What is the mysterious life of a digital nomad like? Being a digital nomad means you can work wherever you want. I embarked on my digital nomad two years ago, and to say the least, it has been life-changing. I work as a freelancer and ESL teacher, and with these jobs, I have traveled throughout Asia and Europe. While I love the freedom that my lifestyle offers me, it can be isolating and lonely. At first, when I started traveling, I stayed at my Airbnb, but then I discovered the magical world of co-working spaces. It has tremendously enhanced my traveling because I have been able to become friends with other digital nomads.
At the beginning of my digital nomad journey, I met a lot of vacationers that simply put did not have to work. Oftentimes, I had to go through uncomfortable rejections of late night outs. Meeting digital nomads at co-working spaces is a game changer! If co-working spaces sound intimidating, you can also opt to look for digital nomad friendly cafes. With this option, you can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some top tips and tricks to find killer co-working spaces and cafes:
What is a coworking space?
First things first, let’s talk about what a co-working space is. A co-working space is a shared office space, where other remote or home workers go. With that being said, every co-working space is different. Sometimes you can rent a small desk or room. More commonly are longer shared desks where you work with other nomads. A lot of co-working spaces offer kitchens so you can eat home-cooked meals, or make coffee during your afternoon slump.
A great benefit of working from these spaces is that a lot of them offer after-work social or networking events. At a co-working space, you will meet people from all walks of life, you may meet bloggers, graphic designers, coders, engineers, or videographers. The beauty of co-working spaces is that you get to learn from people of all professions with a shared love for travel.
Take a tour before you commit
Sometimes co-working spaces can cost a pretty penny. I recommend asking the staff if you can take a free tour before you commit to a week or month-long membership. Oftentimes, co-working spaces offer a free workday so that way you can scope out the work-ability conditions. It is important to know the location, hours, and overall amenities beforehand. Every co-working space has something that sets them apart from the rest– some may have bean bag chairs, free coffee, or even a game room. Before you get lost in all of the fun additions, make sure you know what you cannot live without.
For us, it is a necessity that there are soundproof rooms in case we need to have a video chat or make a call. We’d even recommend checking the speed of the internet while you are there by going to https://www.speedtest.net/. Better safe than sorry.
Pick a place that fits with your working style
When you take tours of coworking spaces, you can get an idea of what the vibe is like. I have been to coworking spaces where you can hear a pin drop, and I have been to coworking spaces where you think it is a social club. Depending on the type of work you have, and your personality type can make or break a coworking space. I prefer to work from places with more chatter because I like to have the option to socialize. Find the balance of social and seclusion that makes sense for you and your work style.
Nomadlist.com is a must to check out for digital nomads. It lists out the best locations for digital nomads to live in and rates them on different important factors you should consider such as racial tolerance, cost of living, and internet connectivity. When you search your location on here, there is a co-working space tab. It shows a map with the different co-working spaces your city has to offer. I always make sure that the city I am going to has multiple options because networking with other nomads is obligatory for me.
Use Google Maps
Game changer alert! Many digital nomads and remote workers have already done the dirty work hunting down the best remote-friendly spots for you. By typing in phrases such as “coffee shop to work” or “work on laptop” you can find other reviewers give their two cents about the internet status or how laptop-friendly the cafe is.
The worst feeling in the world is buying a five-dollar latte at a pretty coffee shop, to find out they have no WiFi or outlets. Unfortunately with the up-rise of remote workers, a lot of cafes have even implemented restrictions on using laptops. Instead of wasting money and finding this out yourself, use google! Your wallet will thank you in advance.
Join digital nomad Facebook groups
Hands down the best way to find killer cafes and coworking spaces are by joining Facebook groups for your destination. I am in tons of digital nomad Facebook groups for the places I have visited. These groups are a great way to ask about where the best places are to work and what the atmosphere is like. It is also an easy way to meet up and work with other nomads at cafes if you decide that you do not want to work at a coworking space for the day.
Bonus: Many of these groups hold digital nomad meetups!
Although it can be harder to see people as a digital nomad, you get the benefit of working around people that you like. As the famous saying goes, “you are a sum of the five people you hang out with”, so hang out with adventure seekers like you! If a coworking space is out of your budget, then meet a digital nomad friend through a Facebook group and go work at a cafe together. Making sure you are around people throughout the week will keep you mentally afloat!