Top 11 Travel Lifestyle Hacks as a Digital Nomad

Bumped (virtually) into these really cool travel bloggers, Mike and Marina, and liked their style so thought I’d share some of their posts.  Here’s one with some excellent tips for professional travel/writing.


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So, you want to become a digital nomad or you’re just interested in longterm traveling as a lifestyle?

Traveling as a lifestyle is a lot of fun, but it’s totally different than your average…

“Hey I’ve got two weeks off in 13 months, let’s go to Europe and visit 11 different countries because I won’t have vacation for another decade.” type of holiday.

You know what I mean?

 

What are some of the things when you think of long term travel…?

.. i can’t afford it

.. there’s no place like home, i’ll always want to come back home

.. i have no time

.. it would take me 3 years just to save up enough time to have a nice vacation for two weeks.

I have no idea.. really (you can tell me below what you really think).

 

The fact is, I’ve noticed that because most of us are so used to growing up in your average 9-5 lifestyle, that the perceptions of traveling as a living are mostly based on the experiences of someone who has been living that lifestyle.

I mean that’s pretty normal right?

If you’re used to doing something for Gods-know-how-many-years that you’re basing your opinions and some decisions based on that mindset.

I’m here to debunk some of your perceptions and ideas… really .. just to give you insight on how we live this life.

So, here are my top 11 travel lifestyle hacks for you to peruse and take in.

It’s really not that bad… really.

 

Travel Lifestyle Hacks

.one.     What to Pack

Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour-XXXX books suggests that you only really need to pack for one week. Leave your crazy toiletries at home. If you need something you can always buy it wherever you are.

I def agree with this.

Though, being a girl (I know I know) I had to _really_ learn the hard way…

*ahem* I’m sick of carrying heavy f***ing bags.

Leave your curling irons and high heels at home.

Ladies, if you want to have more than one or two pairs of pants then cute digital print leggings would be perfect to roll up and make space for more stuff.

As I’m writing this, I’ll put a list of things that are in my bag right now.

Our second year of travel is quite different than our first. We’ve definitely made it a point to buy lighter weight things (including electronics because we work online) and has made a huge difference.

It’s also good to remember to bring clothes for all seasons. We always make plans to places we’re going to and they almost always change. We went from California to Central America to Europe… because we felt like it.

 

.two.     Buy Locks for All Your Zippers

I’m sure you have a lock for your luggage anyway, but it’s real helpful to buy locks for all your zippers.

I know this is a bit of a no brainer for traveling, but there may be a point where you’re on the train, plane or bus when you’ll want to take a lil snoozy cat nap. With locks on everything you have you won’t have to worry as much.

I know that even on the plane we put our locks on so that when we want to go to the bathroom we don’t have to worry about our stuff.

Paranoid?

Well, not really. When you’re out and about the chances of you being able to control your environment aren’t as likely as being in a place that you’re familiar with with people you know. You don’t want to risk anything. You’ll get used to it and be glad you did.

 

.three.     Where to Stay

For the most part, because we are long term travelers (for the time being), we tend to pick a homebase and stay there for an average of 2 months. This gives us the chance to settle in and have a place that feels like “home”.

We’ve stayed in hostels as well, which work fine except that the internet in hostels isn’t the greatest.

Our priority is consistent internet, which is the one thing that we make sure we have wherever we are.

We’ve found apartments and long term accommodation on craigslist.org, airbnb.com, booking.com.

In the end, we’re staying in an area as a local. We’re not on a fancy holiday so we keep track of what we spend and spend as if we were living at “home”.

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.four.     City Tours on a Budget

As much as we’d love to spend a whole week or two exploring an area, it can get pretty pricey, plus it cuts into our weekly “work” mode. Remember, we’re living in a place as a local. That means, even though our hours and workload are flexible, we’re still making a living as we’re traveling. It’s convenient because we can do it anywhere, but it’s still something we do.

When we come into the city there are a few things we do before we completely settle in.

As far as exploring the city we try to find free or cheap tours, rent a bike, walk.. or whatever.

