Staying connected with your clients, friends and family is one of the most logistically challenging aspects of becoming a digital nomad. At the same time, you don’t want to be tethered to technology, whether you need to check emails, manage a project, upload files or just make a phone call. Here is some advice for maintaining your availability while keeping cost and stress to a minimum.
If you’re working while traveling you may need a reliable Internet connection. It’s hard to bank on the single Internet cafe that may or may not be open when you arrive in the middle of nowhere. Or you may just want the convenience of being able to check emails without having to spend half a day waiting for a free computer terminal at your hostel. Even worse, some countries have been know to lose Internet access completely when fiber optic cables under the ocean are severed.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for mobile data access. First, you have three decisions to make: What type of device do you need? Subscription plan or pay-as-you-go? And international subscription plan or a new SIM in every country you visit? Here are some pointers to help you decide.
Dealing with postal mail can be a big logistical headache of a nomadic lifestyle. How much of a headache depends on how long you’ll be gone. For short-term travel it may be as simple as visiting your post office and requesting they hold your mail until you return.
For long-term travel you don’t have many options. You can either pay for a monthly mailbox service or find someone you trust to manage your mail. In either case you’ll probably need to forward (redirect) your mail to a new address. This is a common service that people use when moving to a new home and typically lasts for up to a year, giving you time to notify everyone of your new address.
One of the most difficult parts of being a digital nomad is the constant need for an internet connection, especially in places where wifi isn’t common.
An hour or two Googling at home, reading the first chapter in a few library guide books and calling up some old travel friends for tips can provide a wealth of general information. Knowing what you’re getting into will help make good decisions on the road. Online forums -- like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree -- is a good place to start.
In the past decade cell phones have increasingly become a valuable tool for world adventures and professionals who travel for work. Phone booths are quietly fading away and in many countries lacking landline infrastructure, cell phone use has become the norm.
Unfortunately, choosing the best phone and service carrier is complicated. There are competing technologies and service plans, making it difficult to pick the best option. This article covers choosing the right type of phone and describes the most common service options available to international travelers.