** This article is updated regularly. It was last updated in November 2019 **
Working freelance means that you are free to manage your own time and your own workload. For those working in freelance jobs that can be done remotely – such as professional freelance translators – it also means that you can choose the location in which you work.
Translators have a particular advantage when it comes to working in a new country, as they can use their linguistic abilities to offer language lessons as a source of additional income.
Of course, before making any firm decision to move abroad, be sure to check out the residency and visa requirements, taxation system, healthcare arrangements and other legal factors of your intended destination, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises after you arrive there.
Once you’ve done your research, whether you’re planning a permanent relocation or just a few months experiencing a new culture, it’s time to pack your bags!
November 2019 Update
The Tomedes team has recently revisited our list of the best countries in which to work freelance. Everything from taxation to political stability can change significantly over the years, so we've updated our list to reflect some of the changes we've seen around the globe since we last wrote about this back in early 2014.
Of course, freelancing itself has changed considerably over that period too. The latest Freelancers Union and Upwork report advises that there are now 56.7 million freelancers in the US alone. What was once something of an alternative way of life is becoming more and more mainstream.
Against this vastly changed backdrop, we're delighted to share with you the lastest list of Tomedes' thoughts on the best countries in which to work freelance. We hope you enjoy it!
Thailand – cheap rent and wonderful scenery
Thailand still tops our list. In fact, it's the only one of the original three locations that we included that still makes the grade!
Thailand is one of the best places in the world for living at low cost. Rent is low and the local cuisine is both healthy and incredibly cheap. Combine this with spectacular beaches and wonderful weather and you have a picture-perfect destination that is the country of choice for many freelancers.
But Thailand’s advantages actually run deeper than great food and year-round swimming in the ocean. The country’s healthcare system, for example, is very good value when compared with systems in places such as the US, with world-class hospitals in major cities, where the staff have the time to be as attentive as you would wish.
The low crime rate is another attraction for freelancers considering relocating to Thailand, as is the low cost of transportation and telecommunications. The latter is particularly important for those who need to communicate regularly with clients in other countries for work purposes. Between Skype and the low cost of calls and data in Thailand, $25 per month should be sufficient for all your electronic communication needs.
South Korea - urban living with plenty of dynamism
The pace of change in South Korea is simply phenomenal. If you want to live somewhere where you can feed off the energy and dynamism all around you, this has to be the winner.
South Korea is currently 25th in World Data's country-by-country cost of living index, which means that it's plenty affordable for freelancers. Throw in fast internet and an exciting business environment and you have a truly inspirational country, particularly when it comes to urban areas.
While Korean companies have something of a reputation for long working hours, freelancers are immune to such issues, meaning that they can enjoy the benefits of working in South Korea without some of the negatives that may impact those working regular, employed roles.
From its popular culture and cuisine to its welcoming people, South Korea has a great deal going for it. And its continuing rise to prominence means that this is an excellent choice when it comes to future prospects.
Estonia - first-rate global connections
In 2019, Estonia ranked first in the world for its digital connections, according to the Internations Digital Life Abroad Report. In simple terms, those looking to live a connected life overseas won't find anywhere better!
Estonia has fully embraced the freelance way of life. The country offers e-residency for travelling freelancers and entrepreneurs, for example.
For those who choose to live in Estonia, the country is awash with delights. Not only is it tech-savvy, it's clean. Seriously clean! It has the best overall air quality in the world. The food is seasonal, natural and delicious. Accommodation is affordable and there's some stunning scenery for those who enjoy the great outdoors.
There's also a lively social scene, for those who like to play hard as well as work hard. What a fantastic combination!
Still not sure where is the best place for you? Maybe this fun quiz will help.
Which country have you chosen to be based in and why? Tell us about your decision using the comment box.