Winter Getaways for Digital Nomads

December brings a lot of holiday joy, but it also brings colder temperatures. Even here in southern Europe, things are starting to get chillier. One of the huge advantages of the digital nomad lifestyle is being able to pick up and escape winter whenever you want. This week’s post covers four locations that have warmer temperatures, a relatively low cost of living, and are just plain cool places to post up for a few months.

Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife, Canary Islands

I’ve visited the Canary Islands several times and always loved it. The Canaries are part of Spain, but located off the coast of Morocco. They do experience winter, but being situated further south, the weather is milder than it is on the peninsula. With January highs around 20, it’s a warmer alternative to European winters. Playa Las Canteras on Gran Canaria is always a busy tourist destination. Other islands may offer a quieter pace of living. El Cotillo on Fuerteventura is a terrific destination for surfers and people who want to cruise in a mellow beach town. La Famara on Lanzarote is quiet town by the beach, while Puerto del Carmen in the south is far more happening. Spain offers great visas for those looking to stay longer term. At present, Americans can still travel there without a visa for 90 days within a 180-day period.

 

Apartments in Las Canteras were equipped with fiber optic internet connections- perfect for conducting online classes. Your 6 pm Beijing time classes will start at 10 am in Las Palmas. There are a ton of vacation rental options on Booking and AirBnB. Check out Szilvia Mender, who has some vacation rentals at reasonable prices.

Zihuatenejo, Mexico

Zihuatenejo Sunset

If not for the movie The Shawshank Redemption, most people probably would never have heard of Zihuatanejo. Before Andy Dufresne’s character popularized this small Mexican beach town, it was well-known with American surfers traveling south in search of its powerful beach breaks and hollow left-hand barrels. With January highs reaching into the 30s, you will experience real summer weather here. Rental properties can be had for a few hundred dollars a month, but be sure you get a place that has fiber optic internet service. TelMex provides fast internet speeds. Just ensure that your host has signed on to a fast connection. If you’re staying longer term, check out your options for fiber. Plans can be had for about $50 USD that should deliver speeds more than adequate for teaching online. 

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, Portugal

Like the Canary Islands, Madeira experiences winter. However, it’s also much milder than on the Iberian Peninsula. With highs around 18 in January, Madeira is far more pleasant than the Portuguese mainland. While visas for long-term stays on this Portuguese island are fairly easy to obtain, visas are still not required for Americans who stay less than 90 days within a 180-day period. The capital city of Funchal is the busiest area of the island and definitely worth a day trip. To really experience Madeira, get out into the more remote parts of the island. Places like Paul do Mar are quiet with beautiful beaches. Accommodation is incredibly cheap in Madeira. Though you do need to be mindful of the internet speeds when you get outside of Funchal. I stayed on a vineyard overlooking the ocean and had adequate Wi-Fi in my accommodation. The island really is something to be experienced. It’s a very chilled out place with outstanding food, beer, wine, and the best coffee in all of Portugal. Having said that, if you’re a person who craves action and excitement, Madeira can be less than what you’re used to. It’s a very slow pace of life. 

Penang, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

Situated on the west coast of Malaysia, January is the dry season in Penang with February being the hottest month. Highs above 30 are common, so you should enjoy true summer weather in this Southeast Asian country. A good getaway spot for those digital nomads living in Asian countries further north, Penang won’t disappoint. George Town is a huge destination for expats and retirees from abroad. English is widely spoken in Malaysia. With Starbucks and Coffee Bean, you may not even notice that you are outside of America. Penang is only 113 square miles, so nowhere is too far from the beach. AirBnB’s can be found for around $300 a month and the Wi-Fi should be more than adequate. I used internet toggles during my time in Malaysia and found it to be sufficient. Local internet service should be adequate, but have a toggle as a backup is good idea. 

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For those in the US that just want to be somewhere warmer, but want to stay stateside, check out these two locations. Both offer warmer temperatures and (relatively) affordable prices. 

Galveston, Texas

 The Gulf Coast vacation destination offers fairly warm mid-winter temperatures and a low cost of living. Expect to pay more for an AirBnB in this Texas city than you would in the four international locations listed above.

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Palm Coast, Florida

Situated on the east coast of Florida in between Daytona and St. Augustine, Palm Coast is one of the cheaper areas to live in Florida. Though a bit further north, the winter temps are very agreeable. Time your stay around spring break if you want to avoid the high prices associated with this week of partying. 

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