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May 14, 2019 17:00:00

Digital nomad expenses

by @hum | 440 words | 🐣 | 215💌

Sarah Hum

Current day streak: 0🐣
Total posts: 215💌
Total words: 107318 (429 pages 📄)

I believe a common misconception with being a digital nomad is that you need a lot of money. Yes, flights and hotels can be expensive. However, just like having a home base, I think you can live cheaply, splurge, or live somewhere in between.

Andrew and I have been on the road for two years now. We moved out of our apartment in San Francisco and started living out of Airbnbs. Out of curiosity, I wanted to break down our spend. Which category are we spending the most? Where can we cut down?

Money is always such a touchy topic but I hope the numbers below are a helpful benchmark. I'll include some tips as well for those who are thinking about hitting the road.

First, some background

To be clear, being a digital nomad is quite different from traveling.

We are not:

  • Hitting up the top tourist attractions in every city
  • Bouncing from city to city every few days
  • Staying in fancy hotels or ryokans

We are:

  • Working a pretty standard work week either from co-working spaces or, more commonly, coffee shops
  • Exploring the city on weekends
  • Still living comfortably, usually away from the city center in more local areas

Some other factors from our personal situation:

  • We are traveling as a couple. Being able to split accommodations saves us a significant amount of money.
  • Most of our stays in a city are for one month. We find it's a good balance between seeing a lot while not constantly on the move. 
  • Early on when it was just Andrew and I, we didn't care much about time zones. Now that we have more customers and a team, we tend to stick to North American and European time zones.

Onto the numbers! I'll be breaking it down by category and using numbers from 12 months of travel, in USD. Your mileage may vary.


Housing is our biggest expense. We usually try to budget around $1,000 for an Airbnb for the month. In expensive cities like London, that meant staying in a private room with a host. In cheap cities like Bangkok, that meant getting a one bedroom condo for below budget.

We usually opt for an entire apartment because we work a lot and we have expensive equipment with us. Also, you never know when you might land a crazy host for the month. We've been lucky with our few hosts!

The only way we're able to stay under this budget is by staying for at least month. Airbnbs are significantly more expensive for short stays. A lot of them have discounts built in for longer stays.

12 Month Total: $15,880

Monthly average per person: $662

From Sarah Hum's collection:

  • 🙌 2
  • 1

    @hum Congrats on joining #TeamStreak! And I'm glad you joining brought this post to my attention. Thanks for sharing it! :D

    Haider Al-Mosawi avatar Haider Al-Mosawi | May 15, 2019 12:36:37
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    @hum Congrats. I have only limited knowledge about the digital nomad but your post guided me to get interested in it! Thank you!

    Hiro avatar Hiro | May 14, 2019 22:53:28
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    @hum Welcome in the team .. It's nice to read about your journey :)

    Efran avatar Efran | May 15, 2019 07:51:06
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    @hum this is quite informative. Please keep sharing! btw, i think you always thought you were on #teamstreak already!

    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 15, 2019 13:21:28
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    @hum welcome to the #TeamStreak !

    Love the digital nomad lifestyle ! would love to know more, waiting for the follow-up post!

    Knight avatar Knight | May 15, 2019 06:43:09
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    @hum - Welcome to the club Sarah! It's been enjoyable imagining you roaming about. Thanks for sharing.

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | May 14, 2019 10:15:44
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      Thanks @brianball! Really thought I was going to lose it this last weekend. Glad I pulled through!

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:07:24
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      @hum - You'd better PATRON up so you can schedule some in the event you'll be traveling or otherwise likely to risk the streak! ( now you have some team responsibility ;-) )

      Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | May 14, 2019 13:06:32
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    @hum Congratulations on your one month streak! :)

    Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 14, 2019 19:02:38
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      Thanks @basilesamel!

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:06:53
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    @hum Ladies and Gentlemen of #Teamstreak....we have a NEW TEAM MEMBER!!!! Sarah, from your posts about TV shows to your travel experiences and keeping us informed about the happenings at Canny, you have given us a constant stream of content to consume. Even today's post peels back the curtain on the details of a digital nomad. Welcome to the team!! We are #Teamstreak!!!

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 14, 2019 09:59:26
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      @brandonwilson Didn't know this was a thing! ? Thanks!

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:06:40
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    @hum nice. Love reading about digital nomad expenses. Would love to read more with a better breakdown if possible :)

    Craig Petterson avatar Craig Petterson | May 14, 2019 17:46:44
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      @craigpetterson Absolutely! More numbers to come :)

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:05:42
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    @hum - Nomad life isn't as expensive as I thought. Thank you for sharing this.

    And congratulations on joining #TeamStreak

    Keni avatar Keni | May 14, 2019 12:32:35
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      Thanks @keni! I'll be sharing more numbers soon :)

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:05:20
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    Do you have a google/excel sheet with a more detailed breakdown of this ? lol

    Sir Abe avatar Sir Abe | May 14, 2019 18:09:15
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      @abrahamKim Not yet but maybe one I dig into all this data!

      Sarah Hum avatar Sarah Hum | May 14, 2019 20:04:52
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      Sweet. Hope that you get to dig and share one day. I'd be super curious to see stuff like that.

      Sir Abe avatar Sir Abe | May 14, 2019 21:50:23
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