10 Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

Being able to work online and travel is a lifestyle that may look amazing on social media, but there are many things Digital nomads have to sacrifice. The worst things about being a Digital Nomad vary from person to person, but It’s hard to keep the pros and cons of nomadic life in balance. 

I’ve been travelling for a few years now while working remotely in different locations as a Digital Nomad. It has been very much a learning curve in every new place I have travelled to. These are some of the things I have found the most challenging about nomadic life.

For me, the best things about being a Digital Nomad outweigh the worst, for the freedom to live the way I like, explore the world and its many cultures and constantly meet incredible people is what I live for. So for me, I can manage some of the disadvantages of being a Digital Nomad but remember it’s not for everyone, and it takes time to find your balance and workflow. 

If you are on your journey of becoming a Digital nomad make sure you keep reading, as I will be giving tips on how to overcome these disadvantages of the Digital Nomad lifestyle.

Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which I receive a small commission if you use but at no extra cost to you. 

Here are the 10 Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad…

1. Temporary Relationships 

Meeting people you truly connect with and having to say bye to them when it’s time for either of you to move on. It’s like giving a little piece of your heart to multiple people and you don’t know if you will ever see them again.

Relationships while on the road are usually fast-growing and intense, you get to know people very quickly as you spend lots of time together and may face challenges together which make your relationship stronger. Tears will be shed and when you leave this person/ group it will feel like you are grieving the relationship you had, this could be friends, short-term loves or soul-mates.

This one is always going to happen and there is no way around it, but always try to feel more grateful you met these people and they have added some beautiful memories to your life. If they are also Digital Nomads chances are you will see them again, and now you have friends to plan trips with and meet up with, in other countries. Great news! 

Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

2. Loneliness and Isolation

Living the nomadic life can be lonely and isolating, especially when working. This may differ depending on which type of work you do. Some remote workers still work alongside colleagues on a daily basis but are done online.

Although most Digital Nomads are typically freelancing or running an online business, meaning less contact with any colleagues or they may not even have any. Might sound great to some people but others thrive working with other people. Others need to work in isolated spaces, such as Online English Teachers who need quiet spaces to work without interruption.

One solution can always be to head to a co-working space, where you can meet other digital nomads and like-minded people to connect with. Or always make sure you have plans around work to fill your social needs, do exciting things and meet up with other people. 

Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

3. Trouble Dating 

Being a single Digital Nomad is definitely fun if you’re not looking for anything serious. You will find yourself forming really amazing connections with people but the constant moving around makes it hard to find something long term.

The Digital Nomad lifestyle is a unique way of living and if you can’t find a partner who is on the same page as you it will cause difficulties. Although many travellers have found their partners on the road, it’s not impossible! You just need to be open and hopefully, the right person comes around when you are both ready. 

Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

4. Missing Out at Home with Friends and Family

Friends getting married, mums 60th birthday or your new nephew being born is some things you may miss while on the road. You can’t be there for everything, It might let down your friends or family and you might have FOMO but typically when you come home for a visit you will find everything is almost as you left it. 

Remember they are always a phone call away, and if your relationship is strong with that person, the connection will outweigh the fact you missed a life event. 

5. Getting Into Routines – Changing Places 

Just as you have settled into a new place, got comfortable and the local coffee shop knows your regular order, it’s then time to pack your bags and move onto the next unfamiliar place. It can be really hard to move on, but sometimes it’s not an option to stay, your visa could be expiring and you need to leave. Or simply you just want to explore your next city or country.

It becomes challenging to get into a new routine over and over again, you could have massively changed timezones which have completely changed your work hours. You then have to start again from scratch, relearn your surroundings, make friends and find the best spots for coffee and work. 

The best thing you can do is to plan ahead and create a plan or tick list for getting settled into the new place. This can be used over and over again, when things are planned and you have a set schedule it’s easier to manage and not feel overwhelmed. 

Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

6. Road fatigue 

Not a surprising one on the back of constantly changing places comes road fatigue, and yes it’s a real thing and it hits hard! People may think you are continuously on holiday relaxing but real travel is a full-time job in itself. The never-ending bag packing, unpacking, travelling on planes, buses or trains will make you very tired and then you need to log on and do some work too! Not easy! 

The best thing to do is to stay in places for longer amounts of time, move around less and travel slowly. It really helps with fatigue and means you can keep up your energy and health. 

7. Self-motivation and discipline 

Most Digital Nomads typically work on flexible hours which of course is amazing, but when you have a million tasks to do, burning deadlines, no boss watching over your shoulder and the lovely beach is flirting with you from your window, it’s really hard to resist the temptation to sneak off to the beach and catch some rays.

Self-motivation and discipline are both hard skills to master but if you want to keep making the money to live this life it is needed! Having a calendar is a great way to plan your tasks and keep your work deadlines at bay. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals in order to stay on track, the more organised you are the better.

Having an accountability partner is also a great way, this could be another remote working friend, the aim is to share goals and tasks with them and you help each other stay accountable to them.

digital nomad

8. Finding a place to live

A disadvantage of the Digital Nomad lifestyle is sometimes not knowing exactly where you are going to sleep next week or even that night. It can take time to find a place you are comfortable living in with the budget you have set. It can be stressful searching and a lot of the time if you are staying somewhere for a few months ideally you want to be going to view houses before agreeing to move in. 

The best place to find accommodation for short term rentals is Airbnb and through Facebook groups, Booking.com is great for booking a few nights or so before you commit to a monthly rental. 

9. Income & expenses vary 

If you are a freelancer or business owner typically this means your income will change every month which can be hard and stressful at times when you don’t know if your income will cover your expenses.

Digital Nomads working on a remote contract with set hours typically will be getting paid the same amount every month, which is great for budgeting as they know exactly how much they will have. But again changing location means changing costs of living, accommodation costs will vary, food may be more expensive than where you moved from. 

It’s hard to plan for this but the best thing you can do is to have emergency cash savings which you can dip into if you’re having a slower month or higher living expenses. Although the great thing about this lifestyle is if you do feel like expenses are moving in on you, you can always move yourself to a cheaper location! Bam problem solved! 

10. Judgement from people who don’t understand Nomadic Life

Not everyone is going to understand why you want to live this nomadic life, you may feel like you are not normal and it’s true you aren’t! That’s okay, it’s because you are breaking out of the ‘norm’, living differently is okay, it’s amazing actually and if it makes you happy that’s all that matters. Some people may always think you are avoiding responsibility and that you should ‘just get a job’ settle down and get a mortgage, it won’t ever stop. 

It can also be very challenging coming home from a trip to visit family and friends and feeling like you don’t fit in, feeling that you belong somewhere else. It’s normal for this to happen when you have experienced better quality of life with deep and fast-moving connections in other parts of the world. 

But you’re not alone, there is a big community of like-minded people out there who understand this Digital nomad lifestyle! Keep believing in yourself, follow your dreams and find your true happiness, not everyone’s life has to look the same.


Thoughts on The Worst Things About Being a Digital Nomad

While all these worst things about being a Digital Nomad are extremely challenging I wouldn’t change a thing about the way I live. I love this life and it’s just about finding your balance between the pros and cons of nomadic life. Trust me the best things about being a Digital Nomad overcome all the bad.

Want to read about all the amazing and best things about being a Digital Nomad here, to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself! 

I hope you found this post helpful! Is there anything you think are some of the worst things about being a Digital Nomad that I didn’t include in this blog? Let me know in the comments!

If you are aspiring to the Digital Nomad lifestyle check out this post, if you need some support I’m always happy to help you out! Just drop me a message on Instagram @headforhorizons or email me.

About Hayley Crone

Hayley is a Digital Nomad who has spent the past few years turning her love for travel into a full time income & lifestyle. Head for Horizons is designed to give you the BEST tips to help you travel better and work online. CLICK HERE to read more about me and how I could help you!