What does it look like to live a happy and successful life as a digital nomad? As this lifestyle is still relatively young as a popular choice, that question is still being answered, but there is more information being shared about it every day.
A digital nomad is someone who travels around the world, living in a place as long as they like. They work online and so they can be anywhere at any time. This location independent lifestyle comes with many unique decisions to be made.
One of the big questions any digital nomad has is where to live next.
There are a few different things to look for in an ideal place to go. You need to ask yourself what you’re looking for in terms of the following before choosing your next location:
- Things to do. Consider if you’d like to have a hopping nightlife, a cool and quiet vibe, and if it’s important that the location has easy access to other places for day or weekend trips.
- Great internet. You’ll need consistent internet access, right?
- Cost of living. The less money you spend on the essentials, the less you’ll have to work, right? Or maybe the more you’ll have to spend on adventures. That’s up to you!
- Community. Are there many other digital nomads around? Are there good coworking spaces? Gyms? Where will you meet friends? Look for groups on Facebook for digital nomads in a given location to get a feel for how connected the community is.
Let’s take a look at some of the best destinations for digital nomads. While everyone has unique needs, these places have proven to be popular for many of the areas of interest listed above.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Mexico is an amazing country for digital nomads. If your work has you needing to do business in the United States, it’s a country that keeps you in the same time zone as the people you need to communicate with. While there are a few locations that have proven popular across the country, including Mexico City and Oaxaca, there’s a long-standing community in the city of Playa del Carmen, known as Playa to those who live there.
This beach town is about an hour’s bus ride outside of Cancun. It has a chiller vibe than the busier location of Cancun, but still has an exciting nightlife with popular clubs like Coco Bongo. The city is small but has several coworking locations spread throughout. People who want to live somewhere with a view of the ocean and calm, quiet nights can enjoy a place on the outskirts, while those looking for more of nightlife can find an affordable place downtown.
It’s a great place to eat tacos, hang out on the beach, make friends with other digital nomads, ex-pats, or locals while enjoying a Caribbean view. There are also many amazing attractions to go see for weekend trips, including Chichén Itzá (one of the seven wonders of the world), Coba (ancient Mayan ruins), and other popular coastal towns, like Tulum and Cancun.
This city has been growing in popularity in recent years. They have easy public transportation, affordable cost of living, affordable flights to other parts of Europe, and Bulgaria is currently outside of the Schengen zone if you need some time outside of the rest of Europe.
While the digital nomad community in Sofia is young, it’s still growing, and that can be part of the fun of this location. The internet is usually very strong. There are tight-knit coworking communities. A short train ride away, you can be in Bankso, where there are currently many digital nomads coliving, or Varna, a seaside town popular with digital nomads and ex-pats.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is likely going to be on any list you look for of great places to live as a digital nomad. It’s popular today, and it was even popular ten years ago, when it was less common for people to choose this lifestyle, let alone for there to be popular digital nomad destinations.
Why is this town so popular?
The weather is great, the street food is amazing, and it’s a safe city. There is a large digital nomad community that’s been established here, which means that there are a lot of services set up with the digital nomad in mind. It’s easy to find places with short term gym memberships, short term places to live, and a lot of online services to make getting around easy. There are plenty of options for coworking spaces and social groups in this established community.
Chiang Mai is simply an easy place to be a digital nomad, while also still having the rich Thai culture and easy access to other places to visit in SE Asia.