Top 5 Best Digital Nomad Destinations for 2020-2021
Hey there, it’s Mike Swigunski here and I’m the founder of global career and best-selling author of Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever.
Now over the past decade, I’ve been living and working overseas in more than 85 different countries and I’m really excited to share with you my top five favorite digital nomad destinations, now let’s go ahead and get started now before we get into breaking down these five locations let me go ahead and walk you through my criteria. Now this is gonna be subjective everyone has different criteria but here’s the way I try to take a step back and look at each one of these destinations.
Starting off at number one is what is the visa situation like is it easy for nomads to come there and show up and kind of stay for a longer-term, a lot of countries at least allow 30 to 90 days but these destinations will have some good visa options for digital nomads. The second thing on the list of criteria that I use is the internet this is absolutely essential for all digital nomads so how good is the internet how much does it cost there is it affordable and easy to find wi-fi for you know at cafes or easy to get fast internet in your apartment, so that’s criteria number two now number three is the value I think this is one of the most important criteria because a lot of digital nomads are looking for a place where they can have a high quality of life for paying a lot lower amount of money and so that’s what I call to value and all these five destinations have really great value and then the next one number four criteria are activities food and entertainment.
How is the food and local culture that’s gonna be a big part in selecting these five destinations so that’s something really important to keep in mind and then lastly and this is absolutely important is the community is there a good local community that you can tap into is there a good expat community and digital nomads in the location so luckily all five of these destinations are really great options some of them are going to be better in different categories I’ll try to highlight the destinations on what their top category is and talk about some of the cons because each one of these locations has pros and cons so let’s go ahead and dig into my top five digital nomad destinations.
So starting off at number one my top digital nomad destination is Tbilisi Georgia, So I’m currently based here right now and I’ve been here for the past six months and I absolutely love it here, we’ve decided to stay here long term because it is such a good location it checks pretty much every box that we’re looking for in a good digital nomad hub. One of the biggest draws here is that you’re able to come in on a tourist visa and stay here for one year, now they do have some interesting things happening they are creating a digital nomad visa but again this one-year tourist visa makes it extremely easy once it expires you can do a border run and then come back into the country.
Now in addition to that’s a big one but there’s also so much to do here it’s a really great European style city and we’ve been here for six months and we still haven’t run out of stuff to do in the city and in the country of Georgia there are so many good day trips and weekend trips that we’re gonna be able to have our hands full for the next few years as our main hub here and then lastly is the quality of life for the value is the best place that I’ve seen in the world, it really does check every box that you’re looking for in a digital nomad location and I can guarantee you you’ll find some of the best value and it also has some of the highest quality of life.
So it’s a really safe city a really safe country but your dollar goes extremely far so if you’ve ever considered coming to policy Georgia or Georgia, in general, it’s definitely worth adding it to your list and coming and seeing for yourself coming in on number two on our list is Prague in the Czech Republic now I absolutely love Prague and I might be extremely biased here but I’ve spent more than two years there and that was a while ago but I’ve been back in the recent summers to really go back and connect with the city as a digital nomad and I still love it it’s definitely gotten more expensive than when I used to live there in 2011 but I think with recent world events happening right now the prices are going to continue to reduce.
One of the great things about Prague is it is such a beautiful city you can walk around everywhere and again even after living there for two years you still get astounded by how beautiful the city it is and there isn’t never-ending things going on there’s always something to do at night on the weekends there’s a lot of great events, so I would say that Prague is such a great place because you’re so well connected to other European countries you’re four hours away from Munich and berlin you can go to Budapest in eight hours on the train so there’s a really great geographical location to be in because you can hop on a train you go and you can go to five or six really cool destinations within under you know five hours of just traveling on the train.
So it’s a really good hub for that uh there is a lot of other cool things to see outside of Prague so there’s a never-ending weekend travels that you can do and there’s a lot of good options for people the visa situation in Prague can be a little tricky if you’re an American you’re only going to end up with 90 days since they are part of the Schengen area you’re going to get 90 days within 180 day period there are definitely some workarounds to this like setting up a business or there’s some other like freelancer and digital nomad visas that are appearing so there are options to stay longer than 90 days it just might be a little bit more effort than just showing up showing your Passport so definitely consider Prague it’s one of my favorite cities in the world to visit and also to be a digital nomad.
Coming in at number three is Chiang Mai Thailand again this is like the digital nomad mecca and I couldn’t make a list without including it I’ve spent many months in Thailand and I love the culture the food the people there are so friendly and it has probably one of the biggest digital nomad communities, now Chiang Mai has a lot of great features but I’ll start with you know talking about one of the downsides is the burning season so there’s a few months of the year where the farmers are burning crops so it’s kind of not a great place to be during that time but outside of that it’s a really great destination Chiang Mai has really good affordable options for housing and food you can have a really great lifestyle for a fraction of the cost.
So a lot of people can get by on you know a thousand dollars a month and you can have a really good lifestyle really comfortable lifestyle with a nice apartment eating out every day and there’s just so much to do there’s always meetups and really great people so if you’re looking to start your business no matter what level you’re at you’ll find somebody in Chiang Mai that you can meet up with any kind of help each other out now definitely check out Chiang Mai Thailand it’s a really fantastic place to be based as a digital nomad.
Now number four on the list is Medellin Colombia now I spent more than two years in Medellin and absolutely loved my time There again it has a really great local community and also a really good group of digital nomads and location independent entrepreneurs there so there is a really great place to be based as a digital nomad now Medellin has a lot of great features and one of those things is one the time zone is perfect if you have us clients or customers and two the weather is absolutely wonderful year-round.
They call it the eternal spring because it’s around 75 degrees year-round and it is just a lovely place to be based now on the flip side though medellin is not perfect like none of these cities are there are some serious concerns about safety and even though i didn’t have anything personally happened to me or my girlfriend there were a lot of people that i was directly connected with that did have issues in Medellin so i do have to mention that but again it’s really come a long way in the past 10/15 years and the safety is continuing to increase so medellin is a great location the visa situation is very easy for Americans we can spend around six months There in a calendar year so after that six months or after that calendar year expires you’re able to extend for another six months so you could potentially get there six months before the year ends and then reset for another year and it’s a really good destination for people who are looking to stay in that u.s time zone and kind of stay connected to North America it’s just a three-hour flight from Miami so again you’re not too far away.
Now number five on our list is lisbon portugal and this is going to be one of the best value destinations in western europe again the visa situation there are some other good options but you’re going to run into the 90 days visa option for Americans there are other alternatives but you’ll have to kind of look into those if you want to set up a business or they actually do have some really easy options if you’re looking to stay there long term you can make some investments into the country and stay there much longer-term and you get residency fairly easy now lisbon has a lot to do some beautiful beaches a really great culture and some affordable cost of living now all these destinations that i talked about today they kind of check all these boxes and they are really great options you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these you know portugal is going to be great if you want to be close to a beach prague’s going to be great if you want to be in central europe and really explore other european destinations and Tbilisi Georgia is going to be amazing if you want a really high quality of life for great value.
And to kind of just come in not have to worry about the visa situation so much because it is so easy for Americans and around like 170 other countries can come here for a year so it’s really worth considering all these options and let me know what’s your favorite destination you’ve been to make sure you leave a comment below and let us know what’s your favorite digital nomad destination.
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