Turkey | Absolutely Best Place for Digital Nomads | Pros and Cons
Hello all digital nomads. Recently I wrote a post about why it is very beneficial to be a digital nomad in Georgia. I talked about the peculiarities of life and work in this country as a digital nomad. If you missed it, you can read the link. Since then, a lot has changed for me and I began to move further around the world, towards Europe. Now I live and work in Turkey, about the living and working conditions in which I will tell you today.
A small disclaimer - a lot of the text below I don't give numbers when it comes to numbers. The thing is that there is terrible inflation in the country and everything is becoming more expensive literally before our eyes, so the prices that I will tell you about now can be very different from the real ones, from those that you will see when or if you arrive.
The most important thing for digital nomads is the Internet. That's where I want to start. Let's start with home internet. It's fast and cheap. During the period of renting my first apartment, there was no moment when the Internet lagged, hung or slowed down. All video conferences were held in excellent quality, I watched movies in 2k quality, as well as twitch without any problems. Once the provider had a hitch and the Internet disappeared for several hours, but firstly, this was due to some kind of repair work in the house, which did not depend on the provider in any way, and secondly, mobile Internet saved me that day.
Home Wireless Network Connection Speed
Mobile Internet in the country has several features. Firstly, it is not so easy for foreign citizens to get a permanent SIM card in the country. It is not enough to have a foreign passport, you need to have a residence permit in order to get a permanent SIM card. The fact is that this is how the government fights gray and black imports and blocks the SIM cards of tourists after several months of use, and also blocks the SIM card slot. What does it mean? This means that if you suddenly restart your phone or change the SIM card in your phone, you will be required to activate the SIM card password. I met this for the first time in my life.
I used Turkcell simply because their office was closest to my house. There are many telecom operators in Turkey, you can read more about each of them online. Turkcell worked great for me. Very fast mobile internet, but because of the policy regarding sim cards and foreign citizens, there were often some problems. For example, once my SIM card was blocked completely by accident, so I could not make calls and use the mobile Internet. Or, once I needed to insert another SIM card for a bank transfer and the Turkish SIM card was blocked. Of course, I didn't know the password from her.
Kaggle - Models Tab
The guy in the office helped me a lot - he created a sim card for himself, so I don't need to get a new sim card or residence permit when my sim card expires. There are many other different loopholes, but I would not advise you to get involved with them, it is better to act according to all the rules and laws, believe me.
Of the minuses - if you plan to work in coworking, then I have bad news for you - they are not here. And if there is, they are very unpopular here. Most digital nomads work from home. I think this is facilitated by fast and inexpensive Internet. Also, a huge number of people work right on the beach. I never understood such people and was always afraid to work in this way, because sand could get into the connector.
Firstly, I chose Turkey because of its climate. My stay here began in March, when there are not so many tourists yet, and the weather is already wonderful - warm, sometimes even hot. For me, as a person who grew up and lived with cold winters, it was important to sit in March on the beach, while at home I would be blown away by an avalanche of snow.
Alanya Weather in March (+22C)
I plan to travel most of the country, but I started from Alanya, where according to the Internet there are 300 sunny days a year. The weather in March in Alanya is pleasant for walking, jogging and even sleeping outdoors, but unfortunately only the brave or crazy can swim in the sea. In March, the water is still too cold.
Because of this climate, the country has amazing vegetables and fruits. The first week I only ate them. A little far from the cities there are many bazaars and markets where these vegetables and fruits can be purchased much cheaper than in supermarkets. Speaking of prices...
For one person in Turkey, $300 a month is enough for a comfortable life, without denying yourself anything, visiting restaurants and drinking freshly squeezed juice on the beach. Supermarket prices are low. Of the expensive, it is worth noting dairy products and meat. Relative to other products, these categories are expensive.
Due to the fact that the country is Muslim, there may be problems with meat here. Of course, meat is served in cafes and restaurants, but, to be honest, the quality leaves much to be desired. The taste and appearance of chicken, pork, beef and other meats is far from ideal. I haven't had the pleasure of enjoying a steak or tenderloin at any restaurant. In supermarkets, the meat looks appetizing, but it tastes kind of insipid, and you get the feeling that you are eating sawdust.
There is also a large selection of products in the country - many local brands and manufacturers, but refrigerators with meat are always the smallest. It's normal when in a huge supermarket, the size of Latvia, there is only one refrigerator with meat and three types of chicken.
Migros - Most Canonical Supermarket in Turkey
In a word, prices in the country are affordable, but there are problems with certain types of products. Problems also with fish. Despite the fact that I lived in a city by the sea, in Alanya, there were also problems with fish. I expected to see her at every turn, especially considering that there are a huge number of fishermen along the entire coastline. But no, there is no fish in the bazaars, the choice in stores is very small, in restaurants they want a lot of money for fish. I think that all fish is exported to other countries.
I rent a small studio 150 meters from the sea, which costs me $400 per month + utilities and gas. Judge for yourself if it's a lot or a little. The price on Airbnb and from local sites and hosts does not differ much, which seemed strange to me. Usually prices on Airbnb are much higher than if you rent an apartment on the spot and search local sites and ads.
The House Where I Rent Apartments
If you also want to stay by the sea, then I recommend taking an apartment a little further from the coast. Firstly, along the entire coast, at least from the Mediterranean side, there is a very busy and noisy highway that connects all the resort cities of Turkey. Secondly, the prices for studios near these noisy roads are twice as expensive as the prices for studios a hundred meters from the sea. I don’t see any problems walking a hundred meters to the sea - but it’s quiet, calm and cheaper.
When looking for accommodation not through Airbnb, be prepared that no one will understand you in English. In tourist places, of course, they can read Shakespeare to you, but where tourists are not used to staying, and even in small resort towns they do not speak English. Be prepared to use a translator.
To be honest, I would not advise you to rent a scooter. Only car or bicycle for short distances. The fact is that the driving style here is far from the same as I used to in Europe. Many pass at a red traffic light, no one gives way to pedestrians, drivers cut each other and do not give way. In such conditions, you can ride a scooter, but I'm afraid that this is not safe, and I would not take risks if I were you.
I cycled through the cities. I lived in the small village of Mahmutlar and rode a bike 15 km to Alanya. All roads are adapted for this, there are bike paths everywhere, both on the roadway and on the sidewalk.
When it comes to money, feel free to bargain. Especially when it comes to transport and car or bike rental. So for example, I lowered the price of a 200TL/day bike to 90TL/day. The indicated prices on the price tags here are much higher than the real ones, and the sellers themselves know about it, so they easily bargain.
If you are planning to visit a tourist place or city, then I would recommend taking a shuttle rather than a taxi. There are a lot of transfer companies here, more than in any other tourist city where I have been, and thanks to this, the prices are much lower than for a taxi. For example, when I planned a trip to Antalya, the taxi cost $100, and the transfer was only $60. At the same time, I was not driving in a broken Ford, but in a premium class minivan with internet and leather seats.
So, today I told you about what it's like to live in Turkey as a digital nomad. Of course, I did not touch on the issue of bureaucracy, visas and documents, simply because our readers from all over the world and everyone has their own history with documents. There were also few specifics with numbers. I repeat, due to the constantly growing inflation in the country, it is not rational to give examples of food prices, car rentals, etc.
I hope my text inspired you to achieve and try to work remotely on the beach, and not in a stuffy office, I hope I convinced you that you can work from anywhere while feeling comfortable. Turkey is an ideal country for vegetarians who love the sun and pedaling in the morning and is hardly suitable for motorcycle racers and those who do not speak English.