While the idea of going to a totally different country to live as a digital nomad may seem romantic at first, it can become a nightmare very quickly when the proper precautions aren’t taken. Many people who are on their first trip end up making critical mistakes that cost them in the long run. Here are some of the most common mistakes first time digital nomads commit.

Undermining the Challenges

Living as a digital nomad isn’t as rosy as it appears in Instagram feeds. There are many challenges that you’ll have to face as a digital nomad. First, you must be prepared to deal with loneliness. Some of us are just born social butterflies and may feel alienated without social bonds. In some cases, you might find yourself alone for long stretches of time and making friends in another country isn’t always easy. Try to choose destinations with tons of expats that will make you feel less like you’re out of your element.

Set Clear Goals

There’s a big difference between living as a digital nomad and being on vacation, and many people who embark on the journey make the mistake of conflating the two. However, before you leave, you have to set clear goals, deadlines, and a game plan while you’ll be abroad. Maybe that goal is to complete a project or expand your client base. Or maybe you’re working on your online MMLIS degree and have assignments you must turn in. Either way, you can’t afford to stand still just because you’re in an exotic locale. If you feel like you’re the type to get side-tracked, choose a destination that is more conducive to work than pleasure.

Choosing the Wrong Location

Another major mistake new digital nomads make is choosing a destination simply because it’s “hot”. However, some destinations might be better for you, depending on your needs. For instance, if you’re studying for an online library science degree at the University of Southern California, leaving the country might be the best decision. Conversely, if you have obligations, you can narrow your choice and consider more local destinations.

All destinations are suited for the digital nomad lifestyle, even tourist hot spots. For instance, if you decide to choose a small town near the beach in the Philippines, but the Wi-Fi connection only works during certain hours and is interrupted by heavy rain, then it could easily affect your work. Good commutes, a solid internet network, and plenty of hotspots around the city should be your priority when choosing a destination. You need security as well. Also, make sure that the locals are open to visitors so you won’t feel stranded in a strange land.

Conclusion

While living as a digital nomad can be a great experience, it can easily turn sour if you go unprepared. Make sure you have a clear plan in place before you leave and have clear objectives. Understand that you might have to live alone for long periods of time, so be prepared to feel lonely from time to time. And last, but not least, make sure that you pick a safe destination that is conducive to work if you want to be productive.