December

Demonetisation has made travellers all over the world really think about how to spend money sensibly while on the road. Whether you are backpacking in a relatively small town or staying at a swanky hotel in a big city, you can always find a way to make sure you have a way to pay. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you spend money optimally.

Multiple modes of payment: Always keep your payment options open. Along with local cash, make sure you have a working debit or credit card, and travellers’ checks are always a safe way to pay. Cash is no doubt the best and cheapest way to pay anywhere but you obviously cannot carry a large amount of it with you throughout your trip. If you are carrying cash though, always use a money belt.

Debit cards: Using cards for transactions has its own pros and cons. Debit cards are convenient, however, the fee for every transaction can be quite high. Your bank will charge you for every ATM transaction and the bank you withdraw from will charge you a fee as well. You can ask the bank for a breakdown of international transactions before you travel so it shows up in your next statement or simply ask them for more information regarding such transactions.

Credit cards: Spending with a credit card can be a little risky. There is always a chance of it getting stolen, and if you like shopping it could be your undoing in terms of spending. But credit card companies too can charge you quite a bit for international transactions, so they should only be used during emergencies.

Wiring money: While it is a more complicated process, wiring money is another way you can get money sent to you while you’re travelling. You will need someone from home to send you some money so let your family or a friend into the loop. You can choose which bank account to send the money to or collect it in cash from there.

Befriend a local: Always have a local contact in your destination country. They can give you tips about how to spend money wisely, get good deals and in extreme cases, lend you some local money.

Currency Exchange: Find currency exchanges that are not located at the airport, as their exchange rates are higher. Instead find one in the local town or go to a local bank. The best thing to do is to exchange them at your home country before you leave.

Use common currency: US dollar, Pounds Sterling and Euro are the most popular currencies to exchange and it is always a good idea to keep some of them on you regardless of where you travel or what your country’s currency is.

If there’s one thing demonetisation has taught us, it is that financial emergencies can hit anytime. You can have tonnes of money and still be stranded and helpless just because someplace doesn’t accept a certain method of payment. It is always better to be prepared, than find yourself in a bind.

Demonetisation has hit travellers quite hard. Many of them who were on the road when demonetisation came into effect faced a lot of trouble. It has definitely made travel a bit more difficult but that doesn’t mean you cannot travel at all. Here are a few ways in which you can reduce your dependency on cash while travelling:

International Debit Cards: Make sure your debit card can cover international transactions and use it whenever possible. Even though you will be charged a fee for transactions abroad, it will reduce your dependency on cash and make transactions easier. While travelling with cash or credit cards can be risky, your debit card can take care of transactions while you’re on the road.

Book Services Online: Try to book services like accommodation and tickets online as far as possible. Net banking is another effective cashless way to conduct transactions. Just make sure you are doing net banking transactions over a secure connection and not on a public computer.

Cashless Apps: Demonetisation has made many cash-based businesses turn to cashless methods of payment. Taxi services, rental places and small shops have turned to apps that deal with cashless transactions. Download a couple of these on your smartphones so you can reduce your cash spending.

Withdraw Small Amounts: Despite how hassle-free travel can be without cash, services like local transport will always be cash based. Its always a good idea to keep cash on you for emergency purposes. If you have no cash, withdraw small amounts at any ATMs you cross. Withdrawing a little more than necessary will keep you covered for emergencies as well.

Dealing With Emergencies: Even if demonetisation was not taking place, certain emergencies faced by digital nomads that need cash can be avoided altogether with a little preparation. For example, make sure to buy travel insurance and medical insurance. Situations like lost luggage are all too common with airlines and medical cover is essential for travellers. Insurance makes sure you don’t have to spend extra during tricky situations.

Pack Necessities: Avoid spending money on unnecessary or frivolous expenses while travelling. For instance, even small expenses like toiletries and snacks will be difficult at a time like this. Make sure you pack these essentials on your trips.

Make Full Use Of Free Offers: While most restaurants accept cards, you can reduce on your spending altogether by availing of offers or using coupons. Many restaurants have offers like birthday discounts that can be availed of, or you could check to see if the local club has a ladies’ night offer running.

Travel in the time of demonetisation does not have to be a pain if you know how to manage without cash. A slump in the travel industry means more opportunities for digital nomads, so you can have your pick of destinations. Places that would normally be swamped during holiday season will be relatively less crowded given the current situation, so it might actually be a good time to travel. With a bit of thought and sensible spending, you can keep travelling like always even in these financially uncertain times.

