- What should you look for when searching for the best remote work locations?
- The best remote work destinations on planet Earth
- How to Form a U.S. Business while working from anywhere
Q: Can I live anywhere with a remote job?
A: One of the best things about working remotely is complete freedom of movement. As long as you have an internet connection, you can log in and work from the beaches of Costa Rica, the streets of Lisbon, or anywhere else that catches your fancy. However, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind before you begin your working holiday – including tax implications, the cost of living, and access to reliable internet.
According to the most recent estimates, remote workers have increased by 159% since 2009.
Forbes reports that in just three years, almost one-quarter of the entire US workforce will be working from home.
Some might argue that the shift towards remote work is merely a trend – that everything will “go back to normal” as we emerge from the pandemic. While it’s true that many companies are calling their workers back to the office, remote work is here to stay.
Even before the pandemic, almost 5 million US employees were working remotely. The pandemic might have accelerated the push toward remote work, but this movement was already well underway before the emergence of Covid.
And it will continue long after Covid is relegated to the history books.
So if you’re on the fence about pursuing remote work, you should know that it’s not going away anytime soon.
This might be the moment you’ve been waiting for to ditch your “9-to-5” at the office and jump headfirst into the world of digital nomadism.
One of the key benefits of working from home is the ability to live virtually anywhere on the face of the Earth. Suddenly, you’re no longer tied to any particular location.
Instead, you can travel the world and visit all the places you dreamed of while grinding it out at the office. And here’s the best part – you can earn decent money while on your travels.
If you’re trying to determine the best place to work remote, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll share plenty of tips and tricks for choosing the best place to work remote – and we’ll also share some of our own recommendations.
- What should you look for when searching for the best remote work locations?
- The best remote work destinations on planet Earth
- How a Virtual Office can support your remote work
What should you look for when searching for the best remote work locations?
If you’re searching for the best place to work remote, there are 5 things you should keep in mind:
- Internet Reliability
- Tax Implications
- Payment Processing
Let’s take a closer look at each of these key areas:
As with virtually any other situation, safety is always your top priority when trotting the globe as a digital nomad.
Some nations offer cheap living costs for a reason: Their entire economy is a complete mess.
This instability is often caused by deep-rooted corruption, organized crime, and general lawlessness.
On paper, it might seem like certain nations are perfect for remote work. They might offer excellent weather, laughably cheap living costs, and plenty of entertainment.
When you dig a little deeper, however, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not a safe place to live.
Pickpockets on the street are bad enough, but what happens when the local mafia or cartel finds out someone is earning six figures from their laptop in the local hotel?
If you want to run the risk and live dangerously, these nations might still be appealing. Perhaps the danger will add to your sense of adventure.
But you should also be aware of the potential consequences.
You could be held for ransom, and your family members might be forced to bail you out.
And remember, if the local police are paid off by the gangs, there’s nothing you can do if you become a target. Sometimes the police are the ones who shake you down for money.
Aside from organized crime, there are a few other potential sources of danger.
First of all, it’s probably not a good idea to work in a country where there is a strong possibility of war. As we have seen in recent months, even seemingly stable nations can be invaded. This can leave westerners trapped inside war zones.
Another potential hazard is a terrorist attack. Certain nations are at a much higher risk for these attacks, and major cities are usually the targets.
The point is simple:
You can’t just head for the country with the cheapest living costs. You also need to consider the bigger picture. Ask yourself why the living costs are so cheap before you pack your bags.
If you’re looking for the best place to work remote, you also have to consider the key ingredient – the one thing you can’t live without.
No, we’re not talking about food, water, or even air.
We’re talking about an internet connection.
It’s easy to take a reliable internet connection for granted if you live in a developed, western nation like the United States. But in a less developed country, simply finding somewhere to work can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.
There are plenty of cheap nations that offer solid internet. But you should always do your homework before you head for the airport. The last thing you want is to arrive at a tropical paradise – only to discover that it’s virtually impossible to get any work done.
Some remote workers are more reliant on a strong internet connection than others. For example, someone who runs a YouTube channel will need a fast upload speed. Waiting days to upload a 10-minute video simply isn’t viable.
You might also need a strong internet connection if you’re working with advanced software. Another obvious example is day trading. When a few seconds of lag can cost you thousands of dollars on the stock market, a fast internet connection is mandatory.
One thing you need to watch out for is a nation with an extremely unreliable power grid. Developing countries tend to have “rolling blackouts” that can occur with virtually no warning whatsoever.
These nations can’t keep their power grid running reliably, so you might lose power while you’re in the middle of your work.
This can be especially frustrating if you lose hours of work. You might also lose power while you’re in the middle of an important meeting.
Again, it’s necessary to do a few hours of homework before buying your plane ticket. Read as much as you can about the nation’s internet reliability and the overall infrastructure of its energy grid.
One of the key reasons many digital nomads choose to leave the United States is that other nations are much more affordable.
Because of this, remote work isn’t just an opportunity to see the world. It can also be much more profitable – allowing you to save more money and stack your wealth faster.
When assessing the affordability of your target location, look at the big picture.
Your rent might be cheap, but what about food? For example, an island nation that needs to import all of its food might offer cheap accommodation – but you might be paying twice the normal rate for a fairly basic meal.
Some nations have high energy costs – and this is something to consider with the current instability and inflation in Europe.
