Remote workers have the incredible benefit of being able to work from anywhere. This means you can pick just about any place to call your home. Will you choose a city of 4 million like Los Angeles or would you prefer an isolated cabin in the woods that’s several miles from another human? The decision can be a surprisingly difficult one for many people. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of both city and countryside life for remote workers. Hopefully, this will help you find your ideal next home. 

The Appeal of the City

Many – if not most – digital nomads and remote workers who travel will choose to base themselves in the city. These are destinations that are easy to get to, have a thriving community already, and come packed with essential amenities. From New York to Sydney, here are three of the main reasons you may want to choose to be an urban-based remote worker.

Access to the Best Facilities

There’s no doubt that cities will have more of the infrastructure you need to be a successful remote worker. We’re talking about faster and more reliable internet, a greater abundance of coworking spaces and coffee shops, and all the other stores and amenities that cities provide. Many remote workers want an easy and convenient life, which is exactly what cities provide.

You’ll have easier access to a repair shop when your laptop breaks, a police station if your phone is stolen, and a laundromat for when you run out of clean clothes. The countryside is likely to be located a further distance from any of these essentials, adding extra stress into your life. Many remote workers travel without a car, too, so being located in a bustling urban center puts you within walking distance of everything you need.

And you can even choose accommodation designed specifically for remote workers, with equipped workspaces to ensure you’ll be productive right from the start of your stay in a new city.

Business and Fun Combined

Cities are known for two main types of building: office blocks and nightclubs. If you’re looking for an active lifestyle that involves working hard in the day and partying hard at night, then only a big city will have what you want. You can go straight from the coworking space to the bar and enjoy a combination of business success and downtime.

For people just starting out on their careers, networking with other remote workers is essential. This helps you build up a contact list of people to reach out to when you need work. Whether you find them in the gym, the pub, or the library, a city will be teeming with experts in your industry who can aid your career growth. In the countryside, you’re likely to be the remote worker in the village, making it hard to network.

A Sense of Community

Towns of all sizes come with their own unique community spirit. However, cities tend to have communities that are more open and welcoming to newcomers. They’ll be more multicultural and multinational, which is ideal if you’re relocating to a new country. While a small village might be a unified unit where everyone knows everyone, a city will have many different communities, making it more likely you’ll find the right one for you.

Many cities around the world have online groups for remote workers in that city. You don’t get this with smaller towns. This allows you to quickly connect with others and start building relationships, even in a place where you don’t know anyone. Forming social bonds is a key part of maintaining your mental health and it’s often harder to do in the countryside.

The Call of the Country

Given all the advantages of city life listed above, you may be wondering why any remote worker would want to live in the countryside. Surely, it would be detrimental to their career and social life, right? Well, not always. There are many benefits to living in small towns and villages, whether you’re in the Cotswolds or the Himalayas.

A Better Work-Life Balance

Although city life is more convenient, it’s actually more stressful. Urban residents are 21% more likely to have anxiety disorders and 39% more likely to have mood disorders than those living in rural areas. The constant pace of city life, combined with crowding and air pollution, can overstimulate the senses and cause a spike in blood pressure and cortisol. If you find that you thrive in a more tranquil setting, then countryside life might suit you better.

With an abundance of outdoor space, it’ll be easier to switch off after work and get some much-needed rest. Wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, complete your work, then head out for a sunset walk in the woods. Beautiful outdoor space encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle while helping to keep your stress levels low.

Creative Inspiration

For remote workers in the creative industry, surrounding yourself with nature might help you find inspiration. A study of Danish creative professionals found that those living in the countryside were more curious about new ideas and flexible in their thinking. Therefore, artists, writers, and designers might prefer a rural setting to get their creative juices flowing.

For more traditional business roles that aren’t considered as creative, you might be more inclined to live in a city’s financial district. However, the reality is that most remote work jobs involve some level of creativity. Finding unique solutions sets you and your business apart from the competition. You may find that living near water or a stunning valley helps to spark creative ideas that allow you to flourish as a remote worker.

Potentially Lower Living Costs

The demand for housing in cities can often cause it to be more expensive. This isn’t always the case and it will vary from region to region. In the USA, at least, rural housing is an average of 30% cheaper than city accommodation. This is why 20% more rural residents own housing than those living in the city. While it might be possible to find a super cheap apartment in Toyko, you’ll likely end up in cramped accommodation in a less-than-desirable area.

In the countryside, conversely, you can usually find a much larger and better-equipped home for a lower price. Many remote workers need to lower their living costs, especially in the early days. Moving out to the countryside can allow you to do this. Furthermore, in the countryside, there are fewer shopping malls, billboard advertisements, and cocktail bars all trying to make you spend your hard-earned cash. This can mean that your day-to-day living costs naturally end up being much lower when you live in a small town.

The truth is that there are pros and cons to both city and country life. Which one you choose will depend on your personality and what you’re looking for. A city might contain a more vibrant community and better amenities but it can also cause stress and fatigue. The countryside, conversely, will be peaceful but could get boring. Realistically, you’ll want to strike a balance between the two, finding a place with proximity to both nature and modern amenities. Search Anyplace for an apartment that best suits your needs.

Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.


Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.

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