It’s the year 2023, and due to a certain recent ‘once in a 100 year’ pandemic, the way we work, live, and travel has changed – forever. Interestingly, these may also be golden days for remote workers seeking to combine work, life, and travel in one inviting global package.
We’ve done a deep dive into the world’s best digital nomad destinations, where the cost of living is low, the vibes are high, like-minded people are plenty, and, importantly, the internet is fast and the connection is reliable.
So, where is the cheapest place to be a successful digital nomad? What’s the hottest destination for the digital nomad community right now, you ask? Read on to find out where you could be living the remote work dream!
This vibrant region is filled with oodles of low-cost digital nomad hotspots. Check out the best cities for digital nomads in Southeast Asia – where remote work comes at an affordable cost with the added bonus of incredible food, sensational weather, and rich culture at your fingertips.
- Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
If you’re the kind of free-spirited digital nomad who likes to feel the sand between their toes, catch some waves, then grab a barista made flat white, you’ll feel right at home in Canggu, often ranked as a top location on Nomadlist.com.
Monthly cost of living: R 31 402.74
Average internet speed: Fast (34Mbps)
Biggest pros: Fun and safe place to be with great weather and lots of co-working spaces.
Biggest cons: Access to healthcare is limited, roads can be dangerous, and it can feel a little crowded.
- Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Less than 30 kilometres from Canggu, you’ll trade the ocean for more zen nature vibes in Ubud, where nomads who also consider ‘yogi’ one of their official monikers flock to for that work-life-namaste-balance.
Monthly cost of living: R 29 555.52
Average internet speed: Fast (18 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Spacious, safe, and warm all year round
Biggest cons: Access to healthcare is limited, roads can be dangerous
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
A very reasonable cost of living in an energetic city with a love of food – those with an insatiable appetite for culture and cuisine should head to Ho Chi Minh City. Here you can seek out coworking spaces to rub shoulders with other digital nomads and experience urban living in one of Asia’s most bustling cities.
Monthly cost of living: R 20 319.42
Average internet speed: Okay (8Mbps)
Biggest pros: Easy to do business and make friends, lots of fun things to do
Biggest cons: English speaking can be a challenge, roads can be hectic and internet speed could be faster.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
This Northern Thailand outpost has long been a digital nomad hub – with a low cost of living, decent internet, plenty to explore by day, and more than one busy night market to devour by night – Chiang Mai makes living and working in Asia the dream. Experience a slower pace of life in Thailand’s north, and also a good base to explore the neighbouring country of Laos.
Monthly cost of living: R 18 472.20
Average internet speed: Fast (28 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Great location year-round, safe, family-friendly
Biggest cons: English speaking can be a challenge, not much in the way of nightlife compared to other Asian cities
Other Southeast Asia destinations that many digital nomads love include Thailand’s capital city Bangkok and the southeast island of Ko Pha Ngan (also famous for its monthly Full Moon Party). Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Vietnam’s northern outpost of Hanoi also rank highly in the top cities for digital nomads.
If East Asia is more your vibe, Hong Kong has long been a top expat and digital nomad destination. Keen to visit South Korea? Get a taste of the digital nomad lifestyle in Seoul or Busan – two digital nomad destinations on the rise.
Swing a little further South and discover India’s digital nomad scene – with Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) proving to be a popular digital nomad destination and the centre of India’s tech industry. Just remember it can get extremely hot in the summer.
This vast continent is filled with dramatic landscapes, endless coastlines, and some very idyllic digital nomad cities to call home, even if just for a while. Not to mention world-famous street food, fascinating history, and a calendar full of cultural events. If you’re looking for digital nomad experience that takes you off the beaten path where you can immerse yourself in a completely different culture all while having access to the global highway that the digital nomad lifestyle affords, South America might just be your digital nomad match.
