Firstly, it's crowdsourced from this spreadsheet http://nomadlist.io/edit/ so it might not be 100% accurate.
Secondly, NomadCost != cost of living. NomadCost is based on short-term staying in a hostel, hotel or apartment in the center, working in a coworking space and having a basic meal three times a day. That's the average digital nomad's lifestyle. They move around every few months, so they can't rent long-term. So NomadCost will be way more expensive than cost of living for a resident.
I'd like to monetize this by selling city specific nomad guides on how to set up in each place and letting people find jobs remotely. Hope this helps! I think this is the future of work, so I'm very happy to help push this.
P.S. this is part of my goal to launch 12 startups in 12 months (see http://levels.io/12-startups-12-months)
It would be nice if the current site included a better description of the NomadCost and maybe even an overview of what you mean by the digital nomad lifestyle. It turns out that it is something I have been looking into for a year or so, but I did not realize it was a formal concept.
I'd love it if someone met me at the airport with a pre-paid SIM card and suggestions for accommodation and public workspaces.
To make that work you would need pre-arranged contracts with a co-working space, some hostels/hotels, phone companies, and transportation services. Using an NFC app to grant access to a coworking space/hotel room would minimize things like key management/inventory. It would be primarily a logistics play but if there are enough people doing this sort of thing it could be profitable.
I could surely come up with a plan where you get mobile internet, access to a coworking space and accommodation if you want to come to Tokushima, Japan to "sightsee" for a month and even meet you at the airport, as I know some people who have a coworking space here. I'm sure others could do that for their own cities.
Not sure what a reasonable fee would be? Would probably take a whole day to organize this for someone, although it sounds fun to meet people.
If I could even go so far as to prepay for a set amount of time (1 to 6 months) for rent, sim, internet, and co-working space and have it all taken care of when I arrive, that would be even better.
As it relates to one specific example on this list, I live in Leipzig, and in East Germany in general, it is nearly impossible to speak English on the phone in order to arrange these sorts of things, plus so many places do not accept Visa (only Maestro/EC card). So coming from the US, you are especially unprepared, and being able to pay OP in USD to have things set up that require German knowledge + lots of euros = huge benefit in not losing money via wire transfer and not needing to know the language in advance.
Good temperatures are between 18 and 22.
sdm, that's really not hot :). Where I live (southern US), highs over 37 celsius are not uncommon in July & August. You might melt!
I suggest you to let the user expand the NomadCost into the three things you mention: short term staying, coworking space, three meals a day? Why? I may be planning to work nomadly in Tokyo for example, and for me it would be cheaper than what you mention because I can stay with my in-laws (and possibly could use the office of some friend). On the other hand, I would pay the same amount as a normal nomad for the meals, so if I knew how much they cost I could more accurately forecast how much it would cost me to stay in Tokyo.
tl;dr we all have friends and fam, so chill
My own family & friends are split up all over the world (and my wife's parents live on the opposite of the world from mine, and we've lived in 3 different countries at one time or another but now are sort of in-between them), but it's still really unusual.
I'm pretty sure the calculations are assuming you don't have family/friends to host you.
It'd be more helpful is not like the split version has to be the default.
I've spent the last year staying mostly in EU capitals for a month or two, and this site will be a good source of inspiration for the future!
I'm sure the numbers will improve over time with more data. :)
One of my unaddressed desires is to spend more time in small towns and less in bigger cities, but I don't know a good way to find them.
For most remote workers, knowing the highest affordable speed is more important. For example, Red Wing, MN offers gigabit fiber to the home, but NetIndex shows 33Mbps for the average internet speed. A lot of people aren't paying a few bucks more because they don't need or know about better internet access.
Medellin is (i think; never been there) a rather modern city, so it might be a bit easier. Still, charlesmchen's concern is valid for most south-/cental-american listings.
Isn't NomadCost being monetized already via “preferred by nomads” feature?
Not to be mean, but is this one really a startup? What's the business model?
You can say that lessons learned from launching 12 sites will help pivot into one that works as a business, but that's one company with 12 products, not 12 companies.
For one, ads are not a bad idea. Startups are not just for $5 billion buyouts -- they can also be $500/month side projets.
Second, he already said he has an idea about selling guides for how to setup business in each of those places.
It's a digital nomad guide book, the interviews with people that are successful digimads were really good!
Can't seem to edit this with chrome, only with IE. Read-only in chrome.
