With less than a week to go, I’m about to set off on a digital nomad journey across SE Asia! I have never been more excited and stressed at the same time in my life. I’ve been slowly planning this trip for over two years. But over the last month, it’s been non-stop planning and spending to get this trip off the ground! I’ve had to plan flights, visas and stays for the first 2 months before I’ve even left New York. So how much did I spend? What are the actual costs to become a digital nomad? Here I will outline my initial digital nomad costs. This is what I spent just to get off the ground in New York and make it to Asia. Hopefully, this article will help others get on the road and become a digital nomad adventurer like me!
My Digital Nomad Plan
This cost plan covers what I am spending for a three month trip to Asia. My current plan is one month in Koh-Phangan Thailand and then two months in Vietnam. Almost all my travel, visa and accommodations were paid for before I left New York
Pre-Trip Costs: Gear
I won’t go into much detail for this part. If you are planning to become a digital nomad you should be planning your gear set for years. You should have a laptop, suitcases, backpacks, cameras, etc. Everyone will have different requirements for their gear. I don’t know what’s best for you. For example, I bought an $1800 computer for the trip. Did I need it? Probably not. I would suggest curbing your spending and only buying essentials when it comes to gear.
Get your Visa!
If you have a US passport you are in luck! You do not need a Visa and are allowed to show up at the airport. You allowed a visit of 30 days in Thailand with no Visa. The second leg of my trip was a little tougher. I am spending two months in Vietnam. A visa is required for all visitors in Vietnam. You can easily apply online at the Vietnam Embassy Website. I strongly suggest any aspiring digital nomads apply for their visa early. I opted for the 3-month single entry visa. Final digital nomad costs for visas for 3 months: $130 USD. I will incur future costs after my three months are up and will update visa costs in a future article
Digital Nomad Flight & Transportation Costs
Getting to Asia is actually really cheap and flights are insanely cheap once you’re there! First, we need to add the cost of my bus to NYC from Albany NY. Megabus was only $20. Flying out on Albany would have added hundreds to my costs. Next, we have to add the cost of an Uber from Brooklyn to JFK. I am estimating about $70 for this short trip. I could take the train but it takes about 2 hours and after a bus ride and then a 26-hour flight I would much rather take an Uber.
We finally made it to JFK! I purchased a roundtrip from JFK to Bangkok (BKK) through Expedia. I found Skyscanner is the best place to find cheap flights but I would encourage you to find the cheap flight there and then purchase through the actual airline or a highly reputable site. A roundtrip flight was $560USD!
So I finally make it to Bangkok. But it’s not my first home for this trip. My first nomad home is in Koh Pha-ngan. There are no flights to Koh Pha-ngan. My favorite airline in Thailand is Nok Air. I had many great flights with them on my last visit and they are really cheap! I found a flight/ferry combo on their site for $90.
Flights Part II
I’m not done with flights just yet. I have a 30 day limit in Thailand and on arrival I will need to prove I am leaving the country in 30 days. So this involves a return flight to Bangkok and then a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Add $90 for the return flight and $50 for the flight to Vietnam! That should about cover my initial flight costs for this nomad trip. I will be adding flights to Hanoi and back to Bangkok as well on my 3-month digital nomad costs update.
Day to Day Living: Hotels/Air BnB Costs
I’ll need a place to stay and rest my head sometimes on this amazing trip! First up I have an Air BnB in Brooklyn for one night. I am visiting one of my best friends and couldn’t leave for Asia without saying goodbye! cost: $70. Next, I am spending two days in Bangkok. I absolutely love the city wanted to spend at least one day enjoying it! Hotel from Agoda.com for 2 nights was $50. Finally, I booked an amazing bungalow on the sea on Air BnB for an entire month. Cost: $440. And that is it! I will be adding my stays in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in the updated digital nomad costs article in 3 months.
Final Trip Costs
So what were the final costs just to get out of the US for me? As of today, I spent $1570 on everything needed to get from Albany, NY on July 29th to Ho Chi Minh City on Sept 1st. Here’s the final breakdown!
- Vietnam Visa: $130
- Megabus ticket to NYC: $20
- Uber Brooklyn to JFK: $70
- Flight JFK to Bangkok: $560
- Flight/Ferry Bangkok to Koh Pha-gnan: $90
- Flight/Ferry Koh Pha-gnan to Bangkok: $90
- Flight Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City: $50
- Air Bnb in Brooklyn: $70
- Hotel in Bangkok: $50
- Air BnB in Koh Pha-gnan: $440
August costs will mainly be food, entertainment and, co-working space. Next, I still need 2 more short flights that will cost about $50 each. Then 2 months lodging in Vietnam, approximately $250 a month. September and October costs will be down to food and entertainment!
Is it Worth it to become a Digital Nomad?
YES! I would encourage anyone who wants to travel and experience the world to figure out a way to make it happen! You could easily shave hundreds off my example if you stayed in hostels and moved around less. I hope this article was helpful. If you’d like to know more about me or my trip feel free to follow me on social media @instagram!