One of the biggest benefits to being a digital nomad is the ability to travel.
If you became an entrepreneur for more flexibility to work from wherever, whenever you want, you’re not alone. And, while there are seemingly endless places to explore as a freelancer in the digital world (thanks to remote working tools), I’ve narrowed down my top 5 favorite locations.
Although there are some incredible places to explore in the United States as well as South America, you’ll notice neither location is on the list.
This is for two reasons.
First, I wanted to focus on places outside of the US for those solopreneurs and business owners who are ready and willing to use their passports.
Second, while South America is full of incredible culture, scenery, entertainment and amazing opportunities, I found throughout my research that digital nomads had a hard time traveling and living there. According to Travel + Leisure, “Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, and Peru all performed poorly for transportation infrastructure and internet speeds. They also received low marks from the World Bank, meaning freelancers may encounter a number of obstacles when trying to launch new businesses.”
Let’s explore five incredible places where freelancers are able to live their best life as a digital nomad.
1. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Cost of Living
According to a little adrift, average living costs in Bali range between $650 to $1,700 monthly. Expenses will differ based on the type apartment or house you rent, whether you’ll be living alone or splitting costs with friends, and which part of Bali you choose to settle in.
For information on obtaining a travel visa, average local salaries, challenges and more, explore ”A Little Expat Living… Cost of Living in Bali, Indonesia (2018).”
A digital nomad can find the best internet connection options for their remote working tools by sticking to the more populated parts of the island. Although internet is typically available throughout Bali, high-speed connections are not consistent everywhere. Look for remote working spaces and areas populated with other expats.
Ubud is said to have the best, solid internet access. Not surprisingly, this is a hub for nomads.
Medical Attention and Health Care
Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar is where you will be treated for serious injuries and illnesses. Although other areas of the island have small clinics, there is not a strong medical infrastructure throughout Bali. Many expats report that they fly to Bangkok or Singapore for planned surgeries and procedures.
Per Wiki Travel, the digital nomad can enjoy some fantastic places when they’re not working:
- Nirwana Bali Golf Course: Consistently voted one of the best golf courses in Asia; it is situated beside the dramatic, waved-lashed sea temple of Tanah Lot just to the north.
- Therapy Spa: Located at Echo Beach, Canggu. Therapy, an “Urban Spa with an extraordinary vibe ushers you to de-stress like never before. A space created for you to escape the roller coasters of life, to unwind the complexities of the mind and to indulge in life’s little pleasures.”
- Yoga Classes at Serenity Eco Guesthouse: Offering beginner, intermediate and advanced yoga classes. No reservation required. Unplug from your remote working tools and get seriously Zen.
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Cost of Living
When living in Chiang Mai, it’s important for the digital nomad to consider both their monthly fixed expenses, as well as entertainment and lifestyle costs.
Most foreigners can live relatively comfortably for around $600 USD for their fixed expenses and approximately $1,000 USD for their total costs. You can cut your costs on things like food by eating local Thai foods rather than American food, which is very expensive in Chiang Mai.
Budgeting a minimum of $1,000 USD will allow you to utilize different modes of transportation, consider healthcare costs, food and entertainment.
Internet access is not an issue for the average digital nomad and their remote working tools in Chiang Mai. There are various coworking spaces, internet cafes and coffee shops around the city that offer fast WIFI speeds. Internet speeds run around 20mbps on average.
In general, Thailand offers great hospitals, and most medical checkups are affordable. Dental care is on par with the US.
According to Lonely Planet, “the majority of cities and popular tourist areas have adequate, and even excellent, medical care.”
Outdoor activities include biking, camping, hiking and much more. Whether you’re interested in exploring the exotic wildlife at elephant sanctuaries or soaking in the local culture at farmers markets, Chiang Mai has you covered. Although there are bars and a substantial nightlife scene, the clubs there close around midnight versus 2 am, like most parts of the United States.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Cost of Living
While researching the best places for a digital nomad to explore, Lisbon will likely come up. And for good reason.
Lisbon is one of the least expensive cities in Western Europe, with tons of culture and beauty. NomadList lists the average cost of living at $1,497 per month. For such an expensive part of the word, this is hard to beat.
Although WIFI is available throughout Lisbon, it’s generally not very fast. If you’re looking to explore a place with stellar internet connection for your remote working tools, this may not be a great fit for you, as average speeds are around 13mbps.
Healthcare options in Portugal include both private and public options.
For the digital nomad who is concerned about superior medical care, you’ll want to opt for private care options. NomadList cites the healthcare being fairly good overall, with it being easy to find skilled doctors and high-quality facilities.
Due to its amazing history, much of the entertainment in Lisbon revolves around visiting museums, ancient castles, monasteries and the like, according to Success Agency.
If history isn’t your thing, you can explore the beautiful beaches, world-class surf, narrow cobbled streets and local markets there, instead.
