While most of my time abroad has been spent in the "expat" box, I have spent a few years as a digital nomad, bouncing from country to country while working remotely.
In general, an expat is someone who stays in a single place abroad for a year or longer, usually for work, whereas a digital nomad is someone who bounces around quite often and doesn't tend to stay in the same place for longer than a few months. The "digital" part of this term means this person is making their money online so they're able to work from anywhere.
The digital nomad lifestyle is a lot of fun but does require you to be flexible, eager to travel, and not worn out by a constantly changing environment. It can be easy to burnout if you move from country to country too quickly or aren't super organized with your work. Those are just 2 of the typical digital nomad realities that aren't always talked about.
But that being said, if you're ready for a good time and to fully take advantage of working remotely, this lifestyle is a blast! Not all countries are great ones for those working online, so while this list includes many of my favorite places in the world, it doesn't include all of them.
Just like how there are best places to live for expats, there are best places for digital nomads, too.
What Makes a Good Country for Digital Nomads?
- A stable internet connection
- An affordable cost of living
- A community of other nomads and expats
- Plenty of fun things to do in the area
- Ideally, a digital nomad visa
The one thing a digital nomad needs to be successful is a stable internet connection. Sure, you might be able to work offline for a few days but for the most part, your success is reliant on your internet speed. Well, that and a passport.
After the internet, digital nomads often look for countries that have a low cost of living, a community of other nomads or expats to connect with, plenty of things to do after work, and the ability to actually work remotely from said country.
That last part is honestly the trickiest. For most countries in the world, digital nomads fall into a legal grey zone. They're new so not really talked about in official legal terms. It's easy to fall under the radar and live as a tourist, claiming to live off of savings. If you're working with clients or a company within the country under the table, the rules for that are clear: it's illegal. If you're working with clients or a company outside of the country and your earnings are going into a bank account abroad, it's really tough to track. Not impossible but time consuming.
Luckily, digital nomad visas are the hot new thing. These are visas geared specifically towards those who work remotely and want to legally stay put in a country for a few months or a few years. It's important that you note that not all countries on this list offer these visas but the ones that do, I've explained the quirks of their specific offer since all of these visas vary from country to country.
First on the list is Mexico. Mexico is a fantastic country for digital nomads for many reasons, starting with the diversity within the country and the great weather. Not only is Mexico a fantastic place to live for digital nomads, Mexico City is one of the best cities to live in Latin America for expats and nomads alike.
Most digital nomads, myself included, like to pick countries that you can easily travel around and get a lot of "bang for your buck" in terms of places to see and things to do. Mexico is certainly one of those countries.
There's a lot to love about Mexico but most digital nomads love:
- The diversity within the country, including mountains, jungles, desert, beaches, ancient ruins, quaint towns, and big cities.
- The weather. Like most countries in this region, 4 seasons don't really exist, instead, you can pick the weather you enjoy most and enjoy it all year round. Here, the weather depends on the altitude more than anything else.
- The food. Need I say more?
Personally, I like picking myself a base within a country and spending the majority of my time there in one single place, really settling in and getting a feel for it. The other few weeks I have left on my visa, I like to travel around and see some unique sites before hopping off to the next country. In Mexico, you'll find a wide range of cities, small towns, and beach destinations to choose from.
Not only will you have plenty of places to visit, you'll get it all at a low cost of living. Mexico might not be as cheap as some of the other countries on this list but it's still affordable for those earning in dollars, euros, or pounds.
The weather in Mexico is pretty consistent. For the most part, you won't face any real winter weather, even in the high altitude of Mexico City. You will get plenty of hot sunny days, especially if you head to the coast.
I'd be remiss to mention Mexico without talking about the food. You certainly won't have to worry about what to eat if you choose Mexico as your digital nomad hub. From street food to nice restaurants and fresh ingredients at the market to cook yourself, your taste buds will be nothing but happy while here.
Best Places to Live in Mexico for Digital Nomads
While there are a lot of great places to live in Mexico as a digital nomad, a few of our most recommended spots are:
Digital Nomad Visa in Mexico
As a digital nomad in Mexico, you really have 2 visa options:
- A tourist visa
- Temporary Residence Visa
Most who enter Mexico do so on a tourist visa and it used to be standard to be issued with a six-month visa on arrival. However, Mexican immigration officials have been cracking down during the past few years and it's increasingly common for visitors to be given a shorter visa (sometimes as little as a couple of weeks). So, while this is still an option, know that you're not guaranteed the 6 months you might assume you'll get.
