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With the Covid pandemic enabling more and more work from home, a lot of people have become interested in the idea of continuing to do so, but not just from home. While remote work from home has become more common, there is also remote work from wherever you want in the world.
This is called being a digital nomad.
However, it’s not as simple as buying a plane ticket and being able to work your job “from home.” Trying to figure out what you can and can’t do, where you can and can’t go can be daunting, but is a process that needs to be meticulously researched before you decide to become a digital nomad. While some flock to Reddit for their tips and advices, one website that claims to help with this process is Nomad List. However, their services are not entirely free, so we’re here to dive into whether this service might be of interest, and worth it, for you before you jump into using them to help you become a digital nomad.
What is Nomad List?
Nomad List defines themselves as a “technology company that builds the infrastructure for people to live anywhere in the world.” Their services rank different destinations that accommodate digital nomads (some places are more accommodating than others) while factoring in cost of living, visas, and internet speed, among other factors.
Nomad List allows you to filter through different cities for remote work based on factors that matter to you, while also providing you with a way to connect with other remote workers who have either stayed in a city that interests you, or who will be there at the same time you’re planning to be.
Cost of Living
Nomad List allows you to map out a budget, determine whether you need a visa to work remotely somewhere (important to note that just because you work a job that can be done “from anywhere” does not actually mean you can move anywhere and do it due to tax implications and visa restrictions), as well as speak to other remote workers who have set up in a destination to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Nomad List Jobs
While Nomad List does provide links to third party sites for remote jobs, they themselves are not a site for finding opportunities that will allow you to work remotely, nor can they help with taxes, or acquiring visas if needed, although they have resources to help you navigate those processes. They do have a nice feature that allows you to not only filter through your preferences for a remote work destination, but to view them all on a map by score, which is determined through various ratings as well as contributions from the Nomad List community.
Best Places to Live in the World
When scrolling through their various filters, Nomad List allows you to find destinations that fit your remote worker dream list from so many different angles. Explore destinations based on climate, weather, cost of living, safety, internet speed, continent, and even narrow down your search with their handy explore function, which lets you search for destinations that fit a topic like “places where weed is legal in Europe” or “places safe for women to travel alone.” This alone is a pretty valuable feature, and is fairly easy to navigate. If you select a specific city, you will be able to see all the scores associated with that city, along with pros and cons, cost of living, and reviews from other remote workers who have spent time there.
You can also get information on the best coffee place, air quality, best wireless carrier, and whether the tap water is safe to drink.
How does Nomad List make money?
As mentioned earlier, Nomad List is not entirely a free service. While you can peruse the website, and research the data points on various cities for free, you will not have full access to all the services Nomad List offers for free.
In order to fully be able to use their services and connect with other remote workers, there is a membership fee. It costs $99 (USD) to join Nomad List, but this is a one time fee that gives you lifetime access to the site. The benefits to paying this would be allowing you direct access to other remote workers through their chat functions (set up through Slack), posting on forums, and joining their online community.
Nomad List makes their money through membership fees, as well as through advertisers, according to their website. As an open startup, they are also fully transparent about their metrics, new users, subscriptions, refunds, and all other data pertaining to their revenue, and success.
Is Nomad List worth it?
To determine whether it’s worth paying for Nomad List’s services depends on what you’re hoping to get out of using it. Firstly, it’s important to note that the services you gain by paying for membership are crowd sourced. This means that the information you gain through the Slack chat, or communities, are based on individuals’ experiences, which can of course vary based on multiple things.
Before committing to anything, it’s worth it to browse the website to see if you can find information that you’d like to know since the main features of the website are free to use.
If your main goal for using Nomad List is to compare cost of living, or to see what the stats are for various destinations as a remote worker, it doesn’t seem necessary to purchase a membership.
What Does Nomad List Cost Include?
If, however, your goal for using Nomad List is to connect with other remote workers, plan meetups, or to speak with people who have spent time in your target destination, paying for membership may be more appealing to you. If you’re new to the world of remote working, a membership might be more valuable to help you navigate the processes, and how it all works.
If you choose to sign up for membership, you have seven days to request a refund if it does not meet your expectations.
Nomad List Founder
Writer’s insight: When perusing the website to write this piece, the one slightly concerning aspect about paying for membership to me (as the writer of this post) is that there is nowhere to contact Nomad List personally. While the website menu has extensive categories for different attractions in destinations, or information about becoming a remote worker, there is no “contact us” category. I was also a little off-put by the constant pop up to join Nomad List which immediately asked for my name and credit card information while stating it was a one time fee of $99. I will note that I am not a digital nomad, nor is that something I am attempting to do currently, but those two little things didn’t give me the utmost confidence in wanting to pay for membership if I had been interested.
Who should use Nomad List?
Of course, services like Nomad List work better for some than for others.
An expression that is frequently used with sites like these is “YMMV” or “your mileage may vary.” If you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, or taking your remote work on the road, checking out Nomad List is a good first step to start navigating the process. While you're checking out Nomad List, be sure to check out our reviews of Remote Year or RemoteOk for more related digital nomad programs and services!
Since you can peruse a large portion of the site for free, you can start scrolling through the endless pages first and then see if you feel you want more! If you’re interested in connecting with other like minded people, or want to speak to other remote workers about their experiences first hand, the membership option might be a good choice for you.
Whether you decide to subscribe to Nomad List, or just browse their free resources, make sure to also check out Pilot for help with planning itineraries, accommodation and more!