Himachal is a place where digital nomads, freelancers, remote workers just love to work out of thanks to its insane beauty and unique culture. So if you are one of those who wishes to live out of a backpack in Himachal, then you would surely have question on “How to become a digital Nomad living in Himachal”
As someone who has lived for months, in Himachal like a digital nomad and worked from some of the remotest and scenic villages, while experiencing true culture and beauty of Himachal, I think I can definitely guide you on how to become a digital nomad. So stick with me till the end.
How To Become A Digital Nomad Living in Himachal – Everything You Need To Know
So first things first what does one even mean by the term Digital Nomad. It simply means that you live like a nomad, moving from one place to another while also working remotely thanks to the internet. You may have full-time job which allows remote working or you might be a freelancer it doesn’t matter.
The three things which are the most important for Digital Nomad is the internet connectivity, place of stay, food. if you have these 3 things sorted, then you should be good to go.
Also, this is a no brainer but you need to have steady a source of income by either a full time remote working job or being a freelancer. if don’t have either you’ll need some kind of a job to sustain.
On a personal level, I am not a full time Digital Nomad yet, but the longest I have worked remotely from Himachal living like digital nomad was exactly 2 months, where I would homestay hop and travel to remote rustic villages, experience the culture all while working full time remotely and creating content for my blog backpacking nomad.
Internet Connectivity In Himachal to Live As A a Digital Nomad
So the most important aspect of being a digital nomad or working remotely full time or as a freelancer is the internet connectivity. If the internet connectivity is decent most of your apprehensions go right away.
Back in the day, Himachal was the last place where you would get decent mobile internet connectivity. But the advent of Jio has led to a drastic change for good.
Now you get great 4g internet in most of places in Himachal, including remote and rustic villages of Himachal. You can get a decent speed of 10 mbps to 30 mbps or even more depending where the tower is located. Streaming videos, surfing videos, making video calls is all possible without any issues whatsoever
As per my experience in living and working from rustic and remote corners of Himachal, please get a dual sim phone. With Jio and Airtel as two sims and nothing else. Jio and Airtel work the best in Himachal.
Where To Stay As A Digital Nomad in Himachal ?
So apart from internet connectivity, one of the most important aspects of being a digital nomad is finding a decent place to stay from where you can work out of.
And Himachal has no dearth of breath taking villages and tourist spots. As they can perfectly function as your work space. Now days due to an exponential rise in rural tourism, even the lesser known and remote villages have decent options of stay.
The options of stay in Himachal include, hotels, guesthouses hostels, homestays and of course renting out a place. By the way here is detailed blog on how to find a place of stay in rustic villages of himachal.
Hotels, Hostels and Guesthouses To Live As A Digital Nomad In Himachal
Thanks to the pandemic and work from mountains becoming quite popular amongst people, Hotels, hostels, Guesthouse are offering huge discounts and packages for long stays for digital nomads and remote workers.
Popular hostels chains like Zostel, The hosteller, Moustache, are offering month long packages for as cheap as 250-350 per day. Which turns out to be around 15,000 INR per month. Which is not bad at all if you consider how expensive it is to live on a rent in cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru.
Most of these hostels, hotels, guesthouse are often located in touristy places and popular places. So if you are someone who has an aversion for touristy places, then avoid staying in hostels, hotels, guesthouse.
I personally really avoid hostels and had a harrowing experience due to the other travelers at Hostel in Banjar. I had visited back when it was just a quaint homestay and not Full fledged hostel and my experience was one of the best.
But the second time around things took a turn for worse and due to constant partying of the other travelers late in the night, I could only last there for 5 days. Later on I moved to the pretty village of Bathad and stayed in homestay of lovely local Family.
By the way, here are 12 practical ways to travel responsibly in Himachal. It is the least we could to save our environment.
Renting Out A Place In Himachal To Live As A Digital Nomad
So if you are someone who really loves to stay for extended periods at one place like more than 6 months, then renting out a place is a better option. Renting out a place will a lot cheaper than staying in other types of accommodation.
