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How Much Does It Cost To Live As A Nomad


by Bethina Spradley



Living as a nomad has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for many adventurous individuals seeking freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to explore the world. Breaking free from the constraints of traditional living, digital nomads and budget travelers are embracing a new way of life—one that allows them to earn a living while traversing different countries and experiencing diverse cultures.


But before you embark on this thrilling journey, it’s important to understand the financial aspects of being a nomad. While it may seem daunting at first, with careful planning and budgeting, living as a nomad can be an affordable and fulfilling way of life.


In this article, we will delve into the various expenses that come with living as a nomad and provide you with insights on the costs involved. From housing expenses to transportation costs, food and dining expenditures to healthcare and insurance fees, communication and internet expenses to entertainment and recreational expenditures, we’ll guide you through the financial landscape of the nomadic lifestyle.


So, whether you’re planning to become a digital nomad, a long-term traveler, or simply looking to maximize your budget while on the move, keep reading to get a comprehensive understanding of the costs associated with living as a nomad.


Housing Expenses

One of the most significant expenses when living as a nomad is housing. The cost of accommodation can vary greatly depending on your chosen destination, preferred living arrangements, and the length of your stay.


If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, you can explore staying in hostels or guesthouses, which offer affordable dormitory-style or private rooms. These options are popular among backpackers and budget travelers, and prices can range from $10 to $30 per night, depending on the location and facilities provided.


For those seeking a bit more privacy and comfort, renting an apartment or house can be a great option. Many nomads opt for short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb, which offer flexibility and a wide range of options. Prices for short-term rentals can vary significantly depending on the location, size, and amenities of the property. On average, however, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $1500 per month on accommodation.


If you’re planning to stay in a particular destination for an extended period, another cost-effective option is to consider house-sitting or pet-sitting opportunities. Websites like TrustedHousesitters connect travelers with homeowners who are looking for reliable individuals to care for their homes and pets while they’re away. In exchange for your services, you can enjoy free accommodation for the duration of your stay.


For digital nomads who prefer a more community-oriented experience, co-living spaces and digital nomad communities are becoming increasingly popular. These spaces offer a combination of accommodation, shared working facilities, and a built-in community of like-minded individuals. Prices for co-living spaces can vary depending on the location and the amenities, but they generally range from $500 to $2000 per month.


It’s important to keep in mind that housing costs can significantly impact your overall budget, so it’s advisable to research and compare prices before committing to any accommodation option. Additionally, consider factors like safety, accessibility, and proximity to amenities when making your decision.


Transportation Costs

When it comes to living as a nomad, transportation expenses can vary greatly depending on your travel style, preferred mode of transportation, and the distance you need to cover.


For short distances within a city or town, walking or using public transportation like buses or trains can be the most cost-effective option. In many destinations, public transportation is affordable and efficient, with fares ranging from a few cents to a few dollars per journey.


Another popular option for nomads is to rent a scooter, bicycle, or motorbike, especially in places where these modes of transportation are readily available and practical. Renting often costs between $5 and $20 per day, depending on the location and the duration of your rental.


If you’re planning to move between cities or countries, air travel can be a more efficient choice. It’s important to note that airfare prices vary significantly depending on factors such as the distance, the time of booking, and the airline. To get the best deals, it’s recommended to book flights in advance and be flexible with your travel dates.


If you prefer a slower-paced and more adventurous approach to long-distance travel, consider using buses or trains. Many countries offer affordable and extensive bus networks, with prices varying based on the distance traveled. Trains can be another comfortable and scenic option, although they tend to be more expensive than buses.


For those who prefer the flexibility and convenience of having their own vehicle, renting a car or camper van is a popular choice. Prices for car rentals can vary depending on the destination, the type of vehicle, and the duration of the rental. It’s worth noting that in some countries, additional fees may apply, such as insurance and fuel costs.


When budgeting for transportation expenses, it’s crucial to consider not only the cost of transportation between destinations but also the cost of getting around within each location. Researching local transportation options and estimating costs based on your planned activities and destinations will help you allocate your budget effectively.


Food and Dining Expenditures

Exploring local cuisine is one of the highlights of living as a nomad, but it’s important to factor in the costs of food and dining in your budget. The expenses can vary depending on your eating habits, dietary preferences, and the cost of living in your chosen destination.


One of the best ways to save money on food is by cooking your own meals. If you have access to kitchen facilities, buying groceries from local markets and supermarkets can be significantly cheaper than eating out. Not only will you have more control over your meals, but you can also indulge in the local flavors and experiment with different ingredients. On average, budgeting around $200 to $400 per month for groceries should be sufficient, depending on your location.


