Want to Be a Digital Nomad? Here Are 10 Breathtaking Places to Post Up
No need to shackle yourself to a desk. Or for that matter, to any one city.
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Mexico City, Mexico
There’s no shortage of color, culture or adventure in Mexico’s capital city—you could spend weeks wandering its many diverse neighborhoods, lush parks and romantic side streets and still have plenty more to see and do. And yet, existing here costs a fraction of what it might cost in other North American destinations, like New York City or Toronto. Bunk at places like the downtown Mexico City outpost of Selina, which invites tourists and digital nomads alike to stay in its design-forward coliving spaces, which, of course, are outfitted with super-strong Wi-Fi. As for food? While you can certainly splash out on a fancy dinner in Mexico City (save your pesos for a modern Mexican meal at Pujol), world-class street tacos are a cost-effective way to stay full and happy.
New York, New York
It may not be the cheapest place to exist in the world, but it’s plenty possible to live large on a digital nomad’s budget in the Big Apple—if you’re smart. Stay at Airbnbs, hostels or budget spots like The Pod Hotels to keep your lodging prices down, and work during the day in some of the world’s best coffee shops, like Black Fox Coffee Co. in Wall Street or Abbotsford Road in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. For cheap and easy meals, hit up dumpling hotspots like Super Taste in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where a glorious plate piled high with chili-doused steamed dumplings will cost you a mere $3. Of course, the cheap eats don’t end there.
Colombia’s second-largest city is a fantastic place to kickstart a South American adventure. Once considered one of the world’s most dangerous cities, today’s Medellin is cosmopolitan and vibrant, with everything a digital nomad might desire. Stay in the local Selina outpost or scope out apartment listings on the helpful Facebook group Medellin Rooms, Apartments and Expat Info. Get your work done during waking hours at spots like Botanika Lounge—the Wi-Fi is great, and there are electrical outlets conveniently located under every table—or head to coworking spaces La Casa Redonda or Seedspace Medellín. Be sure to sample local street vendors’ famous smoked meats, fried dough balls and other culinary specialties.
This tropical paradise has been a favorite of digital nomads for years, and for good reason. Though increasingly touristy and expensive, living here for weeks at a time is still a steal compared to what it might cost in most major cities. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the surrounding rice fields and sprawling beaches are downright gorgeous. You can rent whole villas on the cheap on Airbnb here, and surfer-centric lunch spots slinging matcha smoothies and acai bowls abound. Think: Betelnut Cafe and Matcha Cafe Bali. Nearly every little cafe has Internet, so there’s no shortage of work spots. Get everything finished early so you still have time to chill out at the luxe Finns Beach Club with a frozen berry margarita.
Bangkok is a classic digital nomad destination, in part because of its abundance of cheap accommodations, outstanding street food and affordable coworking spaces. Hostels are on seemingly every congested block here, as are affordable Airbnb spots and apartment-style hotels like Siri Sathorn Hotel, which will run you around $100 a night. There are tons of coworking spaces to explore, too, from Hubba to The Hive to One Day Forward. Afterward, make sure to take advantage of Bangkok’s stellar dining scene and gobble up specialties like hot and sour tom yum soup and fish sauce-laden pad khee mao noodles.
Germany’s cultural heart and capital city might be the most freelancer-friendly city on the European continent, with its wealth of coworking spaces, reasonable (for Europe!) cost of living and ease of getting around. Book a few nights through Airbnb or peruse the listings on the helpful site WG-Gesucht.de. (A helpful hint: Most locals speak English, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn a little German—the aforementioned site doesn’t include a lick of English.) Once you’re set up, spend your work day at the coworking space Ahoy Berlin, and take a meeting at the uber hip Michelberger Hotel. When it’s quittin' time, you’ll have plenty else to explore, from the city’s internationally-acclaimed street art, varied food scene and top-notch museums.
Beautiful architecture, an abundance of history and a calm pace of life all make Lisbon a highly underrated destination for digital nomads. The city has become ever-friendlier to laptop-toting travelers in recent years thanks to coworking spaces like Coworklisboa and Village Underground, not to mention a preponderance of artsy cafes with great Wi-Fi like the Scandinavian-leaning Dear Breakfast and the cozy Pois Cafe. As for where to spend the night, Airbnb is a safe bet. Other options include the coliving space Outsite, which offers rooms with private bathrooms starting at $65 a night. (You can cut that number in half if you’re willing to share a room and a bathroom with a fellow traveler.) On weekends, take in the city sights, from the Alfama District’s famous red-tiled rooftops to the futuristic Vasco da Gama Tower.
When you’re not indulging in afternoon tapas sessions and evenings out on the bustling main drag, La Rambla, Barcelona is a great city to post up and do some work. The city is home to a burgeoning start-up scene, so plenty of locals are doing the digital nomad thing, too—hit up coworking favorites like Betahaus Barcelona, OneCoWork, Makers of Barcelona and plenty others, or any of the city’s fantastic Third Wave coffee shops. There are plenty of affordable places to spend the night as well, from Airbnb to coliving situations like Coworkation to A Landing Pad. There’s so much to see and do here—from marveling at whimsical buildings by art nouveau architect Antoni Gaudi to poking around the food stalls at the popular market La Boqueria—that you may end up extending your stay.
Of the Four Asian Tigers—Eastern economies that boasted immense growth rates and financial power between the 1960s and 1990s, which include Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan—Taiwan might be the most friendly to digital nomads. Its capital city, Taipei, is modern, clean and safe, but remains remarkably affordable given the high quality of life its residents enjoy. Spend the day at coworking spaces like Futureward, The Executive Centre, Kafnu or 102 Coworking Space, or type away at some of the city’s coffee shops. (In recent years, Taipei has become one of the world’s greatest coffee cities.) As for where to stay, Taipei’s coliving scene is heating up with places like Banana Coliving, DigiQuarters and 9Floor. You can also opt for a serviced apartments through Nomad Rental, or give Airbnb a go. In your off hours, make sure to explore Taiwan’s world-famous Night Markets, and go hiking on many of the scenic trails that, amazingly, are located within city limits.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The capital of Argentina may have an at times topsy-turvy political system, but Buenos Aires remains an alluring destination for tourists and digital nomads alike. Here’s why: A sprawling collection of 100-year-old-plus cafes, an inventive art scene and beautiful, tree-lined avenues are just a few things that make this vibrant city a favorite destination. In recent years, coworking spaces and affordable accommodations for passers-through have joined the list, too. Camp out at coworking hubs like the four-story AreaTres El Salvador, with its rooftop terrace and ping pong tables, or opt for a cozier setting at Manawa, where you can also play ping pong and hang out on a landscaped terrace. (Noticing a theme here?) Lay your head at coliving spots like My Way, or join one of Unsettled’s Buenos Aires retreats, which sets you up with a furnished apartment. Of course, Airbnb and Craigslist are solid ways to find housing in town as well.