Happy Travel 🙂

Festivals are a major part of any country and timing your travels to celebrate a festival could be one of the best ways for digital nomads to explore a culture. India, being incredibly diverse, has a number of them. Festivals of all faiths are celebrated with much gusto and with entire communities taking part. Cultural festivals and music festivals are becoming centres of multiculturalism and pull crowds from all over the world. Such festivals take place as a show of humanity and many of them support social agendas.

Try one of the following festivals in India to make 2017 more eventful. Just remember to celebrate responsibly!

Religious festivals to attend in India

Dussehra: Dussehra is celebrated all over the country but for a really good show, visit the city of Mysore in Karnataka. The palace is lit up beautifully and the annual parade is a splendid display of decorated elephants and their mahouts. It generally takes place in the month of October, though dates will vary from year to year.

Diwali: One of the biggest festivals celebrated in India, Diwali can be appreciated from anywhere in the country. Oil lamps are lit to symbolically banish evil and darkness from their lives and people celebrate by lighting fireworks. It falls on different days every year, according to the Hindu calendar so make sure you get the dates correctly before planning anything around this time.

Holi: The festival of colours is one of the most anticipated festivals for everyone including tourists in India. The festival is celebrated over two days. A bonfire is lit the previous night, followed by the celebration of colours the next day. Water, colour, sweets and the traditional but intoxicating (and dubiously made) drink of bhaang are how you can celebrate the festival authentically.

Durga Puja: Majorly celebrated in east India, Durga Puja is another festival celebrating good over evil. The city of Kolkata celebrates the festival most enthusiastically. Idols of the goddess Durga are located all over the city, and women come out in full force to celebrate the power of the goddess. Song, dance and elaborate prayers are carried out with entire communities taking part.

Ganesh Chaturthi: Not many people are aware that Ganesh Chaturthi became a public celebration only in 1893. Today the celebrations are on a much larger scale and take place all over the country, mainly in the state of Maharashtra. The ten day festival is in honour of the elephant-headed god Ganesha, with idols springing up in almost every lane of major cities.

Eid-ul-fitr: Eid-ul-fitr is celebrated in either June or July, according to the Islamic calendar, right after Ramadan, the month of fasting. Communities get together, people offer prayers, and feasts take place to celebrate the end of fasting. In major cities like Mumbai and Delhi, street food stalls spring up, selling kebabs, biryani and other traditional fare.

Cultural Festivals to experience in India

Khajuraho Dance Festival: The ancient temples of Khajuraho are already known for their erotic sculptures but the Khajuraho dance festival is another reason to visit this city. The annual event which takes place in February showcases artists who perform various classical dances. Certain artists and troupes also specialise in fusion dances, merging two or more classical forms or even contemporary forms of dance. Dates for 2017 will soon be updated HERE.

Hornbill Festival: The Hornbill festival is a cultural extravaganza and the largest gathering celebrating the lives of the indigenous tribes of the state of Nagaland. It runs for ten days, with dance, music, art and craft exhibitions, film festivals, concerts, games and a lot more at the Naga Heritage Village, about 10 kilometres away from Kohima. It takes place in the first week of December and usually begins on the first of the month. You can find more details about the festival HERE.

Pushkar Fair: The biggest camel and cattle fair in the country, Pushkar is a popular festival not just for cattle owners, but for photographers and musicians as well. It runs for five days in October or November, depending upon the calendar, beginning with a camel race. It has gained quite a following among tourists across the world and even attracts contemporary musical acts from all over the globe. Read more about the festival HERE.

Rann Utsav: Also known as Kachch festival, this is one of the most popular festivals in the country. This year, it began on November 1st and is scheduled to run till 20th February 2017. Celebrating all sorts of art from the region, it highlights the artistic talents and natural beauty of the state of Gujarat against the backdrop of the Rann of Kachch. You can find more information HERE.

