Digital Nomads Main | Top 5 Destinations for Digital Nomads: Remote Work Beyond Boundaries in 2024

Top 5 Destinations for Digital Nomads: Remote Work Beyond Boundaries in 2024

Zoey Peregrine Avatar

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Thailand

Digital Nomads - Thailand

It’s pleasantly warm year-round in Thailand, with temperatures never dropping below 59°F (+15°C). Top-rated destinations include Phuket, Ko Pha Ngan, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. These places are beloved by IT professionals who have remote jobs in Europe or America. They often come here for a winter retreat and sometimes even for long-term residency. Living comfortably in Thailand with a European or American salary is entirely feasible.

The price and duration of your flight to Thailand will vary depending on your departure location. For instance, flying from Los Angeles to Bangkok takes approximately 18 hours and 25 minutes, with prices starting from $569. It’s worth splurging on economy-class tickets to save for such long flights. The service is great, and you’ll enjoy a comfortable seat. To find affordable Thailand economy-class flights, consider using wowfare.com. You can save a couple of hundred dollars and have access to various services throughout the flight.

Visa Requirements and Length of Stay

  • No visa is required to enter Thailand – you can stay up to 30 days. Previously, after these 30 days, you could leave the country, return, and live another month. However, this loophole has been closed, and without a visa, you can only stay in Thailand for 30 days per year.
  • Another option is to obtain a tourist visa for 60+30 days. It’s easy and hassle-free, perfect for a winter getaway or determining if you enjoy Thailand. It’s convenient to arrange this visa before your departure if you plan on spending the winter here.
  • If you stay longer, you can apply for a student visa. You can enroll in a local English school – some don’t require actual attendance and exist solely for foreigners to obtain visas. This way, you can extend your stay in Thailand for another year or two. If your child attends a local school, one parent can “attach” to their visa as a guardian. However, it’s unclear why only one parent is allowed to do so.
  • You can also apply for the Thailand digital nomad visa and live in the country for 10 years. Digital nomads will only pay 17% in taxes and may bring their spouses and dependents. Remember that you must earn a minimum of 80,000 USD per year to apply for this visa.

Pros and Cons of Thailand

The official Thai language is commonly used in Thailand, but English is also widely spoken and understood, particularly in Bangkok and other popular tourist destinations. So, you will be able to communicate with the locals easily. Furthermore, modern technology has advanced significantly, so there’s no need to worry if something seems unclear.

Low taxes make working and starting a business here highly advantageous. The country has a 7% VAT, personal income tax ranging from 0% to 35% based on income, and corporate tax rates ranging from 0% to 20%. There are no pension contributions or state pensions. While this may be a downside for some, it’s a plus for many, as you can take charge of your financial well-being and invest your savings.

There is no assistance provided to newcomers. There are various integration programs for foreigners in Europe and the US, including financial support and language learning assistance. There is no such assistance in Thailand – you must figure things out independently. Obtaining full citizenship or permanent residency here is also incredibly challenging. Don’t expect any benefits, pensions, or other government assistance. Consequently, many view Thailand as a temporary place to live rather than as a stopover to earn money and move somewhere else, such as Southern Europe.

The time zone is not the most convenient for remote workers. Thailand is on UTC+7, which can be inconvenient when working with America or Europe.

Indonesia, Bali

Digital Nomads - Indonesia, Bali

One appealing destination is the Indonesian island of Bali, which is surrounded by two oceans and boasts volcanoes and tropical jungles. In 2023, we spoke with two professionals who had the opportunity to live and work remotely in Bali. Based on their experiences, we have compiled answers to the most pressing questions for those planning a winter retreat or long-term residency there.

Visa Requirements and Length of Stay

  • The tourist visa is the most popular option, allowing you to stay on the island for a month free of charge. You can extend it for another month by paying $35 at the airport. Subsequently, you can extend the tourist visa through visa runs to neighboring countries, mainly Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is considered a regional hub, and round-trip flights cost around $30-40.
  • The work visa (KITAS) costs $580 for a stay of up to 60 days. It can be extended for an approximate fee of $39, converted from Indonesian rupiah. However, employers generally find it disadvantageous to sponsor such a visa due to the local salary levels.
  • The business visa allows multiple entry into Indonesia, even during quarantine. The annual business visa, or the 212 visa, is obtained from an Indonesian embassy or consulate in another country. The only requirement is to leave the country every 60 days and reenter. No special documents are needed for departure. The cost of this annual visa is approximately $205.

Pros and Cons of the Indonesian Island

Affordable Living. The amount spent on Bali largely depends on personal preferences. Some manage to live on less than $1000 per month.

