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How to Be a Digital Nomad: A Guide for Beginners


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The world as we know it has completely changed, and so has the way we work. As remote work became more popular in the post-Covid era, young professionals started moving to places such as Johor Bahru, Batam, and Bali to be digital nomads. (This actually lowered new tenant demand in the rental market last year.) And we get the appeal: you get to have your cake and eat it, too. So here’s a beginner’s guide to becoming a digital nomad. 

3 easy ways to become a digital nomad

Woman on her laptop, lounging on a chair at a beach

#1. Freelance

Offering your skills and services as a freelancer is one of the most accessible ways to begin. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr allow you to showcase your talents and connect with clients globally, whether you specialize in writing, graphic design, web development, or digital marketing.

#2: Remote work opportunities

Another option is to secure a remote job through platforms like LinkedIn (look for the ‘Remote’ tag), Remote.co, or We Work Remotely. Many companies, particularly in tech, marketing, and customer service, offer remote positions, enabling employees to work from anywhere. Utilize your existing skills and qualifications to find remote job opportunities aligned with your interests and career aspirations.

#3: Working holidays

Work and holiday don’t usually go together, but for a more immersive experience, and making your way to become a full-time digital nomad, consider working holidays in destinations like Australia and New Zealand. There are programs that allow you to work for a designated period, typically a year, while you immerse yourself in a new culture and environment. Working holiday visas are often available for young adults, so you shouldn’t have a problem with this. 

Check these 5 things off before you book that flight ticket

  1. Track expenses diligently and create a budget that aligns with your digital nomad income to manage finances effectively while traveling.
  2. Build an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses or periods of low income, aiming for three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
  3. Understand the tax implications of remote work, especially if earning income from various sources or countries. Consult with a tax advisor to ensure compliance and maximize deductions.
  4. Invest in comprehensive health insurance covering medical emergencies, evacuation, and repatriation. Consider insurance options for belongings and travel to safeguard against loss or theft.
  5. Choose credit cards with favorable terms for international travel or opt for multi-currency accounts to access foreign currencies easily.
Asian woman kayaking on the catamaran at the ulun datu pura bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia

Here are the 5 best places to be a digital nomad

  • Bali, Indonesia: Vibrant culture, affordable living, and a thriving community of remote workers.
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: Affordable living costs, delicious food, and a welcoming expat community.
  • Lisbon, Portugal: Old-world charm, modern amenities, and a growing start-up scene.
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Bustling urban environment, affordable living, and a vibrant expat community.
  • Budapest, Hungary: Stunning architecture, lively nightlife, and affordable prices.

By embracing these opportunities and leveraging the digital landscape, you can embark on a fulfilling journey as a digital nomad, regardless of prior experience. Embrace the freedom, flexibility, and endless possibilities of remote work, and let your adventures unfold!

I don’t have the funds to be a digital nomad. What else can I do?

You don’t have to move abroad to enjoy the perks of being a digital nomad. In essence, you could move to one of the many trendy neighbourhoods in Singapore — with cafes, bars, restaurants, and parks with different themes — and set up a good WiFi system at home. You’ll be independent and enjoy various amenities in a new place.

Let us help you find the best rental unit you can afford

Our property agents will prepare a financial calculation for you and help you with preparing all your documents and negotiating the rental price. Drop us a message on WhatsApp or ask us anything via our Live Chat at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen. 

I’ll stay with my parents, thanks. Anything good for me?

On the flipside, if you’re happy staying with your parents (I know I am!), you can check out Homer AI to stay updated on your home valuation and track the latest transaction prices in your block, development, and neighbourhood! On Homer AI, you can also find out your estimated cash proceeds (if your parents ever decide to sell) and calculate how much you’ll need to buy your next home.

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This article was originally published on Planner Bee, your handy financial planning app! Learn more about managing your money, investments and insurance on Planner Bee’s blog.

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