The Digital Nomad Lifestyle: Balancing Work and Travel

3 min read

June 13, 2023

For most, the pandemic felt like a time of closure. Schools, restaurants, shops, and offices all shut their doors, forcing people to work from home for months. For others, however, the chance to work remotely opened new windows: the opportunity to work wherever they wanted.

With upgraded remote technologies and communications tools, employees hopped on video calls from cafes halfway across the world, sent emails from the beach, and shared documents from airplanes. Needing only their laptop and an internet connection to do their jobs, these digital nomads said goodbye to the office and hello to new experiences.

The number of location-independent workers is on the rise. As of March 2023, nearly half (48%) of self-identified digital nomads came from the United States. Seven percent, or nearly four million, claimed the United Kingdom as their home base, and 5% are Russian, with smaller shares from other countries worldwide.

In 2022, 16.9 million Americans described themselves as digital nomads. This is a 131% increase over pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Their ranks were drastically boosted by salaried employees leaving the office, with the number of traditional workers who identify as digital nomads nearly quadrupling since 2019.

Who are these wandering workers? Will the push to return to the office (RTO) end their adventurous lifestyles? And what remote work solutions can employers offer to keep highly talented digital nomads as happy at work as they are in their travels?

Digital Nomads Defy Definition

There’s no archetypical digital nomad. Independent of location, the only requirement is to work remotely online.

Before 2020, most digital nomads were freelance workers and independent contractors who designed their careers to prioritize travel. However, the pandemic proved that even traditional, full-time employees could choose where they work.

Now there are solo nomads, nomads who bring their families along on the journey, and nomads who live out of suitcases as they hop from location to location. Their professions and industries vary as widely as their destinations.

One thing is consistent for these traveling workers, however. Four of five (81%) digital nomads report being highly satisfied with their work and lifestyle, compared to 68% of non-digital nomads.

Despite their envy-inspiring video call backgrounds and high satisfaction levels, some things could be improved in the digital nomad lifestyle. Some of their top concerns include:

  • Being away from family and friends
  • Time zone differences
  • Managing work and travel
  • Travel logistics
  • Personal safety

Still, these issues don’t deter digital nomads from their travels. The freedom to work wherever life takes them outweighs the negatives.

man working on a mountain

Digital Nomads in the RTO Era

The pandemic and consequent boom of remote workers showed that you don’t have to be at your desk to excel. As some companies push for an RTO, one might expect the digital nomad ranks to shrink as employees return to roost.

However, 69% of digital nomads plan to maintain their lifestyle for the next two to three years. Many employers continue to embrace remote work, especially having already invested in WFH technology.

For many, the digital nomad lifestyle is no longer a distant dream. Traveling can even help offset the increased living costs in a challenging economy. In a trend called “geoarbitrage,” fiscally savvy travelers can leverage their higher incomes in areas with lower living costs.

As for the RTO? Companies stand to lose top talent if they aren’t willing to embrace their wayfaring employees. They must maintain remote work capabilities to attract and retain highly qualified digital nomads.

Top Destinations for Digital Nomads

After pandemic-induced economic struggles, countries worldwide recognize the benefits of attracting digital nomads to boost their tourism industries.

Many governments have implemented specialty digital nomad or remote work visa programs designed to appeal to foreign workers, enabling them to work legally temporarily while only paying taxes in their home country. These are typically easier to obtain than a traditional work visa and more flexible than a tourist visa, as they are often valid for a year or longer.

Every country has requirements for digital nomad visas, and some are easier to acquire than others. Here are just a few top destinations for workers looking to take their job somewhere new.

Caribbean beach

The Caribbean

Turn your video call beach background into a sun-soaked reality by working from one of the many Caribbean destinations offering specialty digital nomad visas, including Barbados, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.



Have you dreamed of talking to clients from the Greek Isles or drafting documents in the glow of the Northern Lights? Eleven countries in the EU now offer digital nomad visas, while others have made it easier for foreigners to work.

mt fuji


From Tokyo's urban jungle to Bali's actual jungles, digital nomads can find various environments to work in Asia. While many countries don’t have official “digital nomad” visas, they offer alternative programs to attract remote workers.

sloth in costa rica

The Americas

Countries like Mexico and Costa Rica offer affordable living with vibrant cultures – and easily attainable digital nomad visas.

Tools for Living Your Best Digital Nomad Life

Besides a taste for travel and a reliable internet connection, what do digital nomads need to work from anywhere? The list is minimal and doesn’t even take up any room in a suitcase.

Cloud Services

Reliable and secure cloud communications let employees access documents, take phone calls, and collaborate easily from anywhere with an internet connection.

Collaboration Software

Communicating with clients and colleagues is central to maintaining one’s career. Integrated teamwork software enables digital nomads to seamlessly switch from a text conversation to a video call – tropical background optional.

Softphone Solutions

With softphone software, the contact center travels with you. Equipped with features typically reserved for desk phones, softphone apps let digital nomads place and receive calls from their laptops or smartphones over the internet.

Security Features

Working from internet cafes or hotel Wi-Fi, digital nomads need to know their documents and communications are safe. They should follow best cyber security practices, including setting up their own hotspots and virtual private network (VPN) and being discreet while holding work-related discussions over the phone.

Let your workers work from anywhere with communications technology.

Learn more about how Mitel’s travel-friendly tools keep employers connected no matter where life takes them.

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