However, exploring the local food scene is an essential part of experiencing a new culture. If you enjoy dining out, you can find affordable options such as street food stalls, local markets, and small family-run restaurants. These establishments often offer delicious and authentic meals at a fraction of the cost compared to upscale restaurants. On average, budgeting around $10 to $20 per day for dining out should provide you with a good variety of options.


In some countries, it may be more cost-effective to opt for local food delivery services or inexpensive eateries that offer set menus or buffet-style meals. These options can provide you with a filling and affordable meal without breaking the bank.


Additionally, be mindful of your drinking habits as they can significantly impact your overall food and dining expenses. Opting for tap water or buying drinks from local stores instead of frequenting cafes and bars can help cut down on costs.


Remember to also factor in occasional indulgences and treating yourself to special dining experiences. A well-deserved splurge on a fancy restaurant or a unique culinary experience can add excitement and variety to your nomadic lifestyle. It’s all about finding the right balance between budget-friendly options and indulging in local delicacies.


By planning ahead, being mindful of your eating habits, and exploring local food options, you can enjoy a variety of tasty meals while keeping your food and dining expenses in check.


Healthcare and Insurance Fees

Ensuring access to healthcare and having appropriate insurance coverage is crucial for any nomad. While healthcare systems and costs vary widely from country to country, it’s important to have a solid plan in place to protect your wellbeing and finances.


Before embarking on your nomadic journey, it’s essential to research the healthcare situation in your chosen destinations. Some countries have excellent healthcare systems that offer affordable or even free medical services to residents and visitors. In these cases, you may only need to pay out-of-pocket for minor illnesses or emergencies.


However, in countries where healthcare costs can be high, it is advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation. Travel insurance can vary in price depending on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and the level of coverage you require. On average, budgeting around $50 to $100 per month for travel insurance should provide you with adequate coverage.


It’s important to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, including any exclusions and limitations. Some insurance policies may have higher deductibles or exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, so it’s essential to choose a plan that best suits your needs and provides comprehensive coverage.


In addition to insurance, it’s wise to budget for routine healthcare expenses, such as vaccinations, medications, and regular check-ups. The cost of these services can vary depending on the destination and your specific needs. Research local clinics and pharmacies to get an estimate of the prices and factor those into your budget.


Another consideration is health and wellness activities, such as gym memberships, yoga classes, or spa treatments. These expenses will vary depending on your preferences and the availability of such facilities in your chosen destinations. It’s important to prioritize your physical and mental well-being, but be mindful of these additional costs.


Overall, investing in healthcare and insurance coverage is essential for a nomadic lifestyle. It gives you peace of mind and ensures that you are well-prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your travels.


Communication and Internet Fees

In today’s digital age, staying connected and having reliable internet access is vital for nomads. Communication and internet fees are essential components to consider when budgeting for a nomadic lifestyle.


When it comes to communication, having a reliable mobile phone plan is crucial. Many countries offer affordable prepaid SIM card options that provide both local and international calling and texting. These plans often come with data packages, allowing you to stay connected wherever you go. Research the available mobile providers in your destination and choose a plan that suits your communication needs and budget.


If you rely heavily on internet access for work or staying connected with loved ones, it’s important to consider the cost of internet services. In most destinations, there are several options available, such as mobile data plans, residential internet packages, or public Wi-Fi. Prices can vary depending on the quality and speed of the connection, as well as the duration of your stay. On average, budgeting around $30 to $50 per month for internet access should be sufficient, but this can vary depending on your usage and location.


Another consideration is the use of co-working spaces. These communal workspaces often provide high-speed internet, comfortable working areas, and a built-in community of like-minded individuals. Prices for co-working spaces can range from $50 to $300 per month, depending on the location and amenities offered. If you prefer working in a professional environment, co-working spaces may be worth the investment.


It’s also worth mentioning that some accommodations, such as hotels, hostels, or rental properties, may include internet access as part of their amenities. Be sure to inquire about this when considering your accommodation options to help minimize additional communication and internet expenses.


Lastly, consider the cost of international calling and messaging if you need to stay in touch with contacts in other countries. Apps like Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Voice offer affordable or even free communication options, allowing you to make international calls or send messages without incurring hefty fees.


Prioritize your communication needs based on your work requirements and personal preferences. Research the available options in each destination and choose the most cost-effective and reliable methods of staying connected while you live your nomadic lifestyle.


Entertainment and Recreational Expenses

Living as a nomad doesn’t mean sacrificing entertainment and recreation. Exploring new destinations and immersing yourself in local activities is an essential part of the nomadic lifestyle. However, it’s important to budget and allocate funds for these experiences.


