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

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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 6 lenders of 2018!
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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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 ourstudent 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 Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, 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. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 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.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. 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 understand what you are buying, and consult 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. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.