The Most Affordable Places for Digital Nomads

As a freelance writer, I’ve spent extended time living out of Airbnbs to see different parts of the country, and I’m not alone in my desire to wander around while I work. More than 17 million Americans considered themselves digital nomads last year.

With housing prices in the U.S. up 22% over the past few years, it’s not surprising that some Americans are using their geographical flexibility to find more affordable places to live.

If you’re considering a nomadic lifestyle, here are five of the cheapest places to do it and a few tips on staying within your budget no matter where you go.

1. Colombia

With beautiful mountains and coastlines along the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Colombia offers something for everyone — not to mention its affordability. The country ranks at the top of the list for digital nomads thanks to its low cost of living.

Rent prices are about 79% lower than in the U.S., and the average cost of living is 57% less. Omio, a travel company, says there are nearly 200 co-working spaces in the country and that Colombia has a 12-month digital nomad visa workers can apply for.

2. Sri Lanka

Another cheap option for digital nomads is Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia. Just off the southern coast of India, this tropical island has become a major destination for digital nomads.

Rent prices are 86% lower on average in Sri Lanka than in the U.S., and the overall cost of living is 53% lower. While Sri Lanka doesn’t have a dedicated digital nomad visa, it has an electronic travel authorization visa that can last up to six months.

3. Turkey

With forests, semi-arid lands, and coastlines along the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, Turkey offers a diverse geography for digital nomads. Living there is also a pretty good financial deal. The overall cost of living in Turkey is 54% lower than in the U.S., and rent prices are 70% lower on average.

Travelers can get up to a 12-month visa for the country, and Omio says there are about 185 co-working spaces in Turkey.

4. Bali

You’ve likely seen scenic images of this Indonesian province in your social media feed. Besides its tropical beauty, there are good reasons why it attracts digital nomads. The cost of living in Indonesia is 61% lower than in the U.S., and the rent is more than 81% lower.

Bali offers 100 co-working spaces and visas that can last up to two months. The income hurdle is low, with travelers needing to prove just $634 in monthly income.

5. Argentina

With thousands of miles of coastline and the Andes Mountains, the second-largest South American country is a great location for digital nomads. Travelers will also appreciate the 102 co-working spaces in the country and visas that are good for up to 12 months.

It’s also very affordable, considering rent in the country is nearly 84% lower than in the U.S., and the cost of living is 61% lower.

How to budget as a digital nomad

Just because the places on this list are affordable doesn’t mean you won’t need to budget as a digital nomad.

When I went on a three-month road trip across the U.S., I checked the Airbnb prices ahead of time and tried to book locations for at least two weeks to receive discounts. Even with that planning, I was surprised by how easy it was to underestimate costs.

If you’re planning on trying out the nomadic lifestyle, here are a few things to plan for:

  • Rent: No matter how affordable your rent is, it will still be one of your largest monthly expenses. If you’d like to move around to different locations, plan it out ahead of time and stick to your rent budget.
  • Food: Be honest about how much you’ll eat out versus how much you’ll cook. Even if eating out is inexpensive, set up a dollar amount so you don’t overspend.
  • Entertainment and travel: This expense is probably one of the most important to keep track of because you’ll likely want to have lots of adventures in a new location. Picking a set amount and sticking to it will ensure you keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget.
  • Emergency fund: Having some cash reserves is an excellent idea if you run into unexpected expenses when living in a new place. Aim for at least $1,000 in your savings account to cover costs like a flight back home.

Creating a budget will be even more important if your job isn’t based on a set salary. I tried to keep a typical working schedule on my road trip, but if I had traveled abroad, I likely would have spent more time traveling and less time working.

Living outside of the country for a few months could be an amazing experience. Just remember to plan your finances well in advance so you don’t run into any financial surprises.

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