Goa Carnival: Rooted in Portuguese traditions, Goa Carnival is a fun, colourful festival that takes place before Lent. Parades and processions move through major cities in the state, with dancers and performers, and ends in the red and black dance in Clube Nacional in the capital city Panaji. Carnival will run from 25th to 28th February in 2017. For more details, click HERE.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival: The three day Jaisalmer Desert Festival takes place during the winter. The event was specifically set up to promote Rajasthani culture to people from other countries and celebrates the heritage of the state. It is held in February every year, at Sam Sand Dunes, a few kilometres from Jaisalmer. Contests like turban-tying and the moustache competition are extremely popular with tourists. To find out more about this festival, click HERE.

International Kite Festival: Every January, Ahmedabad comes alive with hundreds of kites being flown to celebrate the International Kite Festival. Kites of all shapes, sizes and materials take over the skies – some displaying messages of social importance, others that are positively feats of design and engineering. It is traditionally celebrated on Sankranti in January and is slated to take place between 7th and 14th January in 2017. You can find more details about this festival HERE.

Must attend Music Festivals in India

Ziro Festival of Music: The seven sisters have always been the epicentre for rock and alternative music and Zero Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh celebrates this. A fairly new festival, Ziro began in 2012 and has showcased acts like Indus Creed, Madboy, The Supersonics, and some famous local acts. It is held every year, towards the end of September, in Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. Indian and international tourists require permits to travel to Arunachal Pradesh so make sure you have this document before you head there. You can read more about the festival HERE.

Sunburn: The biggest music celebration of the year, Sunburn takes place in Goa during New Years’. If you are a fan of electronic music, Sunburn cannot be missed. While the original event takes place in Goa the brand itself is spreading all over the country and even to Sri Lanka and Dubai. Electronic artists from all over grace this much coveted music festival and it has never known to disappoint. You can find out more about Sunburn HERE.

NH7: NH7 travels to multiple cities and is one of the largest music festivals in India. You can catch it at Pune, Delhi, Begaluru, Kolkata, Nagpur, Mysore, Puducherry, Jaipur, Hyderabad or Shillong between October and December. It covers several genres of music so you can’t go wrong with NH7. You can read more about the festival HERE.

Mahindra Blues: Asia’s largest Blues Festival has seen blues legends like Buddy Guy and Joss Stone over the years since its inception in 2011. The two day festival runs every February and will be held on 11th and 12th February in 2017 at the popular Mehboob Studios in Mumbai. More details about the festival HERE. 

Ragasthan: Ragasthan is a most aptly named music festival that takes place on the dunes of the Thar desert. Flea markets, a sports arena, restaurants and bars, and multiple stages lie sprawled over the desert sands near Jaisalmer. Featuring bands like MenWhoPause, Parikrama, and Advaita, Ragasthan is a much awaited event every year. Dates for 2017 have not been announced yet but you can bet the three day festival will pack a punch. You can find out more about Rajasthan HERE.

So we hope you have a great time all around the country. Do share this information with other. 🙂

Investments begin quite early in life, and for good reason. Everyone could use some money, or some form of it to lean back on. Whether it be financial security or a roof over your head, investment caters to a number of needs. As a nomad, our investments may be different but they are still needed. Here are a few ways to invest money:

Private Provident Fund: A PPF could be incredibly useful in terms of long term investments. Ferreting away a little amount of money every month will give you a reasonable chunk at the end of 15 years. You could reinvest this money if you like, or perhaps spend it on that trip that you’ve always wanted to take.

Insurance: Travel insurance is a no-brainer while travelling. Losing your luggage is a very real possibility while travelling and while airlines might try to help you recover your luggage, there are many cases of travellers having to let go of any hope that it might be found.

Mediclaim: Medical insurance is extremely important for travellers. With medical expenses hitting the roof these days, one should take extra care while travelling. A good mediclaim ensures that you are financially covered in case any accident befalls you or at the very least, takes care of your hospitalisation charges.

Mutual funds: Investing in mutual funds is also a good option. With the option of selling your funds at any time, you can have an amount of cash when you need it the most. You also have the choice of reinvesting it.

Recurring Deposits: A short term recurring deposit saving scheme is an ideal way to keep your travel plans going. With even a small amount of monthly savings each year, you will always be financially ready at the beginning of the next one. Plus you can choose the period of investment time according to your convenience.

Property: Depending on the degree of your nomadicness, investing in a house may or may not be useful. Many nomads feel the need of a home base, or freelancers with an unsteady income may need a roof over their head at some point. However, if you are a total nomad with no plans of pitching your tent in one place and get a reasonable monthly salary, it makes no sense to buy property. You will likely need to take a loan and pay it off over a number of years, all the while not even living in the house.

