FROM COUCH SURFING TO HOUSE SITTING: WAYS FOR REMOTE WORKERS TO SAVE MONEY
From Nicaragua to northern Thailand, the beaches of Oz to the mountain towns of Austria, remote workers are everywhere these days. Some are tech heads with a penchant for Wordpress; others are digital designers with a passion for all things PSD. The one thing that unites them all though, is that the office belongs on the laptop, and the work bench on the cloud.
That makes for a free and no-strings lifestyle that helps keeping moving around the planet a possibility. Many will spend one day kicking back with a bit of admin work on the sands of the sun-kissed Andaman, only before jetting off for the mysterious temples of Chiang Mai in the north. Others will make the high-perched teahouses of Dingboche their home, and then flit between the cities of the Indian subcontinent as they work. The choice really is theirs.
One downside of remote working (and let's face it, there aren't that many!) is the finances. While folk back at home in the nine-to-five have neatly laid-out bills for water and gas, groceries and commuting, being perpetually on the road offers no such luxury. Here, it's all about counting the pounds (or baht, or euros, or rials…) and making sure you never overspend.
That said, there are some great ways to save on the lifestyle, with budget-bolstering tricks when it comes to nailing accommodation and travel. Cue LBW's helpful list of some of the top ways that remote workers can fatten up the wallet as they go…
Help exchanges are a really popular way for budding remote workers to combine a life on the road with a sustainable income. Essentially, they mean working for free, but typically only part of the time and not on the profession you focus on in your day job. You'll usually be tasked with things like construction work, cooking in hotels, language teaching or gardening, and there are opportunities all over the globe. And once you've done you exchange work, you can take the rest of the day off…you know, to concentrate on your main income streams - or hit the pistes, the beaches, or the pool.
Okay, so house sitting is a type of help exchange, but it's also slightly different to the above in that the remote worker will be doing it all solo. Yep, whereas with handymen and help-outs you'll typically be living on-site with a host family, house sitting means exactly what it says on the tin: looking after someone's house while their gone. And just before you leap up and shout 'woohoo' at the prospect of weeks spent lazing on another person's divan, it's worth remembering that there are some serious responsibilities that go with this one: gardening, animal care, general DIY maintenance. The bonus though? Well, you'll get virtually the whole day to concentrate on your work.
The prodigal rise of couch surfing has been immense. From start up to multinational in just under a decade, the service has boomed – and it's easy to see why! The name of the game is free accommodation, anywhere, anytime. (Yep, you did read 'free'!). And the benefits don't stop there either, because folk who opt for a bout of Couch Surfing also get the guaranteed company of a local person, not to mention all the insider destination tips and useful knowledge that goes with that. All you need do is register on the site, make a profile (try to show your good side, of course), and start requesting places to stay. You'll be able to vet the people you bed down with by checking out their profile reviews. Oh, and always be sure to take a little token along as a sign of your appreciation for that gratis stay – something like a bottle of wine will do nicely, thank you.
Co-working spaces are slowly but surely becoming one of the mainstream living choices for digital nomads all over the globe. In the last couple of years they have popped up ad infinitum, everywhere from tropical Thailand to the jungles of Bali. They basically offer remote workers a comfortable (and often luxurious) place to live and work, along with speedy internet and likeminded company who also spend days traveling and tapping away on the laptop. In fact, us forward-thinking globetrotters at LBW have even set up our very own co-working space in the last year, which can be found perched on the salt-washed shores of beautiful Nica, South America. Head over to nomad.life to check it out – expect infinity pools with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, plush private and shared suites, al fresco decking areas, and bonus housemates who are all location independent. Not bad, eh?
There was a time when bedding down in a hostel was the preserve of the beatnik backpacker carrier; when only the hardiest (and most thrifty) amongst us would even consider braving those cluttered kitchens and 16-plus dorm rooms. Today things are very different on the global hostel scene. Not only have these budget digs transformed themselves into some of the coolest places to stay while traveling, but even offer something for the nomad worker. Yep, private doubles with private bathrooms combine with comfy lounges and fast internet to make hostels some seriously welcome places for the global freelancer of today – just be sure to check ahead and click through some pictures, you know to make sure you have at least an idea of what you're getting into!
Reviews, guest blogs and expert opinions
Last but certainly not least is arguably the holy grail of all travel writers and self-proclaimed worldly bloggers out there. Mhmm, many folk will seek the income and freebies associated with writing reviews and offering guest blogs or opinions on certain services like they are diamonds straight from the fynbos of South Africa. All you need to do is establish yourself as some sort of authority on a subject – it can be anything from luxury hotels to ski resorts to surfing schools. Then, email out to loads of those service providers and ask if you can grab something for free as you travel (in return for a mention or two, of course). The chances are that the provider will reply with a short, sharp 'no' – if they even reply at all. But hey, it's worth the effort right? The most established nomads often manage to go years without paying for a flight, a bed, or a bus ticket. Perhaps one day you can too?
If you're a seasoned remote worker and can think of any other ways it's possible to save on dosh than just Couch Surfing and co-working spaces like nomad.life, be sure to make your voice heard in the comments below!