Opportunities to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and leave the confines of our homes are becoming more tangible each day. Many are feeling hopeful about the summer ahead that will likely provide even more chances to interact with others and return to a sense of normalcy. There are, however, trends that have become more prominent in the light of the pandemic that could remain popular even after vaccines have been distributed and destinations have reopened. One of these is the digital nomad.
The digital nomad lifestyle - the freedom to roam
Digital nomads represent an evolution of the work-from-home lifestyle that has become more popular in recent years. As companies have begun to adopt a strategy of remote work, employees have taken these opportunities to relocate for short or long periods of time. Inexpensive costs of living, flexible hours, and the desire to explore new places all appeal to digital nomads, who have taken to working exclusively from new remote locations. Certain demographics with more freedom to roam – such as young couples, or those just starting their careers – are finding this a great option, as well as families with children who can utilise online learning.
Covid-19 has made this trend increasingly popular for several reasons. In response to the virus, companies have become more flexible by allowing employees to adopt a schedule that is partially or fully remote, and they have discovered this can create a highly efficient work environment. Many organisations no longer require employees to be in the office every day of the week, or even at all. In addition, as the pandemic has continued, employees have looked for ways to avoid feeling completely isolated and cooped up at home. Pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle gives them a way to isolate in new places while focusing on work at the same time.
The trend has also likely risen in popularity due to some countries’ recent need for visitors. Resorts and destinations have a vested interest in driving guests to visit, mainly because the tourism industry has suffered major losses in the last year. Because global tourism is down, countries are finding creative ways to fill financial gaps by incentivising foreign travellers to take trips again. Digital nomads are taking advantage of these incentives and the chance to travel, especially as the vaccine becomes widely distributed and international travel returns. Whether travellers are working or not, the availability of the vaccine has encouraged people to take advantage of these unique opportunities because they feel safer.
There is no shortage of risk when you visit new locations abroad, and longer trips increase the likelihood that something could go wrong
The excitement of exploring the world while working remotely also comes with challenges. There is no shortage of risk when you visit new locations abroad, and longer trips increase the likelihood that something could go wrong. Although Covid-19 is a prominent risk at the moment, there are many other vulnerabilities to take into account for anyone wishing to live life on the road. Some risks may be out of a traveller’s control, and could even prevent them from staying in a destination as long as they had originally planned. Medical emergencies may unexpectedly send travellers searching for healthcare in an environment that is new, and in a place without adequate care options. This is where travel insurance comes in to help keep digital nomads safe.
The travel insurer’s primary role is to ensure their customers receive insurance benefits and assistance when they need it. For someone spending months or years working on the road, this is key. A travel insurance plan that includes coverage for emergency medical expenses and evacuations, trip interruption and cancellation, and even lost luggage, are assets to a digital nomad.
For those traveling internationally, having the additional support of a travel insurance plan can provide both peace of mind and financial protection. Travel assistance from a 24/7 multilingual and knowledgeable team is a must, and can be especially helpful if they are in a location where they do not speak the language. The protection offered by a comprehensive insurance plan allows nomads to have the experience of a lifetime working abroad without the added worries of how to handle trip difficulties and emergencies.
In case of emergency
Travel insurers can cater to digital nomads by providing or expanding on existing coverage for all the risks they may encounter. Coverage for lost or stolen items, for example, is particularly important for digital nomads as they are on the move with their belongings in new surroundings. Furthermore, a regular insurance plan may not help digital nomads who are always in new places and in need of quick medical connections. Imagine a scenario in which a traveller is exploring local hiking paths after work hours before needing to find emergency care for a broken ankle. This is where travel insurers can help by expanding their options to ensure that they are easing the added stress of medical expenses and finding quality healthcare anywhere while on the road.
An additional way insurers can cater to these travellers is by offering Interrupt for Any Reason (IFAR) coverage, because there are plenty of reasons digital nomads may have to abandon their trip. Family emergencies, for example, may cause someone who has gone abroad to work to return home without much notice. Travel insurers can provide the flexibility to do this, or to move to a new location at any time, should digital nomads feel uncomfortable in their new environment. This is particularly important right now for those workers who have chosen to isolate during the pandemic in new locations, but who may find that they feel unsafe. Likewise, Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage is a great way for insurers to give digital nomads the comfort of knowing they will not face major losses if they decide against travelling.