The cost primarily revolves around housing rentals. Prices range from $300 to $400 for a decent room with a private bathroom in a house, and villas can be rented starting from $600. In Bali, it’s challenging to get by without transportation, so renting a scooter starts at $70 for a well-worn one.

Local eateries offer meals for $2-3, but the local cuisine is not exceptionally diverse, mainly consisting of fried rice or noodles with chicken. The average bill in a restaurant with higher-end cuisine ranges from $10-15 per person. The options are plentiful, ranging from burgers to salmon poke.

Stable Internet. There are no issues with internet connectivity, which is often included in the rental costs. Mobile internet is also reliable, costing around $10 for a 10-15 GB package. If working from home isn’t your preference, coworking spaces are equipped with coffee, cookies, and even PlayStation, with an average monthly fee of $300.

Abundance of Entertainment and Recreation Opportunities. The island is divided into four regions, each offering different climates: mountains, ocean, and jungles. You can travel and explore something new every weekend. Bali attracts many sports enthusiasts, providing a comfortable environment for surfing, cross-fit, and yoga activities. You won’t feel alone as the island is home to numerous exciting individuals worldwide and expat communities. The so-called “enlightened” individuals, such as coaches and yogis, stand out among these communities.

It is not attractive for IT Companies. You won’t find branches of major IT companies on the island. Most freelancers and remote workers come here because work visas are unreasonably expensive, and no contracts can cover the expenses.

Limited Healthcare Infrastructure. One crucial aspect to consider when moving to Bali is purchasing medical insurance. The island lacks proper medical facilities.

Local health insurance can cost $100-150 for six months. Without insurance, if you require medical assistance and end up in a hospital, the daily cost of staying there alone can exceed $70, excluding treatment, which can reach up to $1000 per day. Some people choose to save on insurance and seek treatment funds through social media.

Portugal

Digital Nomads - Portugal

In recent years, Portugal is one of the countries freelancers have chosen to relocate to. After all, what could be better than living in a sunny and welcoming country on the Atlantic Ocean? The opportunity to surf after work, relax on the beach during lunch breaks, or work with your computer at a beachside café while in Europe. This is more than possible in Portugal, and these qualities attract many people looking to immigrate for a more comfortable work and living environment.

Visa Requirements and Length of Stay

  • Visa duration: up to two years, with the possibility to extend for an additional three years.
  • Portugal does not offer visa programs specifically for digital nomads, yet it remains trendy among remote workers. One can obtain a D7 visa, also known as the visa for individuals living on their income, whether passive or from employment.
  • To obtain the D7 visa, immigrants need to demonstrate an annual income. If the applicant is traveling alone, the minimum income requirement is €8,460 ($9,230).

Pros and Cons of Portugal

Mild Subtropical Climate: During the summer, the average daily temperature ranges from +25 to +28 °C, depending on the region, while winter temperatures hover around +14 °C.

Income Tax Benefits: It is possible to apply for Non-Habitual Resident status, allowing individuals to be exempt from taxes for the first ten years.

Nature: Portugal is one of the best places to reside for those seeking to escape gray and polluted cities. The country boasts numerous parks in its towns and beautiful mountains and rivers. Nature enthusiasts will be captivated by the Douro River’s vineyards and the Ponta da Piedade lagoon. Overall, the local flora and fauna are incredibly diverse. When visiting the beach or exploring natural sites, you will be amazed by the cleanliness and tidiness maintained by the Portuguese.

Cost of Living: Living in Portugal is advantageous as it requires a more modest budget compared to countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and many other Western countries. Compared to the United States, living expenses in Portugal are three times lower. A family with an average income can comfortably manage a budget of around €2000. With this amount, one can live comfortably, if not luxuriously.

Inconvenient Roads: Due to the country’s landscape, roads in Portugal may not be the most convenient or safe, and major highways are all toll roads. A driver must pay slightly over $10 for a 100 km journey in a car or motorcycle. Such fees are not seen as a positive aspect of living in Portugal.

“Amanha!” The word “amanha” translates as “tomorrow” in Portuguese; you will hear it frequently. Everything can be postponed until tomorrow, even things that should be done now. The relaxed atmosphere of the sunny Mediterranean greatly influences everything—Portuguese people dislike rushing anywhere, arriving for meetings an hour late on average. Even if you were promised to be on time or that things would be done quickly, it means nothing at all.

New Zealand

Digital Nomads - New Zealand

New Zealand consistently shines on these lists for apparent reasons: warm-hearted locals, stunning landscapes, charmingly compact cities, delightful cuisine, and more. While the rising cost of living has caught the attention of New Zealanders lately (in a lighthearted, mildly irked way), it remains an irresistible choice.

