In science fiction, when a space-faring race has no planet/asteroid etc to call home, and lives solely in space craft, they may be space nomads. Note that to be a true example of this trope the people in question have to actually move around once in a while (ie: be nomadic). If they're just living on a space station that is, well, stationary, then it's not a true example of this trope. The craft where these people live may form part of a {{Space Navy}} or {{Standard SciFi Fleet}}, and/or may be huge {{Planet Spaceship}}s which may in turn cause moments of {{Thats No Moon}} for characters in the story.

In real life, there are whole groups of "Sea Gypsies" such as the Bajau people, and so this trope can fit well if {{Space is an Ocean}}. The Space Nomads may be all that's left of the {{Precursors}}, in which case it's likely they suffered some sort of {{Gotterdammerung}} but obviously weren't fully wiped out. Space Nomads commonly appear in {{Space Opera}}s. The Space Nomads may be running away from something, trying to reach their homeland or even a new home, so they need not intend to be nomadic forever, but they are still a whole group of people on a very long journey.

Subtrope of SpacePeople


[[AC: Film]]
* Some humans become this in ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' after Earth is destroyed.
* The aliens from ''Film/IndependenceDay'' are like sentient space locusts, moving from world to world.
** Though it's revealed in ''Film/IndependenceDayResurgence'' that the Aliens do in fact have a home planet this is actually where the distress signal is broadcast to, to summon the Alien Queen and more forces

[[AC: Literature]]
* The eponymous ship in the ''Literature/GreatShip'' universe is a [[PlanetSpaceship Jupiter-sized starship]] housing billions of transhuman beings that paid for their way onto the StarshipLuxurious; either for only a short duration, a circuit around the Milky Way, or, for a much larger price, permanent residence. While the majority of the residents have planetary holdings, one race lost control of their own system and have a large community on the Great Ship. The Remoras, a HumanSubspecies residing on the ship's outer hull, rarely enter the ship proper and spend their entire lives on the hull or in the space immediately around it.
* The Yuuzhan Vong from the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' were like this for much of their history; after their home galaxy was completely devastated during a massive war, they loaded their entire population onto massive [[GenerationShip worldships]] and left to find a new one. After being in transit for millennia, they finally arrived at [[Franchise/StarWars the Galaxy Far Far Away]]... and, being the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong]], promptly tried to take over.
* The Free Traders in ''CitizenOfTheGalaxy'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein are a ProudMerchantRace who spend their entire lives hopping between planets buying and selling.
* In the ''Literature/ZonesOfThought'' novel, ''A Deepness in the Sky'', the Qeng Ho traders are a loose collective of interstellar traders that travel via slower-than-light RamScoop-powered {{Sleeper Starship}}s. The Qeng Ho hold that if they start to use the [[TwoOfYourEarthMinutes local time system]] (days/months/years) instead of their UNIX-time based system ([[TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay seconds, kiloseconds megaseconds, etc]]), they've been in the system for too long.
* In ''Literature/InvasionEarth'', [[spoiler:both alien races turn out to be this. They are TheRemnant of two once-powerful interstellar civilizations, who were at war with one another. Presumably, the two civilizations destroyed one another, and the survivors banded together and now travel through space in what's left of their fleets, looking for more primitive races to scam for resources]].

[[AC: Live Action TV]]
* The remnants of the humans from the 12 colonies in ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003''.
* The Voth and the Varro from ''Franchise/{{Star Trek}}''. The USS Voyager doesn't count though, since the crew isn't a race, and the rest of the Federation are based on planets back home in the Alpha Quadrant.
* To a lesser extent, the Reavers from ''Series/{{Firefly}}''.
* The Travelers in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. They refuse to settle down due to the ever-present danger of the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Wraith]], who destroy all advanced cultures. In their first appearance, they kidnap Sheppard in order to use him to reactivate an [[{{Precursor}} Ancient]] ''Aurora''-class battleship. Not to use a warship but to keep their increasing population on the huge ship.

