While there’s certainly been a lot of debate surrounding this topic, a popular landlord and travel insurance company has decided it was time to establish, once and for all, what is the cheapest city worldwide for digital nomads. Spoiler? It isn’t located in the increasingly expensive Caribbean, or the overtouristed Europe.
One of the biggest secrets to becoming a successful digital nomad is staying on top of your finances, especially if you’re a freelance worker, and that involves carefully picking destinations based not only on their openness to the category and incredible weather but also cost of living. Amid the ongoing economic crisis, that’s not always an easy task.
Luckily, there is one lesser-known gem in particular that will not break the bank:
The Cheapest City For Digital Nomads Is In Asia
Digital nomadism is the number one trend in the post-pandemic era. Now that borders have reopened, and more and more countries are warming up to the idea of offering long-term stay visas to remote workers, different destinations are getting increasingly competitive in their bid to become the world’s number one nomad haven.
We know remote workers are flying to sunny Mexico and the wider Caribbean in droves after the region began promoting long-term stays, under the assumption south of the border is always cheaper. However, the gentrification of Cancun, Punta Cana, and the like is turning budget destinations into luxurious retreats.
Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week
With that in mind, the British-based landlord insurance broker CIA Landlords looked at rental prices of one-bedroom flats across 37 cities and countries in order to find out where nomads restricted by a budget will get the best bang for their buck. Of course, the Western Hemisphere and Europe were instantly ruled out.
The cheapest city in the world for digital nomads is, in fact, Ankara, the capital of Türkyie (formerly Turkey). Here, a single-bed property will cost an average of U.S. $1,515 for a six-month contract, a shockingly low amount compared to American rates. Moreover, Ankara isn’t merely affordable: it is one of Türkyie’s most culturally-charged destinations.
Ankara Is Synonymous With Culture
Located in the heart of the Anatolian peninsula, the westernmost part of the Asian continent, which Türkyie occupies almost entirely, Ankara is a newborn capital, having been granted this status only in the 1920s, following the quashing of the Ottoman Empire and a series of political treaties that reshaped the nation forever.
Up until then, the capital was Istanbul (known as Constantinople preceding the transfer), a cross-continental behemoth sitting on both sides of the Bosphorus Strait, a narrow strip of water dividing the European and Asian continents. We love Istanbul, and there’s certainly no shortage of History and incredible landmarks to be found there.
It isn’t the only cosmopolitan gem in the Turkish state, though, and there’s no denying its successor Ankara has a lot going for it. It may not be on the Black or Mediterranean Sea coasts, but it is a short three-hour drive to Cappadocia, a region of outstanding natural beauty that became famous the world over for its hot air balloon rides and ancient cave towns.
Within Ankara itself, guests will find:
- A 7th-century historic fortress – Ankara Castle – overlooking the cityscape
- Anitkabir, a mausoleum where Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the secular Republic of Turkey*, is entombed
- An art district housing Türkyie’s State Opera and Ballet and several other national theater companies
- The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, where artifacts attributed to the native Anatolian peoples dating back thousands of years can be appreciated
- Haci Bayram Mosque, a well-preserved Ottoman-era monument with a distinctive minaret
It was Atatürk himself who stripped Istanbul of its capital status in favor of Ankara.
The Full Top 10 Cheapest Cities For Digital Nomads
The entire top ten and their respective average rent per 6 months can be found below:
- Ankara, Türkyie (US$1,512)
- Bogota, Colombia (US$2,099)*
- Santiago, Chile (US$2,594)
- Budapest, Hungary (US$2,662)*
- Riga, Latvia (US$2,668)*
- Athens, Greece (US$2,976)
- Bratislava, Slovakia (US$3,354)
- Tallinn, Estonia (US$3,456)*
- Ljubljana, Slovenia (US$3,491)
- San Jose, Costa Rica (US$4,117)*
*These countries offer digital nomad visas (DNV) though different rules apply
In London, for instance, the average price for renting a one-bedroom flat for six months was U.S. $12,907, and that’s excluding other important factors such as good location. In the English metropolis, the closer you are to the central belt, the more prohibitively expensive, and not necessarily better equipped, accommodation gets.
In other words, it is exactly U.S. $10,478 more expensive to live in London than in Ankara. Other competing European capitals like Paris and Madrid did not feature, as didn’t Mexico’s Tulum, where taxi fares are higher than Manhattan, or the wellness-driven Thailand, which now promotes ‘premium’ experiences as opposed to backpacking adventures.
Notoriously, the list is dominated by Eastern Europe and two of Latin America’s trendiest destinations, Chile and Colombia. Having launched its DNV recently, Colombia has made it easy for foreigners to apply by lowering the financial threshold and doing away with excessive bureaucracy, a move not replicated by Europe.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Friday 18th of November 2022
I like your article and it’s very nicely written about each country. I would like to add one more even cheaper option for living and with very good and cheep food around. That’s Bulgaria. I believe it’s even cheaper than Ankara.
Friday 18th of November 2022
@Madlen, and get bored to death in Sofia!!
Thursday 17th of November 2022
From my experience, many of the countries that you recommend for "digital nomads" have very serious security problems for westerners from Europe and North America. For much greater safety, can I recommend areas of Spain and Portugal away from their capital cities, particularly in more rural areas. The cost of living in these areas is relatively low, the weather excellent and the local people very friendly.
Monday 26th of December 2022
@Alan O'Connor, I only partly agree about Colombia, and Costa Rica. Istanbul and Ankara are safer than Paris, London, Madrid or Barcelona.
Monday 14th of November 2022
Buenos Aires Is Undoubtedly The Cheapest And The Best In Cultural And All Kind Of Events. And More So If You Exchange Your Money At Private Institutions Like Most Foreigners Do.
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Many cities much cheaper than this. This list is horrible. Even the cities listed are cheaper in reality.
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Interesting bits about Ankara and Turkey as an incredible destination, but it feels a little like the article was written for the sake of it. Not to offend. But where are the actual comparisons of things digital nomads need (all things cost of living and then quality). And there are certainly more countries that make that price list (nearly all of South East Asia, India, many more S.Americam countries and African countries). Perhaps describing what type of dig.nomad you're writing this for would be helpful? Someone who still wants familiar comforts of western world and culture? Not sure.
Tuesday 15th of November 2022