Whether you’ve been a digital nomad for years or are just exploring the possibilities, knowing where to go is part of the fun! I’ve asked digital nomads and travel bloggers from around the world to share their stories of where they’re heading or where they are in 2017. Specifically, I asked them four questions:
- Why this city?
- What’s their cost of living, or a ballpark figure? (Prices are in US dollars)
- How long will they be there?
- Any cautions / downsides to note?
The one thing they all have in common…
For all the ‘trendy spots’ that are talked about in the digital nomad world, there are plenty of digital nomads choosing less-obvious trendy spots because the place fits their needs. My hope here is to show how many places to be a digital nomad – you’re not limited to a handful of cities considered trendy by writers.
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I decided to leave the UK behind and start a new chapter in the Algarve, Portugal. We are fed up with the rain and since we can work from anywhere in the world as long as we have access to the internet, we decided to try our luck somewhere where the sun shines for most of the year. Although we had a lot of incredible places on our list, we settled for the Portuguese coastal city of Vilamoura because we found it cheap, sunny and home to some of the greatest seafood dishes in Europe. Together with the weather, mile long sandy beaches and fantastic outdoors activities which we can do in the Algarve, it seemed to tick all the boxes for us. We double checked the internet speed, and we were pleased to see that most accommodations offered us unlimited, high-speed wifi, which will enable us to work remotely.
Fully furnished, private apartments are a must for us, and we aren’t prepared to compromise on accommodation. We will be renting something which costs $850 per month with bills and unlimited wifi included. We expect to spend another $800 on food and other minor expenses. We have a different budget allocated for activities. We did our research and we understand that our current estimations are high, but we would rather be prepared and tune it down than under budget. We would expect to live decently for $1600-$2000 a month for two.
We are going to stay in the Algarve for two months to begin with. We want to see if we like it and could use Portugal as a base. So far, we haven’t found any drawback, most people speak English, Portugal is pretty safe and the visa is not an issue for us (we are EU citizens). We travel a lot so it would make sense to pay little rent somewhere sunny than four times the amount and live in the continuous rain. We are thinking about spending some time in Germany, Italy and ultimately Taipei in 2017.
Cory Varga is the blogger behind You Could Travel, a soft adventure travel blog geared towards off the beaten path destinations and culinary affairs.
Brisbane is not called the sunny capital of Queensland for no reason. The sun really is shining almost 280 days of the year, and that is immediately reflected in the lifestyle and happiness of people. The lifestyle is super laid-back and people are not as rushed or stressed as in other big cities around the world. As for the nomad and startup scene, there is actually quite a lot happening when you know where to look. Multiple coworking spaces, accelerators, and events go on, and there is not such a big fluctuation in people coming and going as in other spots which is great to build up long-term partnerships and networks. And did I mention the world’s best beaches can be reached in just under an hours’ drive?
For around $US2.000/month, you can live quite comfortably either in the city center, close to the river or further out at the beach. There are also a lot of housesitting opportunities in Brisbane which I have used extensively and lived over 4 months completely rent-free in 2016.
I am planning to spend another couple of months in Brisbane this year to dive even deeper in the awesome community. There is lot of positive change and investments from the government in the entrepreneur scene happening so 2017 will be another interesting year to connect with interesting people and work on some new projects. This year there is also the first ever coworking program heading to Brisbane, called Wanderboss. The Internet is still not the fastest, there are quite a few coworking spaces with fibre Internet though.
Carolin has been working location independent for just over two years and runs breathingtravel.com, a blog for eternal traveller souls and lovers of life.
Why Romania? Two main reasons: it’s dirt cheap, and it has the second fastest internet in the world! What two things could a digital nomad want more? Well, they also have good food, really friendly people, beautiful scenery, are centrally located in Europe and have flights to other countries for as little as $5!
I’m first planning to settle in Chiang Mai (next week) for a couple months to teach English, but then I’ll be headed back to Europe to find a home in Romania. Last year I was in Timisoara for a week and completely fell in love with the city. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go there or the capital of Bucharest, but either way I can look forward to paying $100-150 a month for rent, and meals are as cheap as $2-3 each.