Now we know that internet is usually not an issue even in remote villages of Himachal. So renting out a place of stay in lesser known villages of Himachal will certainly be a lot lighter on your pocket.
You can get a place to stay in the rustic villages of Himachal for as low as 3000-5000 INR a month. A lot locals in rustic villages or have homes or rooms which they certainly love to rent to out.
If you opt for a popular place like Manali or Shimla, then the rents will be almost at par with the rents in the cities. This is why should probably choose to rent out a place in rustic villages.
I personally, haven’t tried this. But sometime in future I would surely love to rent out a place in one of the rustic villages with decent internet connectivity. By the way, here is detailed blog how safe it is to travel to remote villages of Himachal alone.
Homestays In Himachal To Live As A Digital Nomad
Living in the rustic villages and witnessing insane landscapes while working from there is quite fun and relaxing. And homestays in such rustic villages is a real good option if you want to experience the true culture, traditions, way of life in Himachal.
You can easily get a place to stay along with the food for INR 600-800. Of course, it is bit expensive than renting out a place in rustic villages. But hey you can get to stay with a beautiful local family and get to eat simple yet sumptuous home cooked food. What Else do you need !
I personally hoped from one homestay to another during my 1 month in Sainj valley. And the insane experiences that I had, thanks to the amazing hosts and their family is the testament to why I usually stay in homestays exclusively.
Aastha homestay, Yuthok Homestay, The Secret Homestay, Snowflake Homestay at Gondhala in Lahaul are some of the best homestays I’ve been to in Himachal. You can certainly opt for longer stays and live as a digital nomad at these wonderful homestays.
By the way, here is my detailed blog about how safe homestays are in Himachal for travelers. This will be quite helpful to you and put all your queries to rest.
How to Manage Food As A Digital Nomad Living in Himachal
Well, if you are staying in the hostels, hotels or guesthouses you can eat there itself. Like most of the hotels, hostels are offering meal packages for remote workers and digital nomads who are in for a long haul.
Of course, they will be at least charging you INR 400-500 for all the 3 meals which is kind of expensive. So another option you have is to eat Dhabas near the place you are staying which will significantly bring your eating expenses to around INR 200.
If you are in homestays, the food usually is included along with stay. And you get simple yet delicious piping home cooked food for every meal. This is one of the reasons why I usually prefer homestays over the other modes of accommodation.
Now if you have rented out your place, and if you can self-cook then nothing like it. It will be just a one time expense to set up the kitchen. Once you are good to go, cooking on your own will be the most economically viable option if you are staying for more than 6 months.
Where to Work From Living As A Digital Nomad in Himachal
So you can either work from the place of your stay itself that might be either hostel, hotel, or homestay or even the place you have rented out. Else you can work at co-working spaces and even work friendly cafes in Himachal.
Co-working spaces are usually meant for different people having different kinds of jobs, skills or freelancers working under one roof. They continue to work on their own projects or can even collaborate. This gives you great opportunity to collaborate with like minded people.
Some co working spaces can even offer you accommodation so you don’t have to look for separate places to stay at.
Co working spaces are usually located in popular tourist places or well connected towns of Himachal. Dharmashala, Bir, Manali have a lot of decent co-working spaces. Co working spaces in Manali include Young Monk, Alt Life to name a few.
Co working spaces in Dharamshala include Alt Life, Parallel Space. These co-working spaces also function as hostels and has decent WIFI connection for the folks to work.
Monthly Expenses Living As Digital Nomad In Himachal
The monthly expense will really depend upon where you stay, what you eat. If you are opting for a hostel, hotel, or guesthouses in my opinion will at least incur 800-900 INR per day including stay and food which turns to be around 24,000 INR. Also include 2000-3000 INR miscellaneous experience
If you are staying at the homestay, again you’ll kind of end up spending anywhere between 700-900 INR per day including meals and stay. So your monthly expenses should range from around 25,000 – 30,000 INR including commute expense and other miscellaneous expense.