If you're planning on working while living in Mexico, applying for a temporary residence visa is the best way to go. This permit gives visitors the right to stay in the country for one year initially but this can be extended. Although not an official digital nomad visa, this is the closest alternative if you want to live in Mexico and work online.
Deciding factors for the Mexican consulate include your monthly income. This figure seems to increase annually so reach out to your nearest Mexico consulate or embassy to get the real number when you're ready to apply. It can be useful and cost-effective to hire an immigration lawyer to help with the process but you'll find lots of great recommendations in the expat social media groups.
Spain has always graced the top spots of most bucket lists but now that Spain offers a digital nomad visa, moving here is more achievable than ever before. Like Mexico, Spain speaks Spanish, so learning the local language will certainly help you make friends and enjoy living there even more. Personally, I like learning on the app Mondly.
There's a lot to love about living in Spain but this has become one of the best countries for digital nomads because:
- The location. For most, living in Europe is a far off dream that feels out of reach but now, thanks to their digital nomad visa, building a home base in Europe is more than possible.
- The visa. This piggybacks off of #1 but is worth really honing in on. Not all countries on this list offer digital nomad visas so the ones that do you should pay special attention to.
- The culture. For those that are looking for a lively environment with late night parties, enthusiastic meals, and a joy of life not always seen around the world, you'll love living in Spain.
Also like Mexico, Spain is a super diverse country that offers everything from mountains to desert to beaches and all sorts of cities, towns, and islands in between. For those that tend to get itchy feet, you won't bore easily when living and working remotely from Spain.
Depending on where you decide to live, Spain can be affordable but it can also get costly quickly if you let it. Here the lifestyle you choose to live will greatly affect how much you're spending each month. While there are plenty of fantastic cities in Spain, Madrid and Cádiz are 2 of the best places to live in Europe for expats and nomads alike.
According to Nebeus, Spain tops the list of dream destinations for Brits who work remotely.
Best Places to Live in Spain for Digital Nomads
Digital Nomad Visa in Spain
For digital nomads dreaming of moving abroad to Spain, you have 3 options, unless you're from the European Union, in which case moving here is as easy as can be.
Spain's Non-Lucrative Visa has long been a popular option for those that make passive income and want to live in Spain. In reality, this is often used as a retirement visa because your pension can count as passive income.
Spain recently launched a digital nomad visa for remote workers. You'll need to be able to prove university education and a stable income (at the time of publication this was approximately £2,140 per month or £25,700 per year).
The 3rd option is to only be in Spain for as long as your tourist visa allows. Most nationalities are given 90 days every 180 days to spend in the Schengen Zone. Spain, along with most countries in the European Union, are part of this zone so that means your days in this zone all combine. As an example, you can't spend 90 days in Spain and then 90 days in Portugal in the same 180 day period.
Vietnam is one of my favorite countries in the world and I always recommend it regardless to if you're an expat, digital nomad, or just a traveler. This country has so much to offer and, so long as you move here with an open mind, you're bound to love it. It's no wonder it's one of the best places to live in Asia.
It's chaotic, full of natural beauty, fresh food, and welcoming locals. Here you can bounce from mega cities to coastal towns to limestone mountain cliffs only accessible by motorbike. I was lucky enough to live in Vietnam for 3 years and honestly could have stayed longer if it wasn't for visa issues (more on that caveat below). Moving to Vietnam is a fantastic idea in my opinion.
While there are a lot of great reasons why Vietnam is one of the best countries for digital nomads, it comes down to 3 big ones for me:
- The cost of living is very affordable, even for nomads that are new to working online and don't yet make a stable or high income.
- There's a great community of other digital nomads and expats living in this country so making friends shouldn't be too difficult.
- The internet is pretty stable. It's important for your standards not to be out of this world but for video calls and day-to-day work, we never had a big issue with the internet that affected our workflow for more than a few hours.
