Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad

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Researching digital nomad visas and digital nomad tax residency isn’t necessarily everyone’s idea of a good time. But you’ve done your research, you’ve read up on the regulations, you’ve thought long and hard about how to become a digital nomad and whether it’s something that aligns with who you are – and now comes the fun part!

If you’re looking for the best place to live as a digital nomad, don’t expect to arrive at any one single answer. A successful nomadic life is dependent on a huge number of factors, including Internet speeds, cost of living, public transport, working spaces, and vibe – and your own personal preferences.

Relocate Antigua shines a little light on the top digital nomad locations, from digital nomad beach destinations to digital nomad cities.

The world beckons…

Things to consider: get into the digital nomad mindset

If you plan on hitting the ground running and making a smooth transition to the nomad life, you’ll need to starting thinking like a digital nomad. When looking for the perfect destination, the following should be top of your priority list.

Workspaces

It’s become something of a cliché, but an old favorite with remote workers continues to be coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. While cafés, hotel lobbies and public libraries definitely have their place as pop-up offices to drop into on the go though, juggling calls with the clatter of plates in the background can soon get old, as can carrying around your laptop, wires and notebooks on your back.

Coworking spaces should be a crucial part of what you look for in your new home. It goes without saying that there will be occasional days where you’ll grab your tablet and hit the beach, but as a serious location-independent freelancer, you’ll still want to make use of printers, lockers, and a ready-made community of like-minded folk.

Wi-Fi

When 100% of your working life relies on Internet availability, this needs to be a serious consideration to bear in mind. Nothing can ruin a working day like a slow, patchy, or lagging connection.  If it takes you two hours to download that all-important client file, you’ll be losing business and ramping up your stress levels, too. Choose locations with tried and tested connections and excellent Wi-Fi coverage.

Ease of transport

It’s all very well fantasizing about desert island seclusion and mountain-top adventures, but if you’re a digital nomad, where to live will need to be heavily centered around where’s easy to access, and what the public transport system is like. If you have your eye on a particular country or city, check out train timetables and stations, and examine how well-connected the subway and bus systems are.

Community

The best places to live as a digital nomad will invariably be locations that serve as a hub of people with a similar outlook. Online groups such as the Global Digital Nomad Network and Work From do an amazing job of bringing remote workers together, but life on the road can be a lonely place. You’ll want to be out mingling with living, breathing fellow travelers to ease away the pangs of homesickness, and friendly locals to connect with.

Cost of living

Cutting back on monthly outgoings isn’t necessarily a priority for all remote workers, but it can be a massive draw. When you’re charging the same hourly or day rates as your competitors, but living in a place that’s ten times less expensive, you’re on to a winner. And some of the cheapest digital nomad cities happen to be some of the most exciting, too.

Visas, work permits and residency

The best places to be a digital nomad are locations that make it easy for you to do so. Entry requirements, maximum stays, and how that affects your income all need to be researched as thoroughly as possible. Check out Relocate Antigua’s articles on digital nomad visas and digital nomad tax residency for help with making your decision.

Hottest beach destinations

The digital nomad life often conjures up visions of beach destinations and coastal living. If you can make your living from the comfort of a sun lounger, taking breaks from working on your projects with a dip in turquoise waters and ending the day with a Coconut Martini, then why wouldn’t you?

Introducing our top digital nomad beach destinations…

Phuket (Thailand)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
As well as offering a plethora of beach bars and cafés to choose from, coworking spaces are popping up all over Phuket, in line with growing digital nomad demand. Expect excellent Internet connection, and a thriving location-independent scene that nevertheless steers well clear of the Full Moon rave and frat party scene.

Bali (Indonesia)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Bali is an incredible choice for digital nomads with a spiritual side. As well as being packed full of high-tech facilities for you to work in peace and comfort, the island is brimming with yoga retreats and meditation classes, with the community to match and some spectacular scenery.

Dickenson Bay (Antigua)

Dickenson-Bay-Antigua-Barbuda
Tucked away on Antigua’s northwestern coast, this is desert island living minus the rudimentary conditions. Dickenson Bay is one of Antigua’s liveliest beaches, with restaurants, cafés, and bars to keep you refreshed, and a bustling social scene for you to dip into by the water’s edge.

Hawaii (United States)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
It may not be one of the cheapest destinations for digital nomads, but Hawaii ticks so many of the right boxes. Lush, exotic landscapes, a native English-speaking local community for you to tap into, the rest of the States at your doorstep and as much beach as you can handle, with all the state-of-the-art remote-working facilities you need.

Cheapest city destinations

The cheapest cities in the world for digital nomads tend to be among the most fun, too.

