Types of Nomadism

Yachts in harbour

Nomadism doesn't have to mean travelling every day. Most nomads throughout history would set up camp for months on end. You may want to move every day but this is unlikely to be desirable over long time frames.

Means of Transport


The purest, simplest, and cheapest form of nomadism. Possibly also the hardest. You will have to carry all your stuff and will be exposed to the elements. You will need to find shelter every night or carry a tent and find a suitable pitch. But you can cover surprisingly large distances. Even at 10 miles a day you could cross a continent in a year and the world in well under a decade. You can always mix walking with public transport, which you will of course need to do for sea crossings. The attraction of travelling on foot lies in its simplicity; things can become as much of a burden as a convenience. On foot there are few places you can't go and few things you can't do.


Not the cheapest or most environmentally friendly but you will always have a roof overhead and can travel long distances quickly.


One of the hardest but most rewarding types of nomadism. Borders mean nothing to you. Think of the freedom. However, the cost of running and maintaining a boat could be high.


You can carry (a little bit) more than on foot and cover greater distances. It's cheaper and simpler than a car or motorhome but you don't have the same amount of comfort.


It will probably work out much cheaper than using a car or motorhome to use public transport but you will of course have to find accommodation


It might sound romantic but could be difficult. You will have to find food for the horse as well as yourself. A sick horse could be a major problem as could trying to take it into urban areas.



This is a relatively expensive option but offers a good degree of comfort. You should factor insurance and repairs into the costs as well as overnight pitching, though in some countries there are free options for this. Sea crossings in particular can be expensive.


Living in a boat can give an exhilarating sense of freedom. However it can be risky as well as expensive. You should factor in the cost of insurance, repairs and general overhauls which might mean taking the boat out of the water. You will be quite exposed to the elements which could include very strong winds and stormy seas. However, you don't need to sail on the open ocean; many people live on houseboats in canals and rivers. The initial investment costs can be quite high and you will need to learn new skills, particularly if intending to sail on the open sea. Boat living is not for everyone - you will have to put up with cramped living quarters as well as


Living in a tent is one of the cheapest options for nomads but gives a corresponding level of comfort and convenience. You have to find a suitable pitch and put up the tent which can be time-consuming and stressful. Tents light enough for carrying tend not to be spacious and offer little privacy or comfort. However, buying a tent is not a large investment and you generally don't need insurance. A tent also gives freedom to go into remote places.


Paid accommodation like hotels and guest-houses generally give the most comfort but at the highest cost. To use them for a considerable length of time will be very expensive - you will probably be better off renting on a short lease. Hostels are a cheaper alternative but give little privacy.


It is possible to find accommodation for free using crowd-sourcing services like Couch-surfing and Warm Showers. You will have to be a sociable person as you will be meeting new people constantly.

You might use a mix of above, particularly if walking or travelling by bicycle.

Why become a nomad?