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How do you stay safe on public WiFi?

 

by @skatkov | 6yr  | 27 comments

Weโ€™ve seen some โ€˜coffee-spot listsโ€™ websites popping in, a lot of them consider wifi signal quality, some of them measure internet speeds. But i didnโ€™t see nobody considering Wifi AP safety.

If we consider co-working spaces, we would think that it should be safe to use internet there. But coffee shop are a different deal, especially while traveling in less touristy places. I would like to encourage community to gather a โ€˜Digital Nomad wifi access point safety checklistโ€™.

Doing work an a road we should consider safety of our computer. Itโ€™s not just a matter of your personal data, usually clients and company could be involved. I really hope everyone uses secure connection at least over the VPN while you guys are working.

There are very easy measures to avoid โ€˜men-in-the-middleโ€™ attacks and other nastyness. Lets list all the checks we can run against Access Point to verify it security at some level.

Iโ€™ll start:
โ€“ Go to access point login screen and verify that itโ€™s impossible to login with default passwords.
โ€“ Donโ€™t use wifi with WEP!

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@mule5 | 4yr

Opera has a free VPN for android devices/Opera.
There are a number of VPN services, we like privateinternetaccess.com, use it on our home router for full house coverage, use it on android/mobile for coverage, as well as on the laptop when out. Many end points and great speed/service. I think itโ€™s $40 or so a year, well worth it.
If you are just looking at mobile devices, try operaโ€™s free vpn first, itโ€™s nice, easy to use, and great. If you need more end points or no logs, completely private, try privateinternetaccess.com. There are other paid vpn services, but I donโ€™t have first hand experience with them.

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@trevor | 4yr

If you donโ€™t mind spending a bit on security you could consider: Tiny Hardware Firewall VPN.
http://www.tinyhardwarefirewall.com/

This costs $95USD/year (and is extra hardware), but is a very good solution for protecting your internet habits.

Some of the benefits are: it connects to TOR from the firewall and the access point can be shared with other devices/friends. On the down side beginners will struggle to get the most out of this device, and VPN selection is limited.

Here is a review on it by the Twit people:
http://www.tinyhardwarefirewall.com/reviews/

Also note the nothing is completely secure. Here is an interesting article on how Carnegie Melon University was hired by the FBI to crack TOR.

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@henri2398 | 4yr

We use Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, everywhere and on many devices to connect to the Internet over the air instead of through a physical cable. Wi-Fi gives us more freedom and power,but not without risk.

There are several hackers and cyber criminals looking for unsecured network so that they can hack oneโ€™s personal information. So what you must do? Here find out - Top 10 Best Ways to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks

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@oskar | 4yr

The best way to stay safe: Linux + local Sim card.

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@aya_elsawy | 5yr

I donโ€™t know really, there is no way out of a public wifi! you always catch a virus or a trojan or anything that will harm your device!!!

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@jb510 | 5yr

For the last few months Iโ€™ve been using GetCloak for OSX/iOS and I freaking love it. Itโ€™s cheap, automatically enables itself when necessary, is fast and โ€œjust worksโ€ all over the world.

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@don_lee | 5yr

I use VPN (Hotspot Shield) and SSH tunnelling to my server.

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@tprophet | 6yr

Look, Iโ€™d be happy to set up a VPN service and sell you guys VPNs if I thought it would actually be helpful for most people. But most people donโ€™t need one for most things. Hereโ€™s why:

You should be using SSL/TLS to secure your email. Do this anyway, not just when youโ€™re traveling. Gmail does this automatically.

Online banking and any important account you have is all secured by
SSL anyway. So, as long as youโ€™re cognizant about man in the
middle attacks and donโ€™t ignore security warnings from your browser,
youโ€™re OK.

Google uses SSL by default. So your searches and results are
encrypted.

Facebook uses SSL by default. So your traffic is encrypted.

Twitter uses SSL by default. So your traffic is encrypted.

If you have Google Voice, two factor authentication is easy to
implement on most services that are especially sensitive. So, you
should implement it.

