Digital Nomads Flock to Asia for Summer 2024

Digital Nomads Flock to Asia for Summer 2024

It happened again last week. Another digital nomad friend of mine told me that he is ditching his plans for Germany this summer and heading back to Vietnam, despite already spending the winter in Asia. Why? My friend cited the high cost of living in Germany and also the lack of accommodation. For the past several years, digital nomads have had to compete with tourists for housing if they wanted to spend their days in the Tuscan sun or party in Lisbon while working from their laptops.

To be a digital nomad in the European summer often means jumping from week to week to different accommodations as it becomes increasingly impossible to secure something for a month or longer unless you plan way in advance. Turn up the cost of living and add climate change, which last year baked large parts of the continent, and a European summer has become extremely complicated, unless you are willing to go off the beaten path to Bulgaria, Albania, or Serbia.

Goodbye Italy, Hello Vietnam

Enter the Asian summer. Traditionally, the digital nomad winter is spent in Bali, Thailand, and increasingly Vietnam. The rainy season stops and the tourists and nomads arrive around October in Thailand, with Bali and Vietnam getting popular from late February. By April, many digital nomads are ready to see their family and friends in Europe and North America, but this year, things seem to be changing. The lower cost of living in Asia combined with more available accommodation and fewer tourists are drawing people back to Asia or encouraging them to remain all year.  

Another consideration for digital nomads is the European Schengen Zone. If you are not from an EU country, you are only able to stay 90 days out of a 180-day period in 29 European countries. If you fly from France to Romania, for example, the 90-day clock is still ticking, and it only stops when you leave the Schengen. This means that many digital nomads have to count their days and make adjustments. This becomes much easier in Asia where each country has its own visa rules. Although you have to apply online and pay a fee for some visas, you can stay much longer in the region without traveling so far. Vietnam, for example, allows visitors from most countries to stay for 90 days on an e-visa, which was extended from 30 days in 2023. A 2-hour flight to Malaysia will cost you around €60 and you can stay for another 90 days visa-free. With so many Asian countries to choose from, it is easy to stay in the region and find accommodation. Southeast Asia, at least for now, is not so strict with Airbnb policies and each country continues to make its own policies. 

While many digital nomads may still prefer all that Europe has to offer in the summer, it is interesting to note the growing trend of heading East or back East for the summer. And don’t forget – the Southern hemisphere also has fantastic places to see!

Where are you headed this summer?

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