You’ve probably heard the term digital nomad before (it’s pretty #trendy). But just in case, let’s break it down: A digital nomad is a person who works remotely (telecommuting), and uses technology to do their job. They aren’t tied down to a physical location, so they’re free to bounce around the globe while making money through freelance gigs or contract remote jobs.
All the cool kids are doing it. working remotely and traveling the world as a digital nomad is pretty badass. You have all the flexibility in the world, you make your own schedule, and you get to travel. People around the world have been packing their laptops and taking them abroad in search of the perfect digital nomad destinations. Luckily for you, your search has brought you here. Check out the five best places to work remotely.
So you want to work abroad, have full flexibility in your work day, work on your terms, and have some hearty adventures in the meantime, eh? We see you and we get you. (And we kind of want to join you?) But in the meantime, here's our best advice on what to pay attention to as you consider where to uproot your life and re-plant yourself (at least for a little bit).
- The cost of living. There's a reason there are few digital nomads in Scandinavia or downtown Tokyo. It's not that those places aren't amazing and culturally interesting in their own right—it's that they're basically expensive AF. So as you sit down to spin the globe and consider your options, stick to places where your monthly expenses won't outweigh your monthly earnings (bonus points if it helps you have ample room for building your savings!)
- Coworking expenses. If you're a social creature who can't stand the thought of working alone in your bungalow or adorable Airbnb / short term rental all day, then you'll want to investigate 1) the existence of coworking spaces in your ideal location, and 2) what the typical costs of those coworking privileges are. Consider buying a multi-day pack per month or going all-in for a full access pass—whatever fits your budget and work style needs.
- Internet connectivity. Don't unintentionally set up camp in a location where the wifi signal isn't strong. You are a digital nomad, right? You probably need the internet to do most of your work, if not communicate with your clients and coworkers at the very least? Choose a destination where the wifi spottiness is at a minimum.
- FUN! You don't want to end up an accidental hermit, do you? Make sure you find a locale that fulfills your inner city-slicker or your adventure buff (or maybe both)—whichever you need to not just enjoy a place, but really fall in love with a place.
Best cities to work remotely this year
Ah, the land of smiles. The country known for beaches and adventure travel is one of the best places to work remotely. If you’re looking for remote places to live and work, the outskirts of Chiang Mai would be perfect for you. Tucked away in the mountains of northern Thailand, you’ll find peaceful solitude. It’s also super easy to tap into a buzzing city. In-country travel is super accessible, with flights from Chiang Mai to Bangkok or Krabi averaging $50-100 bucks (Kayak).
No matter what time it is, you'll find amazing food. There's always something cooking in Thailand: Explore a night market and grab an authentic plate of pad thai and Khao soi—or a handful of crispy fried crickets if you're feeling uber adventurous. And with meals costing less than $1, you can afford to *treat yo'self* on an occasional extravagant $10 meal at a fancy restaurant. Follow that up with a Thai massage and you’ll be looking for a palace to crash in, because you’ll feel like royalty.
Hit up a local cafe (they're all adorable), chill at a hostel, or check out some sweet coworking spaces for wifi to do your nomad work. Just make sure you play with elephants (ethically) or trek through the jungle while you're there.
- Best cities for remote work: Chiang Mai, Krabi, Bangkok
- Rough cost of living: ~$700 - 900 / month
- Recommended remote work gig: Work in Graphic design
South Korea has the fastest internet in the East! And in the west. And actually in the world. South Koreans pay less than $30 a month for the fastest internet in the world, clocking in at about 28mbps. With speeds like that, you'll be able to crank out work like a boss and spend your time exploring the country's many sights. If you’re looking for cheap countries with good internet, no data, Korea is for you: there’s wifi, wifi everywhere. Do your remote work at one of Korea's unique animal cafes - dogs, cats, even raccoon cafe's are everywhere in the country. For another quintessential Korean experience, check out a Korean jimijibang (naked sauna), or Jeju Loveland (an erotic theme park featuring statues in NSFW positions).
Daegu is one of the best cities to work remotely because it provides a metropolis-vibe with a more rugged, outdoor accessibility. It’s a pretty big city right in the middle of the country, and you can get to Seoul in 2 hours via speed train and explore the vibrant city. If you want to be outside, go for a hike in the mountains (like Gayasan National Park, Biseulsan, Palgongsan if you're in Daegu), or visit a Buddhist temple. Last bud, not leaf, South Korea has some gorgeous Spring Festivals. You can catch cherry blossoms from March-May, and enjoy music, Korean cuisine, fireworks, and more.
- Best cities for remote work: Daegu, Busan, Seoul
- Rough cost of living: ~$1,500-2,000 per month
- Recommended remote work gig: Be a Computer Literacy Online Tutor with Skooli
Do you love taking long walks on the beach? Indonesia is the place for you. It's one of the best countries to work remotely because it is super affordable, unrealistically beautiful, and full of opportunities. If you want an adventure, get involved in orangutan protection, or hike through the jungle. If you want to relax, grab a smoothie after a relaxing yoga sesh. Culturally curious? Visit a Hindu temple like Besakih, Tanah Lot, or Uluwatu.
