Travel is often viewed as a luxury. A widespread, common misconception is that travel is the perfect way to lose money – stay, work and earn money and then, travel and lose money.
This old-fashioned lifestyle is not just obsolete in today’s ultra-connected high-tech world, it’s also unfulfilling. An increasing number of professionals are figuring out ways to work remotely while hopping countries every other week. It’s now easier than ever to leverage modern technology and lax visa regulations to travel indefinitely while maintaining a steady paycheck.
While the ‘work on a laptop lying on a hammock by a remote beach’ stereotype is overplayed, the remote work phenomenon is poised to take over modern work culture.
Graphic designers, content writers, video editors, English teachers, travel bloggers, full-stack developers, e-commerce gurus – any imaginable profession which can be conducted over a laptop and a strong internet connection has the potential to go remote.
Boiling it down to the basics, every aspiring nomads requires affordable accommodation, good food, reliable internet, and fascinating local culture. These cities have established reputations of being digital nomad hotspots.
1. Canggu, Bali
Bali, Indonesia, is a popular destination among digital nomads, wealthy ex-pats, tourists, surfers, and hippies alike. Astounding Hindu-Asian fusion architecture and an endless variety of local cuisines are just two of the attractions Canggu has to offer.
Canggu checks off every box on the quintessential digital nomad list. A slew of co-working spaces on every corner, craft coffee, organic vegan food, and sunlit beaches make the work-travel lifestyle so much more appealing.
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is the best-known nomad destination and with good reason. This Asian nomad haven is cost-effective and is filled to the brim with cafes, co-working spaces, and local culture. Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has a well-established network of nomads, tourists, and ex-pats. Nomads can choose fine dining options in the Western-friendly Namman area, or pick up steaming, delicious fried chicken from a local spot for about $2!
The pace of life is slow-going and the natives are friendly. It isn’t uncommon to run into foreigners who visited to explore the quaint city and ended up settling down here. Although the sheen surrounding Chiang Mai has dropped off in the last couple of years, it’s still widely considered the first destination for all new nomads looking to ease into the lifestyle.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Does the sound of sandy beaches, warm weather, and savory seafood sound appealing? Lisbon is the right place to head to. A rich history rivaling even the magnificence of Barcelona, Lisbon open-handedly accepts the remote work culture. Modern infrastructure with great internet connectivity and comfortable workspaces coupled with surfing, ancient architecture, art galleries, and a laid-back lifestyle makes Lisbon Europe’s current hottest digital nomad destination.
4. Barcelona, Spain
Nomads who prefer the finer things in life naturally look towards Barcelona. Not enough can be said about the fusion style architecture this city boasts. The city is planned to resemble an artistic tapestry rather than a collection of buildings.
Barcelona is the best destination for networking with successful nomads and entrepreneurs. World-class ceviche, Gaudi artwork, and beach parties are tempting by themselves, but Barcelona has also proven to be a stable, vibrant city to put down roots in.
5. Medellin, Colombia
Popular culture might paint a gruesome picture of gang violence and rampant drug use of Medellin, but this South American powerhouse has come a long way since the days of Pablo Escobar.
Today, Medellin offers the comforts and luxuries that every other large city offers. Low cost of living, cheap apartments and reliable internet connections are a few benefits. Medellin is a stone’s throw away from scenic mountains, beautiful treks and even a beach or two.
6. Berlin, Germany
Artists and creatives flock to Berlin and understandably so. A cultural hub with massive diversity, Berlin’s central Europe location is perfect. Berlin has a large English speaking population and a migrant population from around the world.
Soccer fans guzzling craft beer by the pitcher and munching on fresh kebab wraps is not just a stereotype, it is everyday life for many in Berlin.
Networking and casual socializing are fairly simple, thanks to the numerous co-working spaces, cafes, and pubs around town. Although rents and the cost-of-living are on the higher side, the money is worth it.
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
When Italian culture meets and marries Spanish culture, the results are bound to get intriguing. Argentinians are unmatched when it comes to hospitality. A calm evening with a glass of fine wine, or an all-night dance party – This city indulges all preferences. Parties wrapping up at 5 am is quite common.
A meat-lovers paradise, Buenos Aires is the home of the famous Argentinian ‘Asado’, the succulent beef steak. It’s close to impossible to leave this blustering metropolitan without digging into a juicy deep-dish pizza first. Accommodation in the inner city is affordable for the most part, and co-working spaces are plenty.
8. Porto, Portugal
Porto isn’t as popular as Lisbon, but this may just be the USP digital nomads might be looking for. A relatively low-key destination, Porto, as the name suggests, is a port town. Porto boasts of low levels of crime but on the flip side, the winters can get cold. Porto is less than a day’s drive from the best-surfing destinations in Portugal. Famed for friendly natives and many co-working spaces, Porto also hosts several co-working conferences and events.
9. Valencia, Spain
A key Mediterranean port founded in the 15th century, Valencia is the definition of ‘old meets new’. Antiquity and historical monuments draw the crowds, but the excellent metro system and relatively low cost-of-living make nomads stay.
Apartments or Airbnb can be rented out for less than 1,o00 euros per month. There’s no lack of co-working cafes or free Wi-Fi either. Mouth-watering paella and a glass of wine by the beach is just the much-needed break from work most nomads need.
10. Bangkok, Thailand
The cultural capital of South East Asia, Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. Nomads looking for a nightclub destination with super-fast internet usually end up in Bangkok. Expats have been settling down here for decades and the digital nomad community is only growing. Parties, exquisite restaurants, bustling night markets, street food, and access to upscale living at low costs make Bangkok an appealing digital nomad city.