Montenegro – The perfect starting point for a digital nomad
One of the questions I am asked most often is: “How do I start traveling and working like you do? I always say “Pack your laptop or smartphone, get a few assignments, and do it!”
„I always say “Pack your laptop or smartphone, get a few assignments, and do it!”.“
If you are an entrepreneur, simply inform your customers that you will be on a business trip for a few days or weeks, but that they can reach you easily via the internet.
If you are an employee, and your job does not require your direct physical presence (unlike that of a craftsman or a taxi driver), it usually isn’t much more difficult: just tell your supervisor/manager that you want to work from home for a few days, or that you would like to take a few extra days of vacation, but that you will work remotely on those extra days, and that you will always be available. This works in most cases, if you simply ask. I have met countless employees who work as digital nomads, and the trend is rising.
If you are a student, it is even easier. You just have to see that you don’t have any compulsory attendance classes, or simply find a friend who is prepared to make it look as if you are present. Then you pack up your study and work things, and off you go. I studied for most of my university exams in the most beautiful places in the world.
Suring my undergrad studies, I spent countless hours locked up in a smelly library, with my fellow students distracting me constantly by getting countless cups of coffee from the coffee machine (and I wouldn’t want to miss out on this time for anything :-)), but I quickly realized that I prefer to study outside, surrounded by nature, in exciting cities or on warm, sunny beaches.
But I quickly realized that I prefer to study outside, surrounded by nature, in exciting cities or on warm, sunny beaches.
My pallid-skinned, stressed-out fellow students often asked me where I got my great tan, and why I was so relaxed during my exams and project presentations.
So, you’ve just decided to embark on the journey of a lifetime, and you are standing there with your backpack on your back, your laptop under your arm, and the doorknob in your hand. But where to now? Your first destination should be a country that offers little distraction from work, and one that is cheap and easy to reach.
There are many countries that fit the bill — one of the countries that I and other experienced digital workers consider ideal for Europe-based nomads is Montenegro. I would like to introduce this incredibly diverse country to you briefly, in terms of working from there digitally.
I have just returned from a work assignment in the Balkans, and I and others agree that, of the Balkan states, Montenegro fulfils some of the most important requirements for testing whether you are cut out for working while you travel. Ideally, you should allow at least one or two weeks to get the show on the road.
What advantages does Montenegro offer, and what makes it particularly attractive for this type of adventure?
Five reasons why Montenegro is the ideal country for getting started as a digital nomad:
1. It is incredibly cheap:
When starting out as a digital adventurer, money is often a big factor. Montenegro is one of the cheapest countries in the Balkans, considering the very high quality of products and services. We needed no more than EUR 5 per day to eat at restaurants or kiosks. For a beer in a bar or club, you pay between EUR 1 or EUR 3 at the most. For overnight stays in a very good apartment with a balcony, you can reckon with about EUR 10 to EUR 15 per person, per night. Even if you want to remain flexible and spontaneous, you will still find very good offers. Buses between most cities cost about EUR 5 – EUR10, and a sim card with enough GB to enable you to work without any problems, costs about EUR7.
2. Unbelievably beautiful nature, cities and beaches for a bit of action when taking a break from work:
Anyone who likes hiking, climbing, water sports or cycling will be in their element in Montenegro. The mountains, lake landscapes and beaches are incredibly beautiful. This kind of activity between work sessions will help to keep you physically fit. The nightlife is very intense, especially in the coastal towns of Budva, Kotor and the capital, Podgorica. If you like to treat yourself to a little party after work, you won’t be shortchanged in this Baltic State. Montenegro also has a relatively long coastline, and isolated beaches are (still) very easy to find compared, to other countries on the Adriatic coast, such as Croatia.
3. A very good infrastructure and easy to reach:
The infrastructure in Montenegro is very well developed: if you are travelling by car, you can reach not only the most beautiful natural paradises very easily, but you will also enjoy good roads and relatively well-regulated traffic. If you prefer to travel from city to city by bus, Montenegro is the right place for you: there is a bus station in every city, and the buses run regularly and punctually, and they are also very cheap.
Services like Airbnb (which we used most of the time) work very well in Montenegro, and the hotel infrastructure leaves nothing to be desired, even for those travelers who like the finer things in life.
4. Culturally similar, and few distractions:
If you set off on your travels with your laptop, with the intention of working through your to-do list, you are going to have constant problem: distraction! This was previously one of my biggest problems, because I am terribly curious and want to explore the myriad of new places and meet the locals. With time, your sense of discipline will increase and you’ll figure out a way of working that enables you to get things done efficiently, even in the lively Canggu, or on one of the incredible rooftop bars in Shanghai. But, in the beginning, it is anything but easy to concentrate on your work, therefore your first destinations should be somewhat quieter places that do not differ too vastly from what you are accustomed to, in terms of culture.
But, in the beginning, it is anything but easy to concentrate on your work, therefore your first destinations should be somewhat quieter places that do not differ too vastly from what you are accustomed to, in terms of culture.
I have often seen how digital workers have given up trying to work like that, because their initial destinations were too wild for the beginning. Typically, they say something like this: “Unfortunately, I hardly got around to doing any work there, and had to come home earlier than planned, due to a lack of money. I’m not cut out for digital work”.
The culture in Montenegro is very European, so you will not be taken off guard by any culture shocks that will force you to reflect, discover and ponder. There are also small start-ups springing up everywhere, that offer cheap, delicious take-aways, so you only have to run out onto the next street to find something, then you can go back and eat in it front of your notebook.
5. Good, cheap network coverage, co-working spaces and a growing community of travelers and nomads:
Montenegro is one of the most popular Balkan states among digital nomads, and it is also very much in trend among adventure travelers. Therefore, the government puts a lot of emphasis on good, cheap mobile phone coverage. I had an excellent 4G connection everywhere, except in very remote natural areas, and in one of our apartments, which was built into the mountainside. Working by yourself in front of a notebook can get lonely, but luckily, many new co-working spaces are opening up in Montenegro, to cope with the increasing number of digital workers. There are also more and more communities of digital adventurers forming – people who like to network and tackle new projects together.
If these five points have convinced you to try your luck as a digital adventurer, I’ll be delighted if you give this wonderful country, with all its beautiful aspects, a chance.
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