4. Budapest, Hungary
Cost of Living
Hungary may not have been on your top travel places this year, but it should be if you’re a digital nomad.
NomadList lists the average cost of living at approximately $1,288 per month. It’s possible to rent a studio apartment in the middle of the city for around $550 monthly, which is a steal compared to most other large metropolitan areas.
According to NomadList, the Internet connection is reliable and easily accessible throughout the city. Average speeds are listed at 30mbps, so your business and remote working tools will be just fine.
“Because of its high-quality and affordable healthcare, Hungary has become a popular medical tourism destination,” according to Success Agency. However, it’s important to note that public healthcare options tend to come with extremely long wait times in contrast to private medical services.
Trip Advisor suggests exploring the Danube River, visiting the historic Parliament buildings, and soaking in the culture at Gellert Hill and Statue.
For the digital nomad, there are also opportunities to take day trips to a local wine vineyard, discover a hot spring and set out on a walking or bike tour, too. For the outdoors person, there is no shortage of things to do in Hungary (or heck, any of the nearby countries).
5. Split, Croatia
Cost of Living
Although Split doesn’t offer incredibly inexpensive living (comparatively) for the digital nomad, it’s worth every penny to explore this Croatian city.
Average costs of living range between $1,399- $1,937, according to NomadList, depending on the term of your housing lease. Also, where you’re located within the city makes a big difference as well for your bottom line.
WIFI is listed as being “okay” or “weak” in this Croatian city, at around just 10mbps. Depending on the remote working tools you rely on as a digital nomad, this may be a make or break for your connectivity needs.
Croatia has a universal and mandatory healthcare system and according to NomadList, the healthcare is “good.”
The Crazy Tourist says Split, which is located on the Dalmatian coast, “feels like a city that time has forgotten.”
If you’re a history buff, this is the place for you. Split features a gorgeous, ancient palace from 1700 years ago, St. Duje’s Cathedral, Blue Cave and island tours, kayaking lessons, waterfalls to discover and expansive walking tours of the city. The breathtaking scenery throughout Split alone is worth the journey.
3 Additional Locations to Explore if You’re a Digital Nomad
Because your travel list can never be too long, here are some other highlights to check out:
- Cost of living: Anywhere between $700-$2,000+, depending on the area and square footage of your housing rental.
- Accessible Internet: Internet connectivity is very accessible throughout Berlin. Berlin is considered by some as the “global hub of freelancing.” There are coworking spaces and coffee shops throughout Berlin for a digital nomad to work from.
- Weekend adventures: One of the best benefits to spending time in Berlin is how safe the city is. In general, Germany is considered one of the safest countries in the world, which makes it an ideal place for freelancers to spend time, especially if they’re traveling solo.
- Cost of living: The cost of living is generally pretty expensive. This is one of the biggest challenges of a digital nomad spending time in Vancouver. However, the benefits of this amazing city significantly outweigh the higher cost!
- Accessible internet: A freelancer will have no issue finding a strong internet connection in Vancouver for their remote working tools.
- Weekend adventures: Vancouver is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. It also has one of the lowest rates of obesity in North America, which may be due to the overwhelming amount of outdoor activities to explore.
Whether you’re a fan of hiking beautiful mountainside nature trails, exploring the sea by sailboat or spending time walking around the gorgeous city, Vancouver is for you.
Wellington, New Zealand
- Cost of living: According to Sarah Sees The World, rent for a one bedroom apartment in the center of the city costs approximately $375 per week, or $1,500 monthly. Depending on the location of your housing, and whether or not you’ll be sharing accommodations, you can expect to pay between $290 – $400 for rent weekly, or $170-$250 for a room in a shared flat, excluding utilities.
- Accessible internet: As the capital of New Zealand, WIFI is very accessible throughout Wellington.
- Weekend adventures: Trip Advisor lists wine tastings, ocean excursions, government tours and coastal trips to places like Mount Victoria among the most popular tourist adventures. If you’re looking to spend time at the beach, there are no shortage of oceanside options for you to explore, including Oriental Bay, Island Bay, and Days Bay. Get in touch with nature at several sanctuaries in the city as well as the Staglands Wildlife Reserve.
Begin Exploring these 5 Cities Today as a Digital Nomad
Whether you’re a freelance photographer or an online marketer, traveling the world as a digital nomad in your business can be an amazing experience.
With so many incredible places to explore around the world, it’s hard to narrow down the list to just a few. When considering where you’ll travel next, it’s important to review information on the cost of living, whether or not internet connectivity is available and what you can do when you’re not working your business.
When you’re traveling outside of the United States, there is a lot to get used to, like new surroundings, languages, and foods.
One of the best ways you can set yourself – and your business – up for success as you travel internationally, is by implementing the right tools for tour business before you go.
When you’re exploring a new city or country, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether your remote working tools are going to keep you and your clients adequately organized. Spera’s tools allow the digital nomad to get their work done so they can get back to exploring their new surroundings.