Most digital nomads have witnessed that the whole work-and-travel lifestyle has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
While remote working has been embraced in many sectors and companies ranging from SMEs to large corporates (Google and Twitter have put arrangements in place to allow their employees to work remotely, in some cases permanently), the travel aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle has become more cumbersome because of quarantines and restrictions.
Here is how the digital nomad landscape is looking from what people are searching on Google. These are some insights from Google Trends.
Digital Nomad Searches On Google Trends
Established and aspiring digital nomads have different needs – someone planning to become a digital nomad (see our dedicated section on this website) mostly search for the types of jobs that allow you to work and travel anywhere in the world, while experienced nomads have very specific interests, from residence and taxation to reducing overheads.
These are some of the most searched items related to digital nomads:
- “Cheapest places for digital nomads”
- “Best jobs for digital nomads”
- “Best countries for digital nomads”
- “Cost of living”
This is just a snapshot of what’s trending in late 2020 and is likely to change but it gives a good indication of the information digital nomads need.
Cheapest Places For Digital Nomads
Every search result for cheapest places is different as websites will rate countries differently so you may want to compare various sources, bearing in mind that costs will fluctuate with the exchange rate. For example, many websites placed Thailand on the top spot for digital nomads, but other countries may emerge as the preferred destination, for example as Barbados thanks to its innovative visa schemes. Some countries may also impose more stringent entry requirements in the future so it’s important to check with the respective embassies (see for example Best Passports To Travel as a Digital Nomad), while others are choosing to invite digital nomads to live and work there, for example Estonia offering digital nomad visas.
Best Jobs For Digital Nomads
You can find a list of jobs for digital nomads on this website.
Best Countries For Digital Nomads
This is a different search compared to cheapest places as it takes into account a mix of factors, and while cost of living is included, it is geared towards quality of life, infrastructure, weather as well as how digital nomads are treated in the country being considered. European countries tend to feature more in results for this type of search. It is also useful to compare best countries with worst countries for digital nomads – some places are experiencing overcrowding and rising costs due to over-promotion (for example Chiang Mai in Thailand is often featured at the top of digital nomad destinations but more recent lists are warning that it is now a victim of its own success).
Cost Of Living
The search results for cost of living for digital nomads are not homogeneous because they yield different types of information, from how to calculate your overheads to diary entries of digital nomads explaining how they spend their money, to how much money to save before becoming a digital nomad. While some websites will rank destinations according to how much the accommodation costs, sometimes you need to search for individual cities and their cost of living.
This is a complex topic, including visas, residency, passports and nationality. In fact there is no unequivocal answer or search result for citizenship. In the article mentioned earlier there is a section of passports and how many countries it gives visa-free access to.
Travel insurance for digital nomads is one of the most searched topics, even though it’s not at the top of the list. It is a travel essential and it can save money in the long term, especially to cover emergency situations. Search results include both insurance providers and guides on how to choose the most suitable insurance plan for digital nomads. (Related: SafetyWing profile, includes affiliate link).
The Future Of Travel
There is a fascinating article published on The Conversation about digital nomads and remote working, looking at the future of travel.
The article takes a wider view of what it means to work and travel in years to come, with digital nomads probably having to stay in the same location for longer periods of time. It is very likely that remote working will almost be the default way of working in the future, or at least employers will need to consider flexible working arrangements for their employees if they want to retain them in the long term, which opens up more opportunities to become location-independent.