Settled & Centered: 5 Tips for Digital Nomads to Settle into a New Destination
The digital nomad life can be full of excitement and adventure. However, the constant need to get accustomed to new places can get a little exhausting. If you want to become a pro at finding your way around, discovering the best local deals, and generally getting easily acclimated to unfamiliar places, the following tips should help.
1. Know thyself
This deceptively simple ancient Greek aphorism has been passed down over millennia for a reason. Knowing what makes you feel safe, comfortable, happy, and productive will give you an internal compass that will help you find those things, no matter where you are.
For example, if you’re exploring Australia, and you understand that your productivity plummets when you try to work in Airbnbs or hotel rooms, you’ll know to hunt down the best serviced office space Melbourne has to offer. This will save you a lot of wasted time and ensure you don’t get behind on your work.
2. Try slow travel
Moving to a new spot every few weeks can be fun for a while, but the constant need to research, prepare, pack, unpack, and get acclimated to a new place gets exhausting. So, consider maxing out your visas and spending at least a few months in every destination. You won’t get to see as many sights as you otherwise would have, but you will be able to explore each place more thoroughly, getting to know the people and the culture on a far deeper level.
If you’re feeling restless, remember that you can always take small trips to nearby spots rather than completely uprooting and shifting to a new location. As a bonus, you can often negotiate cheaper rental rates with Airbnb hosts or private landlords if you stay for a few months.
3. Explore on foot
When you first get to a new place, it’s fun and informative to go for a walk in a different direction each day. Do this from your home base and, if you go with a serviced office, do the same from your office building. These mini adventures will help you get your bearings while also revealing all the local businesses and amenities that are nearby.
Not all businesses register themselves on Google Maps, so if you fail to go for these orienting walks, you could miss out on an incredible climbing gym, café, or local fruit shop you otherwise would have loved.
4. Make connections
You can start making connections in a new place before you even arrive by joining local groups on social media. Expat groups are a great place to start as you can usually find general advice on basic necessities like doctors, dentists, and hairdressers.
If you really want to find your feet quickly, it may serve you better to join language exchanges and groups relating to hobbies and activities you love. This way, you’ll meet a mix of locals and other travelers.
5. Prepare for the unexpected
While making connections before you arrive, it’s a good idea to prepare for unexpected challenges. Ask people who’ve recently arrived if there’s anything you need to know about. For example, travel guides may tell you that there’s wifi at the airport, but one of your new connections may let you know that it’s out at the moment, giving you valuable time to prepare in advance.
Each of these tips should help you on your digital nomad journey. However, the best way to become an expert at settling into new places is through experience. So, get out there, start exploring the world, and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way.