10 Hot Spots for Digital Nomads in 2018


Digital nomadism is the perfect way for travel enthusiasts to combine their insatiable wanderlust with a career they can conduct anywhere, such as computer programming or graphic design. While previously only a lucky few people managed to make this lifestyle work, digital technology has made it easier for more people.

Many digital nomads choose to set up shop in a location for a few days or months before moving on. However, not everywhere offers the same possibilities.

There are certain requirements that most digital nomads would agree are necessary to qualify a destination as a "hot spot," chief among them is the widespread availability of stable, affordable Wi-Fi. Other considerations might include an entrepreneurial community, affordability, and temperate weather. (See also: 7 Ways That Anyone Can Travel for Free)

If you're a location-independent worker looking for a new place to base yourself, here are what I consider to be the 10 best hot spots for digital nomads in 2018.

1. Medellin, Colombia

Colombia is a country on the rise, and over the past few years it has started to appear on many of the "must-visit" lists written by travel publications in the know. The city of Medellin is now a thriving, modern metropolis that has undergone a complete regeneration since the days when it was considered the most dangerous city on earth.

Free Wi-Fi is widely available in Medellin’s many parks and public areas, and there are tons of trendy internet cafes with strong connections serving fantastic cups of locally produced coffee. (See also: How Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores)

2. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina's capital city Buenos Aires is often described as being the most European city in South America because of its culture, architecture, and immigration history. So while it may not be the quintessential slice of South America, it has an individual charm that you won't find anywhere else on the continent.

There's free Wi-Fi in many of the city's leafy parks and plazas, allowing you to work virtually anywhere. Plus the widespread cafe culture means that you'll have endless choices of great places to set up shop and hang out with like-minded people. (See also: 5 Amazing, Cheap Places to Live as an Expat)

3. Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria has become an increasingly popular European vacation destination due in large part to its affordability, with a reputation as one of the cheapest countries on the continent. It's also full of culture and history, has a pristine coastline, and some amazing nature and wildlife to explore. And Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, has become a popular digital nomad hot spot, as it allows people on the first steps of their entrepreneurial journey to keep costs extremely low. (See also: 5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford)

4. Cape Town, South Africa

Overlooked by the imposing Table Mountain and sprawling out toward the surrounding ocean, Cape Town is certainly one of the most recognizable cities in the world. It's also beginning to receive recognition as an up-and-coming hub for digital nomads, with a relatively small but growing community.

There are a large number of co-working spaces in Cape Town that cater to an entrepreneurial crowd. If splitting days between your budding business and a beautiful beach sounds appealing, then Cape Town may be the perfect choice.

5. Malta

This tiny Mediterranean island is forging a big reputation as one of Europe's premiere digital nomad destinations. You'll more than likely recognize the capital city of Valletta from its use as the backdrop for the blockbuster movies Troy and Gladiator, as well as King's Landing in the Game of Thrones series.

Malta is a relatively low-cost destination when compared to much of Europe. When coupled with high speed Wi-Fi and the laid back pace of life on the island, it's easy to see why digital nomads are starting to settle down here.

6. Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is one of the biggest cities on the planet with a population of almost 9 million people. It has a fascinating colonial history that's plain to see in much of the architecture, a year-round springlike temperature, and a world famous culinary scene.

Mexico City is not only modern, but each of its neighborhoods has a completely different vibe, meaning it appeals to all. From hipster coffee shops to numerous co-working spaces, there are plenty of places to make your office all over the city. (See also: 5 Countries Where You Can Retire on $1,000 a Month)

7. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon's reputation as a tourist destination has been on the rise for a number of years. This is thanks to its tropical climate, the historic colonial charm of its architecture, and the healthy food and drinks enjoyed by its residents. It's also close to the famous Algarve coastline, and yet relatively inexpensive compared to much of Europe.

It's little wonder that this has translated into a rising popularity among digital nomads, with freelancers arriving from around the globe. There are lounges, coffee shops, and co-working spaces readily available all across the city, which makes finding a great place to settle down for the day incredibly easy.

8. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is too established among digital nomads to fall under the "up-and-coming" banner. But rather than losing its appeal, Bali has become more attractive for remote workers over time.

Luxury villas in close proximity to the beach are affordable and easy to come by, contributing to a high standard of living. Another attraction for many is the popularity of vegetarian food and ubiquitous yoga classes, so you may just leave healthier than when you arrived.

9. Portland, Oregon

Not all of the best digital nomad hot spots are overseas. There are plenty of awesome locations attracting remote workers across the U.S., and none more so than Portland, Oregon. Well known for its numerous microbreweries, independently-run coffee shops, and niche food carts, Portland is home to an artsy crowd of free thinkers.

What’s more, Portland is the gateway to stunning nature in the region. Outdoor-lovers who enjoy hiking wilderness trails, hitting deserted beaches, or marveling at secluded waterfalls will feel right at home here. Though it may not be the cheapest place on the list, Portland still checks many boxes on the digital nomad checklist.

10. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sometimes referred to as "the digital nomad capital of the world," Chiang Mai was one of the original hot spots for remote workers looking to settle down for a while. Though it's one of Thailand's top cities, it's a world away from the hustle and bustle of the capital Bangkok. Think “easy going” paired with highly affordable prices, and you'll be closer to the reality of Thailand's second city.

Many spaces are set up to cater to the digital nomad crowd that has been coming here for years. You'll find cafes specifically designed with laptop users in mind, bustling co-working spaces, and lightning fast Wi-Fi in many places across Chiang Mai. It was one of the first, and is still one of the best digital nomad hot spots around. (See also: 14 Dirty Details of Traveling Full-Time)


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