The creative workforce is on the move. Travelling the world and clocking in to work wherever there’s WiFi, digital nomads are sampling the lifestyles of the most fascinating cities on the globe.
New research by Solopress has delved into the needs of digital nomads to reveal the best places on the planet to work remotely in a creative role. By looking at metrics such as average hourly rate freelancers, cost of living and even Wifi speeds we have discovered the best cities for creative digital nomads.
Did you know, for example, that Istanbul offers the cheapest hotdesking prices at just £64? Or that Bangkok offers the cheapest month Airbnb stay at just £1,176? Whether it’s for a long time, or just a good time, this new information will help creative digital nomads to identify their next stopgap hotspot. So pack the MacBook in the backpack, and let’s hit the road…
Cities where there’s most interest in adopting a digital nomad lifestyle
Remote working has become an increasingly popular concept since the pandemic, and it doesn’t have to mean ‘working from home’. We decided to investigate the whereabouts of individuals expressing the greatest interest in becoming digital nomads by analysing search volumes across 30 cities in the UK and US for the terms digital nomad, digital nomad jobs, remote career and remote jobs.
Here are the 15 most populated cities in the UK and US searching for a digital nomad lifestyle the most:
|Rank||City||Country||Combined monthly search volume for the following terms:
- digital nomad
- digital nomad jobs
- remote career
- remote jobs
|1||New York||United States||19,680|
|3||Los Angeles||United States||8,910|
|9||San Diego||United States||3,200|
|10||San Antonio||United States||3,070|
New Yorkers seem the most keen to get away, with nearly 20,000 searches per month here for terms around remote working. That’s nearly twice the search volume of second-place London.
You might suppose these cities present challenges like high living costs, limited job opportunities, or other factors. Some do, but, as we’ll see, there’s an interesting correlation between the cities that digital nomads wish to flee, and the most attractive destinations!
This evidence strongly suggests that digital nomadism is motivated by a spirit of adventure, rather than the urge to escape your hometown. And why not? When work involves getting creative, a change of scene can bring fresh inspiration.
The top 10 best cities for creative digital nomads
Our unique index ranks 30 cities by combining statistics that determine how well it’s able to meet the needs of the digital nomad.
Let’s talk about those needs for a moment. Stripped to their bare essentials, we’re talking about food, a bed, a desk and a WiFi connection. The price and quality of these resources, along with the remuneration our nomads can expect, will have a huge bearing on the success of their stay.
We analysed some of the world’s best cities across a number of metrics, including the average cost of living per month, Airbnb rates, WiFi quality and more to determine the top cities for creative digital nomads.
Here are the top 10 cities for digital nomads based on our index of variables.
|Rank||City||Country||Average hourly rate freelancers charge for creative roles||Average cost of living per month||Average price of an Airbnb per month||Cost of hotdesking per month||Wifi speeds (Mb/s)|
|3||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||£33||£884||£2,665||£190||87|
|4||Las Vegas||United States||£49||£822||£5,881||£171||61|
|7||Los Angeles||United States||£49||£939||£5,641||£238||66|
Istanbul ranks as the world’s best city for creative digital nomads
The original ‘Nomads’ overthrew the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, ruling the Ottoman Empire from modern-day Istanbul. It’s fitting then, that Istanbul should become the top destination for nomads in the digital age. With the lowest cost of living at £444 per month and the cheapest hotdesking from only £64 per month certainly make Istanbul the thriftiest destination.An alluring combo of affordable accommodation and reasonable returns means Turkey’s largest city is a great spot for remote working, as well as offering a refreshing cultural experience. However, with average WiFi speeds of a sluggish 6Mb/s, workers dealing in droves of data may have to make special arrangements or consider staying elsewhere.
Bangkok and Hong Kong follow in second and third as the best cities for creative digital nomads
We travel over to East Asia for positions two and three in our overall rankings: namely, Bangkok and Hong Kong, where average WiFi speeds are much quicker. Bangkok’s average is a brisk 27Mb/s, while Hong Kong’s is lightning-fast at 87Mb/s. Bangkok offers the lowest cost of a one-month rental stay in an Airbnb at just £1176 and the 4th lowest cost to hot desk for a month (£159).
Thailand is a less prosperous nation than Hong Kong contributing to a less organised infrastructure and poorer public amenities. The flipside is a cheaper cost of living in general at an average of £516 per month.
Hong Kong is the wealthier city, with better public services. However, living costs are more expensive at an average of £884 per month. Accommodation can be over twice the rate of Bangkok at an average of £2665 per month.
Las Vegas claims the 4th spot as one of the best cities for creative digital nomads
Coming in fourth place is Las Vegas. Working remotely from Vegas offers well equipped and reasonably priced workspaces by day, and glitz and glamour by night. On top of that, creatives in Las Vegas hit the jackpot in terms of income, earning a healthy average of £49 per hour. A stay in Nevada’s biggest city will also grant you the opportunity to tick the Grand Canyon off your bucket list.
The best cities for different creative digital nomad roles
Breaking down the data further, it emerges that different creative roles are better suited to different locations. The research uncovered the best cities for digital nomads pursuing popular creative careers, including writers, graphic designers, illustrators, web editors and video editors. While Istanbul and Bangkok remain in the top two spots for writers, graphic designers, illustrators and web designers, Hong Kong and Washington DC come top for video editors.
Writers, graphic designers and illustrators
For workers in these creative fields, Istanbul, Bangkok and Vegas remain in positions one, two and three in terms of our index. Low living costs and cheap accommodation continue to drive high scores for Istanbul and Bangkok. Las Vegas, however, offers a very different proposition for writers, graphic designers and illustrators. While average earnings of £55 per hour are over double those expected in Istanbul and Bangkok, average Airbnb rates of £5,882 per month are up to 5 times higher. Creatives choosing between these destinations will need to weigh their options carefully.
For website designers and creatives working in UX and UI, once again Istanbul and Bangkok refuse to be toppled from the top spots. However, thanks to having the second lowest cost of renting an Airbnb for a month (£1728), Budapest comes in right behind the top two for this sector.
Remote video work requires the frequent transfer of data-heavy files, meaning that video editors tend to be better served in technically developed cities with superfast WiFi. Average WiFi speeds of 87Mb/s, coupled with affordable-hot desking (£190) and living costs (£884), put Hong Kong in the top spot for video editors.
Washington DC comes a close second with an impressive 104Mb/s WiFi speed, but it’s let down by significantly higher overheads. Our perennial all-rounder, Bangkok once again gets a mention in third spot, thanks to low living costs and respectable internet speeds.
There’s never been a better time for digital nomads
Digital nomads are thriving. Using remote working to bring in a steady income, they’re able to sample a globe-trotting lifestyle in cities and countries across the planet.
Video conferencing platforms and collaboration tools like Trello, Slack and Teams mean that remote working represents very little compromise in terms of communication and engagement. Technologies like cloud computing, VPNs, and easy access to high speed WiFi mean that a digital worker’s physical location is increasingly irrelevant.
With the right tools, mindset, and expert guidance, digital nomads look likely to continue to pioneer the future of working creatively, while experiencing the best of what the world has to offer.