If you work for yourself online, there is no reason you should be tethered to an office. When I left my old day job to go full-time online, I spent a couple of weeks in Europe to celebrate. But where are the best places for an online, self-employed worker to go where they can enjoy fast internet, low costs, and high levels of fun? Here are five top picks to get you started.
Remote working in Asia: Chaing Mai, Thailand
When you talk to online workers about their best remote work destinations, you’re bound to find someone who spent time in Chaing Mai. While it isn’t quite as well known as Bangkok to most Americans, Chaing Mai offers a great community of freelancers and remote workers and offers an ultra-low cost of living. According to Nomadlist, you’ll spend about $1,109 per month to stay in this great city.
In addition to the best pad thai of your life for about $3 per meal, you can find plenty of English friendly options in this city that is famous for online workers. It’s fun, safe, inexpensive, and has fast internet. What more do you need? Oh, you want good weather too? Lucky for you, Chaing Mai offers high temperatures in the 80s and 90s year round, which makes it great for a winter getaway from colder climates.
Remote working in South America: Medellín, Colombia
If you want to stay in the Americas for your remote work adventure, consider Medellin. This Colombian city rose to infamy as the home of Pablo Escobar’s violent drug cartel, but the city has changed a lot since the Medellin Cartel fell in the early 1990s. Now, the city is relatively safe, fun, and a great destination for any online worker looking to get away.
The average cost to set up shop in Medellin is $1,107 per month according to Nomadlist. You’ll do best with some Spanish skills, and should stay alert to petty crime. But when you combine the warm weather, low cost of living, good infrastructure, and high energy nightlife, 20s and 30s single workers may find the best of everything in Medellin.
Remote working in the USA: Sarasota, Florida
You don’t have to leave the United States to work away from home. Consider a “semester abroad” to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Sarasota is famous as a destination for retirees, but there is plenty to keep young, online workers happy for an extended visit. And I’d be willing to bet you could find company to play Bridge or shuffleboard if you really want it.
Sarasota is great for online workers for the same reasons it is popular for retirees. This region of Florida offers great weather most of the year and a low cost of living compared to big cities like Miami, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Sarasota lies in an area filled with sprawling towns and cities. A short drive will have you in Tampa, Orlando, Saint Petersburg, or Fort Meyers for some local tourism. But with Venice, Sietsta Key, and other fun spots nearby, you won’t have to venture too far for entertainment.
Remote working in Europe: Krakow, Poland
If you want the excitement of a European city center without the high costs of the biggest and best-known cities, Krakow could be a great option. Nomadlist pegs a month in this city at $1,899, which makes it more expensive than many Latin American and Asian destinations. But those extra dollars allow you to stay in the EU, one of the safest and most popular destination regions in the world.
Poland is a bit off the beaten path for many tourists, and those that do stop in often think more about World War II concentration camps than nightlife and work venues. But Krakow exceeds expectations in many ways. The city is fun, cosmopolitan, and offers a wide range of activities great for daytime or nighttime excursions. PriceOfTravel.com pegs the “backpacker budget” at just under $28 per day for a stay in Krakow, which also earned it a spot as the second cheapest major European city (Kiev got the top spot).
Remote working on a budget: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
With a monthly cost of $816 per month according to Nomadlist, Ho Chi Mihn City is one of the cheapest places a digital nomad can go for a remote working fix. While healthcare in Vietnam is nothing to brag about, this city is considered safe, fun, walkable, offers a range of places to work, has a fun nightlife, and good WiFi and internet speeds.
It’s a bargain basement price, but you’ll get anything but a sub-par experience. The city’s population of 7.4 million makes it almost as big as New York, but you’ll pay as much for a week in this city as a night at a decent hotel in Manhattan. When you can find a high-quality lifestyle with low costs, that’s what remote working is all about.