The best places for digital nomads
As you likely already know, being a digital nomad is exciting. You get to constantly experience new places and cultures and see the things you always dreamed of seeing. Some countries are better than others when it comes to working while traveling. As the lifestyle gains popularity, we see more and more people heading to places like Colombia, Portugal, and Argentina.
This article will give you the resources you need to discover the best place for you as a digital nomad. No matter what you are looking for throughout your travels, you will be able to find it.
What to consider when finding the best places for digital nomads
You will want to consider many different things when determining your following location as a digital nomad.
Here are a few factors to think about:
- Cost of living: arguably the most critical factor, cost of living will determine whether or not you can afford to live there. If you are just starting as a digital nomad and looking for cheaper places, you can head to South America, Eastern Europe, or Southeast Asia
- Reliability of the internet: as a nomad, you are working remotely. Always ask your Airbnb or hostel what the wifi speed is before you arrive, or identify coworking space in the city to ensure internet access.
- Safety: Some countries are safer than others, but you will likely find secure pockets. Ask around to see where other ex-pats are staying. For example, you have special considerations if you are a solo woman traveler or an LGBTQ+ traveler.
- Weather: This is all up to personal preference, but consider the time of year and climate of your desired destination. If you love summer, head to Canada or Europe in May and then head to South America in October. That way, you are always in warm weather.
- Presence of a community: You likely want to meet other digital nomads, so having a network in a city makes it much better than those with very few ex-pats.
Does the country you are interested in have a digital nomad visa?
Most countries more or less have an option for you to visit. It all depends on where you come from and how long you want to stay. For example, if you are from the US, you can get a tourist visa on arrival in many countries worldwide. Some countries have digital nomad-specific visas that allow you to stay for multiple months or years, set up bank accounts, or conduct business. Other countries might only grant a tourist visa, but you can still stay for 30 to 90 days and explore.
What makes a country the best place for digital nomads?
Everyone has different preferences, so no country will be perfect for each digital nomad. However, there are a few things you can look for in a country to determine whether or not they would make a good fit for remote workers. If the country is popular among digital nomads, you can rest assured knowing it likely ticks off many boxes. Things like wifi speed and availability, cost of living, and physical location are all essential factors to consider.
Are there coworking spaces?
Coworking spaces are often a favorite among digital nomads. For a small price, you can rent out an office space so you can work while on the road. You typically have the option of a general desk in a community area, a reserved desk, or a private office space.
Coworking spaces are great for working but are also an excellent option for networking and meeting other digital nomads. They typically host community events, and your membership might include free coffee.
When deciding whether a country will be easy for you as a digital nomad, look in advance for cities with multiple co-working spaces or cafes for you to work from. As long as there is an infrastructure for remote workers, you will be able to work and travel simultaneously.
What is there to do as a digital nomad?
There are rankings each year for the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. Europe has 12 out of 20 countries for 2022, so it is a safe bet to have as a home base if you want the opportunity to experience a lot of different things.
France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal have rich cultures and histories worth exploring. If you would instead head to Asia, China would make a great home base, as there is plenty to do and see.
As a digital nomad, you might want to visit some of the best beaches in the world or experience some of the most spiritual places. Once you have decided what kind of experience you are looking for, you get to narrow down your list of the best place as a digital nomad.
Best countries for new digital nomads
Some countries are easier than others when it comes to getting a digital nomad visa. For instance, India’s e-tourist visa allows you to file electronically and get a response in three days. There is no income requirement, and overall the cost of living is relatively low.
Puerto Rico is an excellent idea for new digital nomads from the United States because you do not need a visa to stay for an extended time. Plus, you get to enjoy beautiful tropical weather and be in the same or similar time zone as your employer.
If you are from the US and are not used to traveling for long periods, visiting places like the UK or where English is a common language could be more manageable. Not only is it a quick flight from the US, but you might feel a little more comfortable as you are adjusting to the lifestyle.
Visit or Move?
As a digital nomad, you get to choose whether you go to a city to visit or to move for a few years. There is much to consider when deciding whether to stay or relocate to a country. When visiting, you are much more willing to accept some faults of a destination than when you relocate.
Make sure you have visited a city before relocating, as it can look better on paper than in real life. If you need help compiling a list of options, you can see which countries have digital nomad visas.
Best countries for digital nomads with experience
Some countries already have excellent visa options for digital nomads. Mexico is a great option, especially for US citizens. They offer a six-month tourist visa or a short-term residency visa valid for one year with the opportunity to renew for another three years.
Croatia also has a solid digital nomad visa worth looking into for experienced digital nomads. Not much sounds better than working from a beautiful beach in Split.
Hopping around or looking for a new home base?
You should decide on your next move based on your needs. For example, do you want to be closer to home or further away from it? Are you looking for a country with great coworking or attractions? Are you looking for a lower cost of living so you can save money?
Suppose you’re getting tired of the visa process. In that case, you could visit countries for shorter lengths without an extended stay/digital nomad visa, or you can go to Citizen Remote to make your next visa process even easier.
The best places for digital nomads to live
Lisbon, Portugal, is one of the best places for digital nomads to live. Not only does Portugal boast one of the best digital nomad visas we have ever seen, but it is also an excellent place to settle down. You can find a large nomad community in Lisbon, and you have an extensive international airport at your disposal to see the rest of Europe. The cost of living is very affordable compared to other European cities, so it is doable even if you are just starting.
If you want to try out South America, you must live in Medellín, Colombia. Colombia is currently working on a digital nomad visa that will be a massive relief for nomads everywhere, but you can still apply for other visas if you want to live there long term. In the city, you can find excellent food from many South American countries, coworking spaces on every corner, and stop into Gringo Tuesdays to meet fellow ex-pats and nomads.
In Southeast Asia, Thailand is an excellent country for digital nomads. You can currently stay on a 60-day tourist visa and extend it for another 30 days, but the government has announced plans to create a digital nomad-specific visa to allow longer stays. Thailand has become a major hub for nomads because of the networking opportunities, low cost of living, and fantastic weather. The new digital nomad visa will allow for stays of five years, with the option to renew for another five.
The best places for digital nomads to visit
Some countries like Greece have high-income requirements for extended stays, so they are easier to visit for a shorter period. For example, Greece requires that you prove an income of 3,500 euros per month, and wifi can be a bit spotty on the islands. It might not be the most accessible place to settle down, but it is a great place to visit on a tourist visa.
Similarly, the Cayman Islands have a Global Citizen Concierge Program, but you must make at least $100,000 per year as a single adult to qualify. The Internet is fast but expensive in this Caribbean country, so it would be a much better place for nomads to visit than to deal with an extended stay.
Australia is another great place for digital nomads to visit, but it might be challenging to settle down. For example, if you are between 18 and 35, you can qualify for a working holiday visa that allows you to stay for a year, but nomads out of this range will have much more trouble.
The difficulty is the cost of living in the major cities, as Australia is facing many of the same economic problems that the United States is facing. They are also swift to lock down due to COVID-19, which might raise difficulties if cases start to rise.
There are digital nomad hotspots in virtually every continent. If you want to experience the City of Eternal Spring, spend a few months in Medellín, Colombia. If you want a low cost of living, amiable locals, and gorgeous architecture, head to Porto, Portugal.
If you are mainly concerned with the ease of getting a digital nomad visa, spend a couple of years with your base in India. If you are from the US and want a similar culture but a different feel, soak in the rays at a beach in Sydney.
No matter where you choose, you can make the most out of any destination. Some places are better to visit, while some are better as a home base. So the longer you travel, the more you know what is essential to you.