Certain cities have a extremely bi-modal distributions of pricing. I.e. they can support both the "broke artist" lifestyle, and the "upper middle class" lifestyle. Two separate cost distributions. If you try to take the mean or median of these cities, you'll end up either arbitrarily landing on one of the distributions, or a nonsense number in the middle.
A good example is Manhattan. For example, pizza can actually be cheaper in Manhattan than Sofia. In Manhattan, the broke artist lifestyle of living with multiple roommates who barely know each other, all sharing a rent controlled apartment for a few hundred dollars a month is more socially acceptable and much more common. Just taking prices from the realtor-controlled apartment websites is a poor reflection of reality. Almost no one except the richer consultants bothers with a full-time coworking desk in either city. In this case, Manhattan can actually cost less than Sofia.
So, I think the "broke artist" price distributions would better reflect what a remote working nomad would be looking for, instead of the "upper middle class" prices.
For that matter, colorize high temperatures in red as well.
For one person you can probably get by with about $1000 easily.
I've worked from various places while traveling, and never worried about this, though obviously it would be an issue if you wanted to pick up local clients.
Will you get caught? Probably not.
Will you get caught if you keep showing up at co-working spaces now the government is cracking down on visas? Are you feeling lucky?
This however has nothing to do with whether or not you show up at co-working spaces! We're not dealing with the secret service here, they're not tracking your every movement.
It's much easier to crack down on people doing perpetual visa runs or companies hiring large numbers of Cambodians than it would be to monitor what exactly foreigners are doing in co-working spaces.
E.g., before I had kids I spent a few months traveling from Western Europe down to Turkey, working along the way -- probably in about 10 different countries; countries don't reasonable expect you to file taxes if you happen to do some remote work in them for a week, do they?
Obviously this will vary per-country, but I'm curious if you know how it would play out in Thailand, at least, if you did everything by the book.
The visa situation in Thailand is constantly changing - and has been changing every year or so over the last 10 years I've been here. So it's worth to research the current state of affairs, and to get a proper tourist / business visa before arrival.
If there's one downside to living in Thailand, then that's it. But they won't be kicking out digital nomads any time soon, or tax them, or whatever. I imagine if they did this all those nomads would disappear overnight. It's not worth putting in effort.
I'm surprised it isn't more jam packed with start ups.
Oh yeah ... there is nothing to do there. So you will have to just admire nature and work. And then commute to SF for your meetings.
If this explodes in popularity, I hope someone will credit me for leaking the secret.
Perhaps Kansas City, with its Google Fiber and relatively mild climate, is a better option overall.
For example, Sofia is #5, but, having lived there for a few years, it is absolutely not the #5 best choice, by far. That said, it's not a bad choice, it works for Telerik after all.
The cost of life is pretty cheap around here ($500/month is the average salary for a teacher, the minimum income is around $200/m), and its getting cheaper with the decline of the tunisian dinar Vs $ & €
I live near the cities of Sousse & Monastir, and i can share few thoughts:
- rent for a decent apartement is about $300/m in the city and less than $200 outside
- food is relatively cheap around here, with a wide variety of fresh fish
- Monastir is a beatiful city, good climate, excellent beaches, the travel to the aeroport cost less than15 min and 50 cent , with weekly/biweekly flights to major european cities.
- Tunisia is actually very safe and stable, major touristic destinations(hammamat, sousse, monastir, djerba (which btw is a very decent destination) are given more attention by the Interior minister.
- internet quality is not on par with the 1st world, 8Mb cost around $40/ m
- french is widely spoken, english is understood especially by youth
- wikitravel have some good ( and accurate) articles about tunisia & tunisian cities
I wouldn't recommend Morocco though because you get harassed 24/7 if you just look like you have more money than the next one.
Keep in mind AirBNB doesn't seem to get sites below the $15 range, and a lot of hotels that are in this range don't list on internet exchanges either. For example in Ho Chi Minh there's a few decent airconditioned hotels next to Bui Vien for $10 a night but you wont find them online. Also in Southeast Asia I've found you can rent most everywhere for 30 days at a time, which in my mind is short term when I consider all the minimum 12 month leases I had to get in the US.
Good job though, I like that you're scraping other sites. This should be good to use in conjunction with Numbeo, which has its own biases.
Personally if I'm going to put up with the hassles of living as a nomad I want to reap more of the benefits so I prefer to stay in cleaner, quieter beach towns and enjoy the slower pace of life but some people like city life I guess.
Been here the last three years.
For example, I don't know what the average price of a co-working space is in Tokyo but I do know that "The Terminal" in Harajuku is only $150 a month. It's open from 11am to 11pm and includes free drinks (soda, coffee, tea).