First and foremost, consider the cost of sightseeing and attractions. Many destinations offer a wide range of tourist attractions, historical sites, and natural wonders, often requiring an entrance fee. Research the prices of these attractions beforehand and prioritize the ones that interest you the most. Keep in mind that some attractions may offer discounts for students or residents, so don’t forget to bring your ID or proof of residence.


Participating in recreational activities and hobbies can also enrich your nomadic experience. Whether it’s hiking, snorkeling, yoga classes, or cooking workshops, these activities can provide unforgettable memories. Research the availability and cost of these activities in each destination to help you budget accordingly. Booking group activities or joining tours can often offer better rates compared to individual bookings.


Additionally, budget for entertainment options such as movie tickets, concerts, or theater performances. These can add variety and excitement to your nomadic journey. Keep an eye out for discounted tickets or special promotions to make the most of your entertainment budget.


It’s also important to consider socializing and meeting new people. Budget for meals or drinks with friends, networking events, and social gatherings. Building a community of like-minded individuals can enhance your nomadic experience, and these social activities can help facilitate that bond.


Last but not least, allocate a budget for relaxation and personal well-being. Treat yourself to a massage, spa day, or wellness retreat to recharge and take care of yourself. Local spas and wellness centers often offer affordable options, and it’s a great way to indulge and prioritize self-care.


Remember, entertainment and recreational expenses will vary depending on your interests and the cost of living in each destination. Prioritize the activities that align with your preferences and allocate funds accordingly, ensuring that you strike a balance between enjoying new experiences and staying within your budget.


Miscellaneous Costs

When living as a nomad, there are several miscellaneous costs that may arise during your travels. These expenses can vary and are often unique to each individual’s circumstances and preferences. It’s important to consider these costs and include them in your budget to avoid any unexpected financial gaps.


One of the first miscellaneous costs to consider is visa fees. Depending on your nationality and the countries you plan to visit, you may incur visa expenses. Some countries offer visa-free entry, while others require you to obtain a visa in advance or upon arrival. Research the visa requirements and fees for each destination and include them in your budget.


Another consideration is transportation between destinations. Whether it’s flights, trains, buses, or ferries, moving from one location to another often incurs additional costs. Plan and budget for these transportation expenses accordingly. Additionally, be prepared for extra costs such as baggage fees, departure taxes, or transportation from airports or train stations to your accommodation.


Emergency expenses should also be accounted for in your budget. Unexpected situations or emergencies can happen, such as lost or stolen belongings, medical emergencies, or last-minute changes in travel plans. Set aside a contingency fund to provide financial security and peace of mind in case of any unforeseen circumstances.


Other miscellaneous costs to consider include laundry expenses, toiletries, entry fees to national parks or museums, travel accessories, and even currency exchange fees. It’s important to research and estimate these expenses based on your travel style and preferences.


Lastly, keep in mind the cost of maintaining your current lifestyle and obligations. This may include expenses such as storage fees for belongings back home, subscription services, loan repayments, or insurance premiums. It’s important to account for these costs to ensure you can meet your financial responsibilities while living as a nomad.


Planning for miscellaneous expenses can help you stay financially prepared and avoid any unexpected financial setbacks during your nomadic journey. It’s always recommended to have a buffer in your budget to account for these miscellaneous costs and ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience.



Living as a nomad offers a thrilling and liberating way of life, allowing you to explore new horizons and immerse yourself in different cultures. However, it’s crucial to understand and plan for the various expenses that come with this lifestyle.


From housing expenses to transportation costs, food and dining expenditures to healthcare and insurance fees, communication and internet charges to entertainment and recreational expenses, and miscellaneous costs, each aspect plays a vital role in creating a sustainable and enjoyable nomadic experience.


By carefully budgeting and researching before your journey, you can make informed decisions that align with your financial capabilities and travel preferences. Consider your priorities and allocate your budget accordingly, balancing the desire for immersive experiences with financial responsibility.


Remember, flexibility and adaptability are key when it comes to budgeting as a nomad. Costs can vary depending on the destination, the duration of your stay, and your personal preferences. It’s essential to regularly evaluate and adjust your budget as circumstances evolve.


Moreover, seeking out value-for-money options, embracing local experiences, and connecting with fellow nomads can help you find ways to save money while still enjoying the full range of your chosen destinations.


Living as a nomad is about embracing a new way of life, exploring the world, and gaining valuable experiences. By taking into account the various expenses involved, you can embark on your nomadic journey with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that you have planned and prepared for the financial aspects of this exciting lifestyle.


So, go forth and embrace the nomadic lifestyle, staying true to your experiential goals while maintaining financial prudence. The nomadic lifestyle can be an incredibly enriching and transformative experience, and with proper planning, it is accessible to anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire for freedom.