7 Cheapest Countries To Live In for Digital Nomad Families

Hey families! If you’ve ever dreamt of escaping the 9-to-5, ditching the school run, and trading homework for exploring ancient temples then this blog post is for you.  Welcome to the world of digital nomadism with a family – it’s not always sandy beaches and Mai Tais (although there’s definitely some of that too!) but I love showing that living a beautiful life abroad is not only reserved for university students on a gap year.  Living abroad as a family in 2024 is so much more accessible and affordable than you might realise.  

As a seasoned digital nomad mum who’s been location-independent for over 6 years, wrangling earning online and wanderlust with my little crew. We’ve roamed from the bustling streets of Chiang Mai to the serene rice paddies of Bali, and I’m here to spill the tea on some of the cheapest countries to live in for digital nomads with a family in tow.

But first things first: Making it Work

Before we delve into the dreamy destinations, let’s address the elephant in the room – how do you actually make money online as a family? The good news is, the options are endless! Here are a few ideas to get your remote work hustle started:

If you haven’t already, check out our Easy Work-from-Home Jobs post.

Teaching English online, Virtual assistants, social media managers, and content creators are in high demand. We talk a lot about working online here as it’s such an important topic. There are also TONS of remote work job boards where you can search for vacancies in lots of different industries. So whether you’re looking for Remote Jobs for Former Teachers or work from home part time jobs, hopefully you’ll find your perfect opportunity soon. Now onto why you’re really here:

Cheapest Countries To Live In for Digital Nomads (Family Friendly Edition!)

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

 The Land of Smiles offers delicious food, affordable living, and a vibrant digital nomad scene. Chiang Mai, was hands down our favourite part of our 5 months in Thailand with its laid-back vibe and stunning mountains, is a great choice for budget-loving adventuring families. 

Why we recommend Chiang Mai, Thailand as one of the countries with the lowest cost to live in:
  • Easy on the wallet: We scored a comfy place for under £300 a month, and delicious meals were less than £1!
  • Digital Nomad Oasis: Fast, reliable wifi lets you work remotely from cozy cafes or your stylish apartment.
  • Adventure Awaits: Hike stunning mountains, explore hidden waterfalls by motorbike, or ethically trek through lush rainforests.
  • Culturally Captivating: Immerse yourself in ancient temples, bustling night markets overflowing with treasures, and a rich cultural scene.
  • Relaxed Vibes: Chiang Mai’s laid-back atmosphere is perfect for unwinding after exploring or working remotely.
  • Accessible: Getting around Chiang Mai is easy and affordable, whether you choose taxis, songthaews (shared rides), or motorbikes.

2. Bali, Indonesia

Paradise found! Bali boasts stunning sunsets, epic surf, and a strong sense of spirit and community. Ubud is a haven for yogis, artists, and digital nomads alike. We stayed in Ubud and Canngu where our accommodation overlooking beautiful rice fields rarely exceeded £700 a month.  Bali wasn’t just another destination on our Southeast Asia adventure – it was an experience! Here’s why this paradise island should be on your budget move abroad bucket list!

Why we recommend Bali, Indonesia as one of the affordable countries in the world to live in:
  • Spiritual Haven: Bali is a world-renowned spiritual hub. Perfect your downward-facing dog in a serene studio, all while surrounded by stunning scenery, immerse yourself in spiritual waters – you’ll never be the same again.
  • Surfer’s Paradise: Catch epic waves without breaking the bank! Bali boasts world-class surf breaks and budget-friendly surf camps.
  • Temples & Tradition: Immerse yourselves in Bali’s rich culture. Explore magnificent temples, witness mesmerising daily ceremonies, and connect with the friendly Balinese people.
  • Foodie Paradise: Indulge in delicious and affordable Indonesian cuisine. From fresh green juices to flavorful curries and green pancakes, your taste buds will thank you (your wallet will too!).
  • Connected & Community: Bali boasts reliable wifi in many cafes, co-working spaces, and even some budget-friendly accommodations. This makes it a great choice for digital nomads or anyone who needs to stay connected. Plus, the strong expat and local community offers a welcoming atmosphere for making new friends and experiencing Balinese culture firsthand.

3. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Vietnam offers a beautiful blend of ancient temples, interesting street food, and friendly locals. Hoi Chi Minh, with its colorful lanterns and charming Old Town, is a family favourite. We only stayed for 3 weeks but with our accommodation only costing £150 in the centre of town with easy access to all the sites it’s easy to see why people love calling Vietnam home. 

