The idea of combining work with travel has changed dramatically over the years, in part thanks to remote work becoming more common. (In 2022, more than a third of U.S. employees did at least some of their work at home on workdays.) A number of countries see the potential of remote workers to positively impact their communities and economies, and now more than 20 offer visas specifically for these work-from-anywhere travelers—a sign of how remote work–friendly the world has increasingly become.
Whether you’re looking to explore the Caribbean or Europe while you bring in an income, here are 10 great places in the world to work remotely.
If you’ve ever thought of taking time to explore the untamed wilderness of Banff National Park or Montreal’s Quebecois culture, consider working remotely from Canada. Currently, U.S. citizens who want to work from the country can stay for up to six months. But in July 2023, the Canadian government announced a new digital nomad visa that will allow remote workers to apply for a temporary work permit and stay in the country for an additional three years if they land a job with a Canadian employer.
Even though Canada is focusing on attracting more skilled workers (especially in tech) to “create the jobs of tomorrow,” anyone with remote employment can apply. According to intel from AFAR’s Bailey Berg, the government aims to officially release applications by late 2023.
How to stay in Canada
For the initial six-month Canadian remote worker visa, travelers will need to submit an application with proof of employment, a photo, and fingerprints. An interview with an immigration officer may also be required.
“Georgia’s one of the best places on the planet. I recommend everyone goes to Georgia and spends as much time there as possible,” digital nomad Steve Tsentserensky says. “History’s incredible, food’s incredible, people are great.”
Arguably the world’s most welcoming country, Georgia is an Eastern European haven for lovers of good wine and gorgeous mountain scenery. Tsentserensky particularly recommends digital nomads to check out Tbilisi, the country’s capital, for its local charm.
How to stay in Georgia
Luckily for travelers from the United States, U.S. citizens can enter, reside, work, or study in Georgia without a visa for up to a year.
Tapas bars, beach trips, driving down the Costa Brava—Spain is a destination full of dreamy vignettes, especially for U.S.-based remote workers who can explore in the morning thanks to the time difference. While AFAR named Mallorca one of the must-visit places in Europe of 2023, remote workers may want to stay in Gran Canaria for their stint in Spain.
Olga Hannonen, a researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, studied how digital nomads were affecting Gran Canaria on the local level, interviewing stakeholders from restaurant owners to local residents. In the case study of the island, one surprise finding was how accepted digital nomads were by locals.
“Our respondents said that, ‘Oh, we became friends with digital nomads,’ or that they have very positive experiences with digital nomads,” she tells AFAR. “That’s something that has not appeared in other studies [in places like Bali].”
How to stay in Spain
In 2023, Spain started rolling out its digital nomad visa for foreigners planning to live in Spain working remotely. The visa is valid for up to a year, but it can be renewed.
This country has had a digital nomad visa for a couple of years now, giving remote workers more opportunity to see its Game of Thrones settings without the crowds. And now that Croatia is part of Europe’s Schengen Zone (as of January 2023), having the visa means free movement in the region. Plus, the benefits of this visa also extend to close family members of the visa holder.
Steve Tsentserensky particularly recommends Zagreb: “Zagreb has a number of things that appeal to me. So the size of the city is one thing. It’s like 800-ish thousand people. It’s not particularly big, it’s not the smallest either. So it’s this nice Goldilock zone for a city,” he tells AFAR. “I find it to be a beautiful city also. It’s got Austria-Hungarian architectural vibes, and I find that there’s a lot of nature here. There’s a mountain right behind the city that I have access to.”
How to stay in Croatia
Those interested in Croatia’s digital nomad visa can submit an online application. The visa is valid for a year and cannot be extended. However, travelers can apply again for another visa as soon as six months after the expiration of the previous digital nomad visa.
According to a 2023 report from Expat Insider, Mexico is the best place for expats to live abroad, with some of the reasons being its friendly locals and easy-to-find accommodation. (The results of this survey come as no surprise, as Mexico has ranked in the top five since 2014.) Remote workers on a budget may find that the lower cost of living makes a longer stint in the country easier: According to an Expats in Mexico study, more than 60 percent of respondents lived on a monthly budget of $2,370 or less.
While Mexico City has famously (sometimes even notoriously) been a hub for remote workers, a number of other places in the country are known for attracting expat communities. They include Puerto Vallarta (and the plenty of beaches in the area), San Miguel de Allende, and Los Cabos.
