- The digital nomad movement is growing rapidly as more countries offer visas for remote workers.
- Women make up a significant percentage of digital nomads.
- Tech company Lemon.io analyzed the data to find the safest and healthiest countries for digital nomads.
Kyiv-based Kate Leschyshyn always wanted to travel when she was younger. It wasn’t until she got divorced that she finally had the freedom to do so. She was able to do more long weekends which quickly turned into working in different cities and eventually becoming a full-fledged digital nomad.
As a sales team leader for a flexible company, Leschyshyn must take calls with people all over the world at all times of the day. Her unstable schedule meant that it didn’t really matter where she lived. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, it decided the best decision was to leave the country in the long term.
For more than four months now, Leschyshyn has been living as a digital nomad in Berlin. She chose the city because she wanted to practice her German, experience the culture and spend time with a close friend who lives there.
“There are places that I knew and dreamed about from childhood or from friends,” she said. “Right now, I can travel to these places, not as a tourist, but rather to integrate into the local life and culture. And I don’t even have to use my vacation days to that.”
She has found the digital nomad lifestyle to be rewarding, especially helping her to “understand others better,” she said. “I’m building more meaningful connections in my personal life and at work – it’s priceless.”
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A growing movement
Leschyshyn is one of many people getting involved in the burgeoning digital nomad lifestyle. In 2021, 15.5 million Americans reported being digital nomads, a 112% increase from 2019. The steep increase is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is making jobs more flexible and people want to travel now that places are reopening. More and more digital nomads are staying in one destination rather than traveling more frequently.
Countries are responding to the trend. There are now nearly 40 special visas for digital nomads, including Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Australia. To find the right destination, people consider factors such as cost of living, visa requirements, and the health and safety of the location.
With over 70% of digital nomads being women, especially women traveling alone, ensuring their destination is relatively safe and healthy tends to be a priority.
Is it safe for women to travel alone, to live abroad?
The global prevalence of violence against women can make solo travel seema risky choice. Women often have to deal with the customs and laws of society in some countries and are seen as easier targets by criminals than men. In a 2018investigationmore than half of 400 American women said they did not feel safe traveling alone, and 40% have been sexually harassed while travelling.
“Although I’m not afraid to travel alone, I have to be more careful,” Leschyshyn said. “At the same time, I always say you have to be careful in your own country too, so little change.” She said she always does her research before going somewhere new, which she says helps her be smart and avoid being taken advantage of. She remembers taking extra precautions when traveling through Colombia, like using an old watch and a phone to ward off thieves.
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There are also things she always does, no matter where she is. She said she wouldn’t drink alcohol with people she doesn’t know and that she listens to locals when they warn her about something.
Tech company Lemon.io analyzed data from the Global Health Security Index (GHI), which measures countries’ ability to prepare for epidemics and pandemics, and the Global Peace Index (GPI), which measures “national tranquility”. to pick the safest, six healthiest countries for digital nomads. (And Leschyshyn called it: Germany made the list.)
Read below to learn more about the healthiest and safest countries for digital nomads.
Ranked second (US ranked #1) out of 195 countries on the Global Health Index and 27th out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index, Australia won the study’s title as best country for digital nomads. It is a place that offers a cosmopolitan scene as well as a wide range of wilderness to explore. The Land Down Under is offering a digital nomad visa for young adults without dependents to “spend their first extended holiday in Australia and work here to help fund their trip”, although remote work is also permitted. The visa is valid for one year, but you can renew it twice for a total of three years.
Australia is known to be a relatively safe place to visit, although travelers are urged to “stay alert” by the Department of State.
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With rich historical attractions and a vibrant arts and culture scene, Germany proved to be another top country for digital nomads, ranking eighth for GHI and 16th for GPI. The European country offers a D-Visa to citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Korea (Republic) who wish to live in Germany more 90 days and “exercise an economic activity” or study during this period.
The visa is particularly suitable for freelancers, such as writers, and young people from certain countries between the ages of 18 and 31 “to get a taste of culture and everyday life in Germany”.
Leschyshyn said she was happy with her decision to live in Germany and did not feel unsafe yet.
“In Berlin you can wear anything, nobody cares and you’re safe,” she said. However, on April 19, the State Department issued a warning to American citizens traveling to Germany to “exercise increased caution” in the event of an increase in terrorist attacks in public places, such as hotels, transport hubs and shopping malls.
People who want to enjoy the thermal baths and the beautiful mountains and lakes can go to Hungary. Ranked 34th on the GPI and 13th on the GPI, Hungary is the third safest and healthiest country for digital nomads. The Central European country offers carte blanche visa to non-EU citizens who are employed in other countries and wish to work remotely from Hungary for more than 90 days. One requirement is that you must earn more than EUR 2,000 per month in the last six months. The white card has a duration of one year and can be renewed once. Once you have it, you can also visit the other 25 Schengen countries, such as neighboring Romania.
There are no travel advisories issued by the Department of State for US citizens wishing to travel to Hungary.
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With a GHI ranking of 13th and a GPI ranking of 2nd, New Zealand is another great destination for solo female digital nomads. Besides breathtaking nature and outdoor adventures, the country had some of the strictest quarantine requirements in the world at the height of the pandemic.
Working holiday visas are offered to young people between the ages of 18 and 30 (or 35 for some countries) and allow travel and work in New Zealand for one year. (Although UK and Canadian citizens can stay for 23 months.) Requirements for this visa include not bringing dependents or accepting permanent employment. You are not required to work while you are there, but you must demonstrate that you can meet the cost of living – people will need to earn at least NZ350 per month or NZ4200 for the 12 months.
The State Department issued New Zealand a “Level 1” travel advisory in July, noting that the crime rate is “relatively low” but that thieves may target tourists in crowded public spaces.
With a GHI ranking of 33 and a GPI ranking of 6, Portugal has recently become an expat hotspot – the number of Americans moving to Portugal increased by 45% last year, driving gentrification among inhabitants. The country attracts people with its warm climate, access to healthcare and affordable cost of living.
Earlier this summer, the country announced that it would soon offer a visa specifically for digital nomads. “Portugal is a country of immigration. Every year we welcome thousands of immigrants seeking opportunities in our country,” said Ana Catarina Mendes, minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Parliamentary Affairs, in a statement. communicated. “A country that wants to welcome immigrants as it wants its emigrants to be welcomed as well.”
Currently, the country offers a two-year D7 visa for retirees or people earning more than a year’s minimum wage in passive income, such as rental income, which may apply to some digital nomads. This visa also allows you to travel throughout the Schengen area, although you must spend six consecutive months or eight non-consecutive months in Portugal. Unlike other long-stay visas, the D7 welcomes families as long as you can prove you can support them financially as well.
Portugal received a “Level 1” travel advisory from the State Department on Tuesday in response to possible terrorist attacks across Europe. People should also watch out for “crimes of opportunity”, such as pickpocketing.