Today I am flying back to London after a very enjoyable month as a digital nomad in Mexico. Here are 11 things I’ve learned travelling solo on this trip (and many others).
1. Find the right WhatsApp group and you will always have company. This photo is from a Friday night digital nomad meetup in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico organised in the digital nomads WhatsApp group.
2. Moving location slows down time. I’ve stayed in at least 6 places over the last month and it feels like I’ve been away for 2 months rather than one. That makes a nice change from weeks ticking by like minutes when I’m at home.
3. I don’t catch flights before midday. That 9am flight sounds fine until realise you need to check-in at 7 and it takes 90 minutes to get to the airport so now you’re getting up at 4:30.
4. Selina.com is a cool hostel/hotel with locations worldwide. Book a private room (as I did) if you want privacy and you’ll still have friendly people around. Now I am obsessed with the idea of writing a book in Selina Marrakech (below).
5. Shared workspaces can be a good place to meet people but only if they have social/networking events otherwise you’re just sitting with a bunch of strangers wearing headphones. Also, some so-called coworking spaces need to realise that there is more to making it work than just Wi-Fi and a bunch of desks. Some of the world’s greatest workspaces are Mokrin House in northern Serbia (below), Dojo in Bali, and KoHub in Koh Lanta where I wrote F**k Work Let’s Play.
6. Use the end effect to your advantage – the cognitive bias that means your brain remembers the end of a trip more than anything else. So book your fanciest place for the last few nights.
7. “Yes our Wi-Fi works” does not necessarily mean you can make a zoom call or that it works at all when in your particular room (Playa Del Carmen has actually been rather good on this). If you’re renting an Airbnb get them to run a test while you’re talking to them. Bear in mind that demand varies throughout the day too with everyone watching streaming TV in the evening.
8. Modern banking apps make travel so much easier. Here in Playa I can pay with my phone / watch using Apple Pay in most places. And when I lost my cash card on the beach (oops) I could switch it off immediately in the banking app.
9. Get a Revolut or Wise card to avoid getting screwed on currency conversion (HSBC, you should be ashamed of yourselves).
10. Walking 20 minutes across town in good trainers is like walking 2 minutes in flip flops
11. Pico de gallo is great and I should make it at home but Happy Hour 2 for 1 margaritas are not always your friend.
What’s your top recommendation for digital nomad location? Let me know in the comments.