The 3 Best and Worst Places I’ve Lived as a Digital Nomad

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I’ve worked remotely around the world for over 8 years and during that time I’ve learned the good and the bad about remote working destinations. Today I’m going to share some of the best places I’ve worked remotely, and some of the worst. 

I’m going to rank the countries on numerous factors including their internet, coworking situations, cost of living, ability to make friends, etc. Here is a breakdown of my categories: 

  • Internet/Phone Service – this is how fast the wifi works, how easy it is to get data plans and hotspot from your phone and the overall costs of internet 
  • Cost of Living – how much it’s going to cost to live in this country for a brief period of time. That means avoiding contracts with housing or phone plans 
  • Fun – are there good bars and restaurants? Is it easy to make friends? Are there a lot of hobbies and activities?
  • Places to work from – do they have coworking spaces or cafes that allow computers all day?
  • Safety – how safe was it while I was there and how safe did I feel?

And yes, I am going to be honest and share the worst places I’ve lived as a digital nomad along with the best. But before you get after me for saying that I didn’t like working remotely in a certain destination, I want to remind you that it doesn’t mean I didn’t love that destination for a million other reasons. It just didn’t have the things that really make a difference when you’re living remotely in a new country. 

*This blog contains affiliate links. That means if you like something I recommend, and shop this post, I’ll earn a small (and yes… I do mean small…) commission that helps me keep justifying this blog. Oh and it’s no additional cost for you! Thanks for helping to keep the dream alive. 

3 Best Places I’ve Lived as a Digital Nomad


Score = 34/35

  • Internet: 7/7
  • Cost of Living: 7/7
  • Fun: 7/7
  • Places to Work From: 7/7
  • Safety: 6/7

Thailand is my personal favorite and somewhere I will always return to. I’ve been to Thailand several times over the last 5 years and it’s absolutely incredible. The people, the food, and the diversity of islands and places you can visit are just incredible. Thailand is an incredibly easy country to get around, has a really affordable cost of living and so much diversity in the islands and landscapes. 

It’s an easy place to make friends and it’s a really safe country for female solo travelers. The only thing to be careful about is the scooter situation! Personally, I’ve been in a scooter accident (in Bali) and seeing people race around on scooters in Thailand as well can be dangerous! Be safe – wear your helmet! 

Thailand is definitely up there in my favorite places I’ve worked remotely.


Score = 29/35

  • Internet: 7/7
  • Cost of Living: 4/7
  • Fun: 7/7
  • Places to work from: 7/7
  • Safety: 5/7

It’s no secret that Bali is an incredible place to live and work as a digital nomad. Ask anyone in this ‘world’ and they’ll likely have stories of their own time in Bali, with little but fond memories. And it’s true. Bali is an amazing place to live and work remotely. For the most part they have great wifi, coworking spaces and cafes that will let you hangout and work all day. Bali is also home to huge communities of digital nomads making it easy to make friends and network. 

While there are a lot of ways to live cheaply in Bali, it’s still really tempting to go spend $6-$8 a day at coffee shops and cafes, plus take advantage of all of the spas, gyms, nail salons and other amenities that make Bali great. For that reason, I ended up finding Bali not nearly as cheap as other parts of SouthEast Asia. It was also the place I got in a scooter accident, so please be careful on scooters there! It is busy! 

I would say that Bali is the perfect place to get your toes wet with working and living as a digital nomad. 


Score = 28/35

  • Internet: 7/7
  • Cost of Living: 4/7
  • Fun: 6/7
  • Places to work from: 7/7
  • Safety: 4/7

Portugal is one of the cheaper countries in Europe so it was definitely an appealing place to live as a digital nomad – especially when I first started out. I’ve traveled down Portugal from Porto to the Algarve Coast and I think Portugal is an incredible place to work remotely. Lisbon is a city with tons of digital nomads so it’s really easy to make friends, join coworking spaces and enjoy all that Portugal has to offer. 

Personally, I think it’s a beautiful coastline, and during the low seasons, we had many spots right along the coast all to ourselves! I’ve traveled to Portugal solo as well and besides a robbery in Porto, I’ve had no trouble exploring on my own. I’ve also explored Madeira which is such a fun place to explore, hike and live!

Like most of Europe they also have an incredible public transportation system which makes it easy to get anywhere you want to go in Portugal and beyond.  

3 Worst Places I’ve Lived as a Digital Nomad 

And now for the worst… places I’ve lived as a digital nomad. Keep in mind these are some of my favorite places to travel and explore, but they weren’t the best when it came to the quality of internet, coworking spaces that I desire when working remotely in a space. There are certain places that are just better for traveling and better for working. That doesn’t take away from these places, it just means that I’d rather visit these countries or places when I can step away from my work, do fewer meetings and enjoy my surroundings.  


