Recently, Flamingo App published their study on the cheapest destinations for Digital Nomads, calling it “The Digital Nomad Rich List”, and the results are eye-opening. With digital nomad visas becoming more accessible and the infrastructure being built across the globe with the growth of internet accessibility, remote workers and freelancers now have the opportunity to choose the perfect destination for both their career and quality of life. In this blog, we will compare and contrast the top five countries for digital nomads, focusing on financial stability and why Sri Lanka stands out as the best option for those looking to save a ton of their hard-earned money while living the dream of a Digital Nomad.
Flamingo App comprehensively analysed the total disposable income for remote-working Brits and Americans after accounting for rent, food, transport, and utility bills. The results unveiled the true gems for digital nomads, showcasing countries where remote work can lead to financial empowerment and personal growth.
But first, if you aren’t clear on what a Total Disposable Income (TDI) is, it refers to the money left after subtracting essential expenses such as rent, food, transportation, and utilities from the average salary. It represents the amount that can be saved or used for leisure activities, making it a crucial factor for digital nomads seeking affordability.
In this research, Flamingo App has established following reference points using the values provided for both the US and the UK.
Based on the above-mentioned values taken as the average earnings per month, this TDI is decided. However, the expenses/reduction remains the same for both scenarios.
Top Five Cheapest Countries for Digital Nomads
Now, based on Flamingo’s research, let’s dive into the top five cheapest countries for digital nomads.
Number 05 - Malaysia
Malaysia has emerged as a thriving hotspot for digital nomads seeking a perfect blend of affordability, modernity, and natural beauty. Its robust infrastructure, high-speed internet, and an array of co-working spaces in bustling cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang is an ideal destination for remote work. Malaysia’s diverse culture, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality add to its charm, making it a melting pot of experiences.
The country’s cost of living is relatively low; rounding up the top five in the Flamingo research, Malaysia offers a balance between affordability and modern amenities, with a disposable income of £2,124 for Brits and $4,334 for Americans.
With this, Malaysia allows digital nomads to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. Moreover, Malaysia’s strategic location in Southeast Asia makes it a gateway for exploring the region’s treasures, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests. Whether you’re seeking professional growth, cultural enrichment, or adventure, Malaysia beckons as a vibrant hub for the modern nomadic lifestyle.
Number 04 - Indonesia
Up next on the list comes Indonesia. It stands out as a captivating digital nomad haven, offering a rich tapestry of experiences amidst stunning natural beauty. With its archipelago of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia offers an array of work-friendly environments, from the bustling streets of Jakarta to the tranquil shores of Bali, which is one of the most famous destinations among the digital nomad communities around the world. High-speed internet, co-working spaces, and a vibrant community of remote workers have sprouted across the country, fostering a thriving ecosystem for digital nomads.
The cost of living in Indonesia is relatively affordable, making it an attractive destination for those looking to stretch their budget without compromising on quality of life, providing digital nomads with £2,182 (Brits) and $4,407 (Americans) in disposable income.
Beyond work, Indonesia’s diverse culture, vibrant arts scene, and mouthwatering cuisine beckon exploration, while its breathtaking landscapes, from Bali’s rice terraces to Komodo Island’s dragon-filled shores, offer endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Indonesia is a captivating canvas for the digital nomadic lifestyle, where work and play seamlessly intertwine amidst tropical paradise.
03 - Colombia and North Macedonia
Colombia and North Macedonia are tied in third place, where digital nomads can enjoy a total disposable income of £2,195 (Brits) and $4,424 (Americans).
Considering these two tied destinations, Colombia has emerged as an alluring destination for digital nomads seeking a blend of vibrant culture and stunning natural landscapes. Colombia has become a favourite among remote workers with its improving infrastructure, reliable internet connectivity, and increasing co-working spaces. Locating closer to the USA, Colombia brings a more leisurely lifestyle with a great deal of cost reductions in their spending while having the same or almost the same time zone, making it easier to work at almost the same time for US natives.
From the bustling streets of Bogotá to the laid-back charm of Medellín and the serene beauty of Cartagena’s beaches, Colombia provides a wide range of experiences. Colombia is rich in history, music, and delicious cuisine, so it invites nomads to immerse themselves in its culture. Moreover, the country’s geographical diversity, from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon rainforest and the Caribbean coast, offers countless opportunities for adventure and relaxation, making Colombia a captivating choice for the modern nomadic lifestyle.