I’ll have to find a job there, which I can now do with my newly acquired British passport. I can either teach English or utilize one of my other skills, like chef, Thai masseur or carpenter. While there, I also plan to make it to my remaining countries in Europe. Just 16 left.
The nice thing is, there really aren’t any disadvantages to living there, except that they don’t like dogs. I love dogs!
Skye Class is a world traveler, always on the hunt for the next adventure, whose passions include good food (sushi), adrenaline rushes, beautiful scenery and meeting new friends.
First, is the cost. It is an inexpensive city. The cost of living from my experience is around $1,000 a month.The public transport is also cheap and easy to navigate. Another reason I like Cebu is the food; it is delicious and cost next to nothing.
One downside of Cebu is that sometimes the internet is terrible. As a digital nomad, I rely heavily on the internet to work. Also, the quality of life for the price is not as high as some places I have lived, like Chiang Mai.
However, overall I think Cebu the people, food, and beautiful landscape will make Cebu a perfect place to call home for a few months.
Stephen Schreck is the mad genius behind A Backpackers Tale and Disorganized Traveler and has been living on the road as a digital nomad for 4 years.
Chengdu is the Silicon Valley of China. In the past few years it’s boomed. Intel has invested 600 million dollars into the city. Life is more laid back here than in other Chinese cities, and the pollution isn’t as bad. This year, Chengdu was ranked the Happiest Chinese City. It’s also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
The average cost of a 1 bedroom apartment is $300. An excellent budget meal costs about $2. While something like McDonald’s would cost about $4 for a combo. Internet is about $25 a month. Phone (includes 2GB of data) is about $15 a month. A trip on their brand new Metro system is about 30 cents.
I don’t like to plan ahead too much, so my answer is: until I don’t like it anymore.
The great firewall of China is a real pain. You’ll need a VPN if you want to access Facebook, Twitter, or anything Google.
Ryan is a writer, filmmaker, and cheap bugger who combines these skills while posting budget travel tips and videos on his site Itchy Feet on the Cheap.
Although we (me and my partner in crime, Jose, who is responsible for most of the eye candy we put out there) keep moving all the time, the place we come back to between all those trips is Galicia, on the northwest coast of Spain.
Why? It is one of the cheapest places in the Iberian peninsula, a place where everyone knows the quality of life is highly appreciated. Still, it lacks all the crowds and touristy side of the Mediterranean coast which is flooded with tourists, especially in the summer.
Language barrier is non-existent as we speak perfect Spanish, people are nice and internet is fast enough to get our work done. Galicia is just perfect for us!
A room in a shared flat is around $180-300 and a cozy apartment’s rent can be around $600-800. Gas is around $1.20 / L at the moment and a week’s worth of groceries for a couple – even if you want all the shiny and organic whole foods – will be less than $100. A beer in a bar is $2 and a coffee a little more than $1. Internet can set you down $35-60 monthly and a cellphone line around $10-20. Finally, if you fancy a dinner out, it should be no more than $40 with a glass of wine, and more times than not it will be cheaper. What’s not to love?
As it happens, the weather is NOT as warm and dry as in Southern Spain. But who cares really? Not us! Bring a raincoat with you 🙂
Inma Gregorio is one of the bloggers behind A World to Travel, a visual storytelling site that focuses on unique experiences around the world.
Goa has the biggest percentage of expats living in India and is unlike any other place in the country. It is one of the most “expat friendly” places because it is the safest and most open minded place in the country. Moreover, the cost of living here is extremely low. Monthly house rent can be as low as USD 150 if you rent a house on long term basis. It can be even cheaper if you’re willing to live inside the villages. Alcohol is very cheap here – a bottle of beer costs half a dollar (King’s or Kingfisher pint) and a bottle of rum costs less than USD 4. Food can be expensive if you buy the raw materials from international supermarkets, but can be very cheap if you buy fresh produce and fish from the local markets.
