With remote work on the rise and Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) now existing in abundance, it’s hard to keep track of which countries have eased their visa requirements and opened migration paths for the category and, more importantly, how budget-friendly they are.
From the Western Hemisphere to Europe and the easternmost reaches of Asia, there is certainly a lot of ground to cover, and picking a single destination can be quite a challenge. Being nomads ourselves, we’ve years of experience in the field and have taken the liberty to select some of the very best, based not only on their cultural wealth and trendiness but also affordability.
These are four of the most incredible – and cheapest – nomad hotspots for 2023:
The capital of Albania, an under-visited European nation bordering Greece and Montenegro, Tirana emerged from a Communist dictatorship in the 1990s, a newborn city full of promise. While remnants of the Enver Hoxha regime continue to haunt its urban morphology, be it through underdevelopment or lacking infrastructure, it is still impossibly electric and youthful.
Tirana is not for everyone, though: if you’re expecting Paris aesthetics, it is not embellished by neoclassical buildings, nor does it boast the most remarkable European architecture, but it redeems itself with a plethora of work-friendly cafes, a massive urban park full of arching trees and a gorgeous man-made lake that provide an escape from the usual chaos of shops and bars, and a riotous nightlife.
And, of course, it serves as the main gateway to the wonderful country that is Albania, bounded by alpine peaks to the North, straddling what’s arguably the most beautiful section of the Adriatic Coast, where golden sand beaches and teal-colored waters can be found, and dotted with cobblestone-laden medieval towns.
When it comes to affordability, one could argue no European country beats Tirana, and Albania by extension. According to the Wage Indicator, the national minimum wage is stipulated at ALL 34,000 per month, equivalent to USD $316.43, a nearly-negligible sum for remote workers relocating from America, who are granted a one-year entry permit for free upon arrival.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai is every bit as exciting as Bangkok and boasts an imperial greatness comparable to that of the capital. From elaborately-built Buddhist temples to street markets and a peculiar, flavorful cuisine, there are plenty of attractions in the country’s second-largest urban center to keep you entertained for months.
Originally the beating heart of the bygone Lanna Kingdom, one of the most influential in medieval Southeast Asia that would eventually crumble in 1558, Chiang Mai retains much of its historical value.
The Old City is protected by fortified walls and moats, encircling some of Thailand’s most magnificent temples, such as the 14th-century wonder of Wat Phra Singh.
If living in this faraway land still sounds like an unachievable dream, especially in this economy, you’ll be glad to know Chiang Mai stands among some of the most affordable destinations for American nomads in Southeast Asia. Moving to the Thai city, you should set aside USD $1,346 to cover monthly expenses, as per the latest estimate published by NomadList.
Validity for regular entry visas to Thailand ranges from 3 to 6 months, at the discretion of immigration authorities – more than enough time to get a little taste of what Chiang Mai has to offer. If you intend to stay longer in Thailand, you could apply for a Long-Term Residence Visa, usually issued for up to 10 years. Regrettably, availability is usually limited to high-income professionals, as seen here.
Dubbed the number one city break in Colombia, Medellin is the busy capital of the Antioquia department, in the Latin American nation’s mountainous inland, and a popular backpacker and nomad destination. Medellin’s greatest strengths lie in its enviable collection of quirky bars and co-working spaces, street art-filled districts, and banging nightclubs.
The one major downside to Medellin is the poor safety record in some neighborhoods in peripheral zones, awash with gang activity and crime, but as long as foreign short-term visitors or long-term residents keep a low profile, learn the do’s and don’ts, and familiarize themselves with the no-go zones, the risks of being affected are dramatically reduced.
With that being said, a majority of nomads residing here are not frightened and have chosen to live in the area for one simple reason: imperfect as it is, Medellin is addictive. We’re not sure it’s the locals’ smiling faces and big hearts, the stunning nature within close reach of the city center, or the color-splashed cityscape that inspire us most, but it surely holds a special place in our hearts.
Last but not least, it is surprisingly affordable for a city this touristy. In fact, the whole of Colombia is super budget-friendly, recently earning the title of cheapest tourist destination in South America for 2023, beating Brazil, Argentina, and other strong contenders. Luckily for nomads eager to join in on the fun, the Colombian DNV is one of the easiest and cheapest to apply for.
Sitting at the crossroads of two continents, where Europe meets Asia, the Georgian capital of Tbilisi is one of the oldest human settlements in the world and a tried-and-true digital nomad haven. Extremely popular due to its low cost of living and several millennia-old culture, it is a fascinating city of many layers that deserves your consideration.
The Old Town’s wooden facades are colorful and full of character, the skyline a unique melange of neoclassical monuments, USSR-era apartment blocks, and city parks, and the cuisine is unlike anything you’ve ever tried. When in Tbilisi, we strongly recommend you try Khachapuri, a tender canoe-shaped bread stuffed with melted cheese, crowned with a soft-boiled egg on top.
Unlike the previous entry on this list, security concerns in Tbilisi are minimal. Although it is a bustling capital, central Tbilisi is extremely safe to walk, even at night, and the recent increase in tourism and rapid internationalization of Georgia following the nomad boom has encouraged local authorities to improve accessibility and policing in most sites.
The U.S. Department of State has deemed Georgia a Level 1 destination in terms of security, making it one of the safest destinations not only in Eastern Europe/Western Asia — but globally. On top of that, Georgia has a relaxed immigration policy, allowing Americans to remain in the territory for up to an entire year without applying for any visa in advance.
Looking for more countries where digital nomads are welcomed with open arms? Don’t forget to check out our dedicated page on the topic.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com