Co-ba, has more than one location, the one in Shibuya is $160 a month and is open 24 hours.
The Open Source Cafe in Shimokitazawa is tiny but also similarly priced as is one I visited in Koenji (sorry, I forgot the name).
So, I'm curious where that $444 a month estimate comes from.
Rent is also iffy. It currently says $70 a day but rent varies widely depending on your standards and how far out of the center you're willing to live. I know people that have had a large 3bd apt for $1200 a month only 2 stops out various main lines on the express. (which might be like 12 local stops). Whereas downtown it might be $1200 for a studio but then again it depends on the quality. I know guys living in Nishi-Azabu for $600 a month.
Mind if I comment hi-jack and ask if you know of any particularly good areas that I should be looking to rent in? I'll be working close to Shinjuku station.
Also, I will be working a day-job, but I hope to work on some side-projects too. Where is a good quiet place to go and work?
Co-ba at $160/month is tempting, but I'm not sure that I'll be there often enough to justify that cost. I was hoping that I'd be able to find cafes that would fit the bill.
If you incorporate your company there, you can get instant residency via the “Professional Card”.
Once you are a legal resident there, they don't count the days you're there, so you don't need to be there full-time. You should plan to hire at least one local Belgian employee.
Then, after 5 years of residency, assuming you've learned conversational French or Dutch, depending on where in the country you reside, you're very eligible for Belgian citizenship.
Email me if you want details or a referral.
Sounds like they're living better than people making $10,000/month in SF.
$250 is suspiciously cheap
But most of the people renting don't sign any contracts anyway so you can just say that you'll stay for 1 year and pack your bags after 1-2-3 months, or as long as you paid the deposit for.
Basel being cheaper than Berlin? I have a hard time believing that.
Hong Kong being cheaper than Leipzig? That just can't be true.
Also, one's own goals and personality have a lot more to do with the "best" place to work from than the crunchable data does.
So I like the idea of compiling a list of great places to work remotely, but I'm not sure this particular execution of that idea has a ton of value for me.
There was an abundance of Airbnb accommodation, eating out was cheap and you could get a bucket of beers for 5 euros in many places. About the same as a pint in London.
I'd make this list a little more interactive, perhaps have a forum/comments behind each city. Could become a really useful resource.
This site has much more realistic numbers: http://www.numbeo.com/common/
The temperature should be checked against an upper limit.
But the picture you included is the White Temple in Chiang Rai. It's not in Chiang Mai. Might as well put a picture of Chiang Mai there, particularly if it's on the #1 spot. Not like Chiang Mai doesn't have any temples, there's hundreds and hundreds of them ;)
Yuck. Worst city in Italy: it's expensive, polluted, crowded, and has little of what makes Italy so nice in many other places.
Italians move there because it's the business capital of the country, and there are jobs and money. But if you can live anywhere with a decent connection... that's the last place I'd go.
If you can work and get your customers remotely you don't want to be in Milan, but be careful about bad ADSLs in rural areas, which unfortunately are the ones where you want to be. You might aim to one of the many medium sized cities that are pretty everywhere. Look for one close to an airport, an high speed train station, sea or mountains depending on your tastes.
By the way, Internet speed in Milan is 100 Mb/s download / 10 Mb/s upload if you have fiber, or something up to 20 Mb/s with ADSL. Fiber really give you those speeds, with ADSL it's up to your luck.
I lived in Bangkok for about a year, thought I love that city, now their visa policy got stupid, and I would't recommend to settle there for long period (>3 months).
Have you ever worked for a company in Country A and been sent on a business trip to Country B? Most likely your company didn't need a Country B working visa for you, just for a business trip.
I am not a lawyer, but I don't see how the digital nomad lifestyle is any different. If you're just spending short amounts of time in these countries, legally how is this any different from going on a business trip since your company and salary will be paid in the origin country.
I'm sure there's a cut off point, like once you go over a certain amount of time it becomes harder to justify your trip as a short term business trip... but what's that line?
Personally I haven't heard of anybody having trouble anywhere in SE Asia on 30-day stays but I have heard of people getting in trouble for working on 2-3 month tourist visas, often when ratted out by other foreigners.
a) Some countries do require a specific visa even just for a “business meeting”. Often getting that visa will require documentation or an official letter from a company either in your home/resident country or the country you are visiting.
b) Some countries do differentiate between a visit for “business” (such as meetings) and a visit for “work” (as in actually doing something)
Ah hate to pull this card, but I've been an expat now for almost 14 years :) worked in Japan and Singapore (legally, with correct working visa etc etc), and just for this last year I've been a nomad flitting from country to country.
