Freelancing has evolved from being a way to earn an extra buck after your 9 to 5 schedule to an actual lifestyle. More and people are quitting their jobs to become full-time freelancers and it doesn’t take them long to realize that they could be doing it from anywhere in the world. The new term coined for it is “digital nomads” – people who combine traveling and working. After all, if you don’t have an office that requires your daily presence, why not communicate with your clients from a new country every month?
Because we are great supporters of a healthy work-life balance, we have put together a list of the best countries for freelancers. The criteria we used in our ranking are: costs, safety and friendliness. In a nutshell: awesome places that you can live in with little money, with no risk and that offer the opportunity to make new friends. Without further ado, this is the mighty list:
- Thailand – amazing beaches & very friendly locals
The country is famous for its beaches, so why not send your next project from under a palm tree, gazing at the deep blue sea? Plus, the rent is extremely low, especially if you don’t choose the most touristic of sites (And why should you? You can setup base somewhere near them and then explore at your own will). The Thai cuisine is famous for a reason: its surprising mixes of flavors and textures will always keep you wanting for more; and that’s ok because the food is very, very cheap in Thailand, plus natural! Internet and other telecommunication fees are also very cheap – this is extremely important, as you will also need to work there, not just play.
For bonus points: Thailand has had for some years now a universal health care system. The bureaucracy for getting insured might be tricky, but once you’ve figured it out, you’ll have nothing else to worry about.
- Spain – history & culture
This Mediterranean country enjoys a warm climate throughout the year; be careful, though, summers, can be extremely hot! Aside from that, you will be enjoying Spain’s unbeatable historical sites and its impressive cultural heritage. In this respect, Spain is quite unique, having been influenced by several categories of peoples throughout its history.
You will get to learn about all that, drink their amazing sangria and eat sea fruit paellas until you can’t move away from the table for just a few Euros. Spain is one of the cheapest European countries when it comes to food and rent, so all you need now is a plane ticket. You will have to watch out for one thing, though: not catching the Spanish traditional laid back attitude; while lying in the sun all day without any care in the world may sound tempting, you will soon lose clients.
- Hong Kong – for those who want to live life at full speed
If an active and hectic lifestyle is more your speed, then you should definitely look into spending some time in Hong Kong. Unlike the above two countries, Hong Kong currently has a booming economy, so you might actually get some local clients if you are good at networking.
All the services are exemplary; you will enjoy easy access to ATMs and medical care, as well as one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. Plus, if you are not extremely picky and don’t want to live in a neighborhood that rivals New York’s Manhattan, rent and utilities will also be affordable.
- Romania – a little bit of everything
Did you know that Romania’s Internet is one of the fastest in the world? What freelancer doesn’t want speedy (and extremely cheap!) Internet and free wi-fi almost everywhere? Even more, everything is very affordable anywhere in Romania, even in its capital city, Bucharest, which, by the way, has one of the liveliest night lives in Europe.
If you don’t care for clubbing, you could always spend your work & play days in the picturesque Transylvania and, who knows, you might even run into Dracula (just kidding, that’s a myth). All in all, this country offers some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, well-balanced weather, a low crime rate and excellent food!
- Portugal – fall in love with pastries
If you’re a foodie, then you should definitely put Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon. E-mail your grumpiest client while enjoying some famous pasteis de nata and you won’t even care that you’ll have to redo the whole project!
Just like Romania, Portugal has fast internet and free wi-fi in most public spaces, plus extremely affordable accommodation (in hotels/hostels and rent apartments). Its beautiful scenery and low crime rate make ideal for those who have no problem working while on a bus towards a stranded beach.
Have you decided yet? What is your next destination to work and play?