The only downside is that Goa gets very crowded around the peak season, which is from December 25 to January 5, but hey, Goa is massive and you can always find empty areas. We have lived in Goa for two months and are taking a month long vacation in Sri Lanka. We will be back in Goa and will live there for another two months before heading to Europe. Oh and by the way, Goa has amazing beaches, forests and an amazing underground party scene.
Sonal and Sandro are hippies in love with each other and the world, and they blog about their journey on Drifter Planet.
Helsinki, Finland has a lot of open spaces such as public libraries, universities, Co-working hubs where you can sit and get some solid work done. Everyone in Finland is open to collaborate and willing to work in open modern designed buildings, that’s one thing you’ve got to love about the Nordics. Take Flux as a great example – not many Co-working spaces with free beer!
You simply can’t beat the internet connection here in Finland its top notch, open and mostly free. Currently Finland is racing to be the first public 5G mobile operating country in the world, let’s see how they get on with that. The fact that they’re already great but want to be better is a wonderful thing in todays world. Finn’s also speak incredible English, no need to learn the local language at all. Of course you can try your best, but Finn’s understand it’s a difficult language and happy to speak English as much as they can. Also, every Gym, Swimming pool, working space, general home has a sauna you can use, which is one tradition I love about Finland. Great for relaxing and perfect for enjoying down time.
Cost of living?
Monthly rent: €600 (Shared apartment).
Monthly Mobile data plan: €10
Weekly food shop: €50 (Lidl)
Weekly Helsinki travel card: €36 (Prefer to use a bike, cycling is decent in Helsinki)
The most important point to raise is the Finnish nature is stunning and totally free. Can head out to surrounding national parks such as Nuuksio and go hiking. Best way to unwind from your laptop and public camping is also free. Plus you can drink water straight out of many of the lakes because it’s so clean and fresh. Finland will always be my getting work done hub. Normally I bounce in and out every 3 months or so. Having a solid working hub works wonders when you need to get work done. I love the Winter landscape and culture in Finland. Especially the Christmas time, something magical about having snow around this time of year.
Finland can be known to be expensive and I get that. However, compare these costs to other Nordic neighbouring countries and Finland is the most affordable. €15 is a lot to pay for a cinema ticket and dining out away from the lunch specials can be a costly experience. By renting shared student type housing, getting a Netflix subscription and cooking all my own meals cuts costs dramatically and It’s not that expensive after all. You can find workarounds for almost everything.
Dave Brett is an adventure travel blogger featuring travel tips, advice, inspirational stories, travel videos and travel photography that will help you inspire and plan your next trip abroad.
For this year I am planning one to two months in Afghanistan to collect material for our travel blogs and also pitch other media on topics such as the effects of war on the society and women’s rights.
My husband is from Afghanistan so I have the access to some untouchable areas and traditions in Afghanistan, especially in Herat City, important stop along the Silk Road and, before that, crucial hub within the Persian Empire.
Although we will be mainly based in Herat, we will also travel to other provinces and the capital, Kabul.
We chose Herat as our base because we don’t have to pay the rent since we are staying at my husband’s house. In Kabul we will be staying at a hotel in Shahr Now, downtown, for $20 per night for a double room. Our cost estimation for one month for two people is around $2000-2500 comprehensive of hotel stays, domestic flights, urban transportation (taxis and rickshaws), food, wifi internet for one month ($30) and SIM card with 3G internet and calls ($30 each).
Being a war zone, traveling in Afghanistan doesn’t come without downsides, like the trouble of always having to blend in and look like a local by constantly wearing headscarf or chador. Also, we always need to pay extra attention to safety measures, planning carefully where to go and how to move from one place to another.”
Angela Corrias and Sayed Hamed are the journalist and blogger team behind Chasing The Unexpected.