Ubud is well-known in the nomad community as one of the best cities to work remotely. But if you’re looking for something a little outside of the norm, you’ll find your personal paradise in Canggu, a village in Bali. This idyllic stretch of land between Kerobokan and Echo Beach is a nomadic freelancer's dream. Canggu is full of cozy cafes, beach huts, and close to coworking spaces if you're searching for that niche nomad posse. If you're looking for remote places to live and work, you'll find it here. Yoga, surfing, raw food, beaches… with that hand of cards, you’ve got a Royal Flush.
- Best cities for remote work: Canggu, Bali, Ubud
- Rough cost of living: ~$800 - 1,300 / month
- Recommended remote work gig: Volunteer at a turtle hatchery with International Volunteer HQ while juggling freelance nomad work. Work in social media marketing or graphic design.
Ukraine is chalk-full of artful architecture and historic significance. You won't have to look far to find decadent gold-domed cathedrals and cobbled streets. This eastern European country is the perfect spot to start your nomadic work abroad. During the day, history buffs will have a blast exploring ancient citadels, forts, and palaces. But as soon as the sun sets, Ukraine goes into full party mode. Ukrainians love their nightlife. Clubs and bars are poppin' in this country, and drinking is actually pretty affordable. You can get a beer for less than $2, or if you're feeling *fancy*, a cocktail for less than $4. Tip your crown to that deal.
There are also themed bars to amp up the already existing eve. Check out Palata No. 6 in Kyiv: an absinthe bar based on a book where a psychiatric doctor becomes a patient in his own mental hospital. Drinking from test tubes served by bartenders in scrubs will be a night to remember.
If you stay in a bustling city like Kyiv, connecting with other digital nomads in coworking spaces like Ziferblat, and pay about $3 for an afternoon. The price includes tea, coffee, wifi, snacks, and games. You could also get an unlimited mobile plan for about $15 a month (which happens to be one of one of cheapest options in Europe). Kyiv is one of the best cities to work remotely in Ukraine, but there are other great options in the country. Lviv, for example, has a crazy bar scene, and is mostly untouched by tourists.
- Best cities for remote work: Kyiv, Lviv
- Rough cost of living: ~$900-1300 /month
- Recommended remote work gig: Get certified to teach English online with International TEFL Academy
Is it too basic to base your move to Mexico on the need for avocados? Maybe. Instead, you can tell people that it's just one of the best places to work remotely, save money, learn Spanish, and live your best life. That sounds way more adult. But who are we kidding, Mexican food may be a good enough reason to move, especially when meals average $1-4. You can enjoy your tacos on pristine beaches and watch the brilliant blue Caribbean lap up on the shore. Or, for the adrenaline junkies, try some extreme water sports like kiteboarding, jetpacks, and speedboats. You could go full Indiana Jones with a jungle excursion and Mayan ruins exploration. Though it should be noted that you'd have to BYOW (Bring Your Own Whip).
Mexico is one of the best countries to work remotely because it gives you the luxury of living like a queen/king. Paradise? Check. Affordable? Double check. Becoming a digital nomad and living the high life in Mexico would be your crowning achievement.
- Best cities for remote work: Cancun, Mexico City
- Rough cost of living: ~$700 - 1,000
- Recommended remote work gig: find a job in creative writing or copywriting with Cancun Adventures.
Now you know where, here’s how to work remotely overseas
They key is to find your peeps: use websites like Nomadlist to connect with other people living and working abroad and learn more about the country you’re in. Finding a digital nomad community has never been easier in today’s tech-centered world. We’re living in the future, and it’s pretty sweet.
And there are tons more great resources for you, budding digital nomad, on GoAbroad itself, like:
- How to Work Your Way Around the World Without the Visa Hassle
- The 10 Most Popular Digital Nomad Jobs Hiring RIGHT NOW
- Writing Jobs Abroad—The Secret to a Perfect Digital Nomad Life
- 7 Best Ways to Work Abroad
You’re ready to find your digital nomad community abroad
Saving money + working remotely overseas = living the high life. You’ll be living like royalty and saying YAS QUEEN in these countries. Whether you’re looking to get off the grid and find a remote place to live and work, or in search of a vibrant city scene, you can take control of your life and your schedule by exploring the world of remote work overseas. Take a break on the beautiful beaches in Bali, or get yo’ drank on in Kiev. These cheap countries with good internet connection are the ideal landing spots for people looking to switch things up and try something new.
The beauty with these countries is you can spend a little more money on things like coworking spaces or a 2-week adventure without totally breaking the bank. You can also rely on your house/hostel/Airbnb’s wifi connection to get your work done. Need some white noise? Scout out the local cafes in the area. Once you’re comfortable in your new home, you’ll have no trouble finding the best places to work remotely. What works for you, works for you.
Seeing as you’re planning on working digitally, you’re probably pretty savvy with how the internet works. But just in case you need a little nudge, here’s a great place to start searching for work abroad. Pretty soon you’ll be telling us about the best countries to work remotely.
If you’re still looking for a little help on how to work remotely overseas, check out our guide for preparing to work and move abroad.