Outside of that, Vietnam is just a lot of fun. The people are incredibly laid back where everything is không sao (no problem). That sort of attitude is incredibly infectious so if you're someone that likes a rigid environment, living in Vietnam might be a clash of cultures for you but if you're eager to live somewhere where locals don't sweat the small stuff, you'll love it here.
Best Places to Live in Vietnam for Digital Nomads
There are a lot of wonderful places to live in Vietnam but I few of my top recommendations are:
Digital Nomad Visa in Vietnam
Here's the caveat I was talking about, there is no digital nomad visa in Vietnam. It simply doesn't exist. Unless you want to start a business in Vietnam, you only have one option to live here while you work online: on a tourist visa.
If you want to also work as an English teacher or are able to find another job to sponsor your visa while you work remotely on the side, that's possible. But other than that, your options are pretty limited here.
The good thing about this is that you'll quickly realize every single digital nomad and a lot of expats are living long-term in Vietnam on tourist visas so you won't be alone in navigating this. The bad thing is that your visa situation is precarious at best. You can't be 100% certain your visa will get renewed.
(Side story: That's how we ended up leaving Vietnam. Mid-2021, immigration tightened up and stopped renewing everyone's visa. We had a few friends who got kicked out and decided to leave the country on our own instead of risking it. Since we travel with our dog, a last minute move during Covid didn't sound fun.)
If you do go the route of living in Vietnam on a tourist visa, know that most nationalities get 90 days in the country. After those 90 days, you'll need to leave the country and come back in on a new visa. This is so common that there are agencies that literally take you across the border and back on a day trip, taking care of the whole process for you. Otherwise, you can plan a cool trip to another Southeast Asian country when it's time to renew.
Thailand is well-known as the "Land of Smiles" and after having spent a few months there as a digital nomad myself, I can confirm. Not only are locals friendly and smiling but their attitude is contagious so before long you'll be smiling like a fool, too.
In general, Thailand is good for those traveling solo, as a couple, or with a group of friends. Throughout the country you'll feel safe and welcomed by not only the locals but by the expat and digital nomad community, too. Because of this, it's known as a place that is easy to make friends and connect with others.
While there's a lot to love about working online from Thailand, a few of the top reasons include:
- The low cost of living. It might not be as affordable as Vietnam but it still offers a very low cost of living while still maintaining a high quality of life.
- The delicious food. Thai food is one of the most flavorful cuisines in the world. I used to love going to Thai restaurants when I lived in the US but eating the real thing? Now that's next level.
- The beautiful landscapes. Once you touch down in Thailand you'll realize why the country is so famous. The beaches, the jungles, the mountains, they're all so picturesque, especially when you're one of the southern Thai islands where those 3 elements combine effortlessly.
As one of the more affordable countries to live in on this list, it's a really great place to base yourself if you're new to online work and might not yet have a stable income or maybe you're just hoping to save as much as possible to either work less, travel more, or both.
Regardless, the rich culture, stunning landscapes, and welcoming people make Thailand a fantastic choice for digital nomads hoping to move to Southeast Asia.
Best Places to Live in Thailand for Digital Nomads
Most digital nomads in Thailand base themselves in Chiang Mai, one of the biggest digital nomad hubs around the world, but it's certainly not your only option. I recommend checking out:
Digital Nomad Visa in Thailand
As of publication, there is no official digital nomad visa in Thailand. There are several visas to choose from when moving to Thailand, although most will require you to either work, study, or volunteer at local institutions on top of the online work you do.
Since being a digital nomad tends to fall into a legal grey zone so often, it can be tough to know when you need to apply for a visa and when you don't. Thailand has actually made it really straightforward with this visa guide for digital nomads in Thailand.
If you're interested in staying long-term in Thailand and want to get a visa to allow you to do so, I recommend hiring a professional to help you out. The visa process in Thailand tends to change often so it's best to get an expert to help you navigate it.
I wouldn't recommend relying solely on visa runs in Thailand. Sure, many nomads do it but if you decide to go that route, it's best to have some longer breaks between the runs. You might be able to slip by without any issues but word on the expat/nomad street is that Thailand is cracking down more and more on those staying in the country longer than they should.
Say hello to one of the most beautiful countries in Europe: Montenegro. Last year we spent 3 months as digital nomads on the Bay of Kotor and it was honestly one of my favorite experiences in my 11 years abroad.
