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How to Make a Digital Nomad Destination You Hate Worthwhile

Not every nomad destination is paradise.

After finding and booking a non-refundable rental, it's disheartening to wind up in a city and long-term accommodation you despise.

Weak wifi signals, dangerous neighbourhoods, noisy construction zones, or loneliness can make any visit unpleasant.

You could:

1) Move and take a loss

2) Or make the most of your stay

By leaving, you're likely to lose accommodation costs. Some online booking sites allow free cancellations, while others don't give refunds. Don't want to forgo what you've already paid? Make the most of your time.

My wear-shoes-in-the-shower home for three weeks.

5 Strategies for Travel Destinations You Don’t Like

  1. Give it time

  2. Use the time wisely

  3. Make local connections

  4. Travel on the weekend

  5. Recognize what you don't like about the destination

Give it time

Some first impressions suck. Say your bags were stolen on a 24-hour flight, only to end up in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours. Discomfort tends to colour an experience as bad. Take a day or two to let your emotions calibrate, and then see how you feel.

I recently ended up in a rough-looking worker's hostel. It was a wear-your-sandals-in-the-shower kinda place, and I showed up to a rowdy gang having a drunken pool party. I didn't know it then, but this was after six long days of tough manual labour. The initial discomfort discouraged me from wanting to talk to anyone else at the hostel. After a day, I relaxed and started chatting with one of the younger guys. He helped me practice Portuguese and introduced me to the group, who offered me beer and churrasco (barbequed meat). Good times!

Use the extra time wisely

Boredom is free time in disguise. Use your time productively.

When I moved to a residential neighbourhood in Mexico City, I was bored eh-eff. I logged more working hours than usual, explored my area, worked out and cooked elaborate meals.

If those aren't your hobbies, do things you enjoy. That could be working on a creative side project, taking a class or binge-watching a series.

No matter where you are, time is finite. Make the best of it.

Make local connections

Making connections kills loneliness.

When living alone, I like to work in cafés to break up the monotony of my living room. I'll chat up the baristas or other people sitting solo. If that's not your style, try Googling co-working spaces or Meetup groups. has +100 remote worker groups in cities around the globe.

Single? Dating apps help you meet people and practice the local language. Vamos!

Travel on the weekend

Research nearby towns. If you live in a shared building, ask the staff or residents where they like to go on weekends.

Try overnight buses or trains if the getaway travel takes +4 hours. Leaving on a Friday night bus and travelling back Sunday saves time lost to transit. Be prepared for a rough night's sleep, and keep an eye on your valuables.

Recognize what you don't like about the destination

Every challenge brings a lesson. Make a list of what you didn't like about that destination. Is there anything you can look out for and avoid next time? In Brazil, we booked three weeks in a capital city. We assumed we'd benefit from fast wifi speeds and nightlife. Assumption wrong. The town turned out to be sketchy, and we realized nightlife is more fun for outgoing folk.

Nowadays, we look for destinations with easy access to hiking trails and mountain bike rentals. Then we spend hours talking to hosts about wifi speeds, ergonomic workspaces, and other things that make our long-term stays comfy.

Life’s Too Short to Be Miserable

The reality is that no one's making you stay.

As a frequent traveller, you sometimes end up in places you won't like. It's okay to have preferences about destinations and accommodations. Want to avoid losing money in future? Invest time in carefully researching your next move.

What's your strategy for when you end up in this situation?

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