How can you live comfortably on the road?
There is one guiding principle that you should adopt:
Less is more!
Digital nomads are often freelancing to earn their income. Of course, you have to be very disciplined to be able to work this way. But being your own boss is one important perk that makes it worth it. And while you have to make a living wage, money often plays a subordinate role anyway.
Instead of accumulating possessions, the digital nomad lifestyle rather includes the concept of minimalism. And that makes sense – fact is: The less you carry with you, the more flexible and spontaneous you can be when it comes to changing your city. Absolute location independence!
That’s what the “Cult of Less” is all about.
The aspiration is to minimise your possessions as much as possible. Michael Kelly Sutton, a modern digital nomad and minimalist, was one of the first. He was able to work with a laptop, a Kindle, a smartphone and two external hard drives.
Taxes? Income? Correct invoicing?
We’ve all been there.
Your motivation to deal with taxes and paperwork falls with each day that a deadline gets closer. And now you’re supposed to take care of it while travelling the world?
Let’s say you’re an aspiring nomad from Germany. What should you do?
Many digital nomads register their self-employment and are thus obliged to pay taxes. If you live according to the Cult of Less, you should be able to cover your overheads with a lower income.
In Germany, most of the free roaming nomads fall into the tax category of “small businesses”. That means they have to add no tax to their bills and pay no Value Added Tax (VAT). You should always mention your small business tax status on all of your invoices.
It’s advisable to speak to a qualified tax accountant as laws can change from year to year. Ignorance is no defence.
The same goes when you spend a long time as a resident in a foreign country. In this event, the local tax regulations may apply to you. Get expert advice to avoid an unexpected tax bill!
Finally, the currency of your invoices might change if you have local clients during your travels. Sites like Oanda or PayPal offer services for the easy conversion of your online transactions.
How can you keep your budget in check?
If you’re travelling on a shoestring, it’s always useful to get some advice. Our Digital Nomad Guest Trainer of April recommends travelling outside peak seasons and scanning your network for locals who can offer you tips and tricks.
Who knows, they might even be willing to host you for some time. Because let’s face it: Hotels and apartments are expensive. They’ll likely empty your wallet before you can say “digital nomad lifestyle”.
But don’t worry if you don’t happen to have local friends in every remote part of the world where you’d like to travel to.
There’s another solution: peer-to-peer travel accommodation.
Sites such as AirBnB or Couchsurfing are all part of the trend of the so-called “Sharing Economy”. You’ll find inexpensive rooms in the homes of locals, especially if you’re flexible. Staying longer in one place helps you to negotiate good accommodation deals.
Or if it’s your cup of tea, you could even sleep, travel and work out of a campervan like our guest trainer Ellen de Dreu.
A never-ending road trip? Sound’s like a plan!
In addition, you have the cost of living to consider. This entails food, drink, transportation and entertainment. Don’t trivialise this issue because naturally: if you feel like you’re on holiday, you will spend money more easily. Do your research to budget your trip before you leave home!
Nomad List is a search engine that can help you with all the planning and choosing of your location. It’s based on the experience of an entire community living the digital nomad lifestyle. You can select the criteria (cost, internet, fun) that matter most to you and go from there.
What items are a must on your packing list?
Most digital nomads are proud of one thing:
They travel without many possessions. Less is more, remember?
Still, it’s not as spontaneous as it sounds. Don’t hit the road before you find out which items and tools are personal essentials.
Here are some suggestions: