What Factors Were Considered When Writing This List?
- Do the people speak fluent English?
- Low cost of living (LCOL)
- Fast wifi
- Safe area
- Great food and Culture
- Quality of Healthcare
- Nearby beach, scuba diving, or historical sites
- Other people of similar interests, to ward off loneliness
- Did not take into account children, just single or coupled adults
It’s interesting to note that most digital nomad or geoarbitrage lists mostly consist of Asian cities. There are plenty of cities in Eastern Europe, South and Central America, as well as Africa, that fit the requirements of the above factors — hopefully you’ll find a new city to consider down below :). I personally would like to visit each continent, and use this list for “hub cities”, which would be cities I’d stay for extended periods of time while traveling to nearby cities in the area.
The great (or sad) thing about speaking English is that most countries teach English as a compulsory foreign language in their schools. While most friends did study a second language in America, they seem to have all forgotten it. We must not be doing a very good job, haha.
You can read here about my motivations for thinking about traveling the world in my 20s. Since I did the research already, hopefully this list will be a good starting point for most people.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
You can rent a nice room with your partner for $500/mo or do a roomshare with a couple of friends for $100 each. Food, other entertainment, and utilities won’t run you more than $350 if living a comparable lifestyle to the US. Amazing Asian food, but Western food costs are similar to what they are in the US.
Chiang Mai has one of the best digital nomad and expat communities, with Western co-working spaces that offer unlimited coffee (much like WeWork!). If you need English-speaking people in your life and friends who are similar to you, this is a great place!
With the influx of Australians due to it being a close destination island, it has a lot of trendy places. When I was in Gili T, I sat in a vegan coffee shop with chia seed bowls and super healthy snacks. You can have the comforts of both the Western world and Balinese culture if you live here.
A monthly rental is $450/month and a meal is $2.
Hour-long massages + a rose petal bath costs $20 per person at a hygienic and super well reviewed place. Greenery is all around you with forests and rice fields. Wifi is fast at home and they even have Starbucks if you want to work at a coffee shop.
Most people here speak English, and the snacks and night markets make for very happy snacking with the best soup dumplings in the world (Din Tai Fung?!). Taipei has Western-style skyscraper buildings and high-speed wifi. It is one of the most developed cities in Asia. Rent for a 1B is $600 and food is probably twice as expensive as the cheaper SouthEast Asia cities, but you get a feeling of being in a Western city.
Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
Known for the monthly full moon party, this place has had more people settling down and living there for short amounts of time in the past few years. Amazing scuba diving, a gorgeous beach, Muay Thai gyms, and fast wifi! It’s like living in paradise, but being able to work.
Rent is pretty inexpensive at $350 and other expenses will bring your total up to $750.
Some of the world’s best beaches are in the Philippines. — Boracay, Palawan, and Cebu are incredibly close. Davao has beautiful beaches as well, and is one of the cheapest beach towns in the Philippines to live in. A 1B costs $300, with other expenses of food and entertainment brining your total to $600.
You could stay in Davao for a few months, while visiting different cities in the Philippines. Everyone speaks two languages, so you can speak in English to everyone.
The city has amazing architecture, gorgeous hot springs, and a vibrant and intellectual culture. It’s situated right on the Danube water, for those that like the breeze. Some people even call it the “Paris of the East”. It’s an amazing consideration for geoarbitrage, just like so many of the other Eastern European cities on this list.
A 1B in the city center costs $550 with meals costing $5 at a restaurant, but you can cook as groceries cost less than the US.
One of the biggest tech hubs in Europe with a much LCOL than the US. Did you know Skype was originally founded here? The city even has free wifi!
There are beautiful mediveal strucutres in the city and Estonians are very friendly. A 1B costs $500, but meals are a bit pricier than most of Eastern Europe. You can always go with groceries!
Prague, Czech Republic
The city is filled with architectural historical buildings, but modern amenities.
There are a ton of co-working places and cafes in the city and the weather is kind for 9 months a year. You’ll need to leave for at least 180 days a year anyway due to the Schengen visa.
Prague is a bit more expensive than other Eastern European cities, with $750 for a 1B and $7 for meals at a restaurant.
