How to be (safely) nomadic this year

TL;DR Nomads are ready to start up their travels again. It’s possible. You’ll just need some creativity, flexibility, and diligence.

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It seems almost impossible that, as remote work has exploded overnight, nomading is more difficult than it has been in years. While the effect of COVID-19 on travel is not surprising, it certainly is not a welcome change for a community that values freedom of mobility above all else.
Most nomads were faced with difficult decisions at the start of the pandemic.
Do you evacuate home, or stay abroad? There was and is no correct answer.

Whats important moving forward is that no matter where you are, nomading in 2020 is still possible. It may be different, and almost certainly is not what you thought it would be a year ago, but it can be done.
You’ve likely seen photos and videos of friends abroad and thought, ‘how is that possible?’ As the first company attempting to build a social safety net for nomads, we’d like to dive into some of our learnings and observations of how our community continues to thrive.

Let go of FOMO

That’s the ‘fear of missing out’ talking. Let go of it. It’s now out of your control, and this can honestly be a blessing. One of the difficulties of having ultimate mobility freedom is that you always want to be everywhere, but inevitably can’t. But just because you have 5 kinds of chocolate to choose from instead of 50, doesn’t mean you will enjoy the selection less. In fact, there is evidence to back up you {might enjoy it even more!}

It’s also key to remember that whoever (and wherever) you are, there are advantages you hold not accessible to others. Stuck in the U.S.? You have a truly insane amount of territory to explore by car. Are you from a country that traditionally didn’t have access to as many countries as say, the UK? You likely now have options they don’t! Cut yourself some slack, and enjoy the options around you. Which brings us to #2.

Expand your horizons

If you are feeling a bit stuck or roadblocked, here are some things to consider.

Look closer to home

Go somewhere off your list

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Follow travel communities and groups

Research diligently

Remember that most places you can go to will still require additional protocols to let you in. It seems like the negative PCR test is the new travel visa for most places.
Maybe where you want to go will let you in after a 10–14 day quarantine period. That might be worth it if you are planning on staying somewhere for a few months! It’s worth taking some time to consider what could go wrong. What if you arrive at the airport and actually test positive? You might end up being forced into a hotel for 2 weeks at your own expense.

Again, Flatten the Curve is a great resource for this, as it not only tells you where you can go but what kind of contingency scenarios to look out for. There are other tools and governmental resources with all kinds of information that will help you. It might not be the most fun, but as the saying goes: hope for the best, expect the worst.

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Planning for plot twists

Buy last minute

Book assuming you’ll need to cancel

Pay for efficiency

Protect yourself and others as you travel

Most airlines and airports will have strict guidelines. Even if they don’t, be diligent about taking the usual precautions (even if no one else is).

Some tips while flying

  1. Wash your hands frequently
  2. Carry hand sanitizer with you (don’t rely on everywhere having it)
  3. Try to fly with airlines using social distancing measures.

Don’t travel without health insurance

There are now several insurance companies claiming to “cover” COVID-19, but in reality, what that means is that if you test positive they will repatriate you to your home country. That might be fine for you! But if you are truly nomadic, or simply want treatment in the country you’re in, you’ll want true coverage.

As of August first, SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance offers just that. Additionally, if you’re a full-time nomad looking for comprehensive health insurance, our new product Remote Health offers this as well (and much more).

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Treat your destination as your home country

Just like you wouldn’t want a traveler visiting your parents or family and bringing the disease to them, it’s important that we as a community avoid this as well. It’s become clear that not only is it possible for asymptomatic people to spread the disease, but it’s actually where much of the spread is coming from. People travel and visit places, either bringing the disease with them or taking it back home to their communities.

A good rule of thumb is just to treat the location you are going to as if it were your home country full of your friends and family. If you are coming from a hot spot, consider attempting to self-quarantine for a few weeks before going out (even if you aren’t required to). Continue to follow normal guidelines, as well as strictly adhere to the protocols of individual countries. Always err on the side of caution.

We have a big opportunity to step up and show the world how to travel responsibly. ❤

Written by: Sam Claassen, Head of Growth.

Written by

Building a global safety net that offers travel medical insurance and global health insurance for remote companies and individuals.

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