Score = 25/35

  • Internet (outside of Cairo): 3/7
  • Cost of Living: 7/7
  • Fun: 7/7
  • Places to work from: 4/7
  • Safety: 4/7

I’ve been to Egypt multiple times and I’ve always loved it. It’s the sort of place that I’ll keep going back to again and again. But it’s not a country that I want to live in as a digital nomad at this time. 

The biggest reason for that? I don’t want to live in Cairo. 

If you love Cairo and that’s where you want to be in Egypt – then it has essentially everything you need as a digital nomad. There’s a big sense of community there, it’s affordable and there’s good wifi! But I’m not a big city girl, so I wanted to escape the chaos of Cairo and live in other parts of the country. 

In Dahab I found one coworking space that offered intermittent wifi, but the owner would lend me the keys so I could stay and work while he was out. The hotel I was staying at was quite nice — and had horrible service. There was no working by the beach or working by the pool here. I still managed to get my work done, but not without some frustrations. For that reason, I wouldn’t be able to work remotely in Egypt for extended periods of time. 

And in other areas like Aswan and Luxor I just struggled with wifi and phone service. It’s also harder to make friends or find coworking spaces, meaning you’re on your own a lot. 


Score = 23/35

  • Internet: 3/7
  • Cost of Living: 3/7
  • Fun: 7/7
  • Places to work from: 3/7
  • Safety: 7/7

I’ve been to Mauritius twice now and both times it’s absolutely blown me away. Everywhere you go on that island is postcard perfect. They have incredible wildlife, beautiful beaches, and some of the best diving in the world. We actually went to Mauritius with a ‘remote work visa’ and unfortunately we only ended up spending a few weeks there. 

I would have stayed in Mauritius for a lot longer but it didn’t offer the overall lifestyle that we were looking for. A big thing for us when we’re living somewhere is just the ability to go to a bar (bonus points if it’s a beach bar) and meet people, socialize and hangout. Mauritius is very high end, so most of the beach bars are in 5 star hotels, feel very separate from local culture and cost a lot of money. 

We also really struggled with the internet here. We’re not new to working remotely or hotspotting when connection is slow. But we struggled so much that for two weeks we decided that we were just going to take holiday and worry about work when we got back to London. Even hotspotting our phones could manage to keep up with the work we needed to do and neither the hotels or the Airbnb’s had good enough internet for us. 

At the end of the day – I loved Mauritius as a holiday, but it was frustrating to get my work done there, so I wouldn’t choose it as my top digital nomad destination. 

The U.S. 

Score = 23/35

  • Internet: 5/7
  • Cost of Living: 3/7
  • Fun: 7/7
  • Places to work from: 5/7
  • Safety: 4/7

Crazy I know – and HUGE, I know. So this one is probably going to stir up some controversy but I have to say that the US is not my favorite place to work remotely and live as a digital nomad. You may know that my partner and I are currently traveling the US and living in our converted sprinter van. We absolutely love the adventure but it’s not without its challenges. 

America has become so expensive, and paying for the things we need to work remotely like phone plans and the internet are more than triple what we’ve paid anywhere else in the world. Then, with our phone plans we keep getting capped. First they capped how much we could hotspot, then they capped how much data we actually had – on an unlimited plan! We’ve run into multiple frustrations on this front. 

There’s also the issue of health insurance. When I’m abroad I use digital nomad health insurance… when I’m in America… that’s a whole other story and a whole new expense that I have to pay a fortune for. By the time you finish paying for your life here, you don’t have much left over for hobbies, classes and other things that I usually love doing abroad. 

And while there’s plenty of places you can pitch up with your laptop, because restaurants and cafes want a high turnover rate of customers, you don’t always feel welcome sitting for extended periods of time in one place. 

Lastly, I have friends in the U.S. because I grew up here… but I find it almost impossible to make new friends. People don’t really understand the transient lifestyle and that makes it hard to find friends when you’re not in a place for very long — let me tell you, this isn’t the case in other places where people are used to transient digital nomads. You’ll make friends for life even if you only spent 3 weeks in a place. 

For those reasons I would have to say the US is not one of the worst places I’ve lived as a digital nomad. 

One thing you’ll notice on all of my ratings is that I have a lot of fun in all of these countries. From incredible diving to hiking and beautiful scenery or history, each of these countries has something unique and wonderful to offer. 

Digital Nomad Insurance 

Wherever you travel, make sure that you’re protected! I’ll be the first to tell you that I used to travel without insurance… and when stuff went wrong – I would end up paying a lot of money out of pocket for items stolen, routine doctor’s visits and so much more. 

Learn from my mistakes and make sure that you’re covered wherever you go! SafetyWing offers digital nomad insurance – I’ve used them for several years now (and will continue to use them anytime I leave the US). They have great prices, good coverage, and really helpful customer service! 

Learn more about Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing

Have you lived as a digital nomad before? If yes, where’s your favorite place? And if not, has this list inspired you to try somewhere new?