Whether you love working from home alongside your dog or dread neverending Zoom meetings, one simple fact is true: The world is experiencing a remote work revolution. As many remote workers have sat in their kitchens, bedrooms, and home offices working from computers, quite a few have thought about upgrading their surroundings to something a little more exciting. After all, there’s plenty of Wi-Fi to go around in a Spanish beach house.
So you’ve decided to ditch working from your comfortable hometown for a new, exciting locale (with electricity and high-speed internet, of course). Where in the world should you go? If you’re stuck spinning a globe or throwing darts at a map, you may want to check out the list of remote work destinations that Kayak.com recently released.
The ranked list, which includes over 100 nations, assigns scores to countries based on weather, cost of living, health/safety, and a few more categories. When perusing the list, you can click on one of the six categories to see what data are used to calculate the score. Each destination is then assigned a final score and ordered accordingly. If some criteria are more important to you than others, you’re in luck; you can browse the list by any of the available factors to ensure that you find the perfect place to set up shop with your trusty laptop — and possibly a drink.
Here are the top 10 countries on the list and a brief look at why they’re ideal places to work remotely.
For those who are currently suffering through the gray slush and bitter wind of the winter, the colorful country of Portugal may sound pretty appealing. If Portugal has been on your mind when thinking about where to work from, your instincts are backed by the hard data collected by the folks at Kayak.com. Coming in at number one on the list, Portugal has a perfect final score of 100 out of 100. Kayak.com cited the nation’s political stability, excellent weather, and the high percentage of English-speaking locals for the country’s spot at the top of the list. Less excitingly — but equally important — is the fact that Portugal offers a digital nomad visa for remote workers who want to get out and see the world while still maintaining their source of income.
TravelAwaits writers Sue Reddel and Diana Laskaris relocated from the United States to Portugal. Check out some of their work to learn about the logistics of moving abroad and things to do and see when you make it to Portugal.
Portugal’s next-door neighbor, Spain, holds the number two spot on Kayak’s list. Anyone who’s experienced slow internet when trying to work remotely knows the importance of a strong connection, and Spain’s great high-speed internet infrastructure will ensure that you don’t find yourself frozen mid-sentence on a video conference call.
Similar to Portugal, the Spanish government provides visas to remote workers, so you won’t have to smuggle your stapler and folders of important spreadsheets across the border. Kayak.com also notes that Spain is very safe and LGBTQ-friendly. Remote workers who spend some time in Spain can get work done during the day and immerse themselves in Spanish culture, cuisine, and history on evenings and weekends.
Though the mention of Romania may bring to mind images of vampires skulking through castles, it is also a great place to live and work remotely. Of course, if castles are your thing, you can find plenty of those here in your spare time. Kayak points out that Romania may be a better remote work destination for people who prefer to settle into traditional life in a small village. Kayak also highlights the availability of high-quality internet service, a low cost of living, and budget-friendly long-term apartment rentals.
Coming in at a final score of 90, Mauritius isn’t far behind Romania. Located off the coast of Madagascar, this island nation is known for its fantastic beaches, good food, and opportunities for adventure. The categories in which it scores highest on Kayak’s list are travel, health/safety, and weather, though it has a low score in the social life category. If you prefer sitting on a beach and scuba diving over visiting art museums and theaters, Mauritius might just be the place for you.
For a bucket-list-worthy itinerary, read about Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey’s experiences in Mauritius.
Japan is tied with Mauritius at a final score of 90. Converse to Mauritius’ low social life score, the category is Japan’s highest, owing mostly to the country’s large number of cultural destinations like theaters and galleries and “going out” spots like bars and clubs. Japan is famous for the role it plays in the tech industry, and that is reflected in Japan’s remote work score, which is determined based on internet speed and availability of remote work visas and co-working spaces. While Japan does not offer a remote work visa, according to Kayak, the country does have the fastest internet of any country in the top 10. With this in mind, Japan’s score of 76 in the category of remote work is among the highest in the entire list.
While Tokyo is the most popular destination for travelers visiting Japan, you can also see the country’s fascinating star sand beaches.
Only behind Japan by one point in total score (89), Malta sits comfortably in the top 10. The Mediterranean country ranks highly because of its health/safety and remote work scores. Though the prospect of working remotely is exciting and fun, it is worth noting that many have the freedom to do so as a direct result of an ongoing global pandemic. That said, Malta is a safe place to live or visit according to Kayak criteria of political stability, the possibility of violence, car accidents, air pollution, and LGBTQ rights. When you factor in Malta’s low COVID rate, the country seems like a perfect place for a safe and healthy remote work location. As far as remote work is going, Malta recently established a year-long “nomad residency permit” aimed at bringing remote workers to the country for some productivity balanced with rest and relaxation. Malta’s natural beauty and interesting architecture will certainly help with the latter.
Malta is a favorite location for retirees, which bodes well for remote workers, who are often looking for the same things in a destination. You can also learn more about Malta’s digital nomad visa here.
7. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the first entry on the list that is located in the Americas. With some of the best balance across the six core categories of Kayak’s list, Costa Rica is a great option for remote workers who value all of the different rating categories equally. The central American country’s proximity to the United States also makes it an easy-to-reach destination for remote workers from the U.S. Famous for its rainforest and spectacular wildlife, Costa Rica is perfect for photographers and people who like to be surrounded by natural beauty.
Panama, Costa Rica’s southern neighbor, is also a great place to settle into a new tropical work life. Similar to other countries that made it to the top 10, Panama offers a visa for remote workers. Its two highest scores are for weather and travel, meaning that you may want to check out if your goal is to escape the winter blues. Its central location and business-friendly policies mean that workers involved in international trade will feel right at home while there. If you need to pop over to another country for some good old-fashioned in-person networking, there are plenty of flights in and out of the Central American nation.
Panama City is an urban playground where you can spend some of those hard-earned remote work dollars.
9. Czechia (The Czech Republic)
Czeckia, also known as the Czech Republic, is yet another solid choice for remote workers to “Czech” out. Though the weather isn’t quite as sunny as many other locations on Kayak’s list, Czechia makes up for it with balanced scores in the other categories. With high ratings in political stability and social equality and low numbers for traffic deaths and air pollution, this European nation is a place where you can work and play comfortably without feeling like you need to be looking over your shoulder. Its capital, Prague, is a vibrant city that is full to the brim with beautiful architecture, fascinating history, and a cool art scene.
When the clock strikes 5 while you’re working in Prague, migrate to a bar and try out some incredible Czech beer.
Though Germany is the last country on this list, it’s worth noting that it did score higher than 101 other locations. At a final score of 83, Germany’s most notable category is social life, in which it received a perfect 100. The category breakdown highlights Germany’s large portion of English speakers and high ratios of theaters, museums, bars, and clubs to residents. Whether you prefer traipsing through the hills in lederhosen or exploring the city streets for cultural and dining opportunities, you’re sure to find something outstanding while working remotely from Germany.
If you are intimidated by the thought of German cuisine, see if you feel the same way after reading Sage Scott’s guide to eating like a local in Bavaria. If you settle down for an extended stay in Berlin, you may want to try out one (or all) of these day trips from the city.
While moving abroad to work remotely for a few months or years satisfies many people’s wanderlust, others are looking to make a more permanent change by retiring in another country. For more information on how to retire abroad, check out these articles:
- 9 Things That Surprised Us About Moving Abroad
- 8 Things To Do Before You Retire Abroad
- 7 Things I Learned Retiring Abroad In Dublin
Ready to trial working abroad? Book your home rental now!