If there is enough demand, I will start a service called NomadVPN for people. However, I donโ€™t think the scenario is โ€œprotect your stuff from bad people eavesdropping on WiFi.โ€ Itโ€™s more like โ€œget around whatever the Thai army has decided to block this week.โ€

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@grum | 6yr

Except people donโ€™t just sit on twitter, facebook and gmail. They actually use the internet and not all of us are based in Thailand.
Hijacking SSL protected sessions is a very real thing and regardless of the security on the major sites, people are still dumb and use the same password or recovery phrase on other sites. VPNs are simply a layer of added security that will deter scripted attacks on public wifi networks.
VPNs are cheap, fast and are available from thousands of different places. If youโ€™re not clued into the security of your own laptop, it wouldnโ€™t hurt to work under an added layer of security for a couple of dollars a year.

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@danielgenser | 6yr

@zakerving This just came through my RSS reader today. Havenโ€™t read through it yet, but planning to. Seems like a good guide to practical security: http://www.decentsecurity.com/

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@bryce | 6yr

Another recommendation for Get Cloak. Itโ€™s very easy to use, which is nice.

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@grum | 6yr

Some people say that being paranoid about security whilst traveling is more trouble than its worth. Iโ€™ve had my identity stolen 4 times over the last two decades and right now Iโ€™m sitting in a cafe and noticed that someone here is scanning my ports in waves.

If a location has crap internet and VPN-ing is near impossible, they just donโ€™t get my patronage and Iโ€™ll tell them politely. On the flip side, if theyโ€™ve got good internet, Iโ€™ll buy more from their menu and thank them for the speeds. On top of this, if the venue is one that encourages people to use their internet, Iโ€™ll leave a foursquare/yelp review including the internet quality.

The argument is that some countries will have internet so bad that VPNing is impossible - the likelihood of me working in those countries will be zero so the argument shouldnโ€™t apply to most nomads.

The odds are low that youโ€™ll get hit by a hacker whilst on the road - but when you do, its a huge hassle to sort out your life when youโ€™re in an unfamiliar country.

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@grum | 6yr

@zakerving I donโ€™t really have any resources off hand - havenโ€™t really needed to look at the basic stuff for decades. The best option is just to be cautious and donโ€™t do anything stupid. As mentioned, VPNs are the best course of action. Next is to not install anything suspicious or visit suspicious websites. That means no computer piracy. Ever. Change your passwords regularly. Have two-factor authentication on anything that allows it. Use your operating systemโ€™s firewall. Make sure your software is up-to-date. Always check if that lock thing on your web browser shows that secure sites are really secure.

If you really want to learn up on this kind of stuff, check out something like Udemy - there are a bunch of courses that touch on this subject. I canโ€™t recommend one over another though.

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@zakerving | 6yr

Iโ€™m glad to know that I employ much of these techniques already (I figured I was just using common sense), so having this confirmed makes me feel that much safer. Iโ€™ll have to check out the courses on Udemy too. Thanks!

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@refuseillusion | 5yr

I agree with everything you said except for the software piracy part. I donโ€™t want to endorse piracy, but with the right knowledge you wonโ€™t get in trouble either legally (like from ISPs) or otherwise (viruses).
Only thing you have to make sure is that you know the source of the files and the local laws. Obviously stay away from YouTube, most Torrents and sketchy blogs or pastebin spam.

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@zakerving | 6yr

I donโ€™t want to take up more of your time than I have to: Iโ€™ve been using SurfEasy VPN for a while now, but am unfamiliar with blocking ports and addโ€™l maintenance for ensuring security. Do you have any resources you swear by, other than โ€œNetwork Security for Dummies?โ€

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@danielgenser | 6yr

Yeah! What @zakerving said!

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@alawyerabroad | 6yr

Great post. Youโ€™re definitely right on all points!

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@bryce | 6yr

In a lot of countries itโ€™s pretty viable to purchase a sim card with generous / unlimited data for a pretty low cost. EG. In Thailand, I pay 400 baht ($13usd) for 1 month with 3GB of data (DTAC). There are higher packages and more options.

Combining this with a Portable WIFI Router, you can run your own secure WIFI network. Iโ€™m opting for the D-LINK AC750 but there are a few others you could use.

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@tprophet | 6yr

When youโ€™re on the road, youโ€™re going to end up using all sorts of dodgy networks in sketchy places. But, if you go the sorts of places where I often find myself, youโ€™ll be grateful to have Internet access at all.

VPNs sound great in theory. In reality, youโ€™ll be on some flaky WiFi connected to an even flakier ADSL line on a really slow network. Good luck getting or maintaining a connection over a VPN.