We see EVERYTHING in the area in one day.

This gives us the chance to take amazing photos and videos of everything.

It also gives us the chance to pick our favorite spot or spots so that we can visit it at a later time in our leisure.

It totally cuts out time trying to figure out where we want to go on what day.. we just do everything at once, get it over and done with and revisit our favorite places.

In Barcelona we rode bikes.. in a few other cities we did those hop-on and hop-off red double decker city tours.

 

.five.     What to Eat

Holy cow, eating can get pricey!

Especially if you’re living in a big city or touristy town.

Other than doing city tours in one day, one of the things we do is look for the closest grocery stores.

It really doesn’t take that much to make your own food.

In Costa Rica we were lucky to have a local organic farmer deliver produce once a week and we went to the local shop to get everything else.

In Prague there were corner stores everywhere and we did our big shops at the grocery stores or farmer’s market.

In Panama there were also a ton of “Chinos” which were local corner stores owned by Chinese.

We treated ourselves now and then and we’ve been lucky to live in areas where food really isn’t too expensive, but we still tried to make our food as much as possible.

We noticed that meat can get pretty pricey and isn’t always the best in certain areas so often times we stick to a mostly vegetarian diet.

We did bring my mom’s magic bullet until I blew it up in Prague because I didn’t use a proper converter.

 

.six.     How to Combat Loneliness

You’d miss your friends won’t you?

It does get lonely sometimes. And making friends that you enjoy talking to (if you can find a common language) isn’t always easy.

I quite often check out local meetup.com groups.

You can meet all kinds of people based on your interests in a certain area.

It worked out really well in Prague because I hooked up with the local Prague Entrepreneur’s as well as the Foreigners in Prague groups.

Quite frankly, we see family and friends more now that we are mobile and if we miss them it’s so easy to Skype or set up a Google Hangout.

 

.seven.     Bring a Flashlight.

This one is a bit weird.. I know.

But, for some reason I’ve always been so thankful that I packed my head lamp in my bag.

I do actually use it quite a bit.

It’s useful when we’ve stayed at hostels, in 3rd world countries, camping. It’s just really good to have even if you’re not staying in rustic accommodation. Trust me on this.

 

.eight.     Buy Compact Electronics

I ditched my DSLR and got the Mirrorless Sony a5000 (half off too!). It’s smaller, it’s lighter and the quality is pretty damn good.

We have a couple portable 2TB harddrives that are a must (and fairly cheap) especially if you’re a digital nomad.

I have a travel ergonomic keyboard because my wrists hurt after awhile typing.

You can have a great portable “studio” with light weight electronics to keep you up to speed with your digital happenings.

 

.nine.     Plastic Bags are Your Friends

Ziploc sandwich bags, freezer bags..

These are lifesavers. We bring a handful of bags “just in case”. They’ve proven to be one of the best things ever.

When you live in an apartment for a few months or long term stay in executive apartments, sometimes you have food or things that you have no where to store.

Plastic bags are the most basic storage solution, but they’re pretty important.

 

.ten.     When You Get Bored

I always have things to do. In fact, being in transit is probably one of my most favorite times because I have time to sit and just relax and do things like read or write.

Bringing a book is a good idea, but if you don’t read then listening to audios and music, watching videos and playing games will suffice.

I used to read books on my Kindle app on my phone, but I got frustrated because I would drain my batteries really fast and I like to make sure I have enough battery in case of emergency. An actual Kindle is worth the investment because the battery lasts for freaking ever.

 

.eleven.     You Can Never Have Enough Carabiners

Ok. I admit. Carabiners are one of the best inventions next to velcro.

They’ve been so useful when I have extra bags or gadgets that I don’t want to carry.

If I have something with a loop and it isn’t ridiculously bulky, I just stick a carabiner on it and clip it on my bag. Easy peasy.

 

Conclusion:

I did mention above that I was going to put a list of the things I bring, but I think that deserves it’s own post.

These are just some of the tips that I have for you if you’re considering becoming a digital nomad or just want to be a long term traveler.

Marina

 

 

 

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