- Mexico City, Mexico
Love Mexican food? That’s more than enough reason to set up as a remote worker in Mexico City. Plus there’s a heck of a lot of art, culture, and history to devour too. Here in Mexico’s largest city, you’re likely to meet some welcoming locals and connect with an active digital nomad community.
Monthly cost of living: R 35 097.18
Average internet speed: Fast (21 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Warm year-round, lots of fun (and food!), easy to do business
Biggest cons: Safety can be a concern, and it’s a crowded city
- Lima, Peru
Not the top of the digital nomad destination hit list, but hear Lima out, the capital city of Peru is well connected for direct flights to the USA and cheap flights to various locations around South America. A handy surprise to know there are dozens of world-class restaurants to get a taste of Peruvian cuisine. This vibrant city has a rich history, modern amenities, and a growing digital nomad movement.
Monthly cost of living: R 24 013.86
Average internet speed: Slow (4 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Pretty safe, lots to do, and warm year round
Biggest cons: Internet could be faster, access to healthcare
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
They don’t sing songs about Rio for nothing, this famous city where the mountains meet the sea is nothing short of breath-taking. Beach lovers will find plenty of places to plonk down and get some work done before sipping on a caipirinha and joining a game of beach volleyball on Copacabana Beach.
Monthly cost of living: R 27 708.30
Average internet speed: Slow (4 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Warm year-round, easy to make friends, and lots of fun things to do
Biggest cons: Average internet can be slow, but faster connections are available, roads can be dangerous and English speaking can be a challenge
- Medellín, Colombia
If all you know of Medellín is that is once the home of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, you can rest assured the city has left its sketchy past behind and is a great place to go digital. Particularly the El Poblado neighbourhood, where you’ll find plenty of co-working spaces and cool cafes to work remotely. Then, at sundown, put your dancing shoes on for some lively salsa and world-class restaurants.
Monthly cost of living: R 25 861.08
Average internet speed: Slow (4 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Cheap, easy to get around, warm year-round, surrounded by lush nature
Biggest cons: English speaking can be a challenge, and the internet can be slow, but faster connections are available
For many the dream of living in Europe is a far-flung fantasy, but with so many Aussies having some connection to European ancestors, it makes exploring this giant patchwork union of cultures, cuisines, and countries somewhat a right of passage. We all dream of holidays in Italy and Greece, but where’s the best place to work remotely in Europe? Read on to find out! Find a base to work from and all those lust-worthy European destinations are all but a short plane, train or car ride away!
- Budapest, Hungary
Want to live the European dream on a budget? Budapest could be the answer, particularly if you’re into thermal baths, great cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. You’ll find plenty of co-working spaces and it’s easy and cheap to get around the city on public transport, or by bicycle.
Monthly cost of living: R 59 111.04
Average internet speed: Fast (30 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Safe. Lots to see and do. English is widely spoken (though learning a bit of Hungarian will go a long way in pleasing the bar staff when ordering drinks)
Biggest cons: Cold in the winter, hot in summer (maybe try spring or autumn!)
- Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
If summer vibes year-round is your nomad dream, head to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for warmth and sunshine year-round. Expect friendly and relaxed island life with a very attractive cost of living. There are plenty of cafes and coworking spaces to work remotely and the internet is speedy. It’s also a great location to work remotely if you’ve got a family in tow, though you might want to consider setting up a home base in the south of the island in one of the smaller towns where you can find a house with a yard as opposed to apartment living in Las Palmas.
Monthly cost of living: R 33 249.96
Average internet speed: Fast (23 Mbps)
Biggest pros: Affordable, safe, fast internet, lots of other nomads
Biggest cons: English speaking can be a little tricky, learn some Spanish! Hospitals aren’t the best
So, what’s your favourite Digital nomad destination? Imagining a world where work and travel go hand in hand is just a call, email, or enquiry away! Chat with a Flight Centre Travel Expert today about where you’d like to go digital nomad and we’ll help get you there!
*All info and prices given are correct on rate of exchange based on 12 July 2023.