If you’re a freelancer or digital nomad, you have the freedom to be your own boss, which means you can work from virtually anywhere on a short- or long-term basis. Imagine joining video calls from the beach, answering email by the pool or managing social media from a remote mountaintop. These are just some of the advantages of being able to travel the world and still earn your living!
Working remotely from an exotic location might sound like a vacation, but as we’ve discussed here before in our 4 secrets to rocking your productivity article, it can actually improve your productivity (as long as you stay focused and organized).
How do you choose a destination for work and play?
When the entire world can be your office, how do you choose where to set up shop? The choice can be overwhelming, but there are several important things to consider to ensure a successful work environment abroad.
Before choosing your location, make sure that it has the following things:
- Fast and reliable internet access
- A strong expat community for networking
- Affordable accommodation and cost of living
- An exciting range of leisure activities and tourist sites
- A solid safety record (no travel warnings or advisories)
With all those factors considered, here are the top 5 cities (in no particular order) for work and play!
#5. Kiev, Ukraine
While Ukraine has made headlines for its conflict with Russia, Kiev is far from any danger. Located in Western Ukraine, Kiev has the landscape of a big city but offers a low cost of living. Due to Ukraine’s conflict, it’s currency has devalued significantly, which has made everything at least half of the price of what it used to be, from rent to food and anything in between. Internet speeds in Kiev are faster than those in France, Spain or other Western European cities, and unlimited mobile internet is also less expensive. U.S. citizens can easily set up an offshore bank account and are allowed to stay for a three-month period.
Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia
Population: 2.8 million
#4. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Ubud is a great destination for inspiration. While it isn’t a tech hub, its cultural and spiritual richness attract digital nomads from across the globe. With its beautiful, lush scenery and warm weather, the only real challenge to working remotely from this tropical paradise is that internet speeds are relatively slow. Luckily, there are some great co-working spaces that offer faster speeds and more reliable connections. Meanwhile, the cost-of-living is extremely affordable and attracts a vibrant expat community, which is great for networking and branching out.
#3. Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel is often referred to as “Startup Nation,” and Tel Aviv is its hub. Boasting the most startups per capita and some of the top exits in the world, Israel is an excellent place to network and get inspired. While Tel Aviv is not the cheapest city to call home, you can find great deals and adventures in its famous food markets: HaCarmel, HaTikva and Levinsky. Tel Aviv has various co-working spaces including four (soon-to-be five) WeWork locations. Fun fact: WeWork’s founder, Adam Neumman, is Israeli.
Currency: New Israeli Shekel
Timezone: GMT +2
#2. Berlin, Germany
If you’re looking for a convenient and affordable work hub in Western Europe, then Berlin is the city for you. Compared to other popular cities, such as London, Paris and Barcelona, Berlin offers great value when it comes to cost-of-living. You’ll find a great selection of co-working spaces including WeWork and MindSpace. As for leisure, Berlin also boasts a vibrant cultural scene with a variety of museums, festivals, indoor and outdoor markets, and theater and music venues. You’ll also find that most Berliners have a solid working proficiency in English, so you won’t have to worry about a language barrier.
Population: 3.47 million
#1. Bangkok, Thailand
If you’re looking to coordinate your work with Asian Pacific timezones, including those of China, Russia, the American West Coast and Japan, then you’ll be wise to set up shop in Bangkok. Unlike other Asian business hubs—like Shanghai, Tokyo or Beijing—Bangkok offers a much lower cost of living and cleaner air and less pollution, making it a great place to strike a healthy work-life balance. After a hard day of work, you’ll find a vibrant nightlife in Bangkok, which never shuts down. By day, you’ll enjoy a great public transit infrastructure, lots of comfortable co-working spaces and reliable and fast internet service.
Population: 8.3 million
It may still seem hard to choose among these five enticing cities considering that each offers their own unique advantages. But as long as you have Internet, a comfortable workspace, a favorable currency exchange rate and several appealing leisure activities, then you really can’t go wrong.