One of the most unsettling parts of being a digital nomad is flying half-way across the world to find a culture eerily similar from that which you just came. An international destination flooded with tourists and like-minded nomads -- we’re looking at you, Chang Mai, Bali, and Cape Town -- sometimes takes the thrill out of travel.
If you’re looking to get a little more off the beaten path, consider stacking your itinerary with some (or all) of these best new nomad destinations that are just getting discovered.
Budapest, with all its old-world charm and eclectic architecture that spans from baroque to art nouveau, is one of the most exciting up-and-coming digital nomad destinations. The Central European hub has become a food capital (there’s a lot more to Hungarian food than stews and goulash), a nature lover’s haven (there are tons of hot springs and an array of bathhouses nestled in the woods), and an affordable option for the frugal nomad. The average rent for an apartment in the heart of the city runs around $500 so you can use the rest of your budget on delicious beer and an underground nightlife scene.
Step one in finding the perfect off-the-beaten-path nomad destination? Find one that few people can pronounce. Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi (tuh-BLEE-see) is bordered by Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and it’s an excellent blend of Western Europe and Eastern Asia. The country is small enough where you can drive to the snow-capped Caucasus mountains in the morning and sprawl out on the sands of the Black Sea in the evening. Co-working spaces are slowly beginning to spring up, and the locals are known to be extremely friendly. With few digital nomad hubs between Asia and Europe, Tbilisi stands out among the pack.
If safety is at the top of your priority list as a digital nomad, you can’t go wrong with Taipei. The emerging technological metropolis sits amongst towering skyscrapers and impressive mountain landscapes. The food is cheap, public transportation is on point, and it has some of the best late-night markets in the world. While there isn’t exactly a bustling nomad scene here, there is enough to find a community and explore the island nation for a bit.
Seoul, South Korea
Just about 1,000 miles north of Taipei is the even more cosmopolitan hub of Seoul, a city that seems almost designed for digital nomads but rarely makes the top lists. In a country where young people don’t typically move out until marriage, Seoul boasts a vast swath of comfortable cafes and lounge spaces with blazing-fast WiFi where millennials can get out of the house. Seoul isn’t the cheapest destination on our list, but it’s also not at all overrun by foreigners. Sometimes there’s a price to pay for authenticity.
Vietnam’s bustling northern hub is an exciting hodgepodge of delicious food, world-renowned coffee, and unbeatable natural beauty. Hanoi is a city with nearly 8 million people, but it doesn’t feel as such. Quaint winding sidestreets give it a very neighborhood feel, so it’s easy to settle down here. The proximity to Ha Long Bay and the dramatic landscapes of Guilin and Southern China make it an excellent home base for exploring the region.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mexico is massive, and frankly, there could be an entire article written about nomad destinations in Mexico alone. One gem that isn’t particularly flooded with travelers is Puerto Vallarta. Our recommendation is to skip out on the ritzy resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen and spend some time on the country’s Pacific coast. The tacos are just as delicious, the vibe is much more laid back, and there are a few great coworking spaces including Vallarta Cowork and Cowork Natureza.
While not exactly a haven for beach bums, Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn is one of Europe’s hidden gems for digital nomads for several reasons. Often dubbed a mini-Silicon Valley, Tallinn is excellent for startups and tech entrepreneurs due to its unique e-residency program, which makes it easy for anyone to start up a remote business. The city itself boasts intriguing architecture, plenty of nightlife, and a relatively low cost of living.
Written by Dillon DuBois