However, you can find great discounts and affordable offers of economy-class flights to New Zealand with WowFare. The seamless transition from a bustling metropolis to a serene hiking trail or a picturesque beach is a compelling reason to move. And guess what? Even if urban life loses its allure, you can venture across the country’s beauty in a camper van or by train.

Visa Requirements and Length of Stay

Discovering the ideal visa option for digital nomads in New Zealand can be disappointing. However, worry not, as the country provides a convenient long-term visa for remote workers and those with flexible locations.

  • Great news for US citizens! No traditional visa is required to visit New Zealand. The New Zealand eTA serves as a waiver, granting US nationals the privilege to explore the country without the hassle of a visa application. This eTA remains valid for two years from the date of issuance, allowing American visitors to stay for a maximum of three months.
  • Working holiday visas are available for young travelers, typically between 18 and 30 (with a few exceptions for certain nationalities up to 35). These visas enable you to journey through New Zealand while working for either 12 or 23 months, depending on your nationality (UK citizens enjoy a more extended stay).
  • Now, a work visa is essential to secure employment in New Zealand. To increase your chances of approval, a job offer is generally required, and your field of work must align with the skilled work list.

Pros and Cons of New Zealand

In New Zealand, beauty is not the only thing you’ll find. The country boasts one of the best climates in the world and the cleanest air. Its residents enjoy over 2000 hours of daylight each year.

New Zealand surpasses many developed countries regarding quality of life while the cost of living remains reasonable. It is an economically advanced, peaceful, and cozy country with friendly and welcoming people.

According to the Global Peace Index, New Zealand ranks fourth as one of the safest countries in the world out of 163 nations.

The significant distance from the rest of the world (excluding Australia) makes travel to and from New Zealand very expensive. Additionally, importing goods becomes challenging, increasing prices for certain international products.

The public transportation system in New Zealand leaves much to be desired, and there is no national railway network.

Despite having a well-developed healthcare system heavily subsidized by the government, dental services in New Zealand are incredibly costly. The same applies to higher education.

South Africa, Cape Town

Digital Nomads - South Africa

At first, it may seem like an unconventional choice, and Africa might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering remote work and development. However, unlike other countries in our review, South Africa has a thriving IT sector that attracts many Americans and Europeans who start their businesses here to work globally.

Visa Requirements and Length of Stay

  • Good news for U.S. citizens planning a trip to South Africa! If your visit is for tourism or business and lasts for 90 days or less, there’s no need for a visa.
  • All remote workers can obtain digital nomad visas. South Africa offers a fantastic opportunity with its visa. This visa allows you to extend your stay in the country for up to a year and can even be renewed for further periods. It’s the perfect solution for individuals who work remotely for foreign employers or companies or manage their businesses.

Pros and Cons of South Africa

Time Zone: UTC+2. It’s really convenient when it comes to working for a US company.

Fluency in English: English is the primary language in South Africa. In major cities, people speak it fluently, often with a British accent, making communication clear, understandable, and articulate. While remote areas might have a lower proficiency level, startups are concentrated in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Affordable food: South Africa offers various fruits, such as mangoes and papayas, which are not always readily available in Russia. Supermarkets also offer reasonably priced groceries, and dining out in cafes and restaurants can be very cost-effective. However, the reason behind these low prices is the unfortunate employment of underprivileged refugees from neighboring countries, who are paid minimal wages, resulting in modest menu markups.

Lack of cultural entertainment and isolation from the rest of the world: Exhibitions, concerts, and movie theaters are not popular in South Africa, and on weekends, there are limited options for entertainment. Even in large cities, it can feel like living in a small village. Consequently, individuals and young people may find it dull. Additionally, when residing in South Africa, staying connected with current events in the US and Europe becomes challenging, as everything seems distant.

Poor transportation system: South Africa has a low population density, with many people living in separate houses and distant locations. As a result, public transportation is nearly non-existent, taxis can be expensive, and having a car is essential—especially in Cape Town.

Conclusions

After reading this article on the most popular destinations for digital nomads and underlining all the nuances of staying there – you can now choose the most suitable country for relocating or wintering. And to make your flight as suitable as possible, ask for help from WowFare. Our experts will help you with everything related to booking airline tickets, including the selection of affordable economy-class flights, excellent service, additional offers, ticket insurance, and online support 24/7. We strive to provide you with the best service, saving you time and money. Travel to countries where you can relax and work at the same time!

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Zoey Peregrine Avatar

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