At the start of the journey, it’s easy to imagine being a digital nomad forever, but a lot can happen on life’s highway. You might find yourself missing the friends and stability of home.

You might run out of cash. You might meet someone new and fall in love. There are a million different reasons why you might decide you’ve come to the end of the road, so it pays to have a plan in place for how you are going to exit the peripatetic life.

Money matters

Just as that nest egg came in handy when you started as a digital nomad, you’ll need a financial buffer to reintegrate into life back home. Costs are likely to be higher than when you went away, so make your last nomad base somewhere super-cheap with minimal distractions, so you can work longer, be more productive, and spend less of the money you’ll need to rebuild at home. Don’t underestimate the time this will take. Saving up enough for a stress-free return could be a three-month, six-month or year-long enterprise, without some of the lifestyle perks you may have become accustomed to. Approach this as a business decision, and stay focused on the goal of achieving a home lifestyle that’s at least as rewarding as your life while traveling.

The cost of living

Think ahead about ways to keep costs down until you’re in a financially stable position. Finding a job before you fly home is obviously the ideal, but this can take time; you might need to become a non-nomadic digital freelancer while you look for something permanent. As well as facing higher living costs, you’ll have taxes to pay and red tape to unravel – be realistic about how much money you’ll need. Accommodation is likely to be the biggest cost, so think of steps you can take to keep overheads down. Could you couch-surf, or move in with relatives while you look for work? Getting a place with roommates will be cheaper than renting a whole apartment, with the added bonus of people to talk to as you adjust to a world where you can’t cure boredom by just moving on.

The vine-covered facade of a property with a bicycle leaning against the wall
Accommodation is likely to be your highest living costs © Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock

Back to work

Think about how to describe your time as a digital nomad in job interviews. Presenting it in terms of skills acquired, lessons learned and wisdom gained could put you ahead of those on a conventional career path. "Be prepared to answer questions about your time abroad," advises Laura Holden, Communications Executive at Reed Online. "Articulate what you gained from the experience and how you can use your skills to benefit your new employer. It’s also important to think carefully about why you want to make the transition from 'digital nomad' to a more traditional stand-still career. Most employers will want to have reassurance that you’re capable of working in this kind of environment, and that you won’t get itchy feet anytime soon."

Job-search tips

Keep your resume with you on the road and keep it up to date with new skills and achievements as you go. Use your network to investigate job opportunities before you head home. Companies you have freelanced for may have more substantial opportunities for you once you get home, so don’t be afraid to ask. Use the full range of online job- hunting tools – industry noticeboards, LinkedIn, job sites such as Reed, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster – and make sure your online and social media presence makes it clear that you are available and looking for work.

Two women and a man eat together at a table sharing food and wine
Friends and family are likely to love hearing about your travels at first... © Thomas Tolstrup / Getty Images


For the first couple of weeks, friends and family will love to hear about your travels and adventures, but be assured that the novelty will wear off. Don’t let the celebrity vibe of being the returning prodigal son (or daughter) go to your head.

Remember that what everyone else has been doing deserves just as much airtime as your tale of the time you climbed Kilimanjaro. Be ready for the fact that some relationships may not have stood the test of time. Some people will have moved on, or started a new life elsewhere. Unless you are very lucky, the support network you left behind will not be the same support network you come home to, so be ready to use the skills you honed networking at nomad meetups to strike up new friendships and business relationships.

You might also like:

10 reasons why you should become a digital nomad in 2021  
Lonely Planet's ultimate digital nomad packing list  
Everything you need to consider before becoming a digital nomad  

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