Why we recommend Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam as one of the cheapest countries in the world to live in:
  • Affordable City Living: We scored a central location for just £150 a week! This easy-on-the-wallet accommodation put us right in the heart of the action, close to all the must-see sights.
  • Foodie Paradise: Ho Chi Minh City is a street food lover’s dream! Indulge in delicious and incredibly affordable local dishes at every corner, from steaming bowls of pho to sizzling bánh xèo (crispy savory pancakes).
  • Wi-Fi on the Go: Many cafes and restaurants offer reliable wifi, allowing you to stay connected while exploring or working remotely.
  • Welcoming Community: The Vietnamese people are known for their warmth and hospitality. Immerse yourselves in the local culture and make new friends in this vibrant city.
  • Family-Friendly Fun: Ho Chi Minh City offers something for everyone! Explore colorful temples, wander through charming Old Town with its iconic lanterns, or visit the Cu Chi Tunnels for a glimpse into Vietnam’s history.

4. Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia

Malaysia is the dictionary definition of a ‘melting pot’ of cultures, offering a taste of everything – rainforests, beaches, and bustling cities. The food is phenomenal, our tastebuds were bursting every single day. We spent 3 months in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and then 3 months in Penang. Both are awesome bases for a nomadic lifestyle.  Our rent in both places were approximately £700. 

Why we recommend Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia as one of the best countries to live in for affordability:
  • Culinary Capital: KL is a haven for foodies! From mouthwatering Malay curries to melt-in-your-mouth Chinese dumplings, your taste buds will be on a delicious adventure every day (at budget-friendly prices!).
  • Digital Nomad Hub: Lightening speed wifi is abundant in cafes, co-working spaces, and many accommodations. We never had any connectivity issues making KL a fantastic base for remote workers to stay connected while exploring the city.
  • Cost-Effective Comfort: We found comfortable apartments in KL for around £700 a month, making it an affordable option for extended stays.
  • Cultural Tapestry: Immerse yourselves in Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage. Explore magnificent mosques, wander through bustling night markets, and experience the warmth of the Malaysian people.

5. Cartagena, Colombia

So much more than just coffee! Colombia offers stunning landscapes, friendly people, and a growing digital nomad scene. Medellín, with its eternal spring climate and trendy neighbourhoods, is a great choice for families. We spent our month in Cartagena. It’s a cool, fun and colourful spot for exploration.  It’s easy to find somewhere to stay for £500-700 a month if you know where to look

Why we recommend Cartagena, Colombia as one of the best places in the world to live in on a budget: 
  • Affordable Charm: With some savvy searching, you can find comfortable accommodations in Cartagena for between £500 and £700 per month, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Digital Nomad Friendly: Many cafes and co-working spaces boast reliable wifi, allowing you to stay connected while soaking up the city’s charm.
  • Beyond the Beach: Cartagena isn’t just about stunning beaches (although those are amazing too!). Immerse yourselves in the city’s vibrant culture, explore the colorful walled city, and get lost in the charming Getsemaní neighborhood.
  • Fun & Friendly: Cartagena’s diverse, lively atmosphere and friendly locals make it a fantastic place to explore and relax.

6. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

A land of rich culture, delicious food, and ancient ruins. Mexico is bursting with adventure for families. Playa del Carmen, with its stunning beaches and laid-back vibe, is where we called home for almost 3 years.  It’s where our son was born so it holds a special place in our hearts. Throughout our time there we’ve spent various amounts on accommodation ranging from £450-900 for 2-3 bedroom apartments 10-15 minute drive to the beach. 

Why Playa Del Carmen, Mexico could be the perfect place to live on a budget: 
  • Family-Friendly Vibe: Playa del Carmen’s laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches create a perfect environment for families to relax and enjoy quality time together.
  • Budget-Friendly Homes: We found comfortable apartments with 2-3 bedrooms, just a short drive from the beach, for a range of prices between £450 and £900 per month. This flexibility allows you to find a place that suits your needs and budget.
  • Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourselves and your family in Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. Explore ancient Mayan ruins, wander through bustling markets, and savor the flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine.
  • Digital Nomad Friendly: Many cafes and co-working spaces offer reliable wifi, making Playa del Carmen a fantastic base for remote workers with families.

7. Antalya, Turkey 

This culturally rich country offers a unique blend of European and Asian influences. Antalya, with its stunning ancient structures and bustling markets, is a fascinating city to explore. We spent about £700 for our month in Turkey and our meals were usually only £2-3 each making it extremely affordable.  Antalya, a captivating city on the stunning Mediterranean coast, stole our hearts for a month! 

