7 Affordable Cities Where Digital Nomads Can Live, Work, and Save Money

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

cheapest places to live in the world

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When I was traveling around Thailand, I wasn’t planning to save money. I worked part time as a blogger and spent the rest of my days trekking with elephants, eating at restaurants, and living it up.

But to my surprise, my bank account balance kept increasing.

Even with all my travel expenses, I was spending less than I would have in the U.S. The cost of living was so much lower that I could work less, save more, and enjoy the experiences usually reserved for vacation.

Because it’s one of the cheapest places to live in the world, Thailand is a popular destination for digital nomads. Here are seven of the best places to work remotely, based on cost of living, fast Wi-Fi, and quality of life.

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

A post shared by Leah Davis (@thesweetestway) on

This ancient city in northern Thailand often tops lists of the best places to work remotely  and for good reason. Chiang Mai has a large community of remote workers, thanks to its low cost of living, speedy Wi-Fi, sunny weather, and amazing food.

According to Numbeo, Chiang Mai’s cost of living is over 50 percent lower than that of New York City. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment costs between $200 and $300 per month. Plus, you can keep your other monthly expenses around $500.

“I can attest that Chiang Mai is indeed an excellent place to call home as a burgeoning digital nomad, thanks in large part to the low cost of living,” said Leah Davis, world traveler and blogger at The Sweetest Way. “For example, while sharing a large house with three other Americans, we each paid roughly $115 in rent each month.”

Chiang Mai also has a flourishing community for remote employees. “The digital nomad community already exists,” Davis said. “There will be no shortage of support groups, mentors, and meetups to help new entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.”

Many of these professionals congregate at Chiang Mai’s most popular co-working space, Punspace. You’ll get 24/7 access to locations around the city, a reliable internet connection, and unlimited coffee for $105 per month.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive city with a close-knit expat community, Chiang Mai fits the bill.

2. Medellin, Colombia

Anyone looking to stay in a U.S. time zone might consider moving to Medellin. According to Nomad List, you can get by on just $928 per month, with rent for a one-bedroom apartment costing about $625.

Despite its violent past, Medellin is much safer for visitors today. “I feel incredibly comfortable living in Medellin,” said Ann Davis, founder of “workation” company Venture with Impact.

“Medellin is an incredible city for remote workers for various reasons, [including] a large number of co-working spaces, free Wi-Fi at almost all cafes and restaurants, and an incredible public transportation system,” she said.

Davis also spoke about the city’s expat community, friendly locals, and great weather. “Medellin is the city of eternal spring, and therefore there is sunshine and warm weather year-round,” she said. “The pleasant climate reflects the attitudes of paisas (Medellin residents), who are incredibly friendly and welcoming.”

Not only is Medellin one of the cheapest places to live in the world, but its welcoming atmosphere has attracted visitors from around the globe as well.

3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A post shared by Liat Tzoubari (@liat.tzoubi) on

Cities in Southeast Asia are some of the cheapest places to live in the world for digital nomads. Ho Chi Minh City is no exception, with its cost of living at just $430 per month, not including rent, according to Numbeo. With a meal at a restaurant averaging $1.76 — and street food costing even less — you could eat out for every meal.

Remote workers like the city’s walkability, lively nightlife, and, of course, free Wi-Fi. “Vietnam boasts the fastest Wi-Fi speeds after South Korea, making it the best country in Southeast Asia for digital nomads,” said Liat Tzoubari, founder and CEO of Sevensmith.

“Saigon (its local name) is an urban, relatively modern city that still has a distinctive Vietnamese feel to it, making it the perfect hybrid of useful nomadic resources and cultural experience,” she said.

According to Tzoubari, it’s not uncommon for people to work at cafes around the city. “Saigon has tons, and I mean tons, of beautifully designed cafes with open layouts, delicious food, and incredible coffee,” she said. “Cafes are always filled with other patrons on their laptops, so waiters are used to customers sitting at a table for hours at a time.”

Considering the low price of food, it’s no wonder you could spend so much time at cafes without hurting your budget.

4. Budapest, Hungary

For a taste of Europe on a budget, consider visiting the capital of Hungary. According to Numbeo, you can rent an apartment in the historic city center for $500 per month. Altogether, your other living costs shouldn’t add up to much more than $600.

“Budapest has been one of our favorite places to live,” said Katie Matthews, who blogs with her husband, Geoff, at Where to Stay in Budapest. “The cost of living in Budapest is excellent. We have a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment in the city center, which costs about €730 [$871] per month.”

