by Mac Candee

Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Being a digital nomad started out as just a term for people who wanted to take a leap forward and explore wherever they wanted on their own terms. Now, especially with the pandemic hitting, leveraging your possibilities to live around the world is something that is more possible than it ever was before. It’s getting much more accessible to find work from any point on the globe where you have an internet connection. More and more people are taking a liking to this lifestyle, to the point where it’s now become mainstream. But that’s a great thing, because there are so many places internationally where communities of expats thrive. This means that you can easily meet like-minded people from all around the world wherever you are on your journey. Some countries have introduced special programs to invite digital nomads to work and live within them. That usually comes with special incentives, visas and easier ways to get in.

Nowadays, it's easier than ever to take the plunge and start your around the world adventure. It has never been more accessible to make a good living through your computer, with the added possibility of travel, exploration and precious memories in beautiful places. You can experience all the benefits, while keeping a stable income and the lifestyle you’re accustomed to.

Now you might be wondering — what are some of the best places to do this? Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you about today. These cities aren’t ranked in any particular way, they’re just destinations I’ve found to be very welcoming for a digital nomad. You can live there for pretty cheap, all the while having a really fun and exciting lifestyle. This list is in no way exhaustive — there are so many places around the world where you can have the time of your life for a fraction of the cost. Use this article as a guideline if you’re looking for where to settle down for a few months, but feel free to explore on your own as well.

1.Tulum, Mexico

You’re probably surprised to see this city on the list, because it’s a famous Instagram hotspot. While there are a lot of very expensive places in Tulum, there are also many affordable ones. It’s a decent size city, so you have the choice of how to spend your money. If you decide to sit down by the beach, you’ll probably pay really high tourist prices, but if you’re in what’s called “El Central‘, you’re going to keep your bank account happy. You can get 50 cent tacos and bargain-priced Airbnb’s, amongst others. When I was there for one month, I was living with three roommates. The accommodation we rented came out at $1,400 total. It was cheap, but it felt anything but — we had a rooftop hot tub, an outdoor pool, and great proximity to everything in the city. The overall cost of living was very low if you played your cards right. That said, you had to be conscious of where you were going, because you can easily spend a lot more than what you’d like if you don’t look into it. Check out my video on the cost of living in Tulum, which will help you learn more about my experience and how I kept my costs low.

2. San Pedro, Belize

This is a unique place, located on the island of Ambergris Caye. What’s so special about it is that it has almost no cars on it, and everyone uses golf carts to get around. The cost of living is also relatively cheap for long term rentals, and there is so much to do. You can have what your heart desires, from beautiful beaches, exciting excursions, and of course — the relaxed atmosphere of island life. It’s not the cheapest destination per se, but you can find a lot of amazing venues like bars and clubs, where you can get drinks for $2.5.

Something that can be a bit pricier is accommodation, but if you book long term rental, you can easily lower the cost. I was there for a short period of time, but I came to the conclusion that I really want to come back and spend more time there. What really made me fall in love was the overall environment, things to do, delicious food, and proximity to other interesting places, amongst other things.

3. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

This place might be less popular than the previous two, but it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s a small surf town in Nicaragua, which is pretty safe and has a lot of exciting things to do. I was there a couple of years back, and I got to connect with many expats who were already living there. Some were running their own businesses and some were working remote, and some were just living their best life down there. The main selling point for me was that the cost of living there is very, very low. Since it’s right on the water, you can take your pick on the myriad of things to do — from booze cruises, to hanging out at the local bars, the delicious local cuisine and many others. It has so much to offer, so you definitely won’t regret it if you pay it a visit.

4. Chang Mai, Thailand

Before I get into discussing the city, I just want to say that I’m a vocal advocate for living anywhere in Thailand. It’s actually one of my favorite countries for so many reasons — from the culture, prices, parties, the amazing people I’ve met there, to everything else. It’s a unique place unlike any other, so it’s definitely worth a visit. If you’re looking for long-term stay, you have a lot of cities to choose from, along with some incredible islands. But Chiang Mai is one of the biggest digital nomad hotspots. In fact, you might have already heard of it if you’ve looked into the expat lifestyle before. A lot of people with this lifestyle live there, and for good reason. It’s got an incredible atmosphere with its mountains, great food, low accommodation prices, city life and affordability. You can also easily fly pretty much anywhere you want, since it’s a larger town. Another benefit is that you can find many coworking spaces, if you don’t really like working at home. It ticks all the boxes for a great digital nomad city, so definitely check it out!

5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you’re not too wary about going down to South America, this is a great place to spend some time. I had the opportunity to explore Buenos Aires in 2019. While I didn’t get to hang out there for too long, I was there long enough to consider it as a city which I’ll surely come back to and stay for a longer period of time. You can get very good prices on meals, there is a lot of fun nightlife, and it allows for a lot of traveling all around South America. In the short time I was there, I loved the food so much, especially the Asado, that I would come back just to be able to have it every night. There’s also a lot of expats, so it’s a great destination if you’re looking for like-minded people. Buenos Aires is a huge city, so it has something for everyone, which makes it ideal for a remote worker.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there are options all around the world. You really have to think about your personal preference to find the best place for you. All of these are very affordable and very fun cities, where you can have the time of your life. But, as I mentioned at the beginning, there are many other towns which are perfect for the digital nomad lifestyle. If you have any other recommendations — leave them in the comments below! Do you have a favorite destination where you spent more time as an expat? I would love to hear your feedback and wish you happy travels!

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