Hoi An, Vietnam
I love Vietnam and it’s people! This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site Hoi An has decent wifi, friendly people and beautiful architecture. The monthly rent starts out at $100, street food meals are usually a dollar, where restaurants are usually around $5 for a meal. I spend a lot of time in cafes and drink a lot so I’d give an additional allowance of $3 a day for coffee. It is also $6 for the pass to visit the Old Town area. I would estimate a monthly expense of $500.
Đà Nẵng a surf and beach town is just 30 minutes away. So I’ll be spending a lot of time surfing out there! I’m planning on staying in Hoi An for at least a month and might extend my stay if I like it more. The rainy season in Hoi An region during October – December can be a pain in the ass! I would avoid it then.
Jeremy Noronha is a young 19 year old blogger at Think Travel Lift Grow, and will be travelling all of South East Asia over the next 3 years.
Hua Hin, Thailand
Why this city – Pleasant and quiet town, (has all the advantages Thailand can offer, but not spoiled by tourists) good infrastructure, getting around is easy, friendly local people, nice expat community, water sports, horseback riding, salsa dancing, waterparks, empty non touristic beaches, most of the buildings have swimming pools, accommodation can be easily found in one of the local FB groups.
Cost of living – 2 bedroom apartment 400-700 USD/month. Plenty of places to rent a motorbike – 60-70 USD/month, car – starting from 30 USD/ day, 300-400 USD/ month, for those who don’t drive – public transport every 15 mins – “songtaew” 0.30-1 USD/trip/person, taxi – USD 5-10. Easy access to local street food and restaurants, very good, non expensive international restaurants. Good grocery shops (Makro – for buying in bulk , Villa Market – international, organic food and Market Village), many places have fast internet and good coffee (USD 2-5/cup). My favorite places: Pony cafe, Market Village & Market restaurant, Cool Breeze (Spanish food), Hilton Rooftop).
How long will you be here – 1-2 months.
Any cautions/downsides to note – general precautions, don’t be aggressive towards local people, maybe higher rental prices for short-time rentals.
Inessa Kraft is an actress who works in film, TV and advertisement who focuses on inspirational films, ethical modeling and hotel promotional videos, and relocates every few months.
I’ve just arrived in Jodhpur, India where I will be living and volunteering for 5 months while I do DN projects on the side.
I’ll be spending the first five months of 2017 living in Jodhpur, India volunteering with a UN recognized Women’s Empowerment NGO, Sambhali Trust. This city is pure gold for Digital Nomads. Strong WiFi connection can be found at most cafes and hotels including where I am staying, Durag Niwas Guesthouse. Rajasthani people are lovely and eager to share their unique culture and heritage with foreigners. English is widely spoken in India so a language barrier is a minimal issue. India is incredibly affordable. For room and board I am paying $215 a month, transportation around the city via car services like Uber or a rickshaw cost about $1 each way. My yoga studio comes in around $25 a month. 3GB of monthly data through Vodaphone is $15. A meal can easily cost less than $5 and leave you completely satisfied. You can even buy a beautiful custom made Sari, or other traditional Indian dress, for less than $20. Most nationalities have to obtain a visa before arrival in India. Americans who are stateside can apply for a 10 year visa. If you’re overseas like I was, you can get a 6 month tourist visa which should cost less than $100.
Lola Méndez is a full-time sustainable traveler sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she collects passport stamps while seeking out ethical experiences that benefit local communities.
Kiev is an out of the way city with a unique culture and language to experience for a few months. A 90-day visa on arrival, fast WiFi everywhere, cheap food, great public transportation, and accommodation, and a really foreign culture and people are what makes it a top choice for me during the summer.
You can expect to spend between $25 – $50 per night for an AirBNB apartment in the most desirable neighborhoods in the city or a $5 dorm room in a hostel if that’s your thing. The food is excellent value with meals between $2-$10 in average to good restaurants. The nightlife is pretty reasonable with $5 cocktails in the swankiest speakeasies and bars or $.50 cent shots of vodka in more average places.
Similar to last summer, i’ll visit Kiev again to experience a different culture and get a feel for what Russia might be like without the visa red tape.