Not only is rent cheap, but Budapest has others perks too. “Other pros of living in Budapest include high-speed internet, availability of most consumer goods, ease of online shopping … and the fact that it’s an airline hub,” said Matthews. “There are also a ton of restaurants, bars, and cafes, and there’s always something to do.”

Now that digital nomads have discovered this beautiful city along the Danube, co-working spaces have popped up to accommodate them. You can find a community of like-minded workers in spaces like KAPTAR, Impact Hub, and Loffice.

And when you’re not working, you can explore the city’s gorgeous architecture or burgeoning craft beer scene.

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia

A post shared by Amalie (@amaliebeauty) on

If you’re not afraid to venture off the beaten path, consider living in Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. Megan Cox lived in Siem Reap while she ran her e-commerce store and did manufacturing consulting.

“Hostels start at $2 per night, and nice boutique hotels are about $20 per night,” Cox said. “You can live in a hostel (with a pool!), eat three meals a day, and have an unlimited phone plan for $300 per month or less.”

According to Cox, Siem Reap is easy to get around, especially if you have a motorbike, and most hotels have reliable Wi-Fi. Plus, you’ll find a community of other remote workers. “It’s small,” said Cox. “All the foreigners who live there for more than a few months will end up knowing each other.”

While Siem Reap might be one of the cheapest places in the world, it’s also one of the hottest. “It’s a scorching hot, dusty country, so sometimes it feels like there’s no relief from the weather,” said Cox.

Anyone moving from a U.S. city to Siem Reap could cut down their cost of living dramatically — just make sure you pack sunscreen.

6. Berlin, Germany

A post shared by visitBerlin (@visit_berlin) on

Although it isn’t the cheapest place to live in the world, Berlin’s cost of living is relatively low, especially for a city in Western Europe. According to Numbeo, rent for a one-bedroom apartment falls between $640 and $880. As a single person, your other expenses might add up to $1,035.

Despite its slightly higher cost of living, Berlin is popular among the location-independent. “Berlin is a great place to live and work because of the creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Adam Groffman, a graphic designer who blogs at Travels of Adam. “It now even seems that there are more co-working spaces in the city than there are traditional cafes!”

As a relatively young city, Berlin has developed a health-focused culture. “The fact that Berlin has a lot of parks, green spaces, and a city cycling culture just makes it an enjoyable and generally healthy place to work from,” he said.

If you’re going to set up shop in Berlin, get ready for its famous nightlife. “In Berlin, we also party as hard as we work,” said Groffman. “Berliners manage to turn off the work and spend weekends at parties, clubs, open-airs, and whatever event or festival might be on for the weekend.”

If you’ve got your sights sets on Western Europe, Berlin could be the city for you.

7. Ubud, Indonesia

No list of the best places to work remotely would be complete without mentioning Ubud on the island of Bali. This Indonesian town has long been popular among remote workers. You can get by on about $1,000 per month, according to Nomad List. When you’re not working, you can explore temples or visit the Ubud Monkey Forest.

“Bali is a great place for digital nomads,” said Clemens Sehi, co-founder of travel magazine Travellers Archive. “Bali can not only be extremely cheap, [but] it is also full of great co-working spaces like Hubud in the small town of Ubud.”

But beware: You might have trouble focusing on work in this beautiful spot. “The best and worst part of the digital nomadic life in Ubud is … the fact that one always has paradise at one’s footsteps,” added Sehi. “It can be hard to concentrate on the work that needs to be done.”

Save money and live well in one of the cheapest places in the world

Chances are you’re not going to double your income tomorrow. But you could get the same result by cutting your cost of living in half.

By living in one of these cities, you could dramatically ease the burden on your budget. Plus, you’ll join a vibrant community of globe-trotting digital nomads.

Living in another country comes with its fair share of challenges. For one, you need to meet visa requirements to live abroad. But if money concerns are standing in your way, they probably don’t need to. Moving to one of the cheapest places in the world could be one of the best decisions you make for your finances.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 8 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of December 13, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 12/13/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.

4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.


There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.


For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.


Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.


The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.


The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.


After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.


This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.

6 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.

7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.

8 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.06% – 6.81%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

2.62% – 6.12%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

1.99% – 6.65%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

1.99% – 7.06%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.85% – 6.13%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.59%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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