luxury digital nomads

Remote work, work from home, workations, and staycations… These are all words that have become more and more commonplace. Now that we’ve been forced to realise that offices aren’t a necessity for the working world, the life of a digital nomad is no longer limited to the adventurous few, but is something well within reach for many.

But still, when you say “digital nomad”, it conjures up images of young 20-somethings with backpacks and laptops heading off to stay at hostels, partying all night and perhaps doing some writing or freelancing during the day. It’s certainly not a lifestyle most would associate with luxury hotels and six-figure salaries.

Until now.

Now, luxury digital nomads are starting to crop up. So, what exactly is a “luxury digital nomad”?

What is a Luxury Digital Nomad?

luxury nomads

Luxury digital nomads are a rising class among the traditional nomad. They are skilled workers who are not dependent on location. They earn enough to travel (very) comfortably, staying at resorts and vacation rental villas. In some fields, these well-off digital nomads are making up to six-figure incomes!

But with so many companies turning towards remote work, and shying away from the necessity of in-city offices, a luxury digital nomad doesn’t even necessitate a freelance or gig-based job. Many companies are now allowing their employees to work location-independently. That way you can keep all the advantages of a stable income while making the most of travel opportunities.

Why are Digital Nomads on the Rise?

luxury digital nomads

Regardless of whether they’re living the life of luxury or not, the digital nomad lifestyle is on the rise.

A huge reason for this is because of the pandemic’s effect on our work life. Remote and hybrid work have unchained people from their desks at the office, and for many this has given them more freedom. Without the need to go into the same workplace every day, it’s possible to visit relatives in other parts of the country, or have a workation somewhere when you just need a change of scenery.   

With this untethered lifestyle on the rise, more and more countries are starting to roll out digital nomad visas that allow you to stay in the country for much longer than a typical tourism visa, without the hassle and regulations that usually come with a work visa. These kind of nomad visas usually require you to be a tax resident in your home country, which is usually the case for digital nomads, as they might be employed in their home country or have gig-based work from abroad.

Airbnb released some figures that reflect this rise in digital nomadism, with over 100,000 guests booking stays of 90 days or longer over a 12-month period ending in September 2021. 90 days or longer is certainly not your average holiday break!

In fact, Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb himself, announced that he will be living on Airbnb indefinitely. On Twitter, he said: “Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb. I’ll be staying in a different town or city every couple weeks.” He went on to add: “Why am I doing this? I think the pandemic has created the biggest change to travel since the advent of commercial flying.”

There’s a clear movement away from the daily commute and regular office work, and nothing says “luxury digital nomad” like Airbnb’s CEO living on their own platform!

Remote Workers Progressing to Luxury Nomads

remote worker to luxury nomad

Luxury digital nomads aren’t necessarily limited to those who have reaped the benefits of new-found remote work. There are also pockets of digital nomads who have thrived in their niche and are starting to command much higher salaries than when they originally set off on their travels. These range from travel influencers and content creators through to business entrepreneurs who have gained a global audience or set up cross-border operations.

So no, you don’t have to be the CEO of a multi-national company to make your dream of being a luxury digital nomad a reality. Starting the traditional nomad way and finding your strengths and weaknesses will set you up in good stead to build a client base and work your way to living the nomad life in style and comfort.

How People are Living the Luxury Nomad Lifestyle

By this point, you’re probably wondering what exactly a “luxury digital nomad lifestyle” entails. Perhaps you’ve already got your money saved up and you’re looking for some inspiration, or maybe you want to create a Pinterest board to motivate you towards that goal. Either way, let’s take a little peak into what a luxury nomad might do with their time abroad.

Villas and Resorts

Photo by The Anam on Unsplash

This is likely what most people will start off with if they’re unused to the nomad lifestyle, or want to concentrate on the luxury element of feeling pampered and catered to, without the extra hassles of home life. Luxury resorts in particular free you of most usual worries – no washing, easy access to gyms and pools, with room service and cleaning services. Villas offer a bit more of a homely feel without compromising on luxury, and are preferable for those who want to do a bit of their own cooking.

