What Are the Best Cities to Work from Home?

Nomad List has interesting data on cost of living and quality of life by a variety of measures for cities around the world.

You can search just on cost of living, best cities if you’re a single guy (or girl), cheapest, safest (for women), and where you can make the most on Airbnb.

I like their list of best cities to work from home which they call their digital nomad list based on “internet speed, cost of living, weather and fun.”

The neat thing is you can filter by your own criteria like beach or snow, cold or hot, and how friendly a city is to same sex couples.

Here are their top 5:

It’s unsurprising to see 4 of the top 5 in Asia. Berlin makes the list, it’s been super trendy for years.

Going off of pure cost of living, most of the cities cluster in India with a smattering of Pakistan, Egypt, and a variety of places most US residents wouldn’t want to travel let alone live.

I wouldn’t have expected Medellín to make the top 10, but it’s a city that gets a bad wrap in the collective American consciousness based on an outdated narrative. Homicides are down 95%.

There are 5 US cities which make their top 50. Seeing the highest ranked one makes me question the overall methodology (familiarity bias).

I certainly wouldn’t want to live on the Strip, but living in Las Vegas not the strip doesn’t seem particularly appealing to me either. Then again I’ve only ever been a tourist there, a conference-goer, or flown in for business meetings.

I think that quality of food (and housing) should matter. Tax rates probably matter, too, maybe that helps Vegas. And if you’re going to put together a list of the best cities to work from home — and move there — then it’s hard to do the analysis without incorporating immigration rules.

And of course Provo, Utah has come a long way but for me I’ll always anchor my expectations to Chevy Chase’s Fletch. Plus I don’t want to live near a Delta hub. Indeed for me the biggest issue would be requiring connectivity by air. Chiang Mai is a great city, but only Bangkok really hits the mark at the top of this list.

If you could live anywhere in the world, unconstrained by the location of your family or your job, where would it be?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — The weather is certainly a matter of personal preference. I couldn’t imagine living in Bangkok, solely because it is just too darn hot. I love the weather in San Francisco, and most other people living there do as well. The tech industry didn’t locate there because the weather sucks…

  2. San Juan, Puerto Rico should be on the list. Cheap gigabit internet available, great weather year around, and tax incentives for individuals and businesses (0% tax on cap gains and dividend income, and 4% corporate tax rate for qualifying businesses including US citizens).

  3. At 9:50pm, the temp in Vegas was 105 very hot degrees. And for those of you not familiar with the city of Las Vegas, there is more to it than just the Strip, but all of it is HOT during the summer; not so much so in the winter. And water; running out. Would not be on my list of places to relocate from N.California, where it is “only” a relatively cool 87 degrees at 8:55, but at least it cools nicely at night. And only an hour or so to SFO by train.

  4. Gary – until recently, my answer since 1993 has been Austin. In spite of – that AA gate agent, back in the day back at Bob Mueller, who SPRINTED from behind the podium to close the door in my face when he saw me running, late for his flight. Never will forget that. So congrats to you, and shame on me for not busting that move ages ago. That said, if they pave over Ironworks, I’m done.

  5. HCMC is THE worst place I’ve ever been for pollution, traffic, scams and overcrowding. Bali on the other hand I love but internet and great beaches arent everything are they?

  6. Provo probably makes the list because it is close to a Delta hub, has excellent cost of living (two bedroom apartment cost $600/month 4 years ago), and has google fiber. That said, I’m sick of living close to Delta hubs, too; unfortunately, united and american choose higher cost cities as their hubs; delta inherited great places like Salt Lake, Minneapolis, & Detroit.

  7. I am a native San Diegan and have lived in 19 cities in the US and Europe and returned home to pursue my home based business 13 years ago. San Diego is my top choice but I’d take San Francisco second and Rome, Italy as a third choice. I spend 12 weeks per year between France and Italy for work and I rate Europe high. Another top contender would be Nice, France.

  8. Any Google fiber city should be near the top if it measures internet speed.
    Anyplace in California would have too high of taxes to be considered. The point of working at home is that you can live anywhere.
    Colombia? It might be true that the crime rate has dropped but still not an overly safe place. The avg. Homicide rate worldwide is about 7 per 100,000 but in 2015 they ran about 25 per 100,000 or over 12,000 murders in that small country.
    This list is just a trendy list of places they think are cool to live in and try to fit them in a round hole.

  9. I live just north of Provo, so I’m not on Google Fiber and probably won’t have that chance any time soon. I’ve worked from home for the past year + and love it. Cost of living is rising like crazy here again, 1/2 acre building lots are up $30k in just the past year (and they were high a year ago already). The tech industry is amazing here, new companies start up constantly and older companies are locating offices here. Adobe built a huge campus and has plans for another building. All this tech infusion means we’ve got robust internet infrastructure. We, like Vegas, face water issues, but the overall climate here is fantastic…water sports in the summers and skiing in the winters. And being a Delta hub isn’t all bad…especially with other airlines devaluing FF programs. AS flies here now too.

    My Sister-in-law used to live in far NW Vegas…I’ll take Provo any day.

  10. Forgot to mention that since Google Fiber has arrived in the area other providers are stepping up and building out infrastructure. So even though I am not in a Google Fiber area I’m still seeing benefits from it.

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