The upshot? Most of the time, thereโ€™s not actually a bogey man. If you monitor the WiFi of coffee shops frequented by tourists, youโ€™re pretty much wasting your time as a hacker. What are you going to get, exactly? Skype chats with friends and family? Pictures of the beach? Governments tend to target local political dissidents and they use hostile DNS tricks and Web filtering to block material they donโ€™t like (for example, you canโ€™t read the Wikipedia article about the King of Thailand when youโ€™re in Thailandโ€“itโ€™s blocked by the Army). And hackers tend to go after information that can be sold, focusing on businesses like banks. While you might wish that someone really cared that much about your startup, itโ€™s not very likely. :smile:

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@jb510 | 6yr

As someone that has eavesdropped on cafe wifi networks around the world youโ€™d be amazed how much info bleeds out on unsecured (no WPA) networks. Granted itโ€™s not things like bank passwords directlyu, but Iโ€™m sure some of the WordPress passwords Iโ€™ve seen bleed out also get used on bank website URLs that I see coming from the same client within a 15 minute periodโ€ฆ

Iโ€™ve never tried doing anything nefarious with that info. I stopped black hat hacking 20 year agoโ€ฆ I was just curious for my own self-interest what type of info really did leak out unsecured.

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@jb510 | 6yr

I recently switched from Private Tunnel (OpenVPNโ€™s pay as you go product) to GetCloak, both are great. iโ€™m thrilled with GetCloak for being user friendly and just stupid easy to use. Including their whitelisting of known safe SSIDs and โ€œovercloakโ€ that locks out non-ssl traffic until the VPN is setup.

Iโ€™ve never found a VPN that was really GOOD to use from South Asia. GetCloak from Thailand tends to connect to Japan, but Iโ€™ve bugged them about adding an server in Singapore which I think would better, especially from Indonesia. They use AWS and Linode for their data centers and Iโ€™m pretty sure both have data centers in Singapore now.

Feel free to send GetCloak a note suggesting that they add a singapore endpoint :smile:

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@coffeeshopceo | 6yr

Cloak App for Mac is a great way to browse securely.
It works seamlessly in the background with relatively fast automatic connections.

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@coffeeshopceo | 6yr

Itโ€™s also only a few dollars per month with a couple month free trial if I remember correctly (Y)

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@darren | 6yr

Yup. Itโ€™s all about a VPN. I use GetCloak. Others swear by TunnelBear.

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@jremick | 6yr

+1 to @gumsโ€™ comments regarding VPN, firewall, etc.

We arenโ€™t currently listing more details of wifi APs on cafes4nomads.com while we focus on the info more people are looking for while we have limited resources to work on the site. Another reason is that cafes or other spots to work tend to change fairly often in many areas, so our information would likely become out of date rather quickly. Hopefully some of the features I have planned for our site will help in this area as well. :slight_smile:

I think that if AP security is that vital for you (beyond securing your connection, system, etc), then you wonโ€™t be using cafesโ€™ internet anyway and will likely have your own 3G/4G secured connection.

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@grum | 6yr

The annoying thing about nomad-friendly spots with wifi is that the majority of them are open access points. Iโ€™d rather jump on a WEP connection than a connection with no authentication whatsoever. If you were to avoid APs that were insecure, youโ€™d knock out half of the ones Nomad use in Asia.

VPN, firewall yourself, block off ports and make sure nobody shoulder-surfs you when using passwords.

I swear by VPNs - plus as an added bonus, if youโ€™re in a country with rubbish internet, a VPN may actually speed up the connection.

FWIW, my Chiang Mai coffee-spot list has AP security listed on it :wink:

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Read and participate in 13,969 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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What are some nice French beach towns?

 

in France by @amin | 1d 1 day ago | 0 comments

I'm thinking to head over to France during the winter and I'm looking for recommendations on a good French town that has beach and is warm enough during the winter.

What are your favourites? Any recommendation is appreciated.

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 1d 1 day ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Driving from Italy to Croatia..how to handle passport?


in Croatia by @ld | 8d 8 days ago | 3 comments

Hello, we are US citizens that have been able to stay in Italy past our standard visa stay due to covid. Now we must leave. We want to drive to Croatia as our โ€œout of EUโ€ stay. But Iโ€™m now wondering what considerations I need to take care of for my visa. I wonโ€™t go through an airport and get my passport stamped. But I assume I need to get my passport stamped as a way to prove Iโ€™m out of the EU.