One of the issues here is that the Ukrainian language is written in the Cyrillic script, while English is written latin script. Young people are likely to speak English and the value you get in this country is comparable to SouthEast Asia due to the currency devaluation. The media reports a bleek picture of Ukraine, but reading about visits in Kiev makes it sounds quite safe.
There’s plenty of delicious food, fast internet, and cozy co-working places. A 1B is $500 and restaurant food is $4 a meal.
Free bikeshare program, free coworking space provided by Google, and free yoga. What? It’s Google so of course the wifi there is faster than fiber optics here in NYC!
Poland allows day-trip border runs out of the Schengen area, so you can choose to stay here for longer than 90 days at a time! A 1B costs $550 and meals are $4.
Romania has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world. The city combines historical with modern and young people speak English.
The city has urban public parks, low crime, and a historical architectural feel. A 1B rent for $400 and meals are $4.
A 1B goes for $350 here and meals are appropriately priced for Eastern Europe, brining your total to $700 a month.
Delicious and artistic food align the streets of Belgrade, and I’ve found at least one co-working space, though there are a ton of interesting coffee shops sprinkled across the city.
Serbia is also not part of the Schengen area, so you can batch your stay with the below cities as well.
Croatia is an incredible country, with beautiful beaches and walled cities. You’ve probably seen it before if you watch Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik, another city in Croatia, is where Westeros is filmed. Split looks very similar, but with fewer tourists and cheaper accommodations. It’s also less hilly and less busy. The beach at plaza kasuni is gorgeous.
There are a few co-woking spaces in Split, but working out of a coffee shop or your home brings the same level of wifi. Croatia is not part of the Schengen area. You can find a 1B in the center of the city for $400 and other costs might bring you up to $800 a month.
You’ll be happy to note how inexpensive cheese is here at $2/pound. Rent is $300 for a 1B and meals are $5 or you can buy giant baguette sandwiches for $2 on the street. The entire country of Montenegro is incredibly cheap and you can travel in between the cities of Podgorica, Budva, and Bar.
You get 90 days in the Schengen before you need to do a visa run. Fortunately, Montenegro is not part of the Schengen, so you can visit this beautiful country for a while. There aren’t any co-working facilities yet, but internet is decently fast.
Cape Town, South Africa
A metropolis near some of the most amazing outdoor exploring you’ll find. There’s penguin watching, horseback riding on the beach, scuba diving with the sharks, etc.
Though wifi is not quite fast everywhere, you should be able to find a rental place that is pretty fast. There are also co-working locations as well. Buildings are Westernized though food and drink are much cheaper. A 1B costs $600 and meals are $4.
Cape Town is also one of the only Southern hemisphere locales on this list. Instead of spending winter in tropical SouthEast Asia, consider spending it in South Africa. I haven’t been able to find other geoarbitrage cities in South Africa that have met the conditions above, so if you have suggestions, please include it in the comments!
Though you often hear of Colombia being dangerous, Medellin has transformed into a safe space — in 2014, it was named the most innovative city in the world, beating out Tel Aviv and NYC. Medellin has a lot of co-working spaces, with free wifi and internet at most cafes and restaurants.
Rent is $500 for a one-bedroom, with meals at $4 and other entertainment being much cheaper than the US. The public transport system there is pretty robusque and the Bike-share program there is FREE.
Though you don’t need to speak Spanish and English is fine, it probably helps. You can pick it up eventually, right?
Mexico City, Mexico
WeWork has locations here and there are plenty of fun coffee shops to work around at. Amazing food, cheap living quarters, and a vibrant art deco theme in certain parts of the town.
Mexico City gets a bad reputation for being unsafe, but there are safe parts. There are over 150 museums in the city and so many other cultural attractions. A 1B is $500 and meals are a little more expensive than Playa del Carmen at $4, but you get a much more metropolitan feel.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
60 cent tacos, gorgeous scuba diving, and Tulum and Cozumel are just an hour away for the ultimate paradise. Playa del Carmen is situated on the Riviera Maya with tons of beautiful beach towns.
Prices are incredibly cheap and you’re living in paradise. A 1B goes for $400 and meals are just a few bucks. There are a few co-working places with fast internet speeds and small groups of nomads. Prices here are as cheap as you’d get in SouthEast Asia.
Any other cities you’d consider? Have you been to the ones on this list? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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