Take a look at some of our favorites…

Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad

It doesn’t get much cheaper than Ho Chi Minh digital nomad life. Tagged as ‘affordable’ by location-independent expert Nomad List, expect monthly outgoings of around USD$1,038 – with buckets of fun thrown in for good measure, and some of the world’s most mouth-watering street food, too.

Mexico City (Mexico)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
According to Nomad List, it’ll cost you around USD$1,459 to enjoy a good standard of living in Mexico City, which we rate as being pretty decent. An even bigger selling point is that the city is kitted out in high-speed Internet, and also offers an excellent digital nomad visa scheme, which you can read about here. Mexico City digital nomad life is definitely an experience you’ll never forget.

Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Rocking in at just USD$1,097 a month to live in, this Thai city is a breath-takingly beautiful spot for digital nomads looking for a change of scene. Fast Internet connection, incredible food and a bustling atmosphere make this a top choice for remote workers – and the digital nomad community here is extremely welcoming, too.

Budapest (Hungary)

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Known for its fairy-tale, picture-postcard streets, lively youth culture and buzzing arts scene, Budapest is the perfect choice for digital nomads looking for a European base. Cheaper than western European cities, don’t expect to match low-cost Asia here. Living well will cost you around USD$1,400 to achieve – still much, much lower than London, Paris, Berlin or even Barcelona.

Top worldwide destinations for digital nomads

Pick a continent, any continent! As a digital nomad, you have the luxury of setting off to explore wherever your heart may lead you. Allow us to point you in the right direction…

Best places in Asia for digital nomads

  • Thailand
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
From the digital nomad epicenter that is Chiang Mai, to bustling Bangkok and the sweeping beaches of Koh Lanta when you feel the urge to cool off and catch your breath – Thailand has it all. The thriving travel industry here has seen the country revolutionize its facilities, giving remote workers everything they need to soak up the exotic magic available on tap here, while staying connected and in control of their businesses.

  • Vietnam
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
The king of street food, Vietnam is also fast becoming a digital nomad South East Asia hub, and with good reason. Aside from low living costs, Vietnam is home to buzzing Ho Chi Minh, lush beaches, tropical forests, and some of the world’s most welcoming people. It’s difficult to find a reason not to go.

  • India
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Incredible food, mesmerizing culture, a rich, fascinating past, one of the fastest developing countries in the world, and one of the most tech-oriented, too. India is a life-changing experience, and the affordable lifestyle combined with spectacular landscapes make the country a winner for digital nomads in our book.

  • Indonesia
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Rainforests, volcanoes, fabulous food, and some insane surfing opportunities if that’s your scene – Indonesia is an idyllic destination and a firm favorite with location-independent freelancers. Between Bali’s breath-taking beaches and the spell-binding island of Java, the only difficulty you’ll have here is tearing yourself away from living to focus long enough on your work.

Best places in South America for digital nomads

  • Colombia
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
The best of Latin America with a splash of Caribbean spice. From exciting, vibrant Bogotá and Medellin (and their endless line-ups of coworking spaces), to delicious rice and beans and the opportunity to explore the Andes and tropical forests: we’re sold.

  • Mexico
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
We love Mexico, and it’s not all just about the country’s new digital nomad visa scheme. Fringing the border with the United States, Mexico has become an iconic destination thanks to its moreish cuisine, spell-binding beaches, and colorful culture. A friendly, well-connected introduction to South America at its best.

  • Peru
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
Something a little off the beaten path for digital nomads looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of traditional nomad hotspots. Quieter and much safer than its neighbors, Peru is an intriguing taste of Pacific living. We recommend making a base for yourself in Lima and getting out of town to soak up the ocean views. Peru is ideal for digital nomads looking for tranquility, security, and the chance to connect with an authentic experience of Latin America.

Best places in Europe for digital nomads

  • Germany
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
If you don’t mind doing without sunny beaches and endless blue skies, Germany comes pretty high on our list of the ultimate digital nomad destination. Ahead of the game in all things tech and engineering, Europe’s economic powerhouse offers a freelancing visa that opens the gate to exploring the rest of the Schengen area. From cutting-edge Berlin to the Oktoberfest in Munich and eco-living at its best, Germany is where it’s at. Rent caps in Berlin make it a smarter choice than ever-popular London and Paris, too.

  • Croatia
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
This spectacular Mediterranean country on the Adriatic Sea offers stunning beaches and coastal views, as well as balmy weather all year round. Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb are up-and-coming cities with strong infrastructure and solid Internet connections, and are well-known in Europe as party destinations. Croatia is an excellent choice for digital nomads to save on the cost of living, and a special digital nomad visa is due to be launched in 2021, too. Keep an eye out for updates as and when information is released!

