On the 7th March, I got on a flight to South America. I had given up my flat in central London, given away most of my possessions and decided to try the life of a location independent minimalist nomad.
For the previous five years, I had been living in central London. One of the most expensive cities in the world, and with absolutely no need to be there. Everything I do that earns me money can be done remotely.
The theory was that I should be able to travel the world while living the same quality of life for much cheaper.
I’m now back in London for a few weeks, to see friends and family and to work on the coffee shop. I’m finally working through my digital nomad expenses to see if the theory matched reality.
My trip lasted three months encompassed Argentina, Chile and Brazil:
Buenos Aires -> Mendoza -> Santiago -> Valparaiso -> San Pedro Da Atacama -> Salta -> Puerto Iguazu -> Foz do Iguazu -> Rio De Janeiro -> Florianopolis -> Sao Paulo
You can see the pictures from it on my Instagram feed.
Unlike most articles about how much it costs to be a digital nomad, I am not a budget traveller. I stayed in the best areas, ate out most meals and didn’t say no to anything because of the price. This is a like for like comparison. Living the good life in long-term stable accommodation in London vs living the good life on the road in Airbnbs, hotels and hostels.
Alright, enough of an introduction. Let’s dive into my digital nomad expenses.
Three Months Expenses Of Living In London
- Rent + Bills: £3,000
- Eating Out: £692
- Groceries: £610
- Shopping: £463
- Nights Out: £339
- Travel: £338
- Gym: £327
- Presents: £251
- Subscriptions: £152 (amazon prime, phone contract, Netflix)
- Admin: £96
- Cinema & Theatres: £76
- Uber: £32
- Mixed. Cash Expenditure: £260
Average: £2,212 ($3,153) a month.
- I don’t pay for travel on London public transport because I volunteer as a police officer.
- Travel includes a couple of domestic holidays.
- The gym is so expensive because I am learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Three Months Of Digital Nomad Expenses In South America
- Accommodation: £1,479
- Flights & Long Distance Buses: £1,317
- Eating Out: £1,221
- Nights Out: £411
- Touristy Stuff: £405
- Gym (Jiu-Jitsu): £270
- Groceries: £206
- Spanish Course: £130
- Uber & Other Taxis: £98
- Subscriptions: £81
- Local Buses: £65
- Insurance: £22
- Other: £172
Average: £1,959 ($2,798) a month.
- Other includes shopping.
- Flights are partly so expensive because I missed my return flight and had to book another.
Well, it did work out cheaper. But not much cheaper.
However, there is one big expense in the list that really jumps out. The cost of long distance travel. I visited 12 places in three months which is not a pace I’m going to keep up. I expect that cost to be significantly lower in the next three months.
On a side note. While my expenses were lower, by work output was also much lower. I probably did about a quarter of the amount of work I would have done had I stayed put in London.