How to stay in Mexico
While Mexico doesn’t have a digital nomad visa, the country offers a temporary resident visa. The visa allows visitors to stay from six months to four years.
Thailand has been a longtime favorite for many travelers to Southeast Asia. Its cinematic beaches have drawn expats to its waters (sometimes to the point of overtourism), but cultural offerings like its international culinary scene and lantern festivals are proof that there’s plenty more for remote workers than its stretches of sand.
It can be tempting for remote workers to go to Bangkok or Chiang Mai, but digital nomad couple Brent Hartinger and Michael Jensen found a lot of value staying in places in the country that weren’t overrun with expats. “Don’t just view digital nomadism as going out and finding the best places to party,” Jensen says. Instead, go for lesser-known places (say, maybe central Thailand?), where Hartinger says it’s easier to meet local people: “They’re honored that you’re there and it’s just a better experience.”
How to stay in Thailand
There isn’t currently a digital nomad visa specifically for travelers to Thailand. However, last September the government launched a Long-Term Resident Visa, granting certain types of individuals a 10-year renewable visa.
In 2020, Barbados announced the introduction of the Barbados Welcome Stamp, a visa that allows digital nomads to stay in the Caribbean island for 12 months. And there’s plenty to experience during a year in the country: Take an ATV to the countryside or learn about its reputation for rum. Shorter stints in the country offer hotel stays that range from unique experiences to total relaxation.
Several Caribbean nations are appealing to remote workers interested in traveling to the region. Antigua and Barbuda, Curaçao, and Grenada are a few of the other areas that digital nomads can consider if they’re searching for island sun.
How to stay in Barbados
Interested travelers can apply for the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp online.
Fledgling remote workers may think North America or Western Europe are the best regions to dip their toes in the work-from-anywhere lifestyle, but Bulgaria may be an ideal place to make the transition. Head two hours south of Sofia to the mountain town of Bansko, for example, and travelers can find a community in place that may have the most coworking spaces per capita in the world.
“For somebody starting out, I would say look for some digital nomad hubs, maybe the less popular ones. Bansko, Bulgaria, [has] a great digital nomad community. It’s a smaller place. It’s less expensive, so it feels less intimidating. You can go there, you can meet people, but you don’t feel like you’re dropped right into a bubble,” Michael Jensen tells AFAR.
How to stay in Bulgaria
Unfortunately, Bulgaria doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa. The best bet for remote workers hoping to stay in Bulgaria for an extended time is the freelancer visa, which includes a self-employment permit.
In 2020, Iceland released its digital nomad visa, making this Atlantic island an accessible remote work location for non-EFTA/EEA teleworkers for up to six months. There are several aspects that make Iceland appealing: English is widely spoken, and its geographic location can accommodate time differences between the United States and eastern Europe. Iceland also boasts a natural landscape that, according to AFAR contributor Ali Wunderman, “extends well beyond the bounds of the waterfalls and beaches that repeatedly appear on your friends’ social media profiles.”
Remote workers, no matter if they’re visiting for the first time or consider themselves professional Ring Road drivers, should especially think about timing their visa to maximize the time they have in Iceland. While September and mid-April are the best months for Northern Lights chasers, specific festivals occur throughout the year: Reykjavík’s Art Festival is held annually in May, while the Reykjavík Film Festival takes place in September—so look for any events that might strike your fancy.
How to stay in Iceland
Applications must be mailed to the Directorate of Immigration and visas are only valid for 90 to 180 days. Applicants must either be an employee of a foreign company or a self-employed worker.
10. United States
The idea of traveling while working remotely may inspire you to head off to the furthermost corners of the world. But for U.S.-based travelers, this could be the perfect opportunity to explore the mountains, deserts, and beaches in your backyard. With ample national parks and cross-country road-trip itineraries awaiting, travelers may want to forgo the plane ticket and consider a stint with #vanlife to take in the sheer size of the country.
Plus, if you’re looking for a new place to call home, visiting several cities across the country could help you find your next destination. Several cities (especially smaller ones) are offering incentives for remote workers to move there, like Tulsa, Oklahoma; Topeka, Kansas; and the Shoals in Alabama. The numerous surveys ranking U.S. cities in terms of remote work friendliness can guide your travels.