You mention "some countries" - sure some are stricter than others, but are any of the countries you're talking about on this list?
It would be insane for a country in Asia (except the ones still developing) to have such requirements. It is entirely routine for folks from companies in (for example) Singapore, to travel regionally for business on an extremely frequent basis.
I normally frown upon making assumptions of people :) but since you assumed I didn't have much practical experience as a foreign worker, I'm going to also assume you haven't done much business in Southeast Asia.
Please keep in mind I didn't say that every businessman/woman GETS a business visa for meetings etc, I said thats what the law says they should do. Your comment was about the "difference legally" between a business trip and a foreign worker. Legally there is a difference between them, and legally neither should be doing it on a tourism visa exemption.
I apologise for the assumption, as it turns out we were both wrong - I have lived in Thailand coming up on 2 years. To work here legally I created a Thai company. I have clients back in Australia and in Singapore.
Yes you can come in on a tourist visa and work, and I'm sure some people do that, but if you're looking to be on the full up and up, even short stays may need work visas.
There is a lot of commentry in thailand right now because immigration are cracking down on people abusing a loophole in the visa exemption system.
The law hasn’t changed at all, it’s just being enforced, and people act like it’s somehow against their human rights for a country to enforce it’s own immigration laws and tell them “no sorry, you are clearly not a tourist just because you have left every 30/60/90 days and returned the same day, for the last 3 years”.
At those prices it feels pretty much free. You no longer view health expenses as this weird financial burden in your life; instead, it just financially feels like buying a burrito or fixing your bike.
What if I told you it's the capital of Transylvania? Located 500 km from Budapest, Belgrade, or Bucharest plus direct flights all over Europe. 20 km from the western Carpathians (hence the lowest level of air pollution in Europe) and some of the fastest bandwidth speeds on the planet. Not sure what else you need for remote work.
Check out: http://www.bestcityineurope.com/
I am by no chance saying that the sum is invalid, it is probably pretty damn accurate (from what I've heard elsewhere).
Just mentioning that it is not the minimum. Not even I am at the minimum because I have a /relatively/ expensive apartment. And I don't live on breadcrumbs or anything like that :)
EDIT: As the reply posted by OP saying
> NomadCost is based on short-term staying in a hostel, hotel or apartment in the center, working in a coworking space and having a basic meal three times a day.
(I am not really close to that actual lifestyle)
I'm not able to switch the currency, it just shows pounds even though I selected Euro in the dropdown menu at the top (http://nomadlist.io/?l=eu)
It might be great to live in Thailand where you have to spent just a little for living but what happens if we compare this with their healthcare system?
After all, if you don't like it in a place (or you're not happy with the public services) you can just up and leave.
Having said that, it'd still be nice and make the data inherently more useful to have additional data such as the quality of/access to healthcare (though I'm not sure how easy it is to quantify that) or crime rates.
None of the cities on the list so far are anywhere I'd be desperately worried about being sick.
That's probably true for most major cities outside of the US.
Some folks do it with blogging (lots of bloggers do it funded by ads & e-book sales), mobile app development, web design & admin, content development, even some online consulting (bonus points if you're prepared to fly to meet clients).
If you're lucky you can even talk your employer into it. There are some enlightened ones who allow remote work. But being a 100% Digital Nomad is probably too extreme for an employment situation.
Find a 'virtual company'. It's the future.
The cost of living is definitely less than 1000 dollars. After all the average salary in Bucharest is probably less than 1000 dollars per month, so we wouldn't be able to live here if it cost more, would we? :)
* While the median wage is a 1000 euro there are a lot of people that make a lot less than that ( < 500) and also quite a few that make a lot more.
* Expensive cars are the number one status symbol in Bucharest and Romania. People will often still live with their parents or in a run down apartment, as long as they can drive through the streets with an expensive car, so their budgeting priorities are a bit different from what you expect.
* There is a lot of unreported income and tax evasion in Romania as well as criminal activity, so on top of the high income inequality mentioned above, there are also a lot of people with high incomes that never figure into statistics and such but can afford luxurious cars.
Of course, they can't afford to really maintain them, so once a major component breaks down... they're probably out of luck and have to sell the car for parts or something.
Tunisia is poorer than Romania, and if you visit the streets, you'll see tons of Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches... The local just want to have one and that is the reason.
As a tunisian, this always confuse me. the average salary is WAY less than $1000, the tax on imported cars is very high, yet the number of luxury cars is too damn high.
