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Cheapest Places To Live As A Digital Nomad

I’ve been a digital nomad since I was twenty-three years old. I’ve worked as a virtual assistant, and online ESL teacher, and now work as a freelance travel and wine writer. The freedom to work whenever and wherever I want has been such a blessing. Plus, it has allowed me to save money while exploring. While digital nomad life can be as budget or boujee as you make it, certain spots around the world can help you stretch your hard earned money further. Ready for your next digital nomad destination? I’m spilling the beans on the cheapest places around the world to live as a digital nomad. Let’s dive in!

Is It Cheaper To Be A Digital Nomad Or Rent?

Whether it's cheaper to be a digital nomad or rent a traditional living space depends on various factors, including your lifestyle, chosen destinations, and personal preferences. As a digital nomad, you can benefit from flexibility and the option to choose lower-cost destinations, taking advantage of currency exchange rates. However, unpredictable costs associated with constant movement and the lack of a stable home can be drawbacks. If you’re planning to live in a destination just for a few days or weeks, it may not be as affordable as booking a long-term stay. Still, being a digital nomad in Vietnam will always be cheaper than renting in New York City. Consider what type of lifestyle you want to leave before you dive into the digital nomad life.

✈️ Pro Tip: Looking for a digital nomad hustle? Check out these Unique Digital Nomad Jobs You Can Actually Do.

How To Save Money As A Digital Nomad

Apart from picking an affordable destination to stay in, there are some ways you can make your digital nomad experience more budget friendly. I’ve found doing the following things has helped me save more money while on the go.

🌏 Don’t book through Airbnb: Airbnb can be great in a pinch, but it also includes a number of additional fees you shouldn’t waste your money on. Plus, most places on Airbnb are priced for tourists, not for locals, so you’ll be paying much more than you should. 

🌏 Stay in a destination for a long period of time: Save money on transportation and accommodation by slow traveling through a destination. 

🌏 Take advantage of coworking spaces: Instead of paying for coffee and food regularly at coffee shops, go to coworking spaces instead. They are typically affordable and a great way to make friends!

🌏 Cook your meals at home: You should still invest in the community you’re exploring and try local delicacies, but save money by eating at home.

🌏 Do free activities when not working: There are so many excellent free activities you can do to better learn about a city. Try out free walking tours or look on travel Facebook groups for activities in your area that are free.

Digital nomad working by beach

Extend Your Budget At One Of These Cheapest Places To Live As A Digital Nomad

Some places around the world are more affordable than others. If you want to stretch your budget further, head to one of the following cheapest places to live as a digital nomad

Medellin, Colombia

Set against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains, Medellin, Colombia, has become a must-visit spot for digital nomads seeking an affordable yet vibrant lifestyle. The city's transformation over the years has captured the attention of remote workers worldwide. Medellin's pleasant climate, cultural richness, and modern amenities create an ideal environment for work and exploration. With co-working spaces, lush green spaces, and a welcoming local community, Medellin stands as a testament to the growing allure of South America for digital nomads.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular spots for digital nomads seeking warm weather and an affordable lifestyle. Not only does Chiang Mai have a low cost of living, but it also boasts a vibrant digital nomad community. With a plethora of co-working spaces, affordable street food, and a charming cultural atmosphere, Chiang Mai provides an ideal setting for remote work. I was lucky enough to work in Chiang Mai for a month and became truly spoiled by my almost daily five dollar back massages and one dollar coffees. 

✈️ Pro Tip: Planning a trip to Chiang Mai? Find out all you need to know before you go in my Digital Nomads Guide To Chiang Mai.

Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Prague, Czech Republic

I started out my digital nomad career in Prague so I may be a little biased, but Prague is one of the most affordable and exciting spots in Europe for digital nomads to live. The city's fairy-tale-like architecture, historic charm, and dynamic cultural scene create a backdrop that inspires creativity and productivity. Digital nomads can enjoy the best of both worlds – the enchanting atmosphere of Prague and the economic advantages that come with living in this picturesque European city. Plus, with beer being cheaper than water, enjoying time out on the town won’t hurt your budget.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia is gaining popularity among digital nomads, and Tbilisi, its capital, is known for its welcoming atmosphere and low living costs. With a mix of historic architecture, vibrant street life, and affordable amenities, Tbilisi provides a unique blend of culture and budget-friendly living for digital nomads.