The Bay and the country in general is magic.
I constantly had the feeling that I had stepped right into a fairy tale with the stunning stone homes built right on the water, the crystal clear water beckoning me to my daily dip, and the mountains that rose so quickly and dramatically.
What digital nomads might enjoy most about working from Montenegro is:
- The cost of living compared to the lifestyle. It's becoming more and more rare to be able to afford to live on the coast in the summer in Europe but Montenegro is still one of those places. Yes, it'll be more expensive than other continents but for Europe, it's a gem.
- The stunning scenery. I'm not sure I can stress just how beautiful Montenegro is. We drove through the entire country and from the mountains to sea had more than a handful of jaw-dropping moments.
- The location. For those that crave off-the-beaten-path destinations, Montenegro stills surrounded by opportunities. Sharing a border with Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Croatia, you'll have the Balkans at your fingertips.
The entire coastline is picturesque and the mountains and national parks that form the inland of the country are home to some of the best hiking trails in the Balkans. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend working from any of these small mountain towns because of the internet quality, they make for fantastic weekend getaways. The country is so small it's easy to go from one end to another in just a few hours.
The capital, Podgorica, really has the feel of a town more than a city so for those craving city life, Montenegro won't be for you. This country is really ideal for digital nomads that are looking for a quiet lifestyle with quick and easy access to both the mountains and the sea.
Pro Tip: People in Montenegro speak Montenegrin. It's very similar to Serbian but they use the Roman alphabet. I bring this up because as of 2024, Montenegrin is not a language option on any language learning app or even Google Translate. While the closest language is Serbian, I avoid skipping Cyrillic (unless you already know it) and translate to Croatian or Bosnian instead. Some words may differ but it's enough to get by.
Best Places to Live in Montenegro for Digital Nomads
- Bay of Kotor
Digital Nomad Visa in Montenegro
Currently, Montenegro does not offer digital nomad visas. Remote workers are most likely on a tourist visa (or visa-free) while here. Since Montenegro is not yet part of the EU, it's not part of the Schengen Zone either. That means, most nationalities get 90-days visa free here that doesn't connect to your time spent in any other country.
It might be possible to cross the border for a weekend trip and come back in with a new 90-days but the official rule is 90-days every 180-days.
Really, what I'm suggesting with Montenegro is not to use it as somewhere to live full-time as a digital nomad (that really defeats the nomadic lifestyle angle anyways) but instead to spend 3 months here, ideally in the summer or should season.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Argentina and was smart enough to snatch it up before it passed me by. This was after my gap semester in Guatemala where my travel bug was born but before I had fully decided on moving abroad post-graduation.
My time in Argentina is what pushed me into the deep-end of this lifestyle and I'll be forever grateful to it.
All that being said, I'm doing my best not to look at Argentina through rose-colored glasses and instead objectively as someone who works online from all corners of the world.
This reason is why it didn't make my list of best places to live as an expat but instead only really recommended for those who work remotely. This is due to the wild economy in Argentina. If you work in-person and earn pesos, your income will vary vastly compared to other currencies. It's much safer to live in Argentina while earning a different currency.
Digital nomads in Argentina will love:
- The European vibe to Buenos Aires even though the city is in South America. This is great for those that can't get a visa for Europe but crave that architecture. Plus, you'll get it mixed with the Latino flair for passionate yet a laid-back outlook on life that's truly captivating.
- The cost of living. Due to their economic crisis, your earnings will stretch farther than they would in most countries, just have some respect and realize that it's a tough time to earn pesos.
- The natural beauty of the country. Argentina is stunning with waterfalls, vast plains, and some of the best mountains in the world, this is a great country for outdoor enthusiasts looking for new extremes.
Best Places to Live in Argentina for Digital Nomads
Most digital nomads in Argentina will be drawn to the capital city (and for good) reason but it's not the only place to live in Argentina. I also recommend:
- Buenos Aires
Digital Nomad Visa in Argentina
Many expats enter Argentina on a tourist visa. Most nationalities are given 90 days tourist visa on arrival to Argentina. Many overstay and pay the fine or do visa runs. This is typically forgiven but do know you won't be able to legally register in Argentina to get subscription services or local health insurance. You'll need to rely on travel insurance like SafetyWing.
