5 Budget Friendly Cities for Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition

Living and working as a digital nomad can be liberating, but finding a place that’s both affordable and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community can be tricky. Fear not, rainbow wanderers! This blog unveils five Budget Friendly Cities for Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition that tick both boxes, offering a blend of cost-effective living, thriving LGBTQ+ scenes, and exciting digital nomad opportunities.

Methodology:

Our ranking considered a variety of factors, including:

  • Cost of living: We analysed official government statistics and cost-of-living indices to identify cities with budget-friendly accommodation, food, and transportation.
  • LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity: We consulted reports from reputable organisations like the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and Human Rights Watch to assess legal protections, social acceptance, and the presence of LGBTQ+ communities and events.
  • Digital nomad infrastructure: We looked for cities with strong internet connectivity, co-working spaces, and supportive communities for remote workers.
  • Overall vibe: We considered factors like cultural richness, natural beauty, and general quality of life to create a well-rounded picture of each city.

The Top 5 Budget Friendly Cities for Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition:

Chiang-Mai Thailand - Budget Friendly Cities for Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition
  1. Chiang Mai, Thailand: This charming city boasts a low cost of living, delicious street food, and stunning temples. The LGBTQ+ scene is vibrant, with numerous bars, cafes, and events catering to the community. Chiang Mai also has a thriving digital nomad scene, with excellent co-working spaces and a strong sense of community. (Source: Thailand Development Research Institute, ILGA)
    • Vibe: Serene temples, bustling markets, and mouth-watering street food, all enveloped by stunning mountains. Chiang Mai’s digital nomad scene thrives amidst its rich cultural heritage and laid-back charm.
    • LGBTQ+ Friendliness: Bustling with LGBTQ+ bars, cafes, and events, Chiang Mai boasts a vibrant and welcoming community. The Rainbow Pride Festival, held annually in February, is a testament to the city’s inclusivity.
    • Digital Nomad Scene: Affordable co-working spaces like Chiang Mai Working Club and Punspace offer excellent facilities and a strong sense of community. High-speed internet and a plethora of cafes with reliable Wi-Fi ensure seamless remote working.
    • Average Monthly Rent: $250 – $400
  1. Average Meal Price: $5 – $7, street food can be found for as little as $1 a plate and it will be some of the best food of your life!

Editor’s Note: Collectively, I’ve spent more than two years living in Chiang Mai, and it still rates as one of my favorite cities ever. If it were on a beach, it would be damn near perfect.

The cost of living, safety, food, friendly people, and digital nomad scene are all top-notch. The value for money coupled with the digital nomad community consistently make Chiang Mai one of the top digital nomad destinations in the world, and a place I’m happy to continue visiting.

  1. Medellin, Colombia: This trendy city offers stunning mountain views, affordable living, and a burgeoning tech scene. Medellin is also known for its progressive social policies and welcoming LGBTQ+ community. The city has a growing number of co-working spaces and digital nomad events. (Source: Medellin City Hall, Colombia Human Rights Watch)
  • Vibe: Trendy cafes, stunning mountain vistas, and a booming tech scene. Medellin’s vibrant energy and progressive social atmosphere make it a haven for LGBTQ+ digital nomads.
  • LGBTQ+ Friendliness: Medellin has earned a reputation as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in Latin America. The annual Pride celebration is a massive event, and the city boasts a strong network of LGBTQ+ organizations.
  • Digital Nomad Scene: Co-working spaces like Selina Medellin and Platzi provide modern facilities and networking opportunities. The city’s tech hub, Ruta N, fosters innovation and attracts a diverse community of remote workers.
  • Average Monthly Rent: $400 – $550
  • Average Meal Price: $4 – $6 for simple meals but you can definitely splash out in Medellin if you wanted to.

Editor’s Note: I spent two months living in Medellin. Prices seem to be quickly on the rise, especially in the gentrified neighborhood of El Poblado. Airbnb costs especially are trending upwards.

Safety was somewhat of an issue but not from an LGBT perspective. Just in general, you need to be aware of your surroundings and on the lookout for pickpockets. Same as in any large city but maybe more so in Medellin.

I will say for single people, this was one of the most fun cities for dating in the world. The locals are friendly and there are a ton of cool bars and restaurants in Medellin that make for great first dates.

