The work-from-anywhere movement isn’t going anywhere. Digital nomads leverage their location-independent online work to travel the world for long periods of time or even full-time.
Today there are more than 32 million digital nomads worldwide. With so many laptop-toting travelers, it’s no surprise that crowds and prices are skyrocketing in uber-popular remote work destinations like Mexico City, Lisbon, and Bali.
This has left many digital nomads feeling like they have to choose between affordability and trendy digital nomad hubs with bustling international communities.
But that’s simply not the case. There are plenty of vibrant digital nomad destinations with great work-from-anywhere infrastructure at affordable prices.
Here are the six cheapest trending digital nomad hotspots around the world:
San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Mexico
Mexico is the number one most popular country for digital nomads this year. U.S. remote workers especially flock to this country for its beautiful beaches, exciting flavors, and convenient time zone.
Mexico City usually steals the show, but there is a much more affordable nomad hub further south in the heart of Chiapas with a 30% lower cost of living than the country’s popular capital.
San Cristòbal de la Casas offers both authentic cultural immersion and an active international community at some of the lowest prices in the country.
This charming city is welcoming, walkable, and super affordable. Colorful Mexican baroque architecture, friendly locals, and romantic avenues will invite you to make San Cristóbal your home, even for a short while.
Remote workers here can enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle on less than $1,200 per month.
Digital nomads can expect a monthly cost of $300 per room or $400-500 per apartment for longer-term rentals in the center of the action (Barrio de El Cerrillo or Barrio de Guadalupe). Short-term stays average $160 per week or $23 per night.
One popular but pricier option is Co.404 Coliving & Coworking, which offers a spacious private room and coworking access for $620 per month.
Coffees cost about $2. Local tacos start at $0.80 each, and lunch menus in home-style restaurants start at $4.
San Cristóbal’s gastronomy scene is as diverse as it is delicious, so it’s definitely worth a few extra dollars to explore this city’s culinary corners. The plentiful international food inspired by Asian and European flavors will set you back around $8.
Staying connected is easy and affordable in San Cristóbal de las Casas. A basic SIM card here is about $14. An unlimited monthly coworking pass with stunning mountain views at Centralita is a steal at just $83.
Ecuador is a rising star in work-from-anywhere circles for its new digital nomad visa.
Remote workers from North America, the U.K., and most of Europe who earn at least $1,275 per month (or triple the local minimum wage) can apply to live and work in this culturally rich Latin American country for up to 2 years. This makes Ecuador one of the cheapest, easiest, and fastest options for a long stay in South America.
In Ecuador’s southern Andes mountains, the up-and-coming digital nomad hub of Cuenca is giving the capital city of Quito a run for its money.
Cuenca attracts online workers with its relaxed pace of life, spectacular cathedrals, and picturesque riverfront.
Once known for a more mature group of expats and retirees, Cuenca has recently benefited from an infusion of young, creative energy. Today, it’s generating great buzz among digital nomads. The city is a perfect home base for exploring the best nature Ecuador has to offer, from the stunning scenery of Parque Nacional El Cajas to the healing hot springs of Piedra de Agua.
A comfortable cost of living in Cuenca is less than $1,300 per month for a digital nomad.
Travelers can get their work done and network in shared offices for as little as $70 per month with Wi-Fi speeds averaging 80 mbps. The top choices are IMPAQTO, CoWorking Cuenca, and popular backpacker coliving-coworking chain Selina.
Apartment prices average $650/month or $250/week. Local menus cost $2-3 at breakfast and less than $6 at lunch; groceries are also super affordable.
Cuenca has a well-earned reputation as a coffee town. Travelers can fuel their online work with world-class java grown just a few hundred kilometers away for less than $2.
While Cuenca lacks the international airport access that some jet-setting remote workers are after, a short flight to Quito will get you connected to the world in less than an hour.
Living the dream in Europe doesn’t have to break the bank.
While some uber-popular remote work destinations like Lisbon can cost a whopping $4,000 per month, Slovenia’s capital city is one of the most affordable hubs in Europe.
Depending on your lifestyle, digital nomads can enjoy Ljubljana for as little as $2,100 per month.
Ljubljana rent costs are among the lowest in Europe and the ninth cheapest among global trending digital nomad cities. Long-term local rentals average $670 per month.
Short-term travelers will pay more but can still snag a modern one-bedroom online for $1,100 per month, $300 per week, or $60 per night. Since the capital is full of students and young creatives, work-equipped rooms in flatshares can also be a super affordable option for as low as $500 per month.
Enjoying the everyday pleasures of life in Slovenia won’t cost much, either. Digital nomads can enjoy an afternoon espresso ($1.10) or a spritz ($3.90) on the banks of the Ljubljanica River, with or without their laptops.
