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Van life tips for digital nomads

Loving where you live everywhere you go

friends using a laptop in a park

Living a nomadic lifestyle is more than just being location-independent. It's about embracing the freedom of the open road and having your home go wherever you go. Van life has become increasingly popular amongst digital nomads, allowing them to explore the world with all their worldly possessions in tow. Enjoying extended stays in various parts of the world while creating an office on wheels has been a dream come true for many.

Of course, van life offers plenty of perks worth considering if you want to add more adventure to your daily routine. Nomadic living can be relatively inexpensive compared to conventional housing, allowing for greater flexibility with where and when you work. You can stay in remote locations or pop into a city for a few days to see the sights and get some work done.

It also allows digital nomads to find digital communities that share similar interests, opening up paths of collaboration. So if you've ever considered living a life on the road or want to know why people swear by digital nomadism, keep reading.

What is van life? Mobile living for digital nomads

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Benefits of adopting the nomadic lifestyle

The nomadic lifestyle comes with a unique set of benefits. Here are some of the pros of nomad life:

  • Fun: Every day can be an adventure. You can explore new cultures, try different food and activities, and make new friends.
  • Financial savings: You can save on living expenses, like rent and bills, by avoiding long-term commitments or settling in one place.
  • Flexibility: Nomads can work from anywhere and explore different parts of the world without worrying about missing out on opportunities back home.
  • Health benefits: Living nomadically encourages a more active lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities that help keep nomads healthy and fit.
  • Social benefits: Nomads often find themselves in digital nomad communities, which can lead to new professional relationships and collaborations.

Though nomadic living can be incredibly beneficial, there are also risks associated with frequent travel to consider. It's essential to take steps to stay safe and comfortable while on adventures

Getting your van life started

One of the most critical considerations for nomads is staying connected. With an internet connection, nomads can keep in touch with loved ones, get work done, and access helpful resources like maps and travel guides. Fortunately, nomads can stay reliably connected while on the road.

Here are some tips:

  • Get an unlimited data plan: Sign up for an unlimited data plan, so you don't have to worry about running out of data or incurring overage charges while streaming or using your phone abroad.
  • Use a hotspot: You can set up a hotspot on your smartphone or use a separate dedicated device to access the internet anywhere.
  • International phone plans: Get an international phone plan if you're planning to travel abroad or have family and friends overseas. This will help keep your data costs low while still allowing you to stay connected.
  • Internet devices: If you want more reliable and faster speeds, look into getting a separate internet device that can provide Wi-Fi coverage in multiple countries
  • Using your smartphone abroad: Always check with your cell carrier about roaming fees before using your phone for data or calls. You may be able to save money by purchasing a local SIM card or prepaid plan.

No matter where you go, having a reliable internet connection makes nomad life much more enjoyable and stress-free.

Find a way to make money

Okay, so you've got the basics down. So how do you make money and stay afloat while living a nomadic lifestyle? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make money on the go. Here are some suggestions:

  • Find a remote job: Many jobs don't require you to be in an office or even in the same country. With all the digital tools available, finding a remote job that fits your skillset and schedule is easier than ever.
  • Find gigs: Consider finding gigs through local job boards. Look for part-time jobs or task-based work in the local community.
  • Start a side hustle: Consider starting a small business or becoming an entrepreneur to supplement your income. This can be anything from providing pet-sitting services to selling handmade items online.
  • Freelance: If you have experience in writing, web design, coding, photography or any other type of services, consider offering those services as a freelancer. You can use sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find clients.
  • Become a content creator: Social media influencers often make money by creating and promoting their content on YouTube, Instagram, or other platforms. You can also monetize your blog or podcast if you can attract an audience.

Ultimately, there are many ways to make money while living the nomadic lifestyle. The key is to stay creative and motivated as you explore new places and opportunities.

Look for ways to meet new people

Making connections is the most important part of learning to love where you live. Meeting new people can make all the difference in how you experience a place, and it's a great way to learn more about local culture, find work opportunities, or make friends.

Here are some ideas for meeting locals:

  • Take adult learning classes: Look for language, cooking, art or any other type of class that interests you. Not only will this help you learn something new, but it's also a great way to meet people with similar interests.
  • Join an amateur sports team: If you love sports, look for local teams in your area and join them. This is a great way to get active and make friends.
  • Volunteer: Get involved in a local cause or volunteer for an organization in your new city. This will not only help you give back to the community, but it's also a great way to meet people from all walks of life.
  • Visit public events: Check out local events like outdoor markets, concerts, festivals and more. These places are full of locals who love being part of their community and meeting new people.

Try to stay open-minded and even step out of your comfort zone; you never know what opportunities may arise.

Invite friends or family from back home

One of the best ways to make yourself feel more at home in a new place is to invite your friends and family from back home to visit. This can help break up the feeling of isolation that many nomads experience while living on the road. Plus, it's always fun to show off your new digs!

Consider planning activities, so you have something fun for your visitors to do when they arrive. Maybe you can take them on a tour around town or show them some of your favorite spots in the city. You can also plan day trips outside the city if nearby attractions are worth seeing.

Research the area

Researching the area before you move in is invaluable. There are many ways to do this, such as:

  • Read local newspapers and magazines: This is a great way to stay updated on what's happening in the city and learn about local attractions and events.
  • Check out online forums: Search for forums or chat rooms related to your new city and join the conversation. This can help you get advice from locals on where to eat, shop, or explore.
  • Explore on foot: One of the best ways to get familiar with an area is by exploring it on foot. You can take a walk around town and check out some of the local shops and businesses and any exciting landmarks you come across.
  • Talk to locals: Don't be afraid to talk with people in your neighborhood or at nearby cafes or restaurants. Chances are, they'll be more than happy to share some great tips and advice with you.

No matter where you go, getting to know an area can help you feel more at home and make it easier to get around.

Check out local attractions

Don't forget to check out the local attractions in your area:

  • Visit natural landmarks: Explore the nearby parks or beaches, go on scenic hikes or visit any other natural attractions in the region.
  • Explore historical sites: Visit nearby museums and monuments to learn more about the area's history.
  • Check out famous restaurants: Look up some of the most popular restaurants in town and try them.

There will be plenty of local attractions worth exploring.

Have an emergency plan

When traveling to a new place, ensure you have an emergency plan if something goes wrong. Your emergency plan should include the following:

  • Information about the medicines and supplies you need;
  • Contact numbers of doctors or hospitals nearby, if needed;
  • Instructions for how to get back home in an emergency;
  • Your emergency plan should also include a list of contacts back home in case you need help.

Overall, settling into a new city can be a bit daunting at first, but there are plenty of things that you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable.


Reviewed By: Verizon Editorial Team
Last Reviewed: 7.18.2023
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This content is provided for information purposes only. All information included herein is subject to change without notice. Verizon is not responsible for any direct or indirect damages, arising from or related to use or reliance of the above content.