No matter what your profession is, it is imperative to understand that money is important in the world. While nomads understand that the true value of life is in the experiences you collect, the world ultimately does run on money. Since nomads are free from financial constraints like rent and bills, it is never too late to begin thinking about sensibly managing money.

You will agree that one of the stimulating experiences for a digital nomad is meeting like-minded individuals as it gets quiet lonely for a solo DN traveller with only his laptop for company. In a foreign land, it helps bring a different perspective to life, acceptance of different kinds of people and hence a great learning experience. There are tons of meet-ups that happen globally which can be for purely networking purposes or have an agenda attached to it. Here we list a few for our readers:

Thames Valley Tech & Digital Community: It is a reading-based platform bringing together the fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of Thames Valley’s including tech and digital economy. Founded in April 2013, it already boasts of 653 members with a record 187 Meetups in the past.

Digital Nomads Berlin: A meetup.com group, Digital Nomads Berlin encourages people who love traveling, online marketing and freelancing to attend these meetups. Join this digital nomad community in Cologne! Within a span of a year this 686-member group has already organized 11 meetups with active participation from registered members.

Find a Nomad community: This is a free-for all community wherein details of digital nomads are available; where are they hanging out right now and also enables to check their profiles and reach out to anyone who you’d like to possibly meet up with. Another feature is to add information about your future travel plans, to be able to know beforehand of who shall be in that city to arrange meet-ups with.

Digital Nomad Girls: As the name suggest, these are for female travellers who work while on the go. With their laptop lifestyle, it is essential to exchange ideas with others and hence being a part of this group makes a lot of difference. They customize meetups according to your availability. So if you express about having a meet-up then they will create an event at that location for you. All the best for a girl’s night out with the traveller clan!

Coworking Europe Conference, Brussels, Europe: A coworking conference, this event aims to talk about the differences between coworking and cosharing workspaces, and explore the opportunities available to people who want to get involved in the coworking scene. The attendee can attend this 3 day event at a cost of €225 wherein 50 speakers and panellists will talk on related topics. Check it out this year from November 28–30th.

Which one are you headed to on your travels?

Being in touch with loved ones when you’re on the road can be tough for a number of reasons — you may not have connectivity, you may be too immersed in your work or you may just want to be alone while you explore a place. It gets more difficult when you have a significant other who naturally wants to stay in contact a little more often. You may have the most amazing partner in the world but being apart can cause tension in any relationship. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid screwing up your relationship with your significant other:

Stay in touch: To state the obvious, stay in touch. Schedule Skype sessions every few days, or if possible, every day. Just because you’re away it doesn’t mean you have forgotten about them and you need to let them know that. Don’t stem communication for any reason, least of all, work. If you miss them and need to talk to them, call them.

Share your experiences: Send a photograph of Times square, a video of a boat ride up the Amazon, or if there’s connectivity, FaceTime them from the top of Fujiyama. Share what you’re doing, or call them at the end of the day to let them know that you wish they were there.

Set time aside for your significant other: Every few weeks, take time off to head to where your second half is. You will still have to work but your down time will include spending time with them. If your second half is also a digital nomad, decide to meet somewhere you both want to visit.

Encourage your partner: If you’re out living your life, why shouldn’t your partner? If they’re stuck in a job just to pay the bills and not fulfilling, it’s natural for them to get jealous of you and even begin resenting you. Encourage your partner to take up a class, take a spa holiday or do something that is really important to them. Neither of you should stop living.

Send them gifts: It’s the easiest thing to mail a gift to your second half. If they collect fridge magnets, send them one. If you miss their birthday, make it extra special. Or send them apology flowers if your trip has been extended. It’s also a very nice gesture to send them something after you’ve had a fight!

Calculate time, not distance: Think of your being apart in terms of time instead of distance. While distance emphasises how many miles apart you are, counting down the time you’ll see each other next puts a positive spin on your long distance relationship. It’ll give you both something to look forward to and erase the negativity of being away from them.

There’s no guide to making long distance relationships work. Each of you has your own life and you’ve chosen to share it with each other so it all depends on trust and understanding between two people. While at times it may seem difficult, consider this: the advantage of having a long distance relationship while being a digital nomad is that anytime you miss them, you can pack your bags and visit them!

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