When my business partner, Derar, and I developed the idea for a company, there were a lot of things that we were thinking about. We were creating a program for remote workers so they could travel to other countries and enjoy the cultures around them stress-free. We knew that figuring out the needs of our community was key to shaping how people perceived our program and how well members enjoyed the program.
We were excited to look back on our experiences working remotely and generate a list of areas that we needed to research in order to find the perfect working destinations. These are the five areas that helped us decide what destinations were best for our digital nomads.
1. Places to work
If you've ever worked from a location that didn't have access to good Wi-Fi, you know how frustrating it can be. While we were researching cities for our program we made sure to pay extra attention to the cities and that had not only had coworking spaces readily available, but also cities that had a lot of cafés which offered free Wi-Fi. We did this by looking on sites like Workfrom.co, which allows you to see cafes and co-working spots in cities you enter. By looking for both of types of venues, we knew that our program members would always have access to the Internet and would have several places to call their office.
Ultimately, we chose Prague, Czech Republic because we made some solid connections with local 24 hour co-working spaces and knew that there were cafes with wifi available nearby.
2. Friendliness to foreigners
Sure, anyone can find a café to work from. But even if you find a café to work from, that doesn't mean you'll always get along with the community.
We researched sites such as nomadlist.com to research the cities we were interested in traveling to and looked at how they rated the "friendliness to foreigners" in each city. If it was green, we knew we were headed in the right direction. If it said "great" as the description, we knew we hit the jackpot. Which is why we chose Bologna, Italy. Not only was their wifi access great, but they were known to be friendly to foreigners.
3. Fun and activities
A solid work day maybe takes up 8-10 hours of our time. That leaves at least 5 hours of freedom to roam around and explore, not to mention the weekends. We took to Reddit and Google to see what there was to do in each city. Questions like "What to do in (city here)?" were some of our top searched phrases. We subscribed to local subreddits. We scoured TripAdvisor. We stalked friends that had already traveled to that area.
In the end, we were looking for destinations that had activities locally and further away. Casual bars, scenic destinations, museums, adventurous excursions... Everything. We wanted to be able to see new things during the week and then go on little excursions on the weekends to explore more of what the country had to offer. So, we chose Split, Croatia. We figured if our digital nomads weren't sailing off the coast of Split, they could at least go to Dubrovnik and see the filming locations for Game of Thrones.
4. Cost of living
For us, the idea of being a digital nomad means being able to comfortably travel to several cities and countries. We spent a lot of time researching currencies in different countries to figure out where we could get the best bang for our buck. We also looked into cost of housing, cost of office space, and cost of food.
For us, we found that Istanbul, Turkey gave us a lot of room to really splurge on our surroundings and food. With 1 Turkish Lima being equivalent to .33 US dollars, we could buy a pastry for as little as little as .66 cents! Or delicious meat kebabs for less than a dollar.
Our best guess is that if you're a digital nomad, seeing new cultures is probably high on your list of things to do. There may be some culture shock every now and then, but that's the fun of traveling!
We took our time looking at blogs of other digital nomads to see how they were spending their time in different countries. We looked for exotic foods, traditions, festivals, and lifestyles. We intentionally looked for places that would make us feel uprooted and open our mind up to new possibilities.
As Andrew Murphy once said, "You are confined only by the walls you build yourself."
What do you look for when choosing your next remote destination?
Comment below with your answer!
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