The Lack of Routine as a Digital Nomad: Hidden Costs of Going Remote, Part 4

Hidden Costs. Part 4

Photo by Ethan Sykes

Every experienced digital nomad knows that behind our instafabulous lives are serious ups and downs and headaches. Things go wrong all the time—but when you’re on the move, you don’t have the comfort and security of a routine to help you manage minor disasters.

You can budget all you want, and stick to that budget with discipline, but there will still be times when managing your remote lifestyle will cost more than you want it to. The bottom line is, when you’re on the road, you’re often forced to spend money in ways you may not at home.

Ignorance is Expensive

At home, you know the best places to eat, the cheapest market stalls, how to find free parking, who has the best happy hour specials, and how to get to the beach by bus.

But in a new destination, you must often rely on better-known restaurants, the tourist-friendly market, the only parking you can find, the tourist trap bars, and getting a pricey taxi to the beach. It also takes time to find accommodation at local prices instead of tourist prices.

Long-term residents of a place usually live for much less than short-term visitors, and the difference between the two costs of living can add up. The more places you go, the more time you spend as the newcomer paying newcomer prices.

Convenience is Expensive

If you prefer self-catering accommodation, you may consider in the cost of groceries at home when doing your remote budget. But in our own homes we have certain tools and supplies, spices, and staple foods on hand. When staying in a rental apartment, our selection of tools may be limited. And then we face having to buy every ingredient just to make a meal. Remote self-catering options include:

  • leaving behind half a bottle of olive oil, a bag of rice, and jars of sauces and spices
  • spending extra to buy smaller quantities
  • purchasing more convenience or prepared foods

These options are less expensive than eating in restaurants, but not quite as economical as preparing food at home.

And when you’re strolling the streets of your latest destination and your well-worn and only pair of jeans split down the seam, your options are far more limited. At home, you could wait for sales before refreshing your wardrobe, or maybe rely on deliveries from online retailers. But on the road, you’ll be spending the next day shopping for jeans at the nearest mall and paying the price you have to pay!

Fatigue is Expensive

Travel can really take it out of you. Even if you’re one of those lucky people that sleeps well on planes, handling your luggage, standing in line, waiting, sitting for hours, and breathing recycled air is exhausting.

Travel fatigue can ruin your best-laid plans. Like when you fully intended to take the airport bus when you land in your destination, but after a long delay or a bad flight with no sleep, a taxi at 10 times the price seems like the only choice.

Travel fatigue, especially when it’s fueled by jet lag, can also interfere with your productivity. And anything that interferes with your productivity interferes with your earning potential as a digital nomad.

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