The image of a tourist lounging on a beach, coconut in hand is what I often hear as people’s immediate image of a traveller. It’s not a bad image, and wonderful trips have been spent that way, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ve got to be a beach bum to qualify as a digital nomad.
In fact, city breaks are great for digital nomads. Cities tend to be more reliable than little beach towns when it comes to important aspects like wifi, work spaces and generally functioning facilities.
Digital nomads don’t always think the same way as other tourists and travellers as to what makes a great trip as we need certain things to maintain our work life on the road.
I’ve worked from cities all over the world and here I’ve compiled a few of my favourites.
Cairo is one of those amazing places that has everything… from the world renowned Pyramids and fascinating museums filled with Pharaoh history.. to concerts, night clubs and co-working spaces. Wake up for sunrise and wander down the hazy side streets and enjoy the islamic architecture and get lost in the crowds. Moez Street is a wonderful neighbourhood filled with architectural treasures and often called an open-air museum. Another great thing to do is sail a felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat, to end the day. You can hire a boat for an hour or two from the few stands near Qasr El Nil Bridge. And late at night, another great thing to do is watch Sufi dancing and tannoura (whirling dervish) at Bayt el Harawi or a river cruise on the Nile.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This city in the north of Thailand, with its views of the misty mountains is nomad central. You will find co-working spaces galore so you’ll have no trouble meeting those deadlines! Once you’ve got your work in hand there is loads to explore. Among other things there’s the night bazaar for shopping, hanging out and eating. There’s the old city with it’s beautiful temples and tourist attractions. You can take a trip to the surrounding mountains to trek and meet the traditional tribe people living there.
Berlin is known as one of the coolest cities in the world. This is a cycling city-you’ll see bikes and bike lanes everywhere and this is one of the best ways to see the city too. Berlin is a cultural hub, full of galleries, sombre history and crazy clubs. If you’re at all into electronic music, visiting Berlin should be at the top of your travel list. As far as working while you’re there, most cafes have wifi and the are plenty of great co-working spaces to get in the zone.
Another bustling city, but Marrakesh couldn’t be more different from New York. The old town is exciting just to walk around with so much going on at every turn and so many souks (markets) to visit selling everything under the sun. Jemaa el_Fnaa is the main square and souk, and is not far from the biggest mosque in Marrakech- Koutoubia, which is definitely something to see while you’re there. For wifi and getting work done you might want to stay in the new town, Gueliz for a better connection. If you’re craving some greenery and nature while you’re there you can take a day trip out to see the beautiful cascades at Ouzoud Falls.
If you’re keen to soak up some serious history on your trip, Athens is the city for you. Famous for ruins of ancient Greek architecture, you can wander round the Acropolis, the Parthenon and various temples. History is not all Athens has to offer though, with a thriving nightlife and foodie scene to boot, and plenty of sweet little spots to get connected and get work on the go.
New York, United States of America
The city so good they named it twice! New York is one of the most famous cities, well known in every corner of the globe, and for good reason. It’s a big bustling metropolis and home to some spectacular feats of architecture as well as a thriving food and art culture. You’ll be spoiled for choice for co-working spaces or coffee shops to work in and watch the world go by, and be inspired visiting monuments like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building.
With the beach on one side and mountains on the other and the year round pleasant climate, Barcelona is a top destination for nature-loving city-dwelling digital nomads. It offers all the conveniences of city life- great wifi and co-working spaces, amazing food and parties, while also giving you easy access to beautiful nature. There are so many places to explore in Barcelona, from anything Gaudí to the epic food market, so there is plenty to keep you occupied on your days off.
One of Europe’s most creative cities the buzzing vibe in London is sure to inspire you. There is a lot to see on the tourist trail but I think the most fun is to be had in East London. Home to arty types, with the markets restaurants and bars to show for it, here anything goes and you can really be yourself. There’s a strong cafe culture on this side of town and any coffee shop you do decide to settle down in is likely to be filled with other creative freelancers doing their thing.
These are just a few of the amazing places round the world to work and play as a digital nomad. I hope this has got you excited to get out there and explore, the world is waiting for you...