Best Destinations for Digital Nomads in 2020
Before COVID-19, being a digital nomad was reserved for freelancers and those who were bold enough to leap from their corporate gigs to pursue remote or entrepreneurial work. In the face of COVID, employees of all types have realized that working remotely from all of the amazing flashpacking destinations in the world is not only possible, but also our current reality as we peck away at our keyboards from home. Companies are starting to see the viability of working remotely, and being a digital nomad is no longer just a pipedream for many people. As COVID keeps us confined to the walls of our homes and out of the offices, more people will start to experiment with becoming a digital nomad.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen people moving from inner city apartments to the countryside in a mass urban exodus. People from New York fled to other cities with safer, uncrowded streets, and now, with many countries offering visas for digital nomads, perhaps rather than fleeing to other states people will start finding their digital home abroad.
Within the next year, experts are anticipating an uptick in remote workers as employees and employers become comfortable with the idea of remote working. Whether you are already a digital nomad or just beginning to toe the edge of working from anywhere in the world, there are several characteristics to take into consideration before choosing your digital destination, especially during COVID. (It isn’t just the WiFi connection we care about.)
When looking for the best places to work remotely, several factors make a great digital nomad destination, including your budget, the cost of living in the location, access to WiFi, travel ease, safety, time zone, networks, and visa. As you make the transition from office worker to digital nomad, or maybe you’ve always been a digital nomad but your plans got dashed due to COVID, here are some of the best destinations for digital nomads to flock to during the pandemic.
NOTE: The Covid-19 situation is constantly changing and evolving around the world. This article was most recently updated on 10/1/2020. Please check all country, state and local restrictions before planning your next trip.
Imagine sitting in a beach chair and sipping a piña colada as you reply to the last email of the day. All it takes to call the pristine beaches of Bermuda home right now is $263 USD and a quick, online visa application.
Bermuda is offering anyone working remotely during the pandemic a year to decompress in its peaceful island vibes. The wifi is fast and stable, and the island is taking precautions to prohibit the spread of coronavirus—they’ve only had 180 cases since the beginning of the outbreak (as of September 23). Bermuda is an ideal digital nomad destination during the pandemic due to its ease of acquiring a visa and its COVID safety requirements. It is important to note that hurricane season lasts until November and that there have been many storm systems this year.
The only downsides to this getaway is the cost of living and potential isolation. (However, isolation in this age may be a positive.) The daily cost of living on the island is comparable to a big city. For example, an inexpensive meal would be about $40 USD and a gallon of gas would cost about $8 USD. The cost of living is steep as products are harder to access and direct flights and transportation aren’t easy to come by.
To get to Bermuda, the application process is easy, and you don’t have to provide any specific proof of income on your application. Americans can travel to Bermuda with ease as there aren’t any current border restrictions, but upon arrival, they will need to provide a negative COVID test and go through a rigorous screening process. You can apply today and have your visa approved within 5 business days. There is no sneaky fine print on the visa; it is straightforward and quick. Apply today, be there in a week, and stay for a year. Rekindle your nomadic life by filling out the application here.
Working from a beachy paradise is no longer a dream. Barbados is offering a digital nomad visa to spice up our work-from-home life during COVID. Open to US travel, the island is offering a year-long visa for anyone ready to live and work in paradise for the next year. The visa is $2,000, which is the equivalent of a $166 monthly live-in cost, a bit more than Bermuda’s visa.
Barbados has only had 189 cases since the beginning of the pandemic (as of September 23), and with a negative COVID test, you can be splashing in the clear water in no time. The difference between Bermuda and Barbados is that for Barbados you will need proof of at least $50,000 of income to reside here for the year—all of which needs to come from abroad. It can’t be earned from employment on the island. Again, it’s another island so the cost of living is pretty high—paradise with a price tag. Also, it is important to be aware that hurricane season lasts until November and the Caribbean has had many active storms this year. Barbados may be the perfect winter getaway.
Getting there is easy. You are one easy application away from trading in the colder winter temperatures for waves and sun. Barbados is not a typical digital nomad location, but it definitely has its perks during the pandemic. You can apply for your visa here.
Mexico City is touted as one of the best digital nomad cities in the world, giving nomads a stable internet connection and the amenities of a large US city at a fraction of the cost. The cost of living here is hard to beat. Better yet, Mexico’s borders are open and welcoming US citizens who can provide proof of either $20,000 USD of savings or more than $1,000 USD monthly income. To get the most out of their temporary resident visa, you should aim to stay longer than 180 days, which is the length of a typical tourist visa requiring no application.
Mexico is open to US travelers who come by air (not by land), no strings attached, and this visa will keep you from having to leave the country to do visa runs. Upon arrival, you won’t have to undergo any rigorous testing or quarantine. Although the borders are open, the CDC cautions travelers about any non-essential travel to the area, but if you want to make the vibrant city your new digital home, you can apply for the visa here.
Georgia is home to rolling fields and mountains and considered the intersection between Europe and Asia. While the rest of Europe has banned US travel, Georgia is permitting entry for digital nomads who plan to stay in the country for 6 months or more. Currently, this is one of the best countries close to Europe for digital nomads, seeing as it is one of the only countries in the area permitting US travelers. All foreigners are required to quarantine for 14 days and provide a negative COVID test before moving around in their new country. Unlike the Caribbean islands, language may be an isolating factor of living and working in Georgia.
The visa takes 10-days to get approved. You will need to provide proof of income of at least $2,000 USD per month, but once you’ve arrived in Georgia, you’ll find your dollar goes a long way. If you’re ready for an eastern European adventure, you can apply for the visa here.
A Mediterranean natural beauty, Croatia is joining Georgia, Albania, and Estonia in offering a digital nomad visa. Croatia is a safe and accessible destination and the only thing that kept digital nomads away in the past was the country's rigorous immigration and bureaucracy. This visa is the answer to many digital nomad’s wishes. With a reasonable cost of living and delicious food and wine, Croatia is the best country in Europe for digital nomads.
Croatia’s borders are open to US travelers after providing a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the flight. You can learn more about the visa here.
Want to stay stateside?
Not ready to leave the US quite yet, or want to be a little closer to home during the pandemic? These states are paying digital nomads to relocate to their communities, and it’s worth taking a look.
Known for its great plains and plateaus, Oklahoma offers a tight-knit, Southern-central community for digital nomads to call home. You don’t have to pay a thing. In fact, they will pay you to take up residence in Tulsa for the year. Want to get paid $10,000? Check out the application here.
Alabama’s Southern charm is offering $10,000 to any digital nomad who’d like to relocate to its state. Check it out.
The Best Places to Work Remotely
There are many Caribbean islands starting to roll out digital nomad visas these days, following the lead of Barbados—Jamaica and Antigua to name a few. For Antigua, there is no upfront cost for the visa, allowing you to stay in the country for two years. However to keep this list concise, these 8 locations have the easiest visas to apply for and are the easiest to access to the country during COVID.
The beauty of being a digital nomad is you have the ability to work anywhere in the world, and during the pandemic, the lifestyle is becoming more accessible. Even with COVID, there are still places abroad to safely travel to and explore. As a digital nomad, our travel plans don’t need to be completely canceled. Be sure to do your research before you go and check out the specific requirements for each country as requirements can change quickly.
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