  1. Valletta, Malta: This historic island nation offers stunning architecture, a relaxed Mediterranean vibe, and English-speaking locals. Malta has strong legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and a welcoming community. The island offers affordable co-living options and a growing digital nomad scene. (Source: National Statistics Office of Malta, ILGA)
  • Vibe: Sun-drenched beaches, historic architecture, and a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. Valletta’s charm lies in its blend of old-world elegance and modern amenities, making it perfect for digital nomads seeking a scenic escape.
  • LGBTQ+ Friendliness: Malta enjoys a reputation for strong legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and a welcoming social climate. The island nation hosts a vibrant Pride celebration and boasts several LGBTQ+ community centres.
  • Digital Nomad Scene: Several co-working spaces, like St. Paul’s Space and The Hub, offer stunning sea views and excellent facilities. Malta’s English-speaking population and reliable internet infrastructure make it an ideal remote working destination.
  • Average Monthly Rent: $600 – $1000
  • Average Meal Price: $7 – $10

Editor’s Note: I spent several weeks in Malta and if I had to go back I would base in Valletta as there was a lot more going on there than in other parts of the island country, other than just partying like in St. Julians, where I based on my last visit. The water in Malta has to be some of the most beautiful in all of Europe.

  1. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: This spiritual and artistic hub offers a unique blend of ancient temples, lush rice paddies, and a laid-back atmosphere. Ubud has a welcoming LGBTQ+ community and a growing number of co-working spaces and cafes catering to digital nomads. The cost of living is relatively low, especially compared to other popular tourist destinations in Bali. (Source: Statistics Indonesia, Bali Tourism Board)
  • Vibe: Lush rice paddies, ancient temples, and a deep connection to nature. Ubud’s spiritual aura and artistic vibe attract digital nomads seeking a holistic and creative environment.
  • LGBTQ+ Friendliness: While not as vocal as other cities on this list, Ubud’s LGBTQ+ community is welcoming and supportive. Several LGBTQ+-friendly cafes and homestays cater to queer travellers.
  • Digital Nomad Scene: Co-working spaces like Hub Ud and Outpost offer stunning rice paddy views and a relaxed atmosphere. Ubud’s strong Wi-Fi infrastructure and abundance of cafes with reliable internet make it a viable remote working option.
  • Average Monthly Rent: $200 – $400
  • Average Meal Price: $3 – $5
  1. Lisbon, Portugal: This vibrant city offers a rich cultural scene, delicious food, and stunning coastal views. Lisbon has a strong LGBTQ+ community and is known for its annual Pride celebration. The city is becoming increasingly popular with digital nomads, with affordable co-working spaces and a supportive community. (Source: National Institute of Statistics of Portugal, ILGA)
  •  Vibe: Rich cultural heritage, delicious seafood, and vibrant nightlife. Lisbon’s blend of historic charm and modern energy makes it a perfect digital nomad hub for those seeking a taste of European flair.
  • LGBTQ+ Friendliness: Lisbon is a progressive city with a thriving LGBTQ+ scene. The annual Arraial Pride Lisboa is a major celebration, and the city boasts numerous LGBTQ+ bars, cafes, and organizations.
  • Digital Nomad Scene: Co-working spaces like Cowork Lisboa and Beta Lisbon offer sleek designs and excellent facilities. Lisbon’s affordable living costs and strong internet infrastructure attract a large community of remote workers.
  • Average Monthly Rent: $550 – $750
  • Average Meal Price: $6 – $8

Editor’s Note: I’ve been to Lisbon a couple of times and could happily live there. Prices are sadly on the rise and Lisbon has become a poster child for gentrification. A lot of that blame is placed on digital nomads, fairly or not.

But, it’s easy to see why so many have flocked to Lisbon. The city is gorgeous, the locals are friendly, the airport is well-connected and it’s still largely affordable as far as European capital cities go.

Beyond the Budget:

These are just five examples, and the perfect city for you will depend on your individual preferences and priorities. Remember, cost-effectiveness is just one factor to consider. Research the LGBTQ+ rights and social climate of each city, explore the digital nomad scene, and don’t forget to factor in your personal interests and desired lifestyle.

Happy nomading!

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Always conduct your own research before making any decisions.

I hope this blog provides a helpful starting point for your LGBTQ+ digital nomad adventure! Remember, the world is your oyster, and there are countless welcoming and affordable destinations waiting to be explored.

More Blogs to Read:
5 Gay Friendly Cities in Europe for LGBTQ Digital Nomads in 2024
Most Affordable Countries in Central America for Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition
Top 6 Travel Destinations Digital Nomads: LGBTQ+ Edition

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