Don’t underestimate the language barrier as it’s not easy to find English speakers. When I first visited over seven years ago it was far worse with no signs in English either. Although the subway is well connected and easy to use, you will never find a taxi driver who does not rip you off (no Uber, either). Kiev is not for the first-time traveler unfortunately.
Jason writes for www.AspiringGentleman.com, a men’s lifestyle blog focused on a becoming a gentleman using the best the world has to offer.
Los Angeles, USA
I lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years, and relocated to Turkey in 2015. But after experiencing the first cold winter in two decades, I realised that I’m solar-powered and need the sunshine, so we’ve headed back to winter in California. It’s an easy city to live in, just a challenge to get around it because it’s so spread out.
We’ve had two Trusted Housesitter house-sits since being here, looking after cats and dogs. Next month we’re renting a small converted studio apartment for $1,000 a month in Playa Vista (West LA). I’m spending about $20 a week getting around via Uber, and have also used the new LA Metro system that has sprouted up around the city. Our weekly shop is about $75 for food and household essentials, and we have a supermarket store card to save us money. I bought a T-Mobil wi-fi zone and that costs $50 for 7 gigs of data each month, and partner that with using free wi-fi in the cafes (for the price of a coffee of course).
We’re going to be here for about 3 months until the weather warms up in England, but before the flights shoot up for the season. We’ve discovered great cheap flights options via Norwegian Airlines and WOW Airlines (a Icelandic airline) that will get us back to Springtime in England. Not quite the Californian sunshine, but safe from the harm of a winter chill.
You need to shop around for places to stay quite far in advance. There are quite a few Colleges in the city and the cheap apartments get swallowed up by students. We found a few low budget housing options via AirBnB, many offering long term discounts, but just be careful of the neighbourhood you’re moving into and be sure to research it before you commit. Accommodation will be the major consumption of your budget, unless you can secure a free house sit.
Jay Artale is a travel writer at Birds of a Feather Press that helps indie authors achieve their self-publishing goals, she also travel blogs at Roving Jay.
I think Milan is an excellent base for locals wanting to spend some time in Italy in 2017. True, the city may not be as quaint as Rome or Venice, but it offers a lot more to digital nomads – great internet connection, excellent cafes to work from and a selection of coworking spaces with daily access, an international community and English is widely spoken. On top of that, it’s not a ‘touristy’ city so locals are actually open and welcoming!
Milan is not the cheapest Italian city, but it’s quite affordable – a studio flat can be rented for about $600/month, a public transport card is $35 per month, dinner can be as cheap as $15 and there are plenty of free things to do in Milan! I am based in Milan for about four months of the year and besides accommodation I spend about $400/month. Another great advantage of living in Milan is ease of connections – northern and central Italy is just a short train ride away, and there are low cost flights to all over Europe. The only downside? It’s rainy in autumn and cold in winter, but you can always leave!
Margherita is one half of adventure travel blog The Crowded Planet, and she’s writing her first ebook, a Milan city guide.
Camping near Nancy, France
This year, we’ll first travel to the north of France and stay on a campsite near Nancy. The campsite is small but has a heated outdoor pool which is great for kids. It’s also surrounded by nature like the Moselle river and the Haye forest so lot of opportunities for nice hikes and cycle tours. Only a few minute walk from the campsite, you’ll find the small medieval town called Liverdun. We plan to do some sightseeing in Nancy and Metz, and other towns nearby as well.
Campsites are great for digital nomad families. We only stay on campsites with WiFi coverage on the pitches. We have a high power WiFi adapter in our caravan but when the connection is unstable or very slow, we leave to another campsite. During low season (from September to June), we pay on average $480 per month for campsite fees. Other monthly costs are $600 for groceries, $160 for traveling, $330 for insurances, and $700 for things like car maintenance, excursions, and extras.
We will stay near Nancy as long as we like. This can be a week but also a few months. After that, we’ll continue traveling to Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Nanouk travels with her husband, 2yo and newborn baby in a caravan through Europe, and you can read about it on her blog Digital Nomad with Kids.
