Guest Contribution by Dave Williams, CEO, and Co-Founder, NomadX
You can go anywhere as a digital nomad, but choosing the right country can make all the difference. Consider one of these nomad-friendly countries.
When you’re a digital nomad, the possibilities for your next destination are endless. Literally, you have the entire world from which to choose. Still, it only makes sense that you’d want to travel to a country that’s friendly to digital nomads.
While you can technically set up shop anywhere, you’ll want to choose a place that is known for having good internet speed, isn’t dealing with intense political strife, and is generally friendly to outsiders.
These digital nomad countries are definitely worth checking out.
Portugal—especially areas like Lisbon and Porto—is known for being friendly to digital nomads. There are plenty of perks to doing slow travel in Portugal, like inexpensive internet, affordable housing, gorgeous beaches, and rich culture. Portugal has a thriving tech scene—a definite perk for nomads. Portugal also has something known as the Non-Habitual Residency Program that gives tax perks to freelancers.
Bali is known for attracting a boho crowd, but it also has a thriving tech scene. The country (and especially cities like Canggu and Ubud) offers plenty of coworking spaces. The Internet is also generally good in cities. The cost of living varies, depending on how you like to spend your time. It’s possible to live on a budget in Bali, and it’s also possible to spend a lot there—it all depends on what you feel comfortable spending. And, of course, the scenery is gorgeous.
Like Portugal, Estonia has a solid tech scene, drawing in people from around the world. Estonia isn’t overly expensive in terms of cost of living, but it’s not cheap, either. However, housing and transportation are fairly inexpensive. Estonia is a digital society, declaring that the internet is a human right. Because of this, wireless internet is available almost everywhere in Estonia, and it’s usually always free and fast. Another cool perk of living in Estonia: The country offers-residency, which is a government-issued digital identity and status that provides entrepreneurs access to the country’s digital business environment.
Vietnam is a big draw for digital nomads because it offers the chance to live in an exotic location while getting your work done. People in tech are excited about Vietnam, too: The country is hosting more and more startups. As for the cost of living, Vietnam is relatively inexpensive—a major perk for nomads on a tight budget. If you’re planning to slow travel to Vietnam, just do your best to confirm that you’ll have good internet where you plan to go. (Hanoi has some of the better speeds.)
Outdoor life is huge in New Zealand, making it an ideal location for nomads who love to backpack and hike. The country is also incredibly welcoming to outsiders. They even have a tax system that’s fairly easy to figure out. Internet speed in New Zealand cities is generally very good, but it can be less reliable in the country. So, do your research first. New Zealand isn’t a cheap place to live, given that a lot of goods have to be imported, but it’s definitely worth at least swinging through.
Many digital nomads have worked their way through Thailand, and it’s easy to see why. The country is exotic and beautiful and, with so many other entrepreneurs visiting, it’s a great place to network. The Internet in larger cities is generally good and fast—but, again, it doesn’t hurt to do your research before you hit up a particular area in Thailand. The low cost of living is a huge draw for a lot of people, too. Housing, travel, and general expenses are usually cheap, making it a good place to check out.
The Czech Republic has gained a solid reputation for being friendly to nomads. The country has a rich history (and gorgeous cathedrals). If you happen to travel to Prague, you’ll have access to the public internet. It’s also common to find co-working spaces where you can mingle with fellow entrepreneurs and nomads. In general, the cost of living is relatively low, making it a good stop if you’re working your way through Europe.
Dave Williams is a known pioneer in the digital marketing and ad tech industries who’s been operating as a serial digital entrepreneur over the past 20+ years. He experienced multiple exits in the early formative stages of search engine marketing, social media, and ad tech industries. He was the founder and CEO of BLiNQ Media (acquired by Gannett). Before BLiNQ, Dave cofounded 360i in 1998. In 2005, 360i was acquired by Innovation Interactive, which was later acquired in 2010 by Dentsu for $275mm. Also a regular contributor to Ad Age and occasional contributor to Bloomberg. His latest focus at NomadX is on the location-independent digital nomad movement.