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The Working Abroad Revolution Is Here: Four Best Cities For Young Workers And Digital Nomads
Life’s too short to only spend it in your home country. That includes your working life – and with advances in technology and remote work arrangements, it’s never been easier to spend time abroad.
A recent survey by a leading tech company highlights how doable this is. According to ExpressVPN, there are many factors to consider before deciding to move, including safety, visa requirements, quality of life, and cost of living, to ensure a well-informed choice in joining the global expat community.
English teachers, programmers, writers, and even executives are all making the jump to international living. The cities they favour reads like an itinerary from a James Bond film. Dubai, Bali, and Budapest – all offer lifestyles younger workers crave.
In this blog, we’ll see what makes these centres so attractive.
Chiang Mai: The Digital Nomad Capital Of The World
Why would anyone work hundreds of kilometres from the best beaches on Earth?
But spend a week in Chiang Mai and you’ll get it. First, you’ll notice how affordable things are.
Thailand’s second city is far removed from Thailand’s tourist traps. Because of this, apartments start at around $200/month. Combine that with low prices for essentials (like local Thai food), and your cost of living will be FAR lower than in the West.
According to Numbeo.com, the average cost of living in Chiang Mai (rent included) is 78% lower than in New York City.
This massive discount attracts loads of remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Because of this, it’s easy to network with people from a variety of professional backgrounds.
Finally, the city boasts most of the things that make Thailand famous. Everywhere you go, you’ll stumble across temples, street food carts, and tour agencies offering fun activities (don’t miss the Elephant Rescue Park).
And if you really need the beach? You can fly to Koh Samui or Krabi in less than two hours.
Bali: Welcome To Remote Worker Paradise
But what if surf, sand, and salt air are non-negotiables? Then, you’ll want to give Bali a long look. This island province in Indonesia stands out for its awesome sea cliffs, jade green rice fields, and soaring volcanic peaks.
However, Bali’s rapidly improving digital infrastructure has put it on the radar of remote workers. In the 2010s, the island was kneecapped by brutally slow internet.
But now, these problems are a thing of the past. And it’s led to a boom of co-working spaces and digital nomad-friendly cafes. So you can get your work done in the morning, catch some waves in the afternoon, and then party late into the night.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. For example, rapid development has overburdened local infrastructure, leading to paralysing traffic jams.
But with a bit of patience, this place might be the paradise you’ve been searching for.
Dubai: The Middle East’s Tax-Free Haven
A century ago, Dubai was little more than a pearl diving hub. Today, its wealthy inhabitants don’t hunt pearls on the ocean bottom – they do it in air-conditioned mega malls.
Thanks to its positioning as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”, Dubai has exploded in population, wealth, and significance.
And it’s NOT just because of oil. Oil only makes up 1% of this emirate’s revenues – the lion’s share comes from tourism, economic activity related to tax-free trade zones, and population growth.
But why should you move here? We have three words for you – ZERO income taxes.
That’s right – whether you’re an English teacher, an entrepreneur, or an executive, whatever you earn is yours to keep.
So if you (a) have your TEFL and (b) have student loans to pay off, this is an amazing proposition. According to GlassDoor.com, the typical Dubai English teacher makes 15,273 AED (or about 4,150 USD per month).
You keep 100% of that.
And apart from the money, Dubai offers an array of fun activities and attractions, like the world’s highest tower (Burj Kalifa), dune bashing (i.e., driving like a maniac in the desert), and even an indoor ski hill!
But what if you get itchy feet? Don’t worry – Dubai is one of the world’s busiest air hubs. From here, you can take direct flights to numerous top destinations in Europe, Africa, or Asia.
Budapest, Hungary: Like Prague, But It’s Actually Affordable
Much of Europe has become unmanageably expensive. However, not all European cities have gone the way of London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Many centres in Central Europe boast far more reasonable costs.
For years, Prague was a favourite of young travellers and workers. But recently, it has become a victim of its own success.
It’s no London, but now, it’s hard to find a one-bedroom suite in Prague for less than 1,200 USD/month or a three-bedroom for under 2,000 USD/month.
You won’t have these issues in Budapest. Housing is 50% cheaper across the board. Their restaurants are just as affordable, the beer is cheaper, and groceries are MUCH less expensive.
So if you are raising a family (or if you’re young), Budapest is a fine choice. The architecture is stunning; you’ll find its ruin pubs to be atmospheric and fun, and its thermal baths are a vibe.
But if you get seasonally depressed, beware: the winters here are dark, damp, chilly, and LONG.