Recently though the Argentina government launched a digital nomad visa allowing foreigners to legally stay in the country for 180 days, with the chance to extend another 180.
The requirements for this visa are:
- National from a country that does not require a tourist visa to enter Argentina
- Passport + additional photos
- Create account on RADEX
- Proof of employment + CV
- Application fee
If you meet the requirements based on your application on the online account, you'll receive an email to schedule a face-to-face appointment at the nearest embassy or consulate.
If you're looking for a long-term solution to live in Argentina, check the Argentine Immigration Office for the different options for long-term visa permits and the specific requirements for each of them.
7. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) was never on my radar until we happened to be in the region with more time on our hands than we initially expected. We were waiting on our visas to go through to move to Trieste, Italy and wanted to take advantage of our freedom as much as possible.
That led us to Bosnia & Herzegovina. What was meant to be 1 month in Sarajevo turned into a combined 6 months between that city and Bihać.
Honestly, I think the aspect of surprise was on our side and made us like the country even more, so while I do want to tell you more about why it's one of the best countries for digital nomads, I also want you to have the chance to really experience living here without many expectations.
In general, digital nomads in Bosnia & Herzegovina will love:
- The off-the-beaten-path experience. There are few places left unturned in Europe and BiH is one of them with plenty of stunning places to visit. Except for a few key places in peak season, you won't have to fight tourists to enjoy this country.
- The cost of living. Especially as a European country, the cost of living is very affordable, even if you choose to live in Sarajevo or Mostar.
- The attitude of the locals. If you know your recent history, you know Bosnia & Herzegovina was really dealt the short-end of the stick. While there, I really urge you to learn about their history, especially the genocide and war in the early 90s. This isn't just to make you sad or angry but to realize what every local over the age of 30 lived through in one way or another. You'll start to see that even with the atrocities committed against them, they're able to laugh, love, and care deeply for their neighbors.
Another huge perk of choosing to live in Bosnia is getting 4 true seasons. Personally, I love seasons and missed them deeply when I lived in South America and Southeast Asia. In Bosnia, you'll get 4 true seasons but the part you might not expect is that in the winter, especially if you live in Sarajevo, you'll get easy and affordable access to Olympic Mountains for skiing and snowboarding.
Best Places to Live in BiH for Digital Nomads
I mentioned above that my husband and I worked remotely from Bihać but I don't recommend it as a place to live. It's a stunning town and area to visit but for those aiming to spend a few weeks or months in the country, I'd opt for:
Digital Nomad Visa in BiH
Unfortunately for us, Bosnia doesn't yet offer digital nomad visas. This is another one of those options that is best to spend a few months here max while exploring the rest of the region.
The official rule is that most nationalities receive 90 days every 180 days visa-free. From experience, they aren't strict on the 180 day reset period but do know you run a risk if you decide to live fully on visa runs.
Indonesia, Bali in particular, has long been the reigning champion of digital nomad hotspots around the world. Here you'll find hordes of like-minded remote workers who have decided to make Bali their home base for a few weeks, months, or even years.
Personally, this hype has made me wary of Bali and is the reason I don't have much interest in visiting that island. The rest of the country? Yes! Bali? Not really.
Now, that being said, I do think many digital nomads seek communities abroad and that's the big reason I've decided to include Indonesia on my list. It's undeniable that the community aspect of Bali is vibrant and thriving, making it especially attractive to solo female travelers and also those that want to network with other nomads.
That being said, there are a few reason to move to Indonesia as a digital nomad:
- The aforementioned community.
- The very affordable cost of living, especially if you're dreaming of the villa life.
- Having the rest of the country at your fingertips. Indonesia is one of the most beautiful island nations in the world so being able to explore that on your weekend getaways is truly hard to beat.
Best Places to Live in Indonesia for Digital Nomads
If you live somewhere else in Indonesia as a digital nomad, I'd love to hear from you. As of yet, my circle can only recommend living in Bali (with Canggu and Ubud as 2 of the biggest areas on the island).
Digital Nomad Visa in Indonesia
There's been a lot of talk about digital nomad visas in Indonesia but as of yet, one hasn't launched. That being said, there are a number of visa options for long-stays in Bali.
If you just want to check out the island for a short while, a tourist visa (or visa on arrival) might be your best bet. Most nationalities receive 30 days with the chance to extend for another 30.