[[AC: Radio]]
* The space gypsies in ''Radio/TheSpaceGypsyAdventures''. Though recent persecution from the Federal Alliance has led to many of them in prison camps or hiding among planetary populations. Main characters Gemma and Damien tend to spend much of their time at the Drakester spaceport on Zenophon, seeing how it's outside the Alliance's jurisdiction.

[[AC: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has numerous examples.
** Craftworld Eldar became this after the core worlds of their empire were destroyed by a huge cataclysm (the hedonism of the Eldar gave birth to a new Chaos God called Slaanesh who likes to eat Eldar souls), but not the Dark Eldar who live in the city of Commoragh in a the [[SubspaceOrHyperspace Webway]], or the Eldar Exodites who have re-colonised new planets.
** The Tau-allied Demiurg also, who are [[{{Expy}} expies]] of the [[VideoGame/{{Homeworld}} Bentusi.]] They're not even thought to ''have'' a homeworld, and the vast majority of their species lives on gigantic spaceships, seeking out [[AsteroidMiners asteroids to mine]]. [[DownplayedTrope That said, they do colonize worlds on occasion, if the mining is particularly good.]]
** The Nicassar, another Tau subject species, are this as well, by virtue of being insatiable explorers and obsessed with traveling.
** Orks only stay on a planet long enough to crush all opposition, steal the weapons, enslave the remaining population, and build themselves new spaceships so they can repeat the process.
* The Scum in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' are nomadic hedonists who fled from Earth during the Fall and never left their ships.

[[AC: Video Games]]
* The Bentusi and the Vaygr from the ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' series, as well as the Hiigarans (the protagonists) during the first game. In Homeworld 2 the Hiigarans had [[spoiler: settled down on Hiigara and reclaimed their empire]] and so no longer count as a race of Space Nomads.
** The semi-canonical ExpansionPack ''Homeworld: Cataclysm'' could possibly say the same about the Somtaaw, whose entire Kiith left Hiigara in two huge command ships in order to become AsteroidMiners. They ''could'' return to Hiigara and settle down, but there is little for them there, as smaller kiithid have virtually no power on the homeworld.
* The Vasari from ''VideoGame/{{Sins of a Solar Empire}}'' who only briefly take over planets to strip them of resources before leaving again. If you play as the Vasari Loyalists this is even reflected in the game mechanics where you can move all your planet-based facilities such as resource gathering, research and ship-building onto your capital ships and become a fully mobile force.
* The Quarians from ''Franchise/MassEffect'' are a perfect example of this trope. They're even based on the real-life UsefulNotes/{{Romani}} people (gypsies), who were historically a nomadic folk that migrated from India to Europe. If you make the right choices in the third game, [[spoiler:they return to their original homeworld and settle down]].
* The Pilgrims from ''VideoGame/EndlessSpace'' have taken up a nomadic lifestyle to escape the [[MegaCorp United]] [[TheEmpire Empire's]] oppressive regime. Thanks to their friendship with the advanced alien Sophons, and their understanding of [[{{Precursors}} Endless]] technology, they've been able to travel vast distances with ease and [[HomeworldEvacuation transport entire planetary populations]]. Both their religious and scientific goal as nomads is to find the lost homeworld of the Endless, Tor.
* It is likely that the enemy aliens in ''VideoGame/{{Rodina}}'' are this, considering they only exist in ships in orbit and have no cities or structures on any of the planets.
* The Nylli of ''Videogame/StarRuler2'' do not inhabit planets, and instead reside solely in space, either in orbital habitats or in their [[PlanetSpaceship absolutely massive]] motherships which moves between solar systems, seeding planets with habitat constructors.
* The Luminoth from ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'' are mentioned in their lore to have been this for a long time before settling down on Aether.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'' one may encounter nomads who peacefully wander through space. Once contact is established they can put you into contact with other empires they encounter.

[[AC: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'': The titular Wander goes from planet to planet helping those in need, and has no known home or planet to call his own. He typically spends the night on whatever planet he is on, or even in [[BigBad Lord Hater's]] ship sometimes.