Over a dozen coworking spaces around the city start at $125 per month. A 7GB local SIM card from A1 costs $11.
While Ljubljana may not seem “cheap” on face value, the Slovenian capital is a great budget-friendly and on-trend option for Western Europe.
Some other living costs include:
- Byrek cheese pastry – $2.30
- Set lunch menu – $11
- Glass of local wine – $4
- Dinner in a mid-range restaurant – $12-16
- Single bus fare – $1.45
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Long before office workers were able to pack up their livelihoods and hit the road, adventurous entrepreneurs and techy travelers were thriving in the northern mountains of Thailand.
This perennial Thai favorite remains one of the top trending destinations among remote working travelers – and one of the cheapest.
Chiang Mai ranks as the 8th most popular digital nomad city in the world right now. Thailand is also trending as one of the top three most geotagged locations for digital nomad social media posts this year.
Best of all, digital nomads can live comfortably in Chiang Mai on $800 per month.
A quick look at Chiang Mai makes it easy to see why foreigners flock to this low-key Thai oasis. The obvious pulls are the area’s pristine nature, spectacular motorbiking, and active global community.
Living in the middle of this mountain paradise won’t cost you much, though. Nice studio apartments range from $120 – $250 per month, while larger condos with top amenities like swimming pools and cleaning services come in closer to $350 per month. For shorter stays, expect to pay $17 per night.
With over 220 coffee shops and nearly 40 superb coworking spaces all in the city center, Chiang Mai gives digital nomads plenty of ways to stay productive and make connections. The overwhelming choice of high-quality coworking options starts at $4 per day, $23 per week, or $80 per month. You can find a high-data one-month SIM card for just $13.
From black coffee in a bag for $0.75 to artisan flat whites for $2, there’s plenty of java to fuel online workers on any budget.
Eating out in Chiang Mai also means fresh, healthy food at low prices. Street food meals can cost as little as $0.80. Lunch sets with tons of fresh vegetables, meat or tofu, and noodles or rice average $2. If you’re buried in work and can’t be bothered to cook, a Grab app delivery of local food starts at $3.50.
For those who prefer to cook at home, a grocery budget of $11 per person per week will get you plenty of fresh tropical fruits, flavorful veggies, and a wide variety of proteins.
The nomad culture here is focused on a balanced blend of productivity and health, with less hopping nightlife than in Bangkok or Phuket. For a taste of the big city or an island getaway, however, Chiang Mai visitors only need to shell out $50 for a quick 1-hour flight.
Remember to avoid digital nomad trips to Chiang Mai during the burning season from February to May. In this dry weather period, smoke from traditional agricultural burning practices and general pollution gets trapped in the valley, making for dangerously poor air quality.
The blue waters and desert palms of the Sinai peninsula are calling.
Dahab, Egypt is one of the cheapest beach destinations in the world. Just an hour away from the luxury and buzz of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab’s minimalism and seclusion offer an affordable, laid-back escape from hustle culture.
Living in this up-and-coming Arabian paradise will cost you less than $1,000 per month.
Digital nomads can make the most of their work-life balance with spectacular scuba diving or adventurous kitesurfing (and regular surfing) at Southeast Asia prices. Dahab’s breathtaking landscapes and a creative global community mean you’ll never be bored when you close your laptop.
A one-bedroom apartment will average $350-400 per month. For long-term stays in Dahab, it’s recommended to arrange accommodation with local providers or apartment hunt in-person on arrival. Online options here can be limited and usually far overpriced. Short-term stays booked online cost $10-25 per night or $120 per week.
Coworking from hubs like Mojo Co-Work Cafe will cost around $114 per month or $6 per day. The Wi-Fi in Dahab can be pretty hit or miss, so most bandwidth-hunting online workers prefer coworking spaces or trendy cafes like TIM’s Munch to working from home.
A $20 SIM card with a large data package from Etisalat or Orange is also a necessity; fortunately, data top-ups are dirt cheap in Egypt.
Most cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi and welcome visitors with laptops. A coffee will cost less than $1, while local meals will cost $2-5. Dahab is definitely a great place to enjoy fresh catch-of-the-day seafood without breaking the bank.
Best of all, the hospitality in Dahab is unparalleled. In fact, even women traveling to Dahab alone name it as their favorite destination in all of Egypt for its warm welcome and relative safety.
Digital nomads can stay on a budget and feel at home in this relaxed Egyptian beach town.
While the digital nomad community used to be a pretty small group known for its free-wheeling freelancers, post-2020 remote work policies have now brought millions of everyday employees into the digital nomad lifestyle.
2023’s growing work-from-anywhere community is as diverse as it is large. Every digital nomad is after something different. No matter what your travel style is, there are lots of affordable destinations perfect for online work waiting to be explored.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com