? If not, then as a new digital nomad this is a must. It’s so that you can get to enjoy everything. You can find the best fitting accommodation and work space in your desired location. Then you can fit in all the activities and daytrips you want to do.
Travelling long term is actually cheaper than going on vacation! However you need to prepare well and organize yourself so that you stay productive and keep your job/clients/projects. If you don’t do this, you won’t keep making money every month nor just spend it all!
So ask yourself:
How much will the accommodation cost you?
Will you be renting any other office space?
Will you be renting a car?
Do you need special services for your kids or pets?
How often do you plan on eating out?
How much you ideally want to spend on food/drinks/snacks?
Will you be going to the gym or taking some classes like yoga/sports/dance?
If this is the case, then it’s time to figure out what is on offer in your selected location. How much do memberships cost? Prices vary lot and not all places offer a drop in class independently of the membership.
Are there any workshops you wish to attend and how much will that cost?
How much will the extra tourist activities and daytrips cost you?
Do you need/want to go to the hairdresser/barber during the time you’re there?
Would you like to check out some spa services, like sauna or massage?
What about a facial, waxing, mani-pedis – how much will that cost?
All of this can be done before landing. You can find local services on social media and google maps. Once you know which neighborhood you will be staying in, you can zoom it in on google maps. See what’s around, then check those places on FB or Instagram. Send them a message to check their availability and prices. Sometimes they even have special offers and promos, discounts on specific days or services.
Getting around as a new digital nomad
Another thing to add to the budget is the transport. This is not necessarily a monthly cost but you might want to budget it in for overall.
Will you be driving, or taking a bus/train/boat or you have to fly there?
and with this in mind:
How much will it cost you to get there?
You can check and compare transport options using sites like Skyscanner, Momondo, Kiwi, and Google flights. Then you have Get by bus, Check my bus, Busbud – often you can see what carriers operate on those lines and you can check out their offers directly. More often than not it will be cheaper to buy from them directly. Sometimes they offer discounts or special deals for members.
I have so far joined the membership program for Miles&More (Star Alliance – number of airlines), Flying Blue (Air France/KLM and some more airlines), V.club (Volaris airline for budget travel in Mexico), Vallarta Plus (bus routes in central Mexico), Club One (Tallink & Silja Line ferry boats in Scandinavia and the Baltics), and probably a few more.
In Europe you can check out low cost flights like Ryanair, EasyJet, Norwegian, Volotea, Vueling, Transavia, etc. Mexico offers Volaris and Viva Aerobus, sometimes even Aeromexico has good deals. Whilst in Argentina I tried Flybondi and Jetsmart. There are usually these low budget airlines in each region.
For the bus rides, one of my favorites is Flixbus for European travel. However I noticed that in Central and Latin America bus rides are much more comfortable. The buses have huge leg space and bigger, more comfortable seats, so whichever one you choose, you will most probably be satisfied. In Croatia I highly recommend Get By Bus platform where you can get your ticket in the digital form and sometimes there are discounts too.
Basically wherever in Croatia you want to go by bus, you are better covered with platform purchase. Most local carriers don’t have their own websites and buying at a bus station can sometimes be tricky. No more so than in peak season where the seats get sold out quite fast, so you don’t want to leave it last minute.
In any case, take your time to research your options. Always compare if there are other carriers operating on the same route. Then see if there are discounts for members and try not to leave the tickets purchase for last minute.
Documents to carry as a new digital nomad
For some destinations you only need a valid passport or national ID to enter but for some you need to apply for a visa beforehand. Check the local requirements and make sure you prepare all the necessary documents on time. Some countries can give you a visa on arrival, some need you to fill out the e-visa form, and for some you even need to have an interview at the embassy before you start your journey. Do your research thoroughly and prepare in advance.
My favourite way to do this is using the passportindex website where you can filter out the requirements to enter every country in the world. Just select your nationality and look at the list they provide for your specific passport.
Also, a few countries have recently introduced the digital nomad visa so you can check if your destination has it and what are the requirements for you to apply. One of those is Croatia, in case you didn’t know!
Make sure you double check the validity of your travel document (when it expires) and if it expires soon (in the next 6 months). You might not be allowed to enter a country so it would be better if you go and renew it just to make sure, even if you plan on coming back home in that timeframe.
At border control
Some countries’ border controls will ask you a variety of questions. The most basic will be that they require you to have an onward flight or bus ticket. If you already have plans on moving on from one place to the other you can purchase your next tickets in advance. If not, you can make a reservation that is fully refundable in case you don’t know how long you will stay in your first destination.
Apart from the ticket out, they might also ask you about your accommodation. You may want to save that booking reservation in PDF so you can show it to the border police.
They could ask you questions about your job and why you are looking to stay that long in their country. Some are familiar with digital nomads so you can say that, but some are not so you might want to be prepared and have an explanation for them.
They might ask you how much money you have on you (in cash and on cards) or how much money you earn on a monthly basis. In some cases they will want to see a proof – so you might need to show them your account balance. Alternatively they could ask to see your work contract.
So make sure you have all of this ready, just to make sure, to spare yourself the uncomfortable detention time!
That’s enough information for one blogpost, join us next week for part III, and we hope you find this all useful when becoming a new digital nomad. If you have any questions, hit us up on Facebook or Instagram and you can always reach out to me directly as well.
by Antonija Bosanac
Antonija was born and raised in Split, Croatia. Now a restless traveller gone digital nomad in 2019, she’s passionate about building communities, volunteer work, education and human & civil rights. Currently working as a coach in the field of interpersonal communication and self development, she’s promoting change through individual work with clients; as well as being en route to getting a degree in psychotherapy. For her current location, check her Instagram profile.