Life on the Go: 6 Dos and Don'ts for Digital Nomads

Em Seikkanen
Written by Em Seikkanen
on April 01, 2021

The phenomenon of digital nomadism is probably the biggest change to hit the global workforce since the assembly line. But unlike the assembly line, digital nomadism is great for you as a worker! Best of all, many modern “office jobs” have already instilled awesome skills you can easily transfer to a nomadic lifestyle… as soon as it’s safe to do so, of course! 

Since no single profession has a monopoly on who can become a digital nomads, the lifestyle’s been adopted by freelancers, programmers, affiliate marketers, consultants, and many more who’ve found a way to do their work independent from a permanent location.

To help you prepare for the upcoming freedom to wander, we’ve prepared these dos and don’ts for becoming a digital nomad. At Xolo, we can help plan your next career moves, wherever you are in the journey: even if you haven’t taken the leap to start freelancing yet, maybe you’re wondering how to go location independent in your work as a digital nomad — and this blog post should serve as a great jump-off point!

There are a number of mistakes new nomads can make, and for many, taking the plunge into to an unstructured work environment takes some getting used to. So with that in mind, here are some dos and don’ts for working on the road as a digital nomad.

#1 DO be a good neighbour

When you’re a digital nomad, it's a good idea to stay informed about local events, situations, annual holidays, seasonal changes, and the general political climate. Current events might not be your thing, but digital nomads might not always be the most welcome in some overly-trafficked cities, and with good reason. Being a good neighbour and knowing how to respect the culture — even an irreverent, noncommittal, or cold one – is a great way to get off on the right foot (and possibly even befriend a few locals!). 

#2 Don't forget a universal travel adapter

You may think you’re ready for new experiences, but this one’s pretty simple: as a digital nomad, you need your computer to work. Different countries have different electrical outlets. If you’ve ever seen Apollo 13, then you already know how catastrophic it can be to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. That’s why you should always carry a universal adapter! You can buy one in just about any airport (or if you like to be prepared ahead of time, most big box electronic stores!)

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#3 DO exercise regularly to relieve stress and prevent work injuries

When traveling and working, there is a good chance that you’ll be using your laptop 30-50 hours per week. It’s impossible to have optimal posture when using one, unless you use a portable stand to raise the screen up to eye level. To keep back, shoulder, neck, elbow, and wrist pain away, daily exercise that includes some kind of stretching can be beneficial.

You should also take short, frequent breaks during working to keep your muscles loose. The Pomodoro technique is a great option for this!

#4 DO develop a regular work schedule 

When you’re used to the 9-5 grind and suddenly find yourself not chained to “the man” anymore, it can be hard to maintain focus. However, you still need make the time to get your work done... and structure it well enough to be productive! It is easy to procrastinate when there’s not someone breathing down your neck, so you’ll need to identify your problem habits and have the self-discipline to get the work done on your own. 

#5 DO connect with other digital nomads

Digital nomad Facebook groups are a good place to start. Just search for any city name and “expat” or “nomad” and you’ll find some other local nomads. Connecting with others who understand what it’s like to be in your shoes is not only a good way to get information about local apartments or coffee shops — it’s also a great way to network with others you can work with! 

#6 Don't forget to use the right invoicing solution 

One of the most common concerns for digital nomads is the looming nightmare of having to navigate each country's complex tax laws. For example, what do you do when you're a citizen of country #1, currently staying in country #2, invoicing clients in countries #3, #4 and #5 — oh, and you're jetting off to country #6 next week? It's enough to make you decide to stay put, right? 

Actually, wrong. Xolo Go allows you as a digital nomad/freelancer to invoice customers in EU, USA, and Canada by renting a slice of our company. This will allow you to do things like open a business bank account, refund expenses, and streamline the taxation process all for a flat rate and no surprise fees! We even take care of those pesky VAT issues for you so you can concentrate on your clients... and where you're off to next!

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Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash