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The Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide: 5 Easy Steps to Thrive in a New City

Since the end of the pandemic, there has been a considerable rise in remote working and the appeal of digital nomadism. A digital nomad is someone who works remotely and travels full-time. To embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, all you need is a remote job, a reliable internet connection and a strong desire to explore the world. The trend of digital nomadism has grown considerably over the last few years, and it’s projected that there will be around 1 billion digital nomads worldwide by 2035. Making now the perfect time for you to start your digital nomad life in a new city!

Embarking on your digital nomad adventure might seem daunting at first. Leaving the familiarity of home, your routines and your friends. While moving around, visiting new places and meeting new people is exciting and, arguably, the most thrilling part of being a digital nomad, setting up a new life in a foreign city can come with difficulties. If you’re at the start of your digital nomad journey, you’ll likely have questions like, where should I stay? How do I meet people? Will I be lonely? And plenty of other anxieties may make you hit pause on this adventure of a lifetime.

It doesn’t have to be that way, in fact, here at Nomad Retreats, we have all felt the fear that comes before beginning our nomad life in a new city. That’s why we’ve created this guide to provide a roadmap on how best to adapt and thrive in an unfamiliar place and kickstart your digital nomad life in your new city. Through five easy steps, you will learn practical strategies and helpful tips to help you navigate the challenges of being a digital nomad in a new city.

Choose the Right City

Ultimately, the most essential part of beginning your life as a digital nomad is finding the most suitable city. When it comes to choosing where to start your nomad adventure, there are a lot of factors you will need to consider. And it won’t be just about your new home’s proximity to the beach – although granted, that might be pretty important!

However, beyond that, it’s crucial to ensure several practicalities are in order before booking your flight.

As a digital nomad moving to a new city, you’ll need to consider living costs, safety, WiFi speed, nearby coworking spaces and overall quality of life. Consider these factors carefully when choosing your destination to avoid arriving in a new city only to discover issues with internet connectivity or to find that your accommodation is far from the ideal coworking spots.

And remember to prioritize your personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Your happiness and fulfilment as a digital nomad depend on aligning the city with your unique tastes and requirements.

The key to choosing the best city to start your digital nomad adventure is research. Find out all you can about the top digital nomad cities. You can look into the locations and their suitability for the type of life you want as a digital nomad by searching on Nomad List. This website provides practical information about what you can expect from overall experience, cost of living, fun, internet and safety. Each location offers a scale based on real-life reviews of digital nomad experiences.

Some of the most digital nomad-friendly cities for 2023/2024 include:

  • Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is the most recent destination voted by The Nomadlist as the number one place to live as a digital nomad. This is down to the low cost of living for digital nomads and the quality of life when living here. The average cost of living is around $1300 per month for a single digital nomad, and the internet speed is about 66 Mbps.

Many choose to start their digital nomad adventure in Thailand or other places in Asia due to the low cost of living and incredible value for money.

Being a digital nomad in Bangkok, you will enjoy warm weather, idyllic beaches, tantalising street food and the welcoming hospitality of friendly Thai people. It’s no surprise Bangkok is so popular with digital nomads!

  • Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Canggu, Bali, is probably one of the most well-known digital nomad hotspots in the world. The city is known for its diverse range of accessible coworking spaces, work-friendly cafes and booming digital nomad population. The average cost of living is around $1900 per month for a single digital nomad, and the internet speed is about 59 Mbps.

If you’re looking for a digital nomad location that promises serene beaches, incredible surf spots and a sense of community with like-minded individuals – Canggu could be the place for you.

  • Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Gran Canaria is a popular destination for European digital nomads looking to escape the cold winters of northern Europe. The Canary Islands boast a mild and sunny climate year-round, providing an idyllic backdrop for busy professionals looking to connect with nature. The average cost of living is around $1800 per month for a single digital nomad, and the internet speed is about 35 Mbps.

Your work day in Gran Canaria could be spent working from a cute beachside café, strolling through the picturesque Old Town and enjoying sangria and delicious fresh seafood in the evenings.

You can keep up to date with the latest Digital Nomad Hot Spots on the Nomad Retreats blog.

Create a Productive Work Environment as a Digital Nomad in a New City

Being a digital nomad requires motivation and dedication when it comes to working. If you’re at home, it can be easy to get into a stuck routine of getting up, working, going to the gym and spending the rest of your evening watching television or ordering takeout. Living as a digital nomad in a thriving new city frees you from your usual routines. But, to do so, you need to ensure you have systems in place to stay focused.

Setting up a remote desk with a view of the beach or working in a hostel communal area is great until all you want to do is join in the fun and work later! Some productivity tips come in handy for digital nomads when it comes to getting your work done efficiently and managing your work-life balance.

If you’re a digital nomad and want to balance exploring your new city with making sure you work enough to earn money and fund your new lifestyle, here are some tips to help you:

  • Managing Time Zones

Working remotely as a digital nomad often means dealing with different time zones than your colleagues or clients. When you arrive, it’s crucial to set your core working hours and communicate these to the people you work with. You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to a bombardment of emails and messages asking you to jump on something urgent!

If you are clear about your working hours and stay on top of deadlines, you can avoid different timezones causing problems and unnecessary stress.

  • Staying Focused

Working from some of the world’s most beautiful destinations may mean that work takes a bit of a back seat. But remember, you need to keep working so you can keep exploring! To ensure you don’t get burnt out with work when you arrive at a new destination, adopt a few techniques to help you stay focused. We love using the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method involving focused work for 25 minutes followed by 5-minute breaks. We also like to use a time-tracker that helps us stay on top of how long work tasks take us and keep us accountable for our time.

