Working on the beachfront, getting midday massages, going out to local bars with other nomad friends—the digital nomad life is definitely attractive. It can inspire even the most notorious homebodies to go and try this lifestyle. However, there is one thing that is holding many people back—and that is the lack of travel experience.
Having a lot of travel experience is advantageous for a digital nomad lifestyle, but it is not always necessary. If you’re on the fence about taking the plunge because you have little to no travel experience, then here are some things you should know.
1. Look for a comfortable stay
If you check out blogs from experienced digital nomads, you’ll see most of them recommending cheap stays to keep your budget at a minimum. Lower-priced accommodations may include dormitories and hostels with shared accommodations. Now, if you’re already freaking out about the idea of sharing a living space with strangers (unless you’re traveling with friends), then may we suggest finding something more in your comfort zone.
For instance, you can look for estate agents in the locale to help you find properties available for subletting. Long-stay Airbnb’s are also a great option if you want something more private at a reasonable price. You don’t have to force yourself to stay in places you are not yet comfortable with just to become a fully-fledged digital nomad—it’s perfectly okay to stay within your comfort zone.
2. Research travel requirements
Many people who don’t travel frequently aren’t all too familiar with the different travel requirements for long stays. That said, be sure to do the due diligence so that you can secure visas and accomplish other travel requirements as easily as possible despite your lack of experience. Go to your intended country’s website to determine what you need to enter the country and stay for the amount of time you plan to stay. Don’t forget to consult with the local embassy to figure out all the details that you need to know.
Another tip that can help is to ask other digital nomads in that country, specifically those who hail from your home country. You can learn about various travel requirements from their first-hand experience, and perhaps they can assist you when you finally start the visa process.
3. Prepare for homesickness
Homesickness can plague any digital nomad, but it may worsen for people who aren’t used to leaving home for long periods of time. A great way to avoid feeling homesick is to maintain contact with your relatives and loved ones at home. Even if you are a thousand miles apart, talking to the people that remind you of home can make you feel better about being so far away.
Moreover, it’s also a good idea to bring some comforts from your home, such as a blanket, a pillow, or even just a small thing to remind you of home. Although you may still get lonely from time to time, having these comforts can help boost your mood.
4. Fake it ‘til you make it
As an inexperienced traveler, you practically have a big neon sign that says ‘TOURIST’ on your forehead once you step into a foreign country and look like a traveler. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, looking like a tourist can make you a target for people that want to take advantage of clueless-looking travelers.
The key is to act, speak, and walk like you’re a local, or at least have a lot of experience traveling. Avoid standing around and looking lost. Walk with a purpose, even if you aren’t really sure where you’re going. And if you have to ask questions, approach uniformed personnel instead of random strangers in public.
This tip is essential if you are traveling alone and if you are a female. As much as possible, avoid drawing attention to yourself and act as if you belong there.
5. Make friends
One of the best parts of digital nomad life is meeting many people from different parts of the world, including the locals. Go out there and socialize. Aside from making new friends, you’re also learning more about the digital nomad lifestyle in the process, which can be of significant help to an infrequent traveler like you.
Little to no travel experience shouldn’t stop you from living out your digital nomad dreams. If you are still unsure whether to start your journey, take this as your sign to take the risk and go out there.