  • Portugal
Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
One of Europe’s top tourist destinations, Portugal has been drawing in the crowds for centuries. Breath-takingly beautiful from the Douro Valley’s rolling green hills to the dazzling southern beaches of the Algarve, Lisbon is really where it’s at, followed closely by Porto. The two cities have reinvented themselves as European bases for digital nomads looking for a good time, offering a mind-blowing array of coliving and coworking spaces, and insane nightlife. Cheaper than France, Italy and even Spain, with just as much sun, culture, history – and incredible food and wines.

Our top pick for digital nomads: Antigua

With its spectacular beaches, friendly locals and an excellent set of residency and visa schemes to take the hassle out of red tape, Antigua tops our list of best digital nomad destinations 2020.

Best cities and places to live as a digital nomad
  • Some of the world’s most stunning beaches

Coco, Hawksbill, Eden, and Carlisle Bay Beach… The list goes on. If it’s easy breezy beachside living that gets you going, then look no further. Antigua is home to 365 beaches – one for every day of the year. From snorkeling to seashore dining, this dual-nation island is where it’s at.

  • Luxury for less

Average outgoings in Antigua clock in at around USD$1,187 per month – not bad at all when you consider the incredible resorts available for you to dip into when you’re craving a little luxury.

  • Fun and friendliness factors

Antigua has been awarded Nomad List’s highest possible score in terms of the friendliness of locals and the amount of fun you can expect to have here. The nightlife scene is rocking, and the island is excellent in terms of walkability, too. Expect good times with zero hassle.

  • Excellent visa opportunities for digital nomads

Thanks to the government’s freshly pressed Nomad Digital Residence visa, digital nomads are being treated to a two-year right to live and work on the island, with zero Antiguan tax payable on their income. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.

What’s more, you can also opt for the Permanent Residency Program, a tax scheme that drastically slashes self-employed tax bills, with a minimum stay on the island of just 30 days.

Read our digital nomad tax residency article for more details on eligibility and what the two programs cover, and get in touch for a no-obligation overview of how we could help you.

Interested to apply for your Nomad Digital Residence?

*Cick to download

digital nomades in antigua and barbuda

Know yourself

More of a beach bum? Got your heart set on the thrills and excitement of Asian city living? Looking to gain a foothold in Europe? Before you start planning your move, it’s essential you identify what matters most to you. Are you looking for an adventure, or a way to maximize your spending? Do you hope to cut down on tax, or soak up a little culture? How important is having a digital nomad community to you?

To help you make a decision, we’ve put together a worksheet for you to work through at your own pace. Try ranking how important various factors are to you on a scale of one to five. Put your list to the side overnight, and then reflect on the overall picture that emerges.

You might also want to check our articles on how to become a digital nomad, and what a digital nomad is, for a deeper understanding of the exciting times that lie ahead. Don’t forget that helping freelancers make the leap is exactly what Relocate Antigua specializes in, too – and we’re only a phone call away.

My nomad life: your worksheet

Circle each element’s score based on how important it is to you, with 1 being not at all, and 5 being extremely.

FactorScore
Internet connection       1            2            3            4            5
Safety       1            2            3            4            5
Beach living       1            2            3            4            5
City life       1            2            3            4            5
Female-friendly       1            2            3            4            5
Digital nomad community       1            2            3            4            5
Coworking spaces       1            2            3            4            5
Amazing views       1            2            3            4            5
Nightlife       1            2            3            4            5
Cost of living       1            2            3            4            5
Tax breaks       1            2            3            4            5
Connections to elsewhere       1            2            3            4            5
Public transport       1            2            3            4            5
English-speaking       1            2            3            4            5
Local friendliness       1            2            3            4            5
Wildlife       1            2            3            4            5
Sunshine       1            2            3            4            5

Final thoughts: cost of living, Internet, and visas

Ultimately, the world is moving in a digital nomad-friendly direction. As physical borders increasingly dissipate, and as more and more work moves online, it’s in countries’ interests to start equipping their infrastructure with high-speed Internet and offering freelance-friendly permit and visa schemes.

Although  every digital nomad is different and embarks on the nomadic life with their own unique perspective and goals, there are a few non-negotiables that every successful digital nomad destination has to have: a lower cost of living than you’d expect from your home country, fast, reliable Internet connection to let you do your job, and accessible, flexible visa schemes that accurately reflect your working realities.

With decades of experience helping new and established digital nomads get up and running in Antigua and beyond, Relocate Antigua actively enjoys building relationships with location-independent professionals. We excel in handling red tape and advising you on the steps you need to take to turn your dream lifestyle into reality.

Reach out to our friendly advisors today for a free consultation, and let’s get started mapping out your future.

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