Expensive cars are all over Phnom Penh too, even though the country is dirt poor. They belong to the rich elite.
I didn't even realise Lexus made 4x4s until I visited Phnom Penh.
I would have loved if someone went through and found great internet spots in each city (and even out in the country in some tourist-y spots) in advance so I could follow in their footsteps!!
Even at the least - letting me know that Vodafone is the best connectivity in the South, but sketchy in the northeast.
I would also like to see the costs of a 2 bedroom apartment. I'd personally rather have an office in my apartment than a co-op space.
What would the price of a small house be within 10 miles of the city? (question that could be added)
How is the NomadCost calculated? These numbers don't add up: http://nomadlist.io/?hn
It would be nice if you also had a "dog friendly/accessible" metric, that's part of the reason why living in a city center isn't reasonable for me personally, I need green spaces rather than tall buildings.
Have less stuff.
Most people probably end up having a storage unit (either at family or a storage business) "back home" for stuff they want to keep long-term but is too big to bring everywhere.
Being minimalist helps, of course. Major items: Clothes and computer. The rest is minor/small.
That said, when we packed up to move we put 20 of those staples file boxes in my parents' basement, so we sort of cheated on storage. When we look back now, though, we're pretty certain that we could go back and happily ditch most of that.
Also, we're living in old city Krakow right now, and there's a plentitude of parks. I saw a ton of green space in Wrocław and Warsaw, too (Warsaw has a huge city park), and it can't just be Poland that values green space. I assure you it's possible.
It's a occupied Palestinian territory according to the UN.
Knowing which small towns near climbing areas (or ski areas, or whitewater rivers, or national parks, or whatever) have reasonable coffee shops, hostels, camping etc would have been very valuable.
I guess some of this could be done by integrating a wiki or something.
Finding a cheap place in East Berlin for a long-term is definitely a viable option. But not if you move around as fast as digital nomads do.
Have you thought about crowdsourcing the data entry?
I notice that the only factors used don't seem to mention any political unrest. For example, the top rated city seems to be in Thailand... which has experienced a lot of political unrest recently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thailand#2013.E2.80.932014_poli...
You can read up about it, the latest round actually has a lot of online posts talking about how "tourist friendly" the military was (no joke).
That said, I dream one day to work remotely from a live aboard sailboat. Connectivity could be somewhat a problem, but 3G covers a lot of globe and if you are smart enough, living aboard can be very cheap.
PM if curious about the area, or if you want intros to others here
For example, I like Hong Kong, but you can't stay there more than 2 weeks (if you want stay more, you have to get work permit/get married/have business there etc).
But Thailand afaik is easy country for living for a long time without work permit.
Citizens of most Western countries can stay for up to three months without a Visa, 6 months if you're from the UK or Macau.
However, I've got a few friends in Hong Kong who just do visa runs every few months to Macau, one has been living like that for 2 years. Fairly risky though.
Cambodia and Vietnam are much laxer in this regard but also don't offer the same standard of living.
Hua Hin authorities also just declared that foreigners must carry original passports at all times. I definitely don't like the way this recent visa crackdown has been going and have canceled my own plans to visit.
How could they catch you and what are the penalties, do you know? Any anecdotes you could share?
Been thinking about hanging out in SEA doing remote work for a few months, would like to know the real situation.
If you're just there on the 30-day exemption you're probably ok, particularly if you've never been to Thailand before.
Cambodia and Vietnam are much laxer in this regard. Technically you're not supposed to be working in either of those places either without a permit but I've never heard of anyone having issues.
I got by with 400€ for years.
If you're a remote worker it's great place. In the city most people speak English, huge expat community, USD is the main currency, stable internet, a few co-working spaces, amazingly cheap to live, and a business visa is no problem.
Personally I prefer Vietnam but Cambodia is definitely a good option too.
Later I'd like to implement so that it uses baseline values from multiple inputs (e.g. like Numbeo does)
I can't think of a much better location for "Digital Nomad" (as much as I despise the term) than Chiang Mai, I would move back there in a heartbeat. Cheap amazing food, cheap and amazing accommodation, insanely friendly people, very strong and well connected expat / entrepreneur community.
Genuinely I am confused why in your experience Chiang Mai is a horrible choice. I think it is currently at the top of that list for a pretty good reason.
Chiang Mai is absolutely one of the most popular destinations for entrepreneurs in our community.
But maybe things are different when you really settle down.
Yes, it's a nice city for living but if you're not alone. Don't forget about the troubles about the visas and visa-runs.