Anyone else travel in and out of Schengen zone via car? Or know what I should do to properly handle the visa situation? I get unclear answers online. Hmm.

Appreciate your help!

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Introduce yourself โ€” who are you, where are you and what do you do?

 

by @coffeeshopceo | 13d 12 days ago | 672 comments

tl;dr: introduce yourself in this thread.

We must all get sick of the same backpacker travel questions when we meet new friends, I know I do.

You know the ones - where are you from, whereโ€™ve you been, where are you going, what do you do, how long have you been doing it - etc.

The novelty of answering these questions wears off after maybe a week, but theyโ€™re nonetheless insightful and no matter how much we hate them, we find ourselves asking others.

So letโ€™s bring the dreaded backpacker questionnaire to NomadForum and introduce ourselves shall we?

**

  • whatโ€™s your name?
  • where are you from?
  • how long have you been away from home?
  • what do you do?
  • where are you currently?
  • where are you going?
  • what has been memorable for you so far?
  • will you go home anytime soon?
  • what have you learnt during your time as a nomad?
  • [insert your own question here]

**

No need to answer them all if you donโ€™t want to :smile:
But the more you shareโ€ฆ The merrier!

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Best/quickest way from Italy to Croatia?


in Croatia by @ld | 14d 14 days ago | 3 comments

Hello,

We are in Umbria until August 31. We've been here since March, but crisis-level visa extensions are over. After that we have to leave the EU. We would like to stay out of the USA (our home) due to it's covid crisis, at the same time we want to be responsible about travel. Ideally we would not travel at all, rather stay hidden in the countryside of Umbria forever until covid is more under control globally, but here we are!

So we must leave the Schengen zone. We should avoid USA. We should avoid long air travel.

We were thinking Croatia.

Do you recommend a route to Croatia? We are open to long train rides. Ideally not long ferry rides. Is there a ferry route under 4 hours? I read about it...I don't see it. If not, the other option is to make our way north and up over to Croatia via train.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and insights!

Thanks.

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Where should I set up my company as a remote worker?


by @beloruchka | 19d 18 days ago | 6 comments

Iโ€™m looking for any recommendations for services or people others have used to get answers on the best place to set up their businesses based on their personal circumstances.

Leaning towards Singapore after a ton of research, but would really like some concrete advice before jumping in.

Appreciate it!

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Anybody bring their car to Mexico instead of flying?


in Mexico by @digitaldiva | 19d 18 days ago | 1 comment

Iโ€™m curious whether anyone drove to Mexico instead of flying and used their car down there. Iโ€™ve heard bad stories of people driving down there but not sure I believe them. How safe is it to drive through rural areas, and to park in cities? It would be cool to have the car to explore while there.

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Did you learn any Thai before staying in Chiang Mai?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @digitaldiva | 19d 19 days ago | 0 comments

Iโ€™m curious to know how many people learned some Thai before going there. Learning languages is a hobby of mine but Iโ€™m very put off by how complex the writing system is, and if I decide not to learn it Iโ€™ll probably cross Chiang Mai off my bucket list. I prefer to be at least conversational in a language before I do an extended stay in a country. Iโ€™m curious how people who learned no Thai did getting by. And Iโ€™m curious, from people who did learn some, if itโ€™s any easier than it seems? Thanks!

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What age did you start out and went location independent?


by @raynesio | 22d 21 days ago | 11 comments

Eager to find out what age most start out as a DN? (Me)โ€ฆ 27 and just started out in the last 6 months or so. Not presently 100% location independent, probably more like 90% as still required to visit the office from time to time

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How to get SMS verifications for banks while traveling?

 

by @jackgopack | 24d 23 days ago | 39 comments

Any suggestions for seamlessly receiving SMS Verifications from US financial institutions and other sites while traveling internationally continuously? Wonโ€™t keep my US Verizon account due to cost and currently plan to use local sims at each destination (T-Mobile and Project Fi are NOT an option as they terminate for continuous roaming). In summation, I wonโ€™t have a US mobile account.

Unless Iโ€™m missing something, which is very possible, this appears to be the single most complex issue Iโ€™ve encountered in my preparations, and one that no one addresses. I would greatly appreciate any possible solution that works 100% of the time. Canโ€™t afford surprises in this regard. Many Thanks! Jack.

