When Gregg and I first packed our bags and boarded our flight in October from San Francisco to North Carolina, I knew this journey as digital nomads would not be easy and challenging at times. Of course, it was difficult saying goodbye to family and friends getting used to not having many possessions; not having the convenience of a car and a place to really call “home;" and finding reliable high-speed internet. But, in an odd way, it felt liberating.
There is nothing holding us back; nothing that we are attached to. Things like FaceTime and GoogleHangout makes it easy to stay connected with family and friends. As well as, Facebook, Instagram, and this blog.
As the digital nomad community is growing, there are a wealth of resources and services that make being location independent that much easier. While some nomads jump from place to place in a matter of days or weeks, some take it a bit slower. We’re rambling around three months at a time, enjoying and savoring each location; taking in as much as possible. I thought I’d share with you the various services we use to help with the running of our everyday life, making things a bit more comfortable and a bit easier.
Now, keep in mind, this isn’t a list of the various tools we use of what keeps our day-to-day business running or keeps us productive. It's a list of resources that make being location independent easier.
The Shortlist for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers
Airbnb - Finding cool and unique places to live.
Airbnb is great for finding cool, unique accommodations. We’ve been using Airbnb since early 2012 and are big fans of this San Francisco-based service. When we fly out to a different destination, we grab an Airbnb. When we travel back to San Francisco, we grab an Airbnb. It’s an essential part of our travel planning, whether we’re visiting a new place for a few days or scouting out a new city to live and work. And, even renting out a place for six weeks at a time. Sure, prices may seem expensive, but from experience, I’ve learned that contacting the owners of a space and negotiating works. You’d be surprised. Most folks are willing to rent a place for months at a time for a negotiated price.
(Insider Tip: Once you’re in a location that you’re planning on staying for longer than four weeks, talk to a real estate agent to help find rentals. The chances are that they will be able to find an even better price.)
RelayRides - Book a car when you need it.
I love RelayRides, and I’m sure you will, too. If you are in a major city in the US where RelayRides is available, you’ll quickly learn that there is no need for a car when you have a service like this. It’s Airbnb for cars. You can rent someone’s car for a fraction of the cost of paying for a car rental.
Uber – get a ride right from your smartphone
Have you tried hailing a cab in San Francisco or attempted to drive in Washington DC or get through Boston traffic hour? Anytime we needed to get somewhere, we call an Uber—to dinner, to the hotel, to the coworking space. It’s a great service to use regularly to get out-and-about in cities.
Find A Nomad - meet other nomads in your area
Find A Nomadis great for meeting other nomads that are in your area. I’ve been able to use this to connect with others traveling in Costa Rica. Users can add their location, what they do and where they are going.
Workfrom– best coffee shops and cafes for working
My husband and I can be coffee shop workers and stay-at-home works. For the days that we feel like working from coffee shops, this website is super handy. Workfrom has plenty of recommendations for a number of major cities to help find your next favorite place to work remotely. You can even narrow down your search to WiFi places only.
Spotted by Locals – experience cities like a local
Spotted by Locals is an awesome set of a series of travel guides (apps & blogs) with up to date tips curated by handpicked locals in 60+ cities in Europe and North America. If you want to experience these places like the locals do, check out Spotted By Locals. It’s full of first-hand reviews from people who live in the city.
Kamino - get acquainted with a city with urban hikes
Living the digital nomad life, you might find yourself visiting a number of different cities. Kamino offers plenty of urban hikes curated by locals and travel bloggers. It’s a great way to discover neighborhoods that you’d typically wouldn't think about visiting, getting insider tips. I've used this in many US cities like New York, Brooklyn, Boston, and even my own hometown of San Francisco.
EarthClassMail - Go green and get all your mail virtually
EarthClassMail will send all your snail mail to you via email. Great for business nomads. They digitalize mail for users, thus allowing you to read your mail via email.
f.lux – A computer display that adapts to time of day
As a location independent workers, we have the freedom to work whenever we are most productive. For several, this means working late at night or early in the morning. If you’re a Mac user, f.lux is an app that adjusts the tint of the screen to be easier on the eyes during nights and mornings when, otherwise, you’d expose your eyes to a super bright glare.
CoPass- the freedom to work anywhere
Similar to CoWorking Visa, Copass is a global membership that lets you access a network of independent coworking spaces, fablabs, hacker spaces or any collaborative spaces. Designed for frequent use, whether the person is a permanent member of a space or not. CoPass members can use it on a daily basis to switch between space A and B. It also enables groups of people to work in different coworking spaces with one single account, and offers community oriented services.
Skyscanner - Compare millions of flights to find you the cheapest deal
I first learned about Skyscanner in 2013, while traveling in Southeast Asia and Australia from other travelers. [UPDATE: I've stopped using Skyscanner and have been using Google Flights since 2015. It is the most comprehensive flight finder out there. ]