When you-know-what happened, a large number of us were thrown into the realm of remote working. In fact, digital nomads from the United States have more than tripled in number over the last several years, rising from 4.8 million in 2018 to 15.5 million by 2021, as shown by Project Untethered.
Geoarbitrage, a term popularized by "lifestyle gurus" like Tim Ferris, was also on the rise as a result of this trend. Isn't it possible to earn the same amount of money working in a lower-cost country and enjoying a higher standard of living?
According to the NomadList, nations like Thailand, Colombia, and Portugal have already reaped the benefits of Western digital nomad spending. However, Turkey, a hidden treasure, is steadily climbing the ranks of the world's most popular destinations.
Most people think of Chiang Mai, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), or Medellin as ultimate digital nomad destinations. But as they get overcrowded, many people are looking for lesser known gems that could afford them a top-tier lifestyle while staying immersed in the local culture.
So we're here to make a case for why Turkey should be on your radar.
What makes Turkey the ideal digital nomad hub?
Turkey, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is a culturally rich and dynamic country boasting vast landscapes that offers golden beaches, rainforests, and deserts. It also just so happens to deliver all the ingredients of a dream digital nomad destination: a combination of low cost of living, convenient remote working infrastructure, and ease of visa obtainability. Of course, each nomad may have additional requirements based on their personal preferences, but these three are pretty universal.
Here's how Turkey performs when it comes to this list-
1. Cost of Living
There are few places in Europe where you can get more bang for your buck than Turkey, whether it's in terms of rent, food, or cultural events.
Your monthly expenditures will be in the $1500 - $2000 USD range if you wish to live in Istanbul or another major city. This includes staying in an Airbnb, eating local cuisine, going out for drinks, going to clubs or cocktail bars, and traveling on weekends. But, it could be as low as $1000 a month if you decide to stay outside of the city centre, eat locally and use public transportation.
If you’re coming from the West, where the currency is much stronger than the the Turkish lira, you’ll find that the cost of living in Istanbul is 68% less than that of New York City and 59% less than that of Los Angeles, for instance, according to Numbeo.
2. Remote working infrastructure
Turkey is a great place for digital nomads to work from home because of the abundance of coworking spaces, cozy cafés, and restaurants to choose from. Coworking spaces, cafes, as well as social and networking events for remote workers, may be found in most major cities.
As for internet capabilities:
Turkey's wifi speeds on mobile and fixed broadband average 26-32 mpbs download speed as of January 2022, according to Speed Test. While this is on the lower side for Europe, it’s higher than the world average. If you’re in Istanbul or any other major city, your internet speeds are likely to be stable and reliable, however, the more rural you go, the more unpredictable it may become, as with most countries.
In Turkey, you can also get a SIM card pretty easily. Türk Telekom, Turkcell, and Vodafone are the country's three primary telecommunications providers. High-speed internet services are available from all of the providers. Turkcell is the country's biggest cellular service provider and has the widest network coverage.
3. Ease of obtaining a visa
This is arguably the most important consideration.
No digital nomad wants to go through laborious paperwork and jump through a multitude of bureaucratic hoops when a number of countries are keen to attract remote workers by making visa processes a breeze.
Turkey makes it possible for US and Canadian citizens to easily obtain an e-visa by applying online. This simplifies the visa application procedure and allows you to avoid long airport lines for visa-on-arrival. All you have to do is fill out an online application at least 2 days before your trip.
If you’re applying on your own, set aside a couple hours to consolidate all the required documents, fill in the form, pay the $51.50 application fee, and hit submit. Alternatively, Atlys can do that for you in under 180 seconds.
Here’s how the Turkey E-Visa application works with Atlys. It covers everything from processing time to COVID-19 entry requirements. As you can see, Atlys has been used by a wide variety of travelers, whether they were traveling alone or in a group.
So Turkey may be on your list, but where you'll spend your time is still up in the air!
Will it be Istanbul, where historical sites, museums, natural wonders, restaurants, and cafés abound, providing you with a unique and vibrant city experience?
Or will it be Izmir, a burgeoning distant working paradise that few are aware of? The people are kind, the atmosphere is youthful, and there are many natural beauties perched on the Aegan sea. Furthermore, you can enjoy all of Istanbul's amenities at a lesser cost of living.
Don't forget to think about Ankara, the capital, as well. There are several shared working places in the form of libraries and cafés, as well as a vast cultural and historical legacy.
Whatever you decide, you're just a few mouse clicks away from kicking off your new digital nomad adventure in Turkey!