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How do you find the public transport information of your next destination?


by @nunoarruda | 2yr 1 year ago | 11 comments

Probably most of you do as I do, Google it first and then research further, if needed, on official transportation websites, travel guides, blogs, etc.

I travel each month to a new city and I find this task tedious, sometimes thereโ€™s not enough information in English or there might be a handy travel planning app or uber-like app that Iโ€™m not aware of.

I wish there were a โ€œnomad listโ€ website or app for transport information where you would choose a city and be given all the transportation options (Bus? Tram? Subway? etc), how/where to buy tickets/passes and any additional useful information (trip planner, apps, maps, etc).

Do any of you relate to this?

PS: Iโ€™m a developer and I might actually try and create something to โ€œfixโ€ this if a lot of people are experiencing this same โ€œannoyanceโ€.

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Public transport in Australia: Best route planning tools?


in Australia by @dunctk | 3yr 3 years ago | 3 comments

Iโ€™m going to Australia for the first time in a week or so. Iโ€™d like to visit places like Byron (from Sydney). But Iโ€™d prefer not to rent a car.

I know Google Maps supports public transit directions in Aus, but based on my experience in London, theyโ€™re often not as useable / accurate as the native planning tools (e.g. National Rail app in the UK).

Can anyone recommend any local apps / sites for planning routes on trains, buses, etc. in Aus?

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How do you manage noise when working in public space?


by @littleshiva | 4yr 3 years ago | 15 comments

Iโ€™m an introvert: people distract and exhaust me, and my ideal working environment would be an empty room and silence. Next best is what I have whenever Iโ€™m in my own environment: the space is never empty, but itโ€™s usually silent save for ambient noise. Working from public space involves dealing with noise levels that are, for me, entirely counterproductive. Right now Iโ€™m in a hotel lounge and was settling in to focus on a magazine layout job when all of a sudden they switched the music to something loud, upbeat and with lyrics. I put my earplugs in immediately, but I can still hear that crap, and my concentrationโ€™s shot. What do you all do to manage noise when working from public space, or what are your workarounds?

In my case right now, Iโ€™m here because I need several hours of electricity, not just the two hours max I could get at my off-grid location. My noise workaround is to come to town and recharge my laptop, then go back to the country to work, but for long amounts of time, thatโ€™s not an option for me (yet โ€” but Iโ€™m working on it).

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Where can I find public places with good internet to work in Kuala Lumpur?

 

in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by @betoayesa | 5yr 4 years ago | 21 comments

I will stay less than a month in Kuala Lumpur. Anyone knows good locations (with reliable internet) for getting things done?

Thank you!

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What gear do you use for mobile wifi?


by @richlitt | 5yr 5 years ago | 6 comments

Iโ€™ve got an iPhone 5s, which I have used to work remotely by tethering in Europe and in the States. Iโ€™m heading to SEA in a couple of weeks, and Iโ€™ll be getting a SIM card there - but should I buy something else, with better range, or for the local 3G connection there?

What do you use?

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How to spend 11 hours in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic?


in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic by @stevenp | 6yr 5 years ago | 1 comment

Iโ€™m flying into Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and I have 11 hours to kill before my friends arrive and we travel to La Romana for the weekend. Iโ€™m trying to figure out how hard it will be to leave the airport and explore for a bit (with my backpack and rolling bag in hand) and come back around 1am to meet my friends.

All of the research Iโ€™ve done makes it seem like it might be a bit daunting from a transportation perspective, and Iโ€™m wondering if anyone has any experience that might help me decide what to do, and where I should spend the day if I decide to venture out alone.

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How can I incorporate my business in the Czech Republic?


by @keckjs2233 | 6yr 5 years ago | 3 comments

Hey Guys,

I am planning on moving to Prague for 3-9 months as soon as May 1, 2015. I would be running a sports nutrition company remotely from there. Incorporating my business in Czech Republic and citing that as my โ€œpurpose for stayโ€ seems like the most legitimate way to obtain a long term visa. I know the Nomad Guide to Prague is supposed to have directions on how to do this. Does anyone have any intel on when that is going to be available? Any tips for incorporating my business there? Finally, does anyone have advice for staying as long as possible on a tourist visa. Thanks a lot guys!

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