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Location Independence vs Digital Nomad: Which Is Better?

For years now, people have been giving up their corporate jobs and saying goodbye to the rat race to work remotely. Whether as a freelancer or to start their own internet based business.

Some are digital nomads that travel the world while working out of a laptop without anyplace being a home. Others are location independent and prefer choosing a base of operations that allows them some sense of normalcy.

People used to think that digital nomads were crazy, but now that millions of people were forced to work from home due to Covid-19, it doesn’t seem like such a crazy thing to do.

If you’re thinking of leaving the rat race behind or simply want a way to see the world then take a look at this comparison between being a digital nomad and being location independent.

What they have in common

There are a number of challenges that you’re going to face whether you go for being a digital nomad or simply being location independent. Many people wrongly believe that they can simply go wherever they want and work where they want.

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. Though Americans have a greater amount of choice for visa free travel as tourists, staying longer than three months is not an option in most places.

Which is why digital nomads are more prevalent than people who are location independent as they usually only stay as long as a tourist visa allows and then move on to another country to reset the clock on their visa called visa runs. This is complicated, however and can be exhausting.

Being location independent makes you more limited to the destinations available because getting a work visa is not possible since you work online. And because a country will want you to pay taxes there, it is difficult for them to collect if you make money from another country. So they mainly choose to not allow it.

Another issue is health insurance. You won’t be covered by local insurance in either scenario so you’ll have to get yourself global insurance that covers you in just about any country you find yourself in.

Pros and cons of digital nomading

Lots of digital nomads could not envision having a home and then traveling from it on occasion. They love the freedom that comes from staying for short periods in a location and then moving on.

One of the pros of doing this is that you get to see much more of the world. If you spend a month in one country before moving then you will have explored twelve countries in the span of a year.

Another pro is that you don’t have to worry about dealing with too much bureaucracy wherever you live. You only need to get the visa and then you are pretty much done with paperwork. Though, technically this is not allowed since you aren’t paying taxes to the countries where you live, but that is another discussion.

The cons are that you will have trouble making connections with people as you are always coming and going. And being productive with work is difficult since you are always working on getting visas and researching where to live and eat.

Pros and cons of being location independent

Having a sense of belonging is important to some people, so it makes sense to stay in one spot for a longer period than digital nomads do. This gives you stability and you can also be far more productive with work. When you have time to focus on your work, you can make more money. Especially if you are trying to build a business.

If you are looking to learn a language or make longer lasting connections then this is the way to do that which isn’t possible as a digital nomad. You’ll have a much deeper understanding about the people in the country and come away with a broader perspective.

The downsides are that you are more limited in where you can go for long periods. There are not many countries that allow for remote worker visas. Another downside is that it may not be as adventurous as you need it to be. Travel is possible, but you’re a little more limited.


I think the best way to decide which is going to be better is to weigh your personality against the two different systems. If you are the type that thrives on meeting new people and for every day to be different than the last then being a digital nomad is the best option.

For those that crave a sense of home, then being location independent is going to satisfy you. You may even find a permanent place to live if you love the country enough after living there for a while.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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