Getting Started

New Nomad Checklist

Thinking of becoming a digital nomad? I had this thought once and then I made it happen. While it sounds sexy, and sometimes it is, the leap to becoming a digital nomad was a tad stressful.

If you need help getting over the fear, visit Getting over the fear of getting started as a digital nomad.

If you're beyond that, or beyond it enough to take the next steps, below is a checklist I created after making the leap. As I learn more throughout my travels, I continue to add to this list.

-- Pat

The Short

Forget the travel bag packing list. If you want to live anywhere, you need the same things you need to live where you are right now:

  • Income (or a pile of cash)
  • Legal right to stay and work there
  • Couple changes of clothes
  • Some common sense

Calling yourself a digial nomad doesn't make these basic needs go away.

The Long

Documentation & Legalities

  • Passport w/ at least 6 months validity
  • Necessary visas
  • Copies of important documents (passport, visa, drivers license, insurance)
  • Travel insurance (health, belongings, cancellations)
  • Health & vaccination records

Finance Management

  • Notify your bank(s) of your travel plans to avoid fraud alerts
  • Find a travel credit card (w/ no foreign transaction fees)
  • Create & know your budget
  • Setup an emergency fund

Health and Safety

  • Vaccinations specific to your destination(s)
  • Understand how medical treatment works in destination (hospitals, clinics, co-pays)
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Health check-up before leaving


  • International SIM card or a mobile roaming plan.
  • Subscription to a reliable VPN service for secure internet access.
  • List of coworking spaces in your destination(s).


  • Research and book initial accommodation.
  • Join housing networks or forums for digital nomads (ex. Digital Nomad (opens in a new tab)).
  • Consider options like Airbnb, hostels, or co-living spaces.
  • Understand the cancellation policies and terms of stay.


See Packing List.

Work Preparation

  • Plan or schedule for your work hours considering different time zones.
  • Backup storage solutions like external hard drives or cloud storage.
  • List of goals and projects to work on while traveling.
  • Membership on online platforms for remote work and freelancing opportunities.

Cultural Preparation

  • Basic understanding of the local language(s) at your destination.
  • Cultural research to avoid faux pas and to understand local customs.
  • Download apps for language learning and translation (ex. Google Translate (opens in a new tab)).

Networking and Social

  • Join digital nomad communities online (forums, Facebook groups, etc.).
  • Research local meetups or events for digital nomads in your destination(s).
  • Plan to attend networking events or conferences for digital nomads.


  • Cancel or forward your current postal mail (ex. Traveling Mailbox (opens in a new tab)).
  • Inform family and friends of your plans and how to reach you.
  • Make digital copies of all important documents and store them securely online.
  • Set up a blog or journal to document your travels and work experiences.
  • Mental preparation