Skopje, North Macedonia

I’ve been lucky to live in Skopje twice throughout my digital nomad journey. This affordable spot is full of unique culture and friendly locals. I think every day I was asked at least three times why I, an American, was visiting North Macedonia, and countless times was invited by total strangers for meals or activities with families who have since become good friends. Everyone was so eager to show the heart of their beautiful country and welcomed me with open arms. The Balkan charm, coupled with an affordable cost of living, makes Skopje an enticing choice for remote workers. With its blend of Ottoman and Byzantine influences, the city offers a unique cultural experience. Digital nomads can savor local cuisine, explore historic landmarks, and immerse themselves in the burgeoning creative scene of Skopje.

Skopje Macedonia

Lisbon, Portugal

While Western Europe is generally more expensive, Lisbon stands out as a relatively affordable option compared to other European capitals. The city's unique blend of historic charm, modern amenities, and a thriving cultural scene make it an attractive destination for digital nomads looking to balance work and exploration.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam, in general, is known for its affordability, and Hanoi specifically offers a unique blend of rich history and culture. Digital nomads in Hanoi can enjoy affordable living costs, delicious street food, and a cityscape steeped in tradition and modernity. I started off the Southeast Asia period of my digital nomad journey in Hanoi and loved the vibrant buzz of the city and daily egg coffees. I don’t typically recommend not having accommodation booked before you go, but Vietnam is one of those exceptions where I find it best to wait until you arrive to find your new home. You can easily find affordable housing advertised as you stroll around the city which will help you save big on your budget. 

✈️ Pro Tip: Take some time off work to do these 12 Can't Miss Things To Do In Hanoi Vietnam.

Jessi's Journey in Hanoi

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico offers a diverse culture, and Mexico City, in particular, has a lower cost of living compared to many cities in the United States. Digital nomads can immerse themselves in Mexican culture, explore historical sites, and enjoy a vibrant urban lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali continues to be a digital nomad haven, known for its affordability, stunning landscapes, and thriving community of remote workers. Beyond its beautiful beaches and lush scenery, Bali offers numerous co-working spaces and a laid-back lifestyle that attracts digital nomads from around the globe.

Belgrade, Serbia

As the Balkans emerge as a growing hotspot for digital nomads, Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, stands out for its friendly atmosphere and affordability. The region's increasing popularity among remote workers is attributed to its unique blend of historical charm and a welcoming community. Belgrade, with its rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, and budget-friendly living, encapsulates the appeal of the Balkans as an attractive destination for digital nomads seeking both adventure and economic advantages.

Digital nomad working in camper van

Is Being A Digital Nomad Ethical?

Being a digital nomad offers the freedom to live affordably and travel while working online. However, it's crucial to recognize the ethical responsibilities that come with this lifestyle. Recent discussions highlight concerns about the negative impact digital nomads may have on local communities, such as contributing to housing crises and increasing local prices so that locals cannot afford to live comfortably. Minimizing this impact involves practicing cultural sensitivity, supporting local economies, and engaging in responsible tourism. 

I have wrestled with my own moral considerations as a digital nomad. It is important to strike a balance between exploration and respect to foster positive relationships and address the potential negative impacts associated with the digital nomad lifestyle. I make sure to support local businesses, avoid mass tourism experiences, and interact with locals for authentic experiences while working abroad as a digital nomad. I also make sure to find at least one local cause I can volunteer at or donate to to help balance out my impact.

Live The Digital Nomad Life On The Cheap

Traveling the world doesn’t have to break the bank. While there are challenges that come with a digital nomad lifestyle, it also offers a great way to see the world and still save money. While you may not be able to spend months in Santorini or Paris, there are so many stunning places around the world that are equally affordable as they are beautiful. The world’s your oyster. All you have to do is decide where to go first! Bon voyage!

Which affordable destination would you travel to first? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!


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