The Best Destinations for New Digital Nomads
We may live in a small world, but it can be overwhelming to choose where to go to start your digital nomad journey.
Based on my experience, I've selected my top 5 places for newbie digital nomads to get their feet wet.
One new way to start your journey into location independence is with some type of digital nomad retreat. Whether you go on a boat like the Nomad Cruise, move into a co-living space like Roam, or join a monthly nomadic community like Wifi Tribe, Hacker Paradise or Remote Year, this can be a great way to instantly meet people, start off in an incubator-type setting, and ask questions.
Be mindful when choosing one of these options, however, as some retreats can encourage spending more time playing rather than working. There can be A LOT of distractions, especially if you don't have any reliable revenue streams set up yet.
That being said, if you have a strong sense of self, have your priorities straight, and just don't want to go it alone, a digital nomad retreat or living situation can be a really good starting point.
Bansko is an ideal place to get started as a digital nomad, because:
It offers one of the lowest costs of living in the world, so you can bootstrap your way to success.
There aren't many distractions at all.
There's an extremely close-knit coworking community that will genuinely support you with daily meals, events, masterminds and more.
It also provides a great climate with nature and local food that support a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance, which is CRUCIAL to starting off on the right foot.
Bansko has a core community of nomads year-round, without it being an overwhelming amount of people. Nomads tend to stay for months at a time versus days or weeks, so it's less transient than other nomad hotspots.
If you get adventurous once your confidence builds up, you'll surely meet others to travel with, and you can take day or weekend trips to nearby places like Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus and more. Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, offers direct flights on low-cost carriers to almost everywhere in Europe or the Middle East.
Citizens of many countries can enter with just a passport and stay up to 90 days. Bulgaria is also part of the EU and it's VERY SAFE.
Similar to Bansko, Chiang Mai has a low cost of living and core year-round population of digital nomads. I've never really met anyone who doesn't like Chiang Mai.
However, do be cautious of how easy it can be to lose your sense of self with all the nomads and everything going on in one town. Keep that in mind and to ensure you’re staying your course.
Bali also checks the boxes when it comes to a low cost of living and significant digital nomad population. One of the most well-known coworking spaces for nomads in the world, Hubud, is located there, as well as the popular new Dojo Bali in Canggu.
If you want to live with other nomads, you can join the coliving paradise Roam Bali located in Ubud. WiFi Tribe passes through Canggu a couple times per year, and there are also usually a few other nomad houses available.
I personally find it too hot and crowded to live in Bali long-term, but many people love it, and it's definitely a place for the digital nomad bucket list.
Playa del Carmen
Playa is one of the most comfortable, easiest places to live in the world. You don't need a car and can just walk outside to get anything you need, anytime.
It's hard to be lonely there because you’re always surrounded by tourists, local expats and digital nomads. It seems like everyone is always in a good mood. It could be the beaches, the amazing food or just the tequila—I don’t know—but I love Playa and so does everyone else I've ever met who's been there.
In fact, I typically relocate clients there for 1-3 months, and they end up staying there for 1-3 years.
Mexico is also a flexible country when it comes to entry visas. Most people can enter with just a passport for up to 180 days at a time, then re-enter quite easily.
The closest airport is Cancun, which offers direct flights to more worldwide destinations than anywhere in Latin America, so you're always a short shot from home.