On the other hand, North Macedonia has quietly become a hidden gem for digital nomads in Europe. This Balkan nation offers a unique blend of history, culture, and affordability that appeals to remote workers. Skopje, the capital city, provides reliable internet access and several co-working spaces, while the overall cost of living is quite budget-friendly. The charm of North Macedonia lies in its picturesque landscapes, with serene lakes like Ohrid and Prespa and the rugged beauty of the Matka Canyon, offering plenty of opportunities to unwind after work. The country’s rich history is evident in its architecture and ancient sites, such as the town of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site. North Macedonia’s warm hospitality and delicious Balkan cuisine add to its appeal, making it a rising star among digital nomad destinations in Europe, where you can experience a perfect balance of work and exploration.
02 - Argentina
Argentina is another enticing destination for digital nomads who crave a blend of South American charm, cosmopolitan cities, and breathtaking natural wonders. Argentina has become increasingly popular among remote workers with its well-developed infrastructure, reliable internet, and a burgeoning co-working scene. The cost of living is relatively cheap and closely offers a comfortable lifestyle, with £2,200 for Brits and $4,430 for Americans as a disposable income. This allows nomads to savour the country’s rich culture and diverse landscapes without straining their budget.
Buenos Aires, the capital, boasts a vibrant arts scene, lively tango culture, and numerous co-working spaces, making it a hotspot for digital nomads. Beyond the city, Argentina’s diverse geography beckons with the mesmerizing landscapes of Patagonia, the wine regions of Mendoza, and the stunning Iguazu Falls in the north.
Argentinian cuisine, famous for its succulent steaks and empanadas, is a culinary delight, and the country’s passion for football adds to its cultural allure. The warmth and friendliness of the Argentinian people create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors, making it easy to connect with locals and fellow nomads alike. Argentina truly offers a remarkable balance between work and exploration, making it an enchanting choice for those seeking the digital nomad lifestyle in South America.
The Crown Winner - Sri Lanka
With a total disposable income of £2,282 for Brits and $4,534 for Americans, Sri Lanka takes the crown as the most affordable destination for remote workers.
Thanks to its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and the anticipation of its upcoming Digital Nomad Visa, Sri Lanka is on its way to becoming an exciting digital nomad hub. With cabinet approval granted for its DN Visa this month, Sri Lanka is gearing up to welcome remote workers worldwide. This tropical paradise offers a unique blend of modern amenities and ancient charm, making it an attractive destination for those seeking both productivity and adventure.
While the Digital Nomad Visa is yet to be officially launched, Sri Lanka’s infrastructure, including reliable internet access and co-working spaces, is steadily improving. The cost of living is relatively cheaper, and the Flamingo report confirms it. The country’s diverse landscapes, from pristine beaches along the southern coast to lush tea plantations in the central highlands, provide endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation.
Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture are reflected in its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the ancient city of Anuradhapura and the stunning Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The warm hospitality of the Sri Lankan people and the mouthwatering local cuisine, featuring aromatic curries and tropical fruits, add to the appeal of this island nation.
As Sri Lanka prepares to roll out its Digital Nomad Visa, it promises to become a captivating destination where remote workers can seamlessly combine work and leisure while experiencing the magic of this jewel in the Indian Ocean.
Also, Flamingo reports that neither the UK nor the USA currently extends digital nomad visas to individuals from other countries, disqualifying them from inclusion in the list of affordable destinations. But, if we considered both countries, the UK would rank eighth, and the US would rank third in terms of the most expensive places to live.”
If you have the flexibility to work from any location, why not choose a destination that enriches your life? Whether it’s the sun-kissed beaches of Indonesia, the vibrant cultural scenes of Argentina, or the breathtaking natural landscapes of Sri Lanka. Remote work offers the opportunity to break free from the confines of our usual surroundings and instead become a portal to diverse global experiences, cultural immersion, and financial empowerment. Whether you choose to work from Sri Lanka or explore other destinations on the list, the world is your office, and the possibilities are endless. Embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and embark on a journey of financial empowerment and global experiences.
Remember, Sri Lanka awaits you!