  • Finding coworkers and coworking spaces

Navigating a new place and kicking off work may sometimes result in working in isolation and feeling rather lonely. As a digital nomad, you can avoid this by finding nearby coworking spaces. We recommend using DropDesk or Coworker. You can use these websites to find coworking spaces and hot desks near you. Allowing you to meet other digital nomads and alleviate the loneliness that can come with this lifestyle.

Build a Social Network and Community

One of the main things that can put people off becoming digital nomads and beginning their lives in a new city is the fear that comes with it. The fear that you’ll be on your own and won’t meet anyone. This is a valid fear, and we’ve worried about the same thing! But the reality is, when you step outside your comfort zone and leap into new experiences, you end up surrounded by people more similar to you than anyone you’ve ever met!

Nevertheless, the logistics of making friends and building a community in a brand-new city can be overwhelming. The best way to meet people and build a community in your new city is by attending networking events at coworking spaces. These events are held regularly, allowing you to create personal and professional relationships and foster connections with like-minded people.

When you’re in a new city, you can also try some of the following to grow your social network:

  • Join groups on social media. Plenty of Facebook groups are tailored to digital nomads living in popular destinations.
  • Attend local events. You can learn about these via Instagram or in your coliving or hostel accommodations.
  • Take part in meetups. If you’re part of digital nomad groups or memberships, you can keep up with the latest events and meetups hosted worldwide. You can see some on The Nomadlist.

Alternatively, you can kick-start your digital nomad friendships by participating in a nomad retreat. Many companies organise tailored digital nomad retreats varying in duration from a week up to a year – travelling to exotic destinations and providing activities to help guests get to know each other. You can book some of the world’s best nomad retreats at Nomad Retreats.

Embrace Local Culture and Lifestyle

Assimilating into the culture and lifestyle of a new city is essential for a digital nomad to help them feel like they belong in their new location. Here are some things that could help:

  • We recommend taking your first few days in your destination off work to explore. This will help you integrate and get to know your new home.
  • Learning a few words or key phrases in the local language can also be immensely helpful in navigating your way. Even if it’s to say hello and thank you to the shopkeeper, it proves you are willing to make an effort with locals and is an excellent way to start building foundations with those you will see regularly.
  • Attend local festivals and events to immerse yourself in the culture fully. These are a good opportunity to meet locals, try local delicacies and participate in cultural activities.

These experiences will enrich your nomad life and fast-track your sense of belonging.

If you’re not sure where to find local events or festivals, you should consider taking part in a digital nomad retreat that focuses on local integration and allows you to connect with people from the country!

Nomad Retreats has partnered with a few digital nomad retreat providers who mainly focus on celebrating local festivals and holidays. Consider booking with Cloud Connections, who can make your dreams of attending the world-famous Rio Carnival or the magical Yi Peng Lantern Festival come true. Plus, if you book via Nomad Retreats, you’ll receive an exclusive 10% discount!

Alternatively, you could combine your digital nomad retreat with an impactful volunteering stint that allows you to give back to the local community you now call home. You can book these incredible retreats with a 10% discount on Nomad Retreats.

Join a Digital Nomad Retreat

Embarking on the digital nomad lifestyle is an exciting journey, but if diving in solo feels a bit daunting, consider embracing the adventure through a digital nomad retreat. These organized trips serve as a perfect introduction to the world of remote work and coliving experiences.

Why consider a digital nomad retreat?

  • Structured Beginnings

Start your digital nomad journey with a well-organized retreat introducing you to the intricacies of remote work and the joys of living with a community of like-minded individuals.

What can you expect from a digital nomad retreat?

  • Connections

Forge connections that go beyond the professional sphere. These retreats offer opportunities for meaningful interactions, potentially leading to lifelong friendships or even professional collaborations.

  • Efficient Remote Work

Learn the art of efficient remote work through skills-sharing sessions. Collaborate with fellow nomads, find potential work partners, or kickstart your business venture.

Why is a digital nomad retreat a transformative experience?

  • Balanced Exploration

Balance your desire to explore new destinations with the need to maintain a productive work routine. The retreats often include action-packed weekends, ensuring you get the best of both worlds.

  • Personal and Professional Growth

Beyond the allure of exotic locations, a digital nomad retreat is a journey of growth—both personally and professionally. Break away from the monotony of routine and embrace a lifestyle filled with unique cultural experiences.

Choosing a digital nomad retreat from the diverse options available at Nomad Retreats allows you to tailor the experience to your preferences. Whether it’s a week-long retreat in Bali or a month-long adventure through South America, you’ll find the perfect fit for your availability, interests, and budget.

Are You Ready to Dive into Nomad Living?

We hope these tips have armed you with practical insights for your own digital nomad adventure. It’s time to turn your dreams of living the nomad life into reality!

For many digital nomads, the thrill of adapting to a new city every few months is not just a lifestyle but a dynamic adventure. Now, it’s your turn to join them, explore the world and build lasting connections with kindred spirits.

Crucially, you must choose the city that aligns with your digital nomad goals. Whether you choose the solo route or a digital nomad retreat, the key is finding a place you are happy to quickly call home. Master remote work efficiency, foster connections, build a community, and embrace local culture for that unmistakable feeling of belonging.

And, if you’re looking for that all-in-one experience, a digital nomad retreat may be your best option. Everything you could need – efficiency, connections, community, and a dash of cultural immersion – is bundled into one transformative, once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Visit Nomad Retreats now to book the digital nomad retreat of your dreams. Choose your city, and let your journey unfold. It’s your turn for an adventure packed with exploration, fun, and a genuine connection to the places soon to be home.

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