Does being a digital nomad save money? It depends on where you go

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If you spend a cold pint of beer in Budapest $2.

Dinner for two in a pub in Prague? About $22.

And a month’s rent for a sleek studio apartment in the center of the Portuguese city of Porto can set you back $650.

With these kinds of living costs, it’s no wonder that many are tempted to move abroad.

Needless to say, that’s not always the case – sometimes moving abroad is more expensive. CNBC Travel talks to people with different experiences.

Costs only $5 per day

Originally from Romania, Irina Papuc is the co-founder of digital marketing agency Galactic Fed. She said that she has traveled to more than 40 countries as a “digital name” while growing the business.

She is able to save money because she has adopted a travel style that reduces consumption while on the road, she said.

“I prefer to choose a few high quality experiences instead of constantly moving around. Slow travel, which means spending more time in one place, will save you a ton of money, because it’s usually the transportation (plane ticket) that dries up. bank account.”

Irina Papuc at Lake Tele in the Republic of Congo.

Source: Irina Papuc

She says eating local food, embracing “couchsurfing” – which she describes as “the best way to meet locals and not pay rent” at the same time” – bypassing flexible coworking spaces and hitchhiking are all great ways to save money.

As for which places offer the best value, she names Nepal, Thailand and Taiwan.

“On average, when I was walking in Nepal, I spent about five dollars a day, including food and accommodation,” she said.

She saves half of her salary

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Courteney Richardson-Hicks now lives as a digital nomad in Europe.

“I’ve been able to save a lot by traveling, certainly more than if I lived in the UK,” said the content marketing strategist.

Courteney Richardson-Hicks left the United Kingdom to live as a “digital name” in Europe.

Source: Courteney Richardson-Hicks

She told CNBC about a concert she found that comes with a free accommodation: pet sitting.

“This is one of my favorite ways to travel as I get to spend time with animals,” she said. “My only expenses for that month are food, transport and any extra activities I want to do. For example, I stayed in a beautiful village in Cyprus for seven weeks ‘look after cats.’

She said her mobile lifestyle allows her to save at least half of her salary.

“If I were to compare it to London, I would probably pay the same for a room in a flat as I did for a one-bedroom apartment with a sea view in Madeira, for example,” said i.

Her advice to people looking to move abroad and save money? Try Poland.

“Of the places I’ve been to in Europe, Poland is one of the best value in terms of daily costs,” she said. “The accommodation and dining out were great value for money.”

“Also, Poland is very beautiful, and the people are so kind and friendly. “

Bali, the island of the gods

Taryn Elledge-Penner and Martin Penner, from boutique travel group Quartier Collective, currently live in Bali with their three children. The family has lived in nearly 20 countries since they first hit the road in 2018, Penner said.

“Is it possible to save money compared to the US? Absolutely, absolutely,” he said. “But in the last 18 months we have noticed an increase in prices in short-term rental options.”

Martin Penner said you can “absolutely” save money while traveling full-time, but warns that short-term rental prices have risen.

Source: Quartier Collective

Even so, he said his family can still save because they are not pressed for time: “We are lucky that we have time as a resource and we can be flexible about where and when we go.”

Elledge-Penner advises those who want to save money to avoid Europe this summer. Instead, go into the shoulder or off-season, she said.

Penner also pointed out that some things are more expensive than back home. “There are a lot of things you don’t pay for when you’re on the road, but then we spend $15k a year on flights,” an expense he said they wouldn’t make back in Seattle, he said.

For those who prefer a “turnkey” approach to Bali, Boundless Life is launching its first program there in July, said the company’s head of demand generation, Elodie Ferchaud.

The company has six-week and three-month programs that many families join to stay abroad for longer periods, she said.

The three-month program costs about 2,100 to 3,500 euros ($2,214 to $3,690) per month for a furnished home, including utilities and weekly cleaning. A school costs 1,500 euros per child per month, and community workplaces run an additional 425 euros per month.

All told, fees can run north of $8,000 a month for a couple with two children, the company said. Boundless Life also runs programs in Greece, Italy and Portugal.

London on the phone

American Erin White has had a different experience.

White lives in Marylebone in central London, where she works as vice president of sales performance at California-based company HydraFacial.

She moved to London from Connecticut to accept a new role at the company, so her decision to move abroad was “professional and financial.”

When asked if living in London was cheaper than living in the United States, Erin White said, “Not at all!”

Source: Erin White

But did she save money?

“Not at all! It’s much more expensive to live in London,” she said.

“The rent and the building ladder is very expensive. You don’t have the option of a 30-year fixed mortgage here – they’re more like our ARM mortgages. pounds ($4,140) a month, and I pay council tax, TV tax and more, she said.

She says that although she lives in London, “You’re kind of a tourist too, so you want to take advantage of things like visiting other countries on weekends and holidays .”

But it wasn’t the rent that surprised her the most, White said.

“For me, the cost of personal maintenance here … nails, hair, combing, everything a woman needs to do is sometimes two or three times more than what I paid in the US”

Her method? “I always make sure to take advantage of these services when I’m back in the States. “

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