Top 5 cities for digital nomads

A roundup from Yelp and Zillow highlights primo destinations for "nomadic" remote workers in the virtual collaboration era. Wait. Will Nashville or Boise be the next WFH mecca?

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In recent months, a number of companies have made long-term commitments to the WFH model. No longer tethered to a specific location, telecommuters are able to Zoom and collaborate from virtually anywhere on Earth. On Wednesday, Yelp and Zillow released a "digital nomad index" ranking the top U.S. cities for remote workers seeking adventure and affordability with nomadic lifestyle services to boot.

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"It is clear that this past year has caused many to reconsider their housing needs and wants—and sometimes that means not wanting to be tied to one spot for too long," said Zillow economic data analyst Nicole Bachaud.

"Amenity-rich places with a lot of affordable rental units with shorter leasing terms are appealing to many people who no longer have to punch in at the office," Bachaud continued.

Overall, the rankings take into account housing availability, affordability and flexibility as well as attractive "community amenities" for people with a "newfound flexibility to explore the country as they work remotely," the release said.

Yelp's trend expert, Tara Lewis, elaborated on these index metrics, stating that these cities are "great for digital nomads," offering "highly rated" businesses such as co-working spaces and furniture rental as well as adventure-focused offerings like hikes, recreational vehicle repairs, paddleboarding and more.

"These destinations boast a mix of outdoor adventure and city perks that are appealing to the many young professionals who have transitioned to the nomadic lifestyle due to their new-found ability to work from anywhere," Lewis said.

Top 5 digital nomad destinations

1. Jacksonville, Florida

In Jacksonville, Florida, typical monthly rental rates are just under $1,000, according to the release, and the index highlights local "gems" such as Black Sheep Restaurant and Secret Tiki Temple as well as "vacation getaways" a la Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra.

"With the chance to work and play in the midst of a plethora of beautiful outdoor scenic views in every direction and year-round weather that make almost every day a beach day, Jacksonville could be one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads," the index said.

2. Austin, Texas

In Austin, Texas, typical monthly rental rates are around $1,300, according to the release. The index also makes note of local favorites like Torchy's Tacos and the Elephant Room music lounge as well as Createscape Coworking and Elite Austin furniture rental to assist with the remote work setup.

3. Boise, Idaho

In Boise, Idaho, typical monthly rental rates hover around $1,500, according to the release. The index also spotlights local restaurants like Fork and Diablo and Sons Saloon as well as recreational-focused businesses such as Wandervans and Leisureland RV Center for those looking to explore after office hours.

"Locals may have recognized the desire of nomads to come to their city, as it also ranks second amongst the metros for the largest year-over-year increase in rental listings offering lease terms less than one year," the index said.

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4. Nashville, Tennessee

In the Music City, typical monthly rental rates are approximately $1,300, according to the report, and the index mentions local offerings like Prince's Hot Chicken and music venue Shack Robert's Western as well as outdoor offerings.

"Located on the Cumberland River in the north central part of the state, Nashville is a digital nomad destination that checks all the boxes," the release said.

5. Charleston, South Carolina

In Charleston, South Carolina, typical rental rates are approximately $1,600 per month, according to the index. The index also makes note of local eats such as Leon's Fine Poultry and Xiao Biscuit as well as outdoor getaways like Sullivan's Island and Folly Beach.

"Charleston landed in the top 5 in large part because of the immense amount of available rentals, scoring higher than the other six South Carolina metropolitan areas analyzed, which means increased chances of finding a place that fits the digital nomad lifestyle," the report said.

For more information about the index, the full top 10 list and methodology feel free to peruse the report in its entirety.

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