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5 Cities All Digital Nomads Should Check Out

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5 Cities All Digital Nomads Should Check Out

Freelancing is poised to be one of the biggest employment trends of the decade. But some freelancers take things to a whole new level. They’re not interested in working from their kitchen table. They want to work from a beach chair, a jungle tent or from the edge of a cliff.

Those people are digital nomads and they’re willing to leave the traditional sedentary lifestyle behind for what an upwardly mobile one. They look for their next destination based on cost of living, excitement and internet speeds.

Whether you’re a nomad on the hunt for your next workspace or just day dreaming, check out these 5 amazing cities to be a digital nomad:

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1. Siem Riep, Cambodia

Neighboring Thailand usually gets all the attention in the nomadic circles. But Siem Reap in northern Cambodia offers a world class destination for those looking to avoid the crowds of Chiang Mai. The area is primed for tourists and offers a local culture whose prices can’t be beat. Yet, there is also the option to indulge in luxury accommodation, restaurants and spas.

The temples at Angkor are the perfect place to go to seek inspiration. Alternatively, if you need a break from it all, you can cycle out to the rice paddies in the countryside.

2. Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is the perfect gate way to the rest of Africa and it happens to be a welcoming home to digital nomads. The cost of living is fine, the food is good and the culture and history are unlike anywhere else in the world.

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Cape Town is a great base city; but there are a few things to note. First, you can grab a 90-day tourist visa at the airport and make a visa run to renew it once. But the government will ask you to apply for residency after six months. If you’re not planning on calling South Africa home, you’ll need to be prepared to move on.

Second, your Google Alert on Cape Town will probably alert you to a lot of violence. Pay attention and take precautions but don’t let it stop you. Like other areas of the world, violence in Cape Town primarily takes place in localized areas. It is often influenced by drugs and alcohol and usually occurs between two people who know each other.

3. Cartagena, Colombia

For those who prefer to move a little slower, head to the old colonial city of Cartagena on the coast of Colombia. The city is famous in all kinds of ways for being the home of Garcia-Marquez’s magical realism or the base for some of Pablo Escobar’s famous stunts. Either way, the city provides a strong lesson in entrepreneurism and creativity.

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Cartagena does not have a lot of freelance infrastructure. You’ll probably need to rely on Starbucks if you’re looking for a co-working space. But, Cartagena is perfect if you need a place to truly chill out after work. If you stay too long, the city’s vibe can make your state of relaxation feel permanent.

4. Berlin, Germany

Berlin is dominated by students, artists and entrepreneurs all casually looking to make their mark. Because of this, Berlin offers all the trappings of a global city without the expense. The rental market offers value and if you’re not looking to stay too long, there are plenty of alternative places to crash. Plus, between the cafes, street food, markets, cinemas, museums, nightclubs and alt karaoke bars, you might never feel the need to crawl into bed.

5. Thailand

Thailand is the obvious choice for a lot of digital nomads. The weather, inexpensive lifestyle, safety and the sheer number of freelancers who have set up camp in Thailand put it at the top of almost everyone’s list.

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Freelancers in Thailand have lots of options depending on their travel and work style. Those who like the fast paced city life and are willing to pay a bit more can head to Bangkok, where everything you could ever want is at the tip of your fingers. Those looking for a mountain retreat head up to Chiang Mai, to live in the relative jungle, though it’s still a popular tourist destination. Beach bums make their way to Phuket and live their vacation all year round.

Thailand is also one of the best places to go if you’re a new nomad because of all of the facilities it offers including co-working spaces and reliable internet. It’s also a great place to learn the ropes and network with other freelancers to pick up top tips on making this fabled lifestyle work.

Being a digital nomad is not for everyone. After all, it takes a special kind of personality to be able to fathom turning on a computer while lounging in a beach chair. But if you’re looking for your next location or considering a workation, check out any of these five hotspots.

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Featured photo credit: Clint Mason via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

1. Thailand

A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

2. Switzerland

Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

3. Australia

Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

4. Singapore

Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

5. South Korea

South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

6. New Zealand

New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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7. Canada

Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

8. Qatar

Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

9. Hong Kong

Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

10. Japan

As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

11. Spain

Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

12. Dubai

Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

13. Germany

Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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14. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

15. China

China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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