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Is Being a Digital Nomad Really a Free Lifestyle?

If you are lucky enough to land a job that allows you to work and travel simultaneously, you live a life most Singaporeans desire. Being a digital nomad is not an impossible dream. However, is it really a free lifestyle? Get answers straight from here.

digital nomad


The Lifestyle of a Digital Nomad


As a nomad, you must always be ready to move from one country to another. While this leisure is much captivating to many people you know, this will be hard to do if you lack finances. Most nomads share that they move every two to three months. Since you are trying to save up, you might be using budget flights that can cost $200 if you travel to South East Asia. However, if you aim to go to other parts of the globe, make sure you have around $1,200 to $1,500 in your bank.

On the other hand, you can use your credit card to purchase your flights and gain free air miles or free business class upgrades. A couple of credit cards with this freebie. Compare their conditions and offers.

There is also the local transport that you will surely take, such as trains, cabs, and other public transparent. Set aside around $50 a month as you fare for public transport. If you want to use Uber or Cabs for more convenient travel, be ready to shed $150.


While Singaporeans can travel to a long list of countries without a visa, you must remember that there is still a chance that you have to get one. A visa is essential when entering a country, and it could cost around $50 to $100. And even if you don’t have to get a visa, you should not forget to renew your passport every five years. The current cost of renewing your passport is 80. Also, do not be surprised if you are charged with customs duties. Custom duties differ from one country to another. Finally, be attentive to your things to avoid losing or damaging any essential documents.


As a nomad, you will have to opt-out of hotel rooms as these are the most expensive accommodation. Hotels rooms with a single bed can cost around $7,500 a month and $250 a night. Though you are only staying for two to three months, it is better to rent an apartment. Airbnb rentals can cost $3,600 a month and $120 a night, while hostels can be as low as $15 per night and S$900 a month. Always keep your essential documents in a safe place if someone tries to take your bag while you are asleep.


Prepaid SIMs vary in different countries, but generally, they can cost around $90 to $120. Only a few nomads recommend using s data roaming plan. No matter how good the promotion sounds, you are unsure if it actually works in your destination. If it does not work well, you will have difficulty getting in touch with your telco. You’ll decide to buy a local prepaid SIM card and pay for 3G or 4G access. Internet access can cost twice or thrice than you expect, so take time to check tourism websites or travel forums to know how much you will have to spend on communication. Some nomads consider buying a prepaid Sim card a waste of cash since many establishments offer free Wi-Fi access.

In case you are also planning to depend on the free Wi-Fi offered in coffee shops and certain accommodations, you still have to buy a SIM card to be able to make a call.


Everybody needs to eat, and so are you. Like in Singapore, other countries have their own delicacies, yet if you stay for two months or more, you have to create an effective budget for food. Most nomads allocate $200 to $1,500 as their budget for food. Since you are always on the go, be prepared to eat out. Most countries in Asia offer street food meals which can cost $3 to $5 per meal. The meals in mid-range restaurants can cost $25 to $50 per serving, and high-end restaurants have meals at least $70 per serving.

Most restaurants accept credit cards as a mode of payment. You can take advantage of this and earn rewards, freebies or rebates.


You will never be sure about the future. While travel insurance can seem like a waste of money to some, you will be glad you have purchased it if you find yourself confined in a hospital. Different travel insurance has different coverage, yet it is better to get the one which covers your delayed flight, accommodation and medical bills. Be sure you shop around for the one that best fits your need. The most expensive one does not mean the most comprehensive coverage, and the least costly might lack a lot of important benefits.

Emergency Costs

Set aside six months’ worth of salary or at least $2,000 if you need sudden hotel accommodation and an emergency flight back home.


Transport                    $400

Administration           $100

Accommodations       $900

Communications        $120

Food                           $450

Travel Insurance          $50

20% Savings               $300

Total                           $2,320

If you could be a digital nomad, you’ll need to spend $2,320 a month to survive and be constantly on the go.