This is where renting out a place in a village will be far cheaper. Your monthly expense will be around maximum INR 15,000 (including electricity bills and gas cylinders) or even less if you are cooking you own food.
Setting up kitchen will take a bit of effort. But if you plan to stay for more than 6 months, I think this might be the most affordable prospect. By the way, is here is a detailed blog on exploring Himachal using public transport which is the cheapest mode of transport in Himachal.
Popular Places To Work From In Himachal As A Digital Nomad
Any place with decent internet connectivity in Himachal can be your home and place of work as a digital Nomad. But there are certain places in Himachal which strike a better chord with digital nomads.
Places like Dharamshala, Bir, Manali are a huge hit amongst Digital nomads and remote workers. Apart from pretty vistas, work friendly cafes, beautiful co-working spaces, are some of the reasons why these places strike a better chord.
Plus, these places are well connected and are not remote. But of course, all of them are popular tourist places. Popular places have its own pros and cons.
So if you are job involves networking with like minded people, collaborating, then you are better off living in these places rather than going too remote.
Jobs You Can Take Up As Digital Nomad In Himachal
So if you ask me, then I would suggest you that only move to Himachal as a digital nomad when you have a steady stream of income either by remotely working on a full time job or as freelance as per your skill.
There are not much opportunities apart from tourism and agriculture which are the two basic sources of income in Himachal. In rural setting where tourism has not picked up pace, agriculture remains the only source.
But here are some of Jobs you can work on to sustain while living as Digital Nomad, if you are hell bent on living in Himachal without any steady income or sizeable savings.
- Work at cafes part time in Himachal to sustain till you find suitable freelance opportunities in your niche
- Work As Videography or Photographer in Himachal
- Be A Volunteer at hostel where you get free food and stay
- Become a property Manager at hostel, hotel or a guesthouse
- Help rustic homestays with social media marketing
- Work with NGO’s and help rural communities
Challenges You’ll Face As A Digital Nomad Living In Himachal
Thanks to pandemic, living and working from the mountains is grossly over glorified. Not everything about living and working in the mountains is dreamy and ethereal.
After having lived and worked in the Himachal for the months, I have realized that there are several challenges which people often overlook. So if you are someone you is
Electricity In Himachal Is Quite Erratic
The biggest problem that I’ve faced while working remotely from the several places in Himachal is the erratic electricity when it rains or snows.
Even a moderate rain or snow spell can cause major disruptions in the supply electricity for hours resulting in your devices like mobiles and laptops getting discharged.
During my 2 week stint in summer at the beautiful Bathad village in Tirthan valley, there were at least 50 plus power disruptions and I am not even exaggerating. There was no electricity for hours on some days.
So give this thought before you start dreaming about work from mountains or living as digital nomad in Himachal.
Heath Infrastructure In Himachal Is Quite Poor
Apart from 2-3 main towns of Himachal like Kullu, Shimla etc. The heath infrastructure is in a poor shape in Himachal Pradesh.
And if you are staying in some remote village which even though might have decent internet connection just forget about the medical facilities. Even Basic medical care will be far away. You might have to travel for hours to reach a hospital.
I’ve personally learned this the hard way. And I would urge you to give this a serious thought before moving to Himachal.
Roads are not quite Up to the Mark in Rural Himachal
If you are staying in somewhat remote or lesser frequented village in Himachal, chances are high that road might be in poor shape. Thus making commute difficult.
This is why a lot of people choose to stay at popular and well connected places. But most of popular places in Himachal these days feel like a concrete jungle in cities that you were actually trying to escape.
To conclude, I hope that you now know how to become a digital nomad living in Himachal Pradesh. With great internet connectivity, pretty places to stay, insane vistas of Himachal and unique culture of Himachal, living as digital nomad in Himachal will be life changing experience to say the least.
In case you have questions on how to become a digital nomad in living in Himachal, do let me know in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.