Skip to Content

5 Downsides of Being a Digital Nomad (& How to Overcome Them)

This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.

Subscribe to Our Remote Worker's Club Newsletter for weekly tips and news.
________________________________________

Most of us have heard the glories of being a digital nomad. Being location-independent means the ability to travel the world, meet new people, and have access to opportunities that wouldn’t have existed for you otherwise. You can work in London before heading over to check out Tbilisi for a few months. Sounds ideal, right?

downsides of digital nomads

But, what about the downsides of being a digital nomad? There are a few of them, but the key is knowing what they are and how to overcome them. Don’t let fear stop you from possibly living the life of your dreams. We’re here to give you the run-down on the disadvantages of being a digital nomad and how you can handle them.

1) Not Knowing When to Switch Work Off

Being able to work from anywhere is truly incredible and is something that doesn’t get old, no matter how long you’re living a nomadic lifestyle. Checking out a stunning waterfall in Asia after hours is an amazing thing to be able to do!

However, the reality of being a digital nomad is that it can become natural to feel the need to get caught up with work and feel like you’re truly earning those amazing benefits. Truly, there are always emails to reply to or posts to be written, or you’re searching for new clients or freelance work. Before you know it, you find yourself always trying to get that to-do list checked off.

Here’s what you can do about it…

working-at-night freelancer

Many people join the world of freelance for a better work-life balance; it’s crucial to make this a priority even when there are work tasks that need to be completed. Include work responsibilities and enjoyable activities on your to-do list. Yes, even if you enjoy your work! There’s always space on your list for an afternoon at the beach or a walk around the city.

Let’s not forget that digital nomads also need vacations! Plan the occasional getaway where no work is allowed. Take time away at least for a weekend to put your computer away. Besides, we do our best work when we are rested and recharged!

Read More: Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself as a Digital Nomad (Self Improvement Tips)

2) Your Income May Not Be Consistent

Now this one may not be the case for every digital nomad, but it is for many. If your income isn’t a steady paycheck every month, this can be tricky to manage. Many freelancers take time to build their income and even when they have, it may still fluctuate from month to month. This can make things stressful and can really contribute to the problem above of feeling like you need to work constantly.

Here’s what you can do about it…

saving money

First and foremost, create a budget. Decide how much money you must make in order to survive. This allows you to know exactly how much you must make. It doesn’t hurt to have more than one source of income to have more opportunities (here are some great ideas for freelance jobs).

Passive income is great for this because it allows you to make money when you’re dedicating your time to other jobs or even when you’re asleep! Embrace a minimalist mindset so you are not tempted to splash out on things you don’t need and put that money towards things that bring you happiness instead.

Another key thing to do is to set aside money, and pay off any debts, when you have a really successful month, this allows you to have a place to pull money from when you need it. 

Read More: Check out these 10 budgeting tips for freelancers and digital nomads.


3) Having to Track Down Reliable Internet

If we’re being completely honest here, finding speedy internet service can be quite the task sometimes. As digital nomads, we absolutely need reliable WiFi or we can’t make money to put food on the table. While this can be frustrating, it’s never been bad enough to stop me from wanting to live the life of a freelancer.

Here’s what you can do about it…

The good news is that there are plenty of measures to take in order to ensure you are going somewhere with good enough internet that will allow you to work. Research is essential! Do a quick search on the place you’re interested in going to.

Find out what the standard WiFi speed in that city is and whether it could pose an issue for you. See if there are cafes or coworking spaces available. 

When you’re going to book accommodation, ask about the internet. Most places will gladly provide you with information about their internet speed.

You can also book very short-term stays in new cities, then physically look at longer-term stays and check internet speeds yourself. Speedtest.net is great for this! Just connect to the internet on your cell phone and run a quick speed test.

Make sure you have some form of backup WiFi for surprise situations. Whether this is a local data plan you can choose as a hotspot, or a portable wifi device like Skyroam where you can pay by the day, as and when you need it, there are plenty of options for a tight spot.

4) The Feeling of Being Alone

Solo travel, in general, can scare people. Being a digital nomad may mean that you’re someplace far away from family and friends for long periods of time and with that can come loneliness. It may not help that you aren’t in an office with coworkers, either where meeting people is inevitable.

Here’s what you can do about it…

The beauty of being alone is that you’re actually not alone. As cheesy as it sounds, you are with yourself. This provides such an excellent opportunity to pick up a hobby you never had time for or to take some time to grow as a person. It’s amazing how many hobbies can be considered portable and also incredibly fulfilling.

Finding a community is so important as a digital nomad and when it’s time to really have some social interactions, there are loads of opportunities if you look for them. There are Facebook pages such as this one to connect with fellow digital nomads and there are pages dedicated to freelancers in a particular area in order to physically connect.

Many coworking spaces also organize events so local remote workers can get to know one another and you never know, you may make a business connection or two.

As a digital nomad myself who is also a self-proclaimed introvert, I find it exhilarating to go out into a new city and meet people. It’s amazing how much easier it is to do this in an unfamiliar place than it is in your hometown.

5) Not Having Coworkers

Not only is it difficult to be away from friends and family, but not having coworkers isn’t always ideal. Or, maybe you do have colleagues but aren’t able to see them in-person.

It’s nice to have people to collaborate with, bounce ideas off of, and provide support when you need it. Being a digital nomad sometimes takes this aspect of the work-world away from you and it can be difficult to find anyone dealing with the same work situation as yourself. But, we have solutions for you.

Here’s what you can do about it…

coworking-spaces-

As we mentioned before, Facebook pages are wonderful for finding like-minded people. You can find pages that relate to your specific profession so that you can connect with people knowledgeable about your work.

Coworking spaces are also great for getting that ‘workplace vibe.’ Joining a coworking space allows you to become a part of a supportive community. It’s also a great learning experience to be around a diverse group of entrepreneurs and freelancers.

As mentioned, most coworking spaces even hold social and work events! Even if you don’t plan on joining a space long term, simply joining for a month can get you those connections you need in a new place.

In Conclusion

Most good things in life come with some downsides, too. We all know this. This includes the freedom of being a digital nomad. We hope that now you can take comfort in knowing that with the downsides of this lifestyle, there are ways to navigate those things to get to all the upsides. There are certainly more pros than cons to being a digital nomad if you enjoy the lifestyle overall.

Read More:

If you enjoyed this article, please share below:

virtual coworking
← Previous
What is Virtual Coworking? (And Is It Right for You?)
digital nomad backpacks
Next →
12 Best Digital Nomad Backpacks for 2021
Check out our bumper list of fifty plus digital nomad resources . It's everything a remote worker needs.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission.