Bali is the go-to destination for digital nomads
Thinking of taking your tech skills on the road now that the border is open and the world is in a post-pandemic hurry to get back to business?
There are an estimated 35 million digital nomads roaming the world, remote working and flocking to low-cost destinations at which to base themselves while they work. The Great Resignation only boosted the numbers as workers opted not to return to the office and forge out on their own or negotiate permanent remote working arrangements with their employers.
But an analysis of the cost of living in 12 popular digital nomad destinations shows a 500% variation between cities, so choosing a location to base yourself in requires careful consideration.
Moneytransfers.com, a wire service for transferring money around the world, found that Bali, a popular holiday spot for Kiwis, is also a great option for an extended working holiday.
Bali is relatively cheap, warm and has a large ex-pat community of digital nomads
The Indonesian Government recently updated its temporary visa conditions allowing people to work from the country for up to six months before being subject to local tax rates, making Denpasar and other idyllic Indonesian towns ideal remote working locations.
Rental accommodation in Bali is the cheapest of the 12 cities, according to Moneytransfers.com.
“One month’s rent in LA could buy you five months rent in Bali, costing an average of NZ$807 a month to rent a one bedroom apartment in a city centre,” it notes.
A one-bedroom apartment in LA will cost, on average, $4,301 per month. London is pricey too, at $3,527 per month. Those destinations are popular as bustling centres of cultural and business activity. But if all you need is to be able to upload your code and Zoom into meetings the options for cheap living open up enormously.
Not surprisingly, the number one priority for digital nomads once living costs are taken into account, is access to broadband internet, according to the travel website A Brother Abroad. A recent survey saw 56% of respondents identify it as the most important factor.
Other relatively low-cost locations on the list include Capetown, Liverpool and Seoul, the latter of which has the lowest broadband costs, which will appeal if you need a large data connection to do your work. Bali isn’t known for its broadband infrastructure, but high-speed internet is available in key towns and 4G mobile access is widespread.
“Although ultra-fast internet access is not available everywhere, infrastructure, coverage, and service have all vastly improved over time in Bali. If your location isn’t too distant, a 4G network is available,” the website Go Visa Free reports.
“With many workers no longer constrained to one single location, the cost of living of popular digital nomad hubs is a key consideration for many workers looking to stretch their paycheck by living abroad,” says Moneytransfers.com CEO Jonathan Merry.
Interestingly, 79% of digital nomads are male, according to Nomadlist, which serves the nomadic working community, 60% are white and 65% are single.
The list of 12 leaves out many popular digital nomad locations throughout Asia and South and Central America. For instance, before Covid-19 sent the world into lockdown, I spent a few days in Siem Reap, the second largest city in Cambodia and home to the incredible Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The accommodation and food were cheap and good quality, the nightlife fantastic. I wasn’t surprised to bump into numerous Kiwi digital nomads running their digital businesses from a laptop, clad in shorts and t-shirts and enjoying cheap cocktails.
Maybe that’s just what's in order to put the stress of the pandemic behind us.
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