Why we recommend Antalya, Turkey to live and work in on a budget: 
  • History & Bazaar Bliss: Explore Antalya’s rich history with its awe-inspiring ancient structures like Hadrian’s Gate and wander through the bustling markets overflowing with treasures.
  • Foodie Paradise: Indulge in delicious and incredibly affordable Turkish cuisine. From succulent kebabs to fresh seafood dishes, your taste buds will thank you (your wallet will too!) – meals typically costing only £2-3 each!
  • Cost-Effective Comfort: We found comfortable accommodation in Antalya for around £700 per month, making it an attractive option for budget travelers looking for an extended stay.
  • Beach Bum Bliss (Optional): If relaxation is your goal, Antalya boasts stunning beaches with turquoise waters and soft sand, perfect for soaking up the sun.

Remember, this is just a starting point!  The cheapest countries to live in will depend greatly so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  Here are some additional factors to consider when making your choice:

Finding Your Perfect Fit

  • Family Age: Are you travelling with toddlers, teenagers, or a mix? Some destinations cater better to specific age groups.
  • Interests: Beach bums? History buffs? Foodies? Consider what activities will keep everyone entertained.
  • Visa Requirements: Research visa options for each country. Some offer digital nomad visas specifically for remote workers.
  • Safety and Healthcare: Choose a country with a good healthcare system and a low crime rate to ensure a safe and healthy experience for your family.
  • Community: Look for places with a thriving expat community, especially other digital nomads with families.  I like to search for Black Travel Groups on Facebook to find likeminded families living in the countries we’re living in. We have our own WhatsApp group with over 300 members that you can join.  It’s filled with lots of people who are currently expats or aspiring to do so within the next few years – join us!  There is a wealth of information and it offers a great way to connect with others on the same journey.

Taking the Leap: Your Digital Nomad Toolkit

Now that you’ve explored a variety of easy work-from-home jobs and remote opportunities, it’s time to take action! Here are some essential tools to equip yourself for your digital nomad journey:

  • Reliable Laptop: Your trusty work companion. Invest in a laptop that can handle the demands of your chosen job.
  • Stable Internet Connection: A must-have for any remote worker. Research internet options in your destinations beforehand.
  • Project Management Tools: Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can help you stay organized and manage your workload effectively.
  • Communication Tools: Stay connected with clients and colleagues using tools like Slack, Zoom, or Google Meet.
  • Time Tracking Software: Tools like Toggl or Harvest help you track your hours and ensure you’re billing accurately (if applicable).
  • Coworking Spaces: Consider coworking spaces for a change of scenery, social interaction, and access to reliable internet and facilities.

Remember, the digital nomad lifestyle requires discipline and self-motivation. Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is crucial. Utilise online communities and forums to connect with other digital nomads and share experiences. Most importantly, embrace the adventure! The world is your oyster, and with the right skills and the information in this guide, you can work remotely and explore the globe on your own terms.

You get to create memories, fostering independence in your children, and experiencing the world as a united team.  Sure, there will be challenges (hello, internet outages!), but the rewards – the freedom, the flexibility, the cultural immersion – are truly priceless.

So, are you ready to ditch the routine and embrace the unknown?  I’ve shared with you some of the lowest cost of living countries in the world, brimming with possibility.

Happy Travels!

FAQs About The Cheapest Countries To Live In for Digital Nomad Families 

Isn’t it hard to find internet reliable enough for work in these countries?

It can be!  While many of the destinations mentioned have good internet infrastructure in major cities, connectivity can be patchy in more remote areas.  Do your research on specific locations and consider investing in a mobile hotspot as a backup.

What about schooling for my kids?

Many families embrace homeschooling while living abroad. There are numerous online curriculums available, and some countries offer affordable in-person homeschooling options. Remember, travel itself is a valuable educational experience!

Is it safe to travel with kids to these places?

Safety is a top priority, especially with a family.  Research crime rates and choose destinations with a good reputation for safety.  Always be vigilant and take common-sense precautions.

Won’t we get lonely being away from family and friends?

There can be moments of loneliness, but the digital nomad community is vast and welcoming.  Online groups and local meetups can help you connect with other families and build a new support network.

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How much money do we actually need to live comfortably as a digital nomad family?

This depends entirely on your lifestyle and chosen location.  Generally, Southeast Asia and Latin America offer a lower cost of living compared to Europe.  Do your research on average living expenses and adjust your budget accordingly.

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