The other 3 commonly used options are the Social-Cultural Visa, Business Visa (B211A), and the Investor Visa (KITAS). These options will give you more time than just 1 month in the country so are worth considering if you'd like to stay long-term here. It's best to consult a visa expert though because the rules and regulations of these visas change often.
In recent years, Georgia has really swept in as a great foreign country for digital nomads and expats to move to, especially if they want a rest of the common visa woes that come attached to other countries. Because of this, more and more people have been moving to Georgia and enjoying easier access to this relatively untraveled region.
Digital nomads in Georgia will enjoy:
- Access to a region that most travelers overlook.
- A relatively low cost of living.
- A moment to regroup and not think about visas for up to one year.
Living in Georgia will give you a completely unique experience. As the tourism industry is still on the low side, you'll get to experience a country outside of the influence of others. On their own, Georgia has a unique mix of Central Asian and Eastern European flair.
Most will choose to live in one of the largest cities, either the capital Tbilisi or Batumi, but there's a lot of beauty to uncover by traveling the country on your off days or weekends. Plus, for wine lovers, Georgia has a long history of producing its own unique blends.
Best Places to Live in Georgia for Digital Nomads
The most popular places to live in Georgia are the 2 biggest cities:
Digital Nomad Visa in Georgia
The biggest perk to living in Georgia is the ability to stay in the country visa-free for up to a year. This is really unheard of anywhere else so it is a good choice for those that want to skip visa hurdles and settle right in abroad. It's important to note that this isn't available to all nationalities but still a whopping 94.
They do offer a visa for digital nomads if you plan to work remotely during your year here. It seems like many work under the radar without the visa but if you want to do things "right," you should apply for the visa. It seems like a stress-free option and the whole thing can be done online.
Colombia is another gem that digital nomads started flocking to years ago. Medellín has long been a digital nomad hub in South America and it's all for good reason. While many might associate the country with its violent past, Colombia doesn't have the same issues that were brought into the public eye in the 80s.
While I've never fully lived in Colombia, my husband is from there so I have spent ample time in the country with my in-laws. I've also spoken to other digital nomads in Colombia who have raved about all the things they enjoy about working from there.
A few of those top reasons include:
- Colombians themselves. Colombians are warm and welcoming people. They're eager to smile and engage in small talk and tend to show a genuine interest and curiosity in you. This is especially true if you're able to speak at least basic Spanish.
- The biodiversity within the country. Unfortunately, there are still remote places that you shouldn't go and visit but there are still so many excellent places to visit. It's the only country in the world that enjoys the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Andes Mountains, and Amazon Rainforest.
- The weather. In Colombia, you get the weather you want all year-round. Want eternal Spring? Go to Medellín. Prefer fall? Head to Bogotá. Like summer-weather most? Enjoy the Caribbean Coast.
Best Places to Live in Colombia for Digital Nomads
Colombia has a lot of wonderful places to see but to stay put for a few months, I'd recommend you choose between one of these 4 cities:
- Santa Marta
Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
While Colombia is one of the best countries for digital nomads for many reasons, its new digital nomad visa makes the deal even sweeter. This visa allows you to live and work online for 6 months of the year.
The visa is valid for 2 years though so you can spend a total of 1 year in the country but only at 6 month intervals. For those that want a home base but still plenty of time to travel nomadically and enjoy all the best places to visit in South America, this could be a great option.
Where Will You Live as a Digital Nomad?
One of my favorite things about the nomad lifestyle is not having the pressure to choose one place and stick with it. I think more and more people are forgetting about the nomad aspect of this lifestyle and instead are aiming to move abroad with their online work by their side.
There's something of course valid with that idea. I mean, I do it. But, you'll see from the list of countries on this list that the ability to stay long-term isn't the only priority for nomads. The beauty of this lifestyle is the ability to stay a few months in a certain country before hopping off to the next one.
You have more time than a typical tourist because you're no longer fighting against days off but you also don't have to worry about the visa stress that most expats and immigrants face daily.
Right now, in many countries around the world, digital nomads fall into a legal grey zone that I for one think you should take advantage of before big changes come about.
So, I guess the better way to think about it isn't where you want to live but where you want to start your digital nomad life.