Luxury Airbnbs

luxury rooms
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Although there is certainly a large audience out there using Airbnb as a cheaper, self-catered option instead of a hotel, there is also a huge market for luxury places, too. Ranging from luxury apartments to gorgeous entire homes equipped with infinity pools, there’s no shortage of comfortable options. These places generally work as a great home away from home, as you have all the amenities and equipment you might get at home for cooking and daily necessities, but are great for those who want a change of scenery.

Co-Living

A room at Outpost Ubud coliving

Co-living spaces also have a wide range of options available. For some, “co-living” might conjure up ideas of guest houses and hostels – not exactly a luxury vibe. But in fact, many co-living spaces were made with a very different atmosphere in mind. They are usually a hybrid of co-working and co-living spaces, but often with the amenities and facilities you might expect of a hotel. High-speed internet, bars, pools, you name it, coliving has it.

What Countries are Best for Luxury Digital Nomads?

If you’re thinking of doing some luxury travel, you’ve probably already got some destinations in mind. However, when it comes to nomad travel things are a little different.

If you want to stay in the country for longer than a usual tourist visa will allow, it’s best to visit a country that issues a digital nomad visa or something similar.

Here are a few great destinations for travelling as a luxury nomad.

Bali (Indonesia)

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

In recent years Bali has been the go-to spot for digital nomads. With the rising number of freelancers and remote workers entering the country, the number of places accommodating them has also risen. Now, there’s a wide range of places to stay, from cheap one-night hostels to luxury villas and workspaces. Although prices are going up in the touristic areas, this is one of the places where you can live a luxury lifestyle without breaking the bank.  

The Caribbean Islands

Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash

Barbados and the Bahamas are usually names that come to mind when thinking of sunny beaches and relaxing vacations, so why not take that a step further and make it your base for a while? A good number of the Caribbean islands offer digital nomad visas, though often under a different name, such as the 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp.” Make the most of the beaches, rum tours, and mini cruises in your off-time, and get some work done by the pool in the day.

Thailand

Photo by Sumit Chinchane on Unsplash

However, as the well-known tourism destination that they are, the Caribbean Islands can get a little pricey, so a good alternative could be Thailand. Here, the cost of living is much lower, but it still has reliably fast internet and luxurious accommodation for a fraction of the price. In terms of visa, Thailand is very welcoming to digital nomads, and is working on a dedicated digital nomad visa. But as of the time of writing, there is a special tourist visa that last 90 days and can be renewed twice (for a total of 270 days). This is a luxurious option for those of us not quite at the six-figure salary mark yet.

Iceland

Photo by Balazs Busznyak on Unsplash

While Iceland doesn’t offer the stereotypical sandy beaches and piña coladas you might usually associate with luxury travel, it does offer a whole host of natural and cultural experiences you can’t get anywhere else, to those who can afford it. If you want to feel the forces of nature through heli-tours of volcanic areas, or see the northern lights for the first time, this is the place for you. Not usually an option for regular backpackers due to its high cost of living, luxury digital nomads can dip into savings to aim for luxury apartments or resorts while staying on the long-term visa for remote workers that allows you to stay for up to six months.

Other countries with nomad visa options

There are plenty of countries around the world that offer digital nomad visas or something similar. Among those are sunny spots like Costa Rica and Mauritius, and spots great for a cultural trip like Georgia and Romania.

Wrapping Up

Photo by Agnieszka Boeske on Unsplash

Traveling as a luxury digital nomad is likely to become more and more popular as travel around the world starts to open up again. Even if luxury travel and resorts aren’t quite in your reach just yet, it’s good to have something to work towards, so why not start your digital nomad journey now? We’ve given you the tools, now all you need is the adventure.

The Digital Nomad Asia is a web magazine for the people who love to travel and remote work in Asia.