The World’s Top Digital Nomad Destinations
It’s dreary, it’s dismal, it’s November and what’s worse, it’s Monday and you have an hour commute to a job you’re still not quite sure how you ended up in.
But it doesn’t have to be that way; in todays online society there are fewer and fewer jobs that require a physical presence meaning you could join the thousands of us digital nomads who saw the light (or rather the sun) and packed in our desk jobs to work all over the world.
There are many reasons to do it; a better quality of life, surrounding yourself with other adventure loving people, learning more about the world and yourself, topped off, of course, with incredible Facebook bragging rights.
And given you’ll probably be working until your 70s, what better time to give yourself a break from the 9-5 and try something new?
However, before you rush off to your boss’s office to announce your joyous news, there are a few things you must consider before you head to the beach, including where can you legally work, the state of the local Wi-Fi connection, affordability and overheads, networking opportunities and yes, the weather.
To save you the hassle of weighing up the pros and cons, here is a list of the world’s best digital nomad hotspots:
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thanks to its incredibly advanced tech scene and widely spoken English, Asia and specifically SE Asia hosts a large proportion of the world’s best digital nomad hotspots and Chiang Mai is the jewel in the crown.
Situated in the North of Thailand, it offers a selection of co-working spaces, good weather, Wi-Fi and food and you’ll only need about $600 (£380) a month to get by.
Its northern location not only means it is much cooler than Bangkok but that it is also a great platform for exploring the rest of SE Asia.
Its a great place to escape the rat race, yet find yourself surrounded by like minded people.
2. Bali, Indonesia
A huge hotbed of start-ups, Bali boasts a wide selection of coworking venues both close to the beach and up in the cooler foothills.
A combination of breathtaking views, tropical temperatures and rapidly improving Wi-Fi makes it a popular nomad destination.
The island has an incredibly spiritual vibe and when you’ve done for the day there are many ways to wind down from surfing to yoga.
You can live very comfortably for about $1,000 (£640) a month, though expensive hobbies such as diving and sailing will push this up.
3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Party reputation aside, Amsterdam is one of Western Europe’s most appealing cities for digital nomads.
Its moderate climate means while it is slightly warmer than the UK, it is certainly no match for some of the more tropical locations listed here.
However, what it lacks in tropical beaches it more than makes up for in its excellent internet connection, eager embrace of the start-up scene and exciting cultural attractions.
If you’re an EU resident there is also the huge bonus of a lack of visa issues that a more exotic location can provide.
Its cheap rent and groceries mean you should be able to get by on $1,300 (£830) a month.
4. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
Recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, Atitlan has become a popular digital nomad hotspot in recent years, while still maintaining its spiritual charm.
Despite being mountainous (or rather volcanic) it is still blessed with hot weather and cool breezes.
There are a series of townships dotted around the lake. For good Wi-Fi head to Panajachel and for a more peaceful vibe take a boat across the lake and stop off at Jaibalito or Santa Cruz La Laguna.
Just a three hour bus to either Guatemala City or Antigua, it is a relatively good location to explore the rest of the Americas.
To uphold a decent standard of living you will need to budget about $600 (£380) a month.
5. Panama City, Panama
An incredibly popular destination, Panama has for years now been a top expat destination for Americans with warm weather, good internet connection and a laid back way of life.
Regarded as the most cosmopolitan of all Central American capital cities, it offers lots in the way of cultural entertainment.
While it does cost more to live here than many of the other locations provided here at about $1,600 (£1,000) per month, it also offers a much higher standard of living as well as a much larger local pool of talent.
It has excellent transport links to the rest of Central or South America, and has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches in close reach.
6. Hoi An, Vietnam
A hugely popular country for expats and travellers alike, Vietnam has a huge digital nomad scene.
However, while many people flock to its main cities of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and Hanoi, it is the coastal gem of Hoi An which steals the show.
An UNESCO world heritage site, Hoi An is situated in the middle of Vietnam’s coast and boasts both beautiful beaches and a delightful town filled with culture, cheap but excellent food and a smattering of bars.
It has good Wi-Fi and requires budget of about $700 (£440) a month to get by. This includes motorbike rental so you can explore more of the coast and paddy fields.
7. Malacca (Melaka), Malaysia
The historic and foodie heaven city-state of Malacca is situated to the south of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and is destined to be one of SE Asia’s next top remote working hotspots.
An UNESCO world heritage site it offers digital nomads a beautiful working environment, combined with excellent eating and drinking venues and good Wi-Fi.
And while it doesn’t have the established co-working venues that other SE Asian cities currently have, its affordability, warm but not uncomfortable weather and beauty are sure to make it one of next year’s digital nomad hot spots.
You’ll need about $700 (£440) a month to get by, and you’re a two hour bus away from the flight hub of Kuala Lumpur connecting you to the rest of the world.