As digital nomads country-hopping around the world, we’re always searching for destinations based on the cost of living, whether those hard-earned dollars can stretch furthest, and of course, on how nice the weather is, particularly this time of year.
For this very reason, Europe (and much of the Northern Hemisphere) is immediately ruled out during the colder months: though it is much cheaper to live in when it’s not peak season, the freezing temperatures can be a bit of a downer for most.
It also goes without saying many digital nomads are young entrepreneurs whose small online businesses are yet to make huge profits, and trust us, though that may be the goal for some, we know not everyone has the unlimited funds to lead a luxurious lifestyle in Ibiza or Dubai just yet.
Where, then, is the sun still shining right now, and you can save a lot of money by living on less than $1,000 a month as you sample some culture?
Hoi An, Vietnam
Our first pick is Hoi An, a charming town in tropical Vietnam with a History that spans back at least two millennia.
Over the centuries, it was at the center of a power struggle between Asian and European forces as a strategic port on the shores of the ‘Mother River’.
Hoi An has been influenced by several different cultures over the centuries, and it’s one of a handful of places in Southeast Asia where you will find colonial structures left behind by both the Japanese, Chinese, and French, including a 16th-century bridge pagoda and yellow-washed houses.
Other than delving into this hot melting pot, you will soon find that the UNESCO-listed Old Town is not only jam-packed with ancient temples and picturesque corners but also numerous work-friendly cafes where you sit at peace and get work out of the way while sipping a freshly-squeezed fruit smoothie.
Hoi An is also one of the cheapest sunny destinations in the world, as it costs on average only $889 a month to live there, with delectable street food sold at the negligible cost of less than a dollar, and Airbnb rentals ranging from $146 to $169 per week.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, in the lesser-known island of Lombok, Bali’s ‘other sister’, the small coastal town of Senggigi is drawing in a growing number of nomads with its appealing natural sights, still largely unspoiled by mass tourism and laid-back living.
The island of Lombok as a whole is rising in popularity as a cheaper, more authentic alternative to Bali since the historical island became overrun with Westerners and millennial wellness-seekers, but Senggigi in particular steals the limelight due to its natural beauty:
The High Street is easily the settlement’s liveliest spot, lined by tall palm trees interspersed with restaurants, local houses, and shops, yet a short scooter ride away, visitors will hit up the gorgeous white sand strip of Senggigi, between a protected reserve and waters of the shiniest blue.
Basing yourself in Senggigi for a month, you should expect to live comfortably off of $916 per month, making it over a thousand dollars cheaper to reside than overdeveloped Bali, where the average monthly expenses easily total $1,964.
Matara, Sri Lanka
Located on an island country off of mainland India, the medium-sized city of Matara has long been a backpacker favorite in South Asia owing to its stunning coastal scenery and awe-inspiring traditions, but it seems to have found its calling as a nomad hotspot in recent years.
Nomads are flocking to Sri Lanka and into Matara specifically for the affordable consumer prices, simple way of life, and of course, the year-round warm weather, which rarely dips below 75.2°F. In a way, it is everything budget-conscious nomads could hope for:
It is safe, with lower levels of crime compared to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, the internet is fast (62 Mbps on average), and air quality is considered ‘good’, a rare feat for an underdeveloped Asian destination. Then, there is Matara’s immense cultural value:
Much of its colonial architecture, dating back to periods of Portuguese and Dutch settlement, has been preserved, including a star-shaped fort and an 18th-century Reformed Church 18th-century: culture, the ocean, friendly locals, and high levels of safety, all of this for under $974 a month.
Luxor is an Egyptian city straddling the River Nile, and it’s best known for its impressive concentration of historical landmarks, including the manmade wonder that is Luxor Temple, an ancient complex built 3,423 years ago.
For that reason, it’s fascinated Egyptolists and wide-eyed tourists for centuries, but as of late, it’s reinventing itself as a digital nomad hub, with a more temperate climate compared to the scorching, arid Egyptian heartland, better air quality than Cairo, and crime levels within an acceptable range.
Luxor has a growing expat community, a clear indication it is foreigner-friendly, and though it is not as developed – poverty remains a widespread issue across Egypt – it offers Westerners, in particular Americans earning in dollars, a higher purchasing power.
This is directly linked to the depreciation of the local currency. Bad news for locals, for sure, but not something nomads are generally upset about when trading in their powerful dollars for Egyptian pounds. According to estimates by Nomad List, digital nomads spend roughly $860 per month in Luxor.
Are you a digital nomad looking to get inspired for your New Year travels? Here are Travel Off Path’s top digital nomad destinations for 2024.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com