In the past, the word “nomads” was mainly associated with hunter-gatherers, pastorals, tinkers, and merchants. Mongols, Bedouins, and Sámi people are some of the most popular nomadic communities remaining today. But times have changed. The rise of digital transformation and the growth of popularity of remote work coined a new term – digital nomads.
Digital nomads are people who work and hit the road at the same time. The difference is that they work remotely instead of keeping livestock. Those people don’t form stable communities nor travel in groups. Still, their number is impressive – according to the MBO Partners 2021 State of Independence research study, 15.5 million American employees consider themselves digital nomads. Since so many people live this way, is this experience worth trying?
As many as 88% of people report that digital nomadism positively impacted their lives. However, this kind of lifestyle also presents its own challenges. Nearly a third of digital nomads have trouble shutting down after the workday and feel it harms their productivity. Moreover, the top challenges digital nomads face are:
- Inability to unplug from work
- Potential financial difficulties
- Collaborating and communicating
- Staying motivated
But – as Helen Keller said, life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Indeed, there are no reasons to skip this fascinating digital nomad lifestyle adventure. Instead, let’s find a way to cope with the adversities! So today, I’m presenting the 10 best apps to make this lifestyle easier so you can fully benefit from your adventure. Those mobile apps will help you:
- immerse in the foreign culture
- manage your expenses on the road
- plan your trips without stress
- stay productive when working remotely.
Sounds interesting? Read on to learn more about it.
APPS TO SOAK UP THE CULTURE
Every visit to a new city presents the same challenge: how to tour the city and not miss the most notable spots. Of course, you can just explore the city and discover the sights along the way, but in this case, you may pass by an important place without even noticing it. So, people used to mark points on Google maps, get a city map from a tourist center, or attend guided tours. However, there is an app that makes all of those features available at once – it’s GPSmyCity.
GPSmyCity is a tool for self-guided walking tours. It covers over 6,500 self-guided walks in 1,000+ cities worldwide so you can use it pretty anywhere. All you have to do is download the app, choose a city and turn on GPS. It will display a tour guide with pinned destinations, and when you turn it on, GPSmyCity will guide you from one point to another. My favorite feature? This app works offline, so you don’t need to use your data bundle or look for WiFi spots! You can just walk, enjoy your journey and learn about the city.
Couchsurfing is a well-known platform for all budget travelers. This website connects travelers with local hosts who want to do a favor and accommodate tourists for no cost. Usually, people browse Couchsurfing to find a place to stay and overlook other opportunities this portal offers. Indeed, Couchsurfing is just a perfect option to immerse in the local community because it allows one to connect with locals. You can ask for recommendations for tourist attractions and meet for a beer or party together. You’d be surprised how many people like to guide foreigners around their towns! Since feeling lonely is one of the main drawbacks of the digital nomad lifestyle, I think that making friends at the place of stay is a perfect solution for those who combine work and travel. Couchsurfing just makes this possible.
Traveling for a long time may already make you tired of being away from home. While staying in hotel rooms, where no one bothers you, you start to feel lonely. In multicultural hostels, you meet only remote workers focused on their work or travelers who stop for a while. What to do to feel a home vibe when you are away from your homeland? The solution is Homestay.
Homestay works a bit like the popular Airbnb, which means that locals rent their properties for overnight stays. The difference is that with Homestay, you always live with your host. In this way, you become a co-habitant in their home for a while. Homestay offers experiences like any other accommodation because you have a unique opportunity to get to know the local culture (and cuisine!) inside out. So, it’s also a perfect choice if you want to soak up the culture of a foreign country.
APPS TO MANAGE FINANCES
As you travel worldwide, you are bound to struggle with currency changes. Banks typically charge some fee per transaction, wasting your money. Are you fed up with it? Here CurrencyFair comes in handy. CurrencyFair is a reliable app that offers excellent exchange rates and low fees for sending your funds. With this app, you transfer money internationally without much loss, and you save your money to spend more on traveling. It’s an indispensable tool if you often change your living place and use many different currencies a year.
My aunt used to say that money is hard to earn but easy to spend. Indeed, reasonably managing the budget is a challenge no matter where you live. Fortunately, some technologies, such as the mobile app Mint, make it easier. Mint is a free and safe mobile app that syncs to your bank account. With this tool, you can
- create savings goals
- monitor spending, investments, and incomes
- plan your expenses
- learn more about finances with blog articles
- use extra resources such as a loan repayment calculator.
This program turns managing the budget into a pleasant experience. Thanks to it, you don’t have to worry about booking the next flights or going to extra tourist attractions, such as safari, because you are sure you can afford it.
APPS TO PLAN TRIPS
In the words of Lao Tzu – A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. If you agree with him, you’ll love Secret Flying. I tried this app due to its intriguing name. I imagined myself as James Bond of flights! Well, this dream didn’t come true, but the app returned to help find cheap flights.
Secret Flying alerts me whenever a great offer emerges. Compared to other apps of this kind, what makes this app exceptional is its simple design. Finally, I don’t feel overloaded with information! Also, I could choose cities I’m the most interested in so I don’t receive irrelevant offers. It’s perfect for all digital nomads who don’t want to spend too much time scrolling through flights and are ready to quickly decide on their next travel destination. Just buy and fly, no fixed plans!
It’s a no-brainer to say that every traveler needs the correct map. So – what about the Maps.Me? I found it the best navigation mobile app for several reasons:
- it works completely offline
- it offers multiple modes of transport (even in offline view)
- it shows the elevation profile, making it easy to plan hiking or biking
- it doesn’t take up too much memory so I can store many maps at once
The last point is especially valid for all those who often change places of living. Therefore, I’m sure that all digital nomads will benefit from using this map when exploring their new nearby area of residence!
.APPS FOR WORK PRODUCTIVITY
Nod if you agree – not every cafe is suitable for working remotely. Some places have uncomfortable tables, very few sockets, or dim lighting. Not to mention a poor WiFi connection! That’s why Workfrom is a genius tool. On this app, users recommend their favorite places for remote work by dropping pins and describing and rating cafes and restaurants. Therefore, when you move to a new city, you don’t have to walk around and search for yourself for a perfect place to go out for work. Instead, you can just check Workfrom and choose one of the recommended locations. It’s so time-saving!
Digital nomads live adventurous lives. When hitting the road, they must be ready for everything, including unstable Internet connections. The last time I had a problem with an unstable WiFi connection, I discovered Speedify. This tool uses channel bonding technology, which means it can combine two connections – such as two WiFi hotspots or wired connections and tethered phones – into one stable one. Since I have used it, I’m always ready to work even in the most demanding conditions. So, if you ever interrupted a video conference due to a poor Internet connection and don’t want to repeat it anymore, I think you should also try Speedify.
Focusing on work is difficult when your smartphone alerts you with new notifications, messages, and calls. Once you check your mobile, your thoughts are turned to your personal matters and things unrelated to work. You end up distracted and guilty. And although you’ve been using time management apps, you know you need something more. Say no to distractions with the Forest app. It’s the best companion in your focusing efforts!
How does Forest work? It blocks all your mobile apps, and instead, it turns on a growing tree. All you need to do is to set a time for how long you’d like to focus. After starting, your tree begins to grow. You can’t leave the app during your working time because otherwise, the tree will wither away. Besides lovely animation, the tool offers nature sounds to set in the background. I think it’s the cutest way to cut off phone distractions and focus entirely on work.
So, digital nomads! Have you tried those tools before? Which one did you find the most useful?
Karolina Zając, a writer and travel enthusiast at PhotoAiD. When it comes to writing, she loves bringing dry facts to life. When it comes to traveling, she just loves bikes.