Digital nomads have it easy, so people who know nothing about this lifestyle usually say. They enjoy traveling while getting high salaries, right?
The hard truth is that if a digital nomad doesn’t have savings and a backup plan things can go downwards quickly and easily. Add to that the fact that new places can be unpredictable in many ways, and you’ll see that proper planning is crucial, especially when it comes to foreign housing.
However, some planning and advice from the local expat community can make things considerably easier. One thing many people tend to overlook is the choice of location. Randomly traveling to nearby places is a good idea when one is backpacking, but not when one’s lifestyle revolves around working on the go.
Many digital nomads establish a base in one country first. This way, the hassle with taxes and registering a company become easier and costs less.
Next on, the choice of a starting destination should take into account the following:
· Internet access
· Costs of life
· Quality of life
Keeping all these factors in mind, there are some initial steps to undertake before even considering your next destination.
Research Your Destination
Research is the first obvious step. The more effort you put into finding a perfect starting point, the more successful your life as a digital nomad will be. On top of checking the three things mentioned above, also check visa requirements, the length of the visa, the best neighborhoods, weather, cuisine, accommodation, and taxes while living abroad.
Next, research accommodations properly. This is to say, don’t rely on Airbnb and similar services to find an apartment. It’s always a better option to check into a hotel and take your time picking the best apartment for you.
This is the point when your research on optimal neighborhoods will shine. Look for an affordable apartment with all amenities you need that is within walking distance to co-working offices, grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, and all other objects you need. Finally, check the WiFi speed.
Popular Digital Nomad Cities
Depending on your budget and choice of the continent, research popular destinations. Some cities are more popular than others simply because they put in more effort t attract digital nomads. Add to that the post-pandemic crisis economies are facing and you’ll be left with a myriad of choices.
Of course, the novel digital nomad visas that seem to be popping out of nowhere everywhere you look mostly target rich businessmen and entrepreneurs, so you should look for affordable solutions.
Below you will find the list of some of the most popular digital nomad cities a typical digital nomad from the U.S. can afford.
1. Tbilisi, Georgia
For years, Tbilisi has been perceived as one of the largest — if not the very largest — hubs for digital nomads and retirees. Georgia is a beautiful country and highly affordable and offers a little something for everyone.
The country is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, which makes it a perfect spot for further travels. Coworking space and accommodations are cheap, and food is just perfect.
2. Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia is one of the most popular spots due to its cost-efficiency and stunning technology and infrastructure.
The city offers the opportunity to enjoy a laid-back lifestyle, with many beaches and hiking spots.
3. Tenerife, Spain
Spain is, well, Spain. People who love warm weather and beaches don’t need to be told twice to go there. Tenerife is an island with a huge hub of digital nomads, mainly younger. The island is rather famous for its parties and beaches, so if you’re looking for stellar nightlife, this just might be a perfect spot for you.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is, contrary to popular belief, rather cost-efficient. The city is large with many amenities, including cheap coworking and office space.
The city also offers affordable healthcare for digital nomads and loads of fun to boot.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon’s popularity doesn’t seem to ever wane. Portugal has invested heavily into attracting digital nomads, so this isn’t really surprising. The city boasts such a huge offer of jobs that there is literally something for everyone.
Lisbon offers numerous affordable co-working spaces, offices, cafés, and hidden gems for people looking for some privacy. In short, there is a place for everyone, so the city is a must-see.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand is often considered an exotic space, which isn’t fair to the local population, but the country is nevertheless stunning. Chiang Mai is one of the most beautiful cities, being a UNESCO World Heritage site. To top it off, it is both cheaper and less crowded than the capital Bangkok, so if you’re considering your net destination, be sure to take Chiang Mai into account.
7. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Another “exotic” place, Ho Chi Minh City has been a popular digital nomad destination of late. It is also a perfect spot for ESL teachers, as the country is boosting its efforts to educate the population.
Vietnam has a stunning culture and affords affordable costs of living alongside picturesque scenery everyone is certain to enjoy.
8. Canggu, Bali
Bali seems to have become a place every digital nomad wants to visit. Much of its fame is due to the aggressive campaign the country is promoting and also to the various benefits it offers to digital nomads and travelers.
Canggu may not be as widely known as Denpasar, but it is truly a hidden gem not to be overlooked.
On the downside, Bali can be expensive, especially compared to the cities and countries mentioned above. It’s definitely not the best choice for your first destination. Visit it once you have some savings.
As you can see, there are choices and choices. So many of them, in fact, that one lifetime seems too short. However, if you start smart and build on your experience as you acquire more savings, you can easily visit all the places you want.
Keep in mind that low costs of living and affordable accommodation can help you reach your financial goals considerably faster, so start small and build your digital nomad experience over time.