How to be a digital nomad (at any age)
4 min | 13 March 2023
It’s a move that opens up a world of possibilities, but there are some practicalities to think about before you make the leap
The beauty of being a digital nomad is that you can combine remote working with travel to new and exciting countries.
We dive into what it takes to make it work, and how you can make a smooth transition to pastures new.
Make a plan
The first thing to think about is whether the time difference, your employer or client needs would allow you to work from another country.
There are lots of jobs that lend themselves to a nomadic style of working, like marketing, software coding, teaching, translating, training and consultancy.
When you've figured out what sort of work you'd like to do, the next step is to choose a destination that suits your needs – and if anyone will be coming with you, like friends, colleagues or family. Safety, visas and getting by in the local language are likely to be important.
Then you can start to set aside funds for travel, international healthcare, freelancer and limited liability insurance, food, emergencies, education and child or pet care. A big overhead is likely to be accommodation, so you'll need to budget for a long-term hotel or a rental geared up for remote working.
Can I use my UK bank cards and accounts overseas?
If you're saving up for your travels, consider opening an easy-access account. This means you can pay in and take out money whenever you like, with no fees, charges or loss of interest.
It's also important to have a current account that you can spend from while you're abroad without paying hefty fees. And make sure it lets you transfer money to other UK bank accounts, too.
You can use Chase's current account almost anywhere in the world, and our support team is available 24/7. We don't charge fees when you use your card abroad or at cash machines (there is a £500 daily limit on withdrawing cash from your Chase current account and, when abroad, a £1,500 cash withdrawal limit in any calendar month) and our debit card as of February 2023 is ranked top for travel by Money Saving Expert (Opens in new window)
Remember if you're no longer a resident or tax resident of the UK, you'll have to close your Chase UK account.
Tax Implications. Will I need to pay taxes?
Each country has its own (often complex) rules around when visitors and new residents will become subject to local taxes, so there’s no easy answer. As a very general rule of thumb, however, countries may consider you to be resident for tax purposes after you have been living there for around six months. You'll also need to consider if and when you'll cease to be tax resident in the jurisdiction(s) you previously lived in.
Ultimately it depends on the countries you're visiting and leaving, how long you're staying for and your employment status (whether you are a contractor or a freelancer, for example). Some digital nomad visa sites may tell you more about your tax obligations, but it’s wise to go directly to the relevant local tax authority websites and to take appropriate local tax advice to ensure that you are compliant with any local tax registration, filing and payment obligations.
In certain circumstances, employees working in a different country may impact the tax status of your employer – therefore, it's important that you check the position with your employer in advance.
There are also a number of useful online resources for starting to research the tax rules in the jurisdictions where you might want to live your digital nomad life.
For more information, visit the government’s guide to paying tax (Opens in new window) on UK income if you live abroad.
Which countries are best for digital nomads?
Around 40 countries currently offer ‘digital nomad visas’, showing they welcome workers looking to live abroad temporarily.
These visas specify the rules for anyone looking to live and work in a particular country. Visitors can live in the host country without having to apply for residency while they work remotely for companies based in other jurisdictions or in the host country. Some countries may have limits on how much work you can do for local companies.
Countries offering digital nomad visas include Argentina, Costa Rica, Germany, Portugal and Greece. However, more countries are introducing digital nomad visas in 2023, including Spain – which is already predicted to be a popular digital nomad destination due to its lower inflation and sunny climate.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute financial or legal advice. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. We do not offer any tax advice.