Episode 261: Digital Nomad Life: Supporting Tourism
In the world of destination marketing, we understand that without tourists our industry would die. But in our busyness of promoting our own destinations, we much too often forget that we also should be travelers supporting our colleagues! In my conversation with Jaimie Hart from Discover The Palm Beaches, she clued me into a business model I was unaware of — digital nomad support networks.
What is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads literally live the dream: work remotely and travel the world, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and enjoying a more flexible work schedule. They bring in a regular paycheck but have the perks of vacation at their fingertips. From the perspective of a DMO employee, this could have massive benefits for ideation, expanding his or her professional network and reconnecting with what it is like to be a visitor to a community.
This fantasy-esque situation could be within reach after some logistics are taken care of (having a remote-compatible position and, of course, proper tech to connect to the web and your team back home). Once squared that away, you can start looking for these organizations to help you become a digital nomad — and offer you community, even in a new-to-you city. Check out these options.
Help Sources on the Road
Decision-making can be overwhelming, particularly for something big like moving abroad, even temporarily. Trusted reviews become essential. Nomad List is a platform of crowdsourced information by nomads for nomads. Members weigh in on information for cities around the world to help make your abroad experience better.
The fear of isolation can be a deterrent for many would-be travelers. InterNations establishes community, resources and advice for expats and digital nomads around the world. They have over 4.3 million members in over 420 cities worldwide and organize activities for their numbers both online and in-destination, so you can check loneliness off the worry list!
The “Tour Operators” of Work Travel
Travelers needing a bit more structure may want to look into established programs for their nomad excursion from the office. Remote Year is a community of remote workers and digital nomads who travel the world together. They offer flexible and affordable programs that can help you work from anywhere. Their programs last for one week, one month or even one year. Remote Year takes care of all the planning, so you can focus on working and exploring.
Hacker Paradise is a community of developers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who travel the world together. They offer short, organized trips that focus on building skills, sharing knowledge, and making connections. Trips are anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and go to rural as well as urban locations throughout the world. The ability to collaborate or brainstorm with individuals outside the tourism industry offers an extra layer of benefit to the journey.
Think of Outsite’s model as the lovechild between a business retreat and a vacation rental — but specifically designed for remote working with other professionals. The membership-based program is geared toward working professionals who want to experience an outdoor lifestyle with the comforts of home. They provide shared workspaces, private rooms, outdoor activities and a networking community.
Still Need a Job?
Coworkies’ creative model connects nomadic wannabes with jobs, typically managing aspects of co-working spaces around the world. While it isn’t as all-inclusive as some of the other programs, the job will certainly help you build a network of locals to help you explore your new city! I’d imagine there could be some potential synergies with the local DMO to promote working on the road as a visitation model.
These are just a few of the many groups out there that can help you chase your wanderlust but not break the bank. Digital nomads are a unique type of tourist, invested in the economy of a destination longer than your typical traveler. If you’re interested in this lifestyle, I encourage you to do some research and find the group that’s right for you. After all, it’s for tourism!