As we head into the winter of 2022-2023, Europe is in a very precarious situation with Russian gas exports. Citizens are preparing to spend insane amounts of money just to heat their homes, while some might be forced to choose between food and energy.
This is something you want to avoid as a remote worker.
There’s nothing wrong with creating a basic budget before you leave. Try to plan out a typical day in your new location and determine how much money you’ll spend on food, rent, entertainment, and more.
One of the easiest ways to figure out a nation’s affordability is by examining its cost of living index.
The cost of living index of a particular country is an accurate representation of what you’ll spend while living there.
This measures the cost of a “fixed basket of goods and services” and compares it to that of other nations. The lower the number, the cheaper the nation.
You also need to consider tax implications when searching for the best place to work remote.
This area is so complex that your best bet is to simply get advice from an accountant. The best course of action depends entirely on which country you choose, how long you wish to stay, and your main place of residence.
For US workers, however, the same basic rules apply:
You will be taxed in the United States regardless of where you reside. As long as you hold US citizenship, you are obligated to file your taxes with the IRS.
The United States is essentially the only nation in the world that follows this system, as all other nations tax you based on where you reside.
This means that in some situations, you might be “double taxed.” This is something you should avoid at all costs, so check with your accountant before you select a particular nation (or state).
Last but not least, it’s important to consider how you’ll be paid when selecting the best place to work remote.
Common payment processing apps like PayPal or Zelle might be completely unavailable in some nations.
You also need to consider the reliability of the banks. Can you depend on them to handle wire transfers?
For whatever reason, some companies still insist on sending you checks by mail instead of these digital payment systems.
If you find yourself in this situation, you need to consider how long it will take for your checks to reach you – and whether you’ll even still be there when they arrive.
Options for the best place to work remote in the world
Here are our top five recommendations for the best place to work remote:
- Sri Lanka
- Costa Rica
Let’s examine each of these options a little closer:
Portugal is one of the most developed nations on our list, offering an excellent standard of living with very affordable cities. If you love historic architecture and hot weather, you’ll be right at home in Portugal.
As with many European nations, you’ll find those language barriers largely insignificant in Portugal. Virtually everyone speaks English – especially in big cities like Lisbon or Porto.
That being said, Lisbon can be a little touristy – especially in the summer. You might find the crowds overwhelming if you come from a more rural area, but people are still very friendly.
Lisbon is also earning a reputation for being slightly dirty with excessive graffiti.
But there’s no reason to settle in Lisbon if you like the sound of Portugal. Some of the smaller cities along the coast are beautiful, and they offer a vibe reminiscent of surf towns in California. With a cost of living index of just 66/137 and an average internet speed of 116 Mbps, Portugal is a solid choice for remote work.
Those who have visited Hungary return home gushing about its beauty, with many arguing that it’s the best place to work remote in Europe.
Expect rich history, jaw-dropping architecture, and very safe streets. Budapest gives you everything you could ever want in a city.
With a cost of living index of 94/137 and an average internet speed of almost 214 Mbps, Hungary is a no-brainer for digital nomads. Don’t be surprised if you never want to come home.
Digital nomads tend to be divided over Mexico. Some love it, while others will warn you to stay away.
As with almost any other nation, there are good parts of Mexico and bad parts. The issue is that the nation has more bad areas than a typical country and that many digital nomads wander into these areas without realizing it.
Crime rates are high, so you need to be careful and do your homework before choosing the best place to work remote in Mexico.
That being said, Mexico is very affordable with a cost of living index of 88/139. It’s also somewhat close to home – especially if you live in a Southern state – allowing you to pop back home to visit family with relative ease.
Just be aware that the average internet speed is quite low at around 57 Mbps.
Sri Lanka is something of a wildcard – a nation that many digital nomads never even consider.
Well, perhaps they should – because Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful nations in all of Asia. With a unique culture and plenty of history, Sri Lanka can keep you occupied for months or even years.
The cost of living is exceptionally low, allowing you to save plenty of cash with a cost of living index of 126/137.
Now for the downsides:
You might have trouble finding a reliable connection that meets your needs, as the average internet speed is just 28.49 Mbs.
In addition, the language barrier is a bit of an issue here, as fewer people speak English.
Because of these factors, the best place to work remote from Sri Lanka might be somewhere with a reliable internet connection and plenty of other English speakers.
Last but not least, we have a nation that offers a little bit of everything.
Costa Rica is a tropical nation with plenty of English speakers. It also boasts a surprisingly robust infrastructure.
The cost of living is seriously low, with an index of just 61/137.
The internet speed isn’t bad either, at 60.70 Mbps.
It’s an all-around solid choice. You can save your cash, interact with locals without having to learn a new language, and connect to the internet with relative ease.
It’s no wonder Costa Rica is a popular destination for numerous digital nomads.
How a Virtual Office can support your remote work
Alliance Virtual Offices gives you the tools you need to try out any of these digital nomad locations.
This can make it easier to file taxes, and it also boosts your company’s reputation. While Sri Lanka or Mexico might be cheap, your customers might raise their eyebrows when they learn that your company is based in these locations.
A US address is inherently more trustworthy, and you don’t need to give up this benefit if you choose a virtual address.
A virtual address also gives you access to mail forwarding and a host of other benefits. To learn more, check out Alliance Virtual Offices today.
Taking the next step as you find the best place to work remote
If you’re ready to take the next step as a digital nomad, the world is truly your oyster.
Do your homework, take advantage of tools like virtual offices, and you can truly make the most of this new digital age.