Santiago is one of the most developed capital cities in Latin America, with affordable accommodation options on Airbnb, excellent internet connection and great malls for shopping. It’s also a very pretty city, surrounded by the Andes mountains, so you’re never far from trekking adventures.
Santiago is like any Western European city, comparable in cost to somewhere like Madrid and you can easily get by on around $50 pp per day. We plan to be here for a few months.
Santiago is very safe, they use Uber which is super handy, but the only downside for us is the Chilean Spanish accent. We’re still getting our heads around it – for example, they cut off the end of most words when talking, but its singsongy sound makes it quite beautiful.
Stefan and Sebastien are the gay couple behind Nomadic Boys and currently on a large trip across Latin America until the end of 2017.
A lot of digital nomads are wondering if Tbilisi is advanced in terms of having co-working spaces and high-speed wifi cafes for people who are working while they are traveling. Believe it or not, I thought I wouldn’t survive here with the kind of job that I do, but I did! Tbilisi is totally a digital nomad city!
Internet speed range from 20-40 mbps on avg. Most of the best wifi cafes in Tbilisi have English speaking staff, plugs for charging and of course, coffee. Some serve food but wine is easier to find than anything else. A very good espresso (Italian blend) costs around $1 USD while food prices start $1.50 USD.
I just left from a one-month long-stay and I really loved Tbilisi! Georgia is one of the safest countries I’ve been to and I have nothing but love for this place. Just beware of taxi drivers trying to rip you off! You must have a hell of a bargaining skill to be able to beat them!
Trisha Velarmino is a wild heart, a storyteller and a friend to many amazing women.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is a beautiful beach town right on the Mediterranean Sea. It has a vibrant nightlife, excellent Internet connection and most people speak English. However, costs can be as high as they are in London. Renting a studio flat is about $1000 in the centre. Food costs another $500 a month. I will be here until the end of the Winter, because its currently very cold in Europe, while it is around 15-20C here in Tel Aviv. The food is very good here, and the people are very friendly and welcoming.
Even though the lifestyle is expensive, it is a good place to spend time. There are lots of cafes with fast Internet connection and also co-working spaces for people who work online. The city is safe and one can even walk around at night. The only thing visitors have to get used to is that everything shuts from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon for shabbat [the Jewish day of rest].
Barbara Wagner is a luxury travel and lifestyle blogger of www.jet-settera.com, and currently resides in Tel Aviv.
Venice is a unique city, with many museums, where every night you can attend performances of classical music, and also there are friendly people and no language barrier for Italians; but also the English language is widespread as it is a very touristy town.
Once outside the usual tourist places, it’s still convenient to supermarkets, restaurants and nightlife. You can find a nice apartment with about 200 USD per month plus 300 USD for personal expenses. I plan to stay in Venice until the end of June or July and then be able to transfer forever in Thailand or Brazil (or at least that is what I dream).
I really want to walk on foot being a city where there are no machines or bicycles. It’s a very quiet town in terms of crime and there are no violent acts for years
Enzo Ferrari is the blogger behind Inguaribile Viaggiatore (Italian) and is working on a new book entitled “What to do in Venice in springtime”.
I’ll be heading to Zipolite, in the state of Oaxaca for a few months this year. It’s my favourite place on earth for it’s beauty and quirkiness as a town (the whole place rests on the beach, and the whole beach is clothing optional!), is easy to get around, and finding fast internet is simple if you know where to look. I always stay at a small cafe called Cafe Maya, known for having the fastest internet on the beach. Life can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be in Zipolite, with a range of hotels, hostels, and campgrounds. Personally, I camp out for around $4 per night, saving me money to gobble up delicious food (which, fortunately, is also cheap!) As it’s a tourist town, many people speak English, and it’s easy to get around. And who doesn’t want to work with a view of the waves crashing in?!
Danie is a crazy hitchhiker wandering this earth, never quite sure of her next step. She has been on the road for four years straight, and dreams of one day cuddling a platypus.