5 of the best remote locations to be a digital travel nomad
With the ever-increasing spread of world-wide connectivity, many of us can now become a digital travel nomad, taking our work wherever we fancy. Working from even a remote tropical island without changing your job has become increasingly possible. All we really need is a laptop – and an internet connection.
Here at Progressive Travel Recruitment, we’re great advocates of a change of location to keep you fresh. Our team all have the systems to be able to work from where they like, so are based all over the globe. And from time to time I pack up my desk and take it overseas – to escape British winter (I spent 3 months in Cape Town a couple of winters back), or just have a change of scene and give my work-life balance a boost.
Although the thought of running away to the tropics is exciting, with a Robinson Crusoe appeal, there are a few practicalities to think about before you up sticks. Number one is decent internet access – is it really as good as advertised? Some rural and remote connections aren’t as fast as they say, and some parts of the globe experience frequent power outages. Forums for digital nomads often recommend using a vpn service, too, for a more user-friendly connection in the far-flung corners of the world. It’s worth doing your research before heading off. Likewise, what’s the mobile phone access like? Also, do you have pets? Remember to check if they’re allowed to come with you.
Do think about your current lifestyle. If you’re used to being in a big city, heading somewhere remote may bring up challenges you haven’t thought of. Is there a community to plug into? Being isolated can impact mental health. And, are you OK with a 10-mile commute to the nearest shop? Check what the local transport links are like, particularly if you may need to get to an airport in a hurry for any reason.
However, there are also so many plus-points. You’re likely to be somewhere beautiful, with the great outdoors on your doorstep. The air will probably be cleaner, and it’s likely you’ll be far away from junk-food temptations, so can live a healthier lifestyle. And without commuting, you’ll have more time and less stress. Often, property rental costs will be lower, too. And, most importantly, it’s an adventure. Also, a change of environment can improve your productivity.
We rounded up 5 ideal locations to pack up and take your laptop to, for a permanent change or just for a short-term sabbatical as a digital travel nomad. If you have any other suggestions of exciting places to work, we’d love to hear them.
A LinkedIn ad caught our eye this month, appealing for digital travel nomads to help revive the community on the small island of Arranmore, 3 miles off the west coast of County Donegal, Ireland. They’re down to their last 469 residents and have been actively seeking people from the UK, America and Australia to move over and help boost the population. The island boasts high-speed internet, and a new shared digital workspace. They already have a graphic designer, mobile games developer, photographer and an app developer in residence. The pub serves Guinness on tap, there’s great diving, sea fishing, secluded beaches, and bracing cliff-top walks. The year-round car and passenger ferry operates several services a day for the 15-minute crossing between the island and Burtonport.
The draw of beautiful Bali is no secret in the digital travel nomad community, and Ubud is its travelling-workers’ capital. This hill-top town has long been on the backpacker tourist route, offering rice-paddy views, a gentle way of life, delicious food in many restaurants, and a balmy tropical climate. It’s wetter and hotter during our winter, but the rainy season can fluctuate. House rental prices are affordable, even with a pool, and you’re likely to get the best internet connections if you’re in a house – though it’s slower than in UK cities. There are a few co-working spaces in Ubud, such as Hubud. Yoga classes are everywhere, and people are welcoming and friendly. If you want to stay for more than 30 days, apply for a visa before you come.
Inexpensive accommodation, great food, and a warm and welcoming culture are all pulls for digital nomads to Goa. The local government is keen to attract digital nomads too, investing in improved wi-fi and 4G provision. Goa does have a youthful party reputation, but there are quieter parts beyond the most touristy spots, too. November to March is the best time to travel here. A tourist visa allows 60 days in India – contact the Indian embassy for further visa information.
Love skiing? You could enjoy a season being a digital nomad in Bankso, a ski-town at 12,000ft in the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria. With a co-working hub offering internet download speeds of 150MBPS in town, you could be skiing every morning, and tap tapping away at your computer every afternoon. Bulgaria is inexpensive for living costs, and offers unspoiled beauty, and according to Expat.com website, is an up-and-coming digital travel nomad hotspot.
The Azores, pictured, stranded mid-Atlantic between Europe and Canada are extremely remote. But co-working set-up Novovento has decided to use this as a feature of its appeal. Based on São Miguel Island, it aims to attract the digital travel nomad community to come and recharge for a few weeks in this extraordinary location. It also offers a wired internet connection of 200MBPS. São Miguel is the largest of the Azores, and offers a cosmopolitan historic capital, Ponta Delgada, as well as swathes of natural beauty, from lakes, sandy beaches and mountains, to wonderful marine life. You can whale-watch, swim with dolphins, snorkel and bird-watch.