Freelancers already know the benefits of remote work.
You can crawl out of bed whenever you want and head directly to your desk in your sweatpants with your favorite mug in hand instead of spending the average 26.9 minutes commuting to work each morning.
You can travel and live the digital nomad life, living and working in exotic places like Thailand, Chile, South Africa, or Spain. A lifestyle like this allows you to see the world and work wherever you are.
And you may even be more productive working remotely because you can figure out how you work best and choose where you work each day, all while saving time by skipping time-wasting meetings. Switch it up and head to the library on Monday or work from your local coffee shop for meetings on Friday afternoons, whatever works best for you.
Benefits aside, the American workforce is changing, and millennials are breaking the mold of what work looks and feels like. Remote work is becoming more of the norm, and with it comes the availability to work from wherever you want. So why not live somewhere affordable and beautiful?
I recently made a significant change myself by relocating from Kansas City, Missouri to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Moving was my after high school plan, yet I stuck around for one reason after another.
Among the many reasons to live in Colorado Springs (which you'll read about more in-depth below), the mountains and lifestyle change called me. Why not live in a place where you will feel happier, a place that's beautiful and where the cost of living is much lower?
When I compared the places we could afford to rent in KC vs. CO, we got more for our money in Colorado by far. Food cost less, depending on what you buy. We also saved in nearly everything else, from rent to car insurance rates, and remote workers don't need to worry about finding in-house jobs before a big move.
Top reasons for freelancers to relocate to a new state include:
- Cost of Living - With most office jobs located in cities and the top cities like New York City and San Francisco costing insanely high prices to live in, freelance work allows you to make the same wages while paying lower rent and food costs.
- Flexible Schedule - Allows you to take time off to move across states or work while you're not lugging boxes around (as long as you connect the internet first).
- Amenities - Living in some locations offer more for freelancers, from coworking spaces to creative classes or mountain adventures.
- Opportunity - The availability to choose where you live means you can find the best schools for your kids or head to a location where you enjoy the weather year-round, adjusting to a place where you can live a happier lifestyle.
- Travel - As long as it has internet connectivity, you can go anywhere. Why not go somewhere you can live comfortably on less than $50,000 per year?
Top 13 Unexpected Best Places for Freelancers to Live You (Probably) Never Considered
With numerous affordable places in the U.S. that are perfect for freelancers, here are the 13 unexpected best places for freelancers to live. Move to any of these towns for a better quality of life that only remote workers can fully take advantage of.
1. St. Louis, Missouri
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $670
What Living Here is Like: St. Louis is the kick-off place to the historic Lewis and Clark adventure out West, and Missouri is an extremely affordable state to live. There's a historical metro area full of friendly communities, and many tech companies or those looking to relocate head to St. Louis bring a wide variety of job options.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: While there's not a lot around the state worth visiting other than Lake of the Ozarks in the summer and Kansas City's fun nightlife, St. Louis is known as one of the most creative places to live in the U.S. Sure, the city offers more jobs. But St. Louis has a lower cost of living and a population of only 317,419 people.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $790
What Living Here is Like: Vegas is full of neon light and casinos that give the city the name "Sin City." But this city also offers scenic country lands and attractions within a short drive, from the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon to Zion National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: With a low cost of living, low unemployment rates, low taxes, and extremely affordable housing in a popular vacation destination, there are not many reasons not to live in Las Vegas. Whether you choose North Las Vegas or live closer to the strip, a freelancer here stands a good chance at making a decent living.
3. Nashville, Tennessee
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,040
What Living Here is Like: Living in the capital of Tennessee is like living in a freelancer's dream, which is why many self-employed people have adored this city for years. The music scene is iconic, and you can work from any number of excellent coffee shops that span the city.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: A large portion of the people in Nashville are self-employed, and with WorkIT encouraging tech-savvy people to move to the city, there are plenty of jobs and co-working spaces available. Meet likeminded creative people and network, or explore all the entertainment options.
4. Reno, Nevada
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,000
What Living Here is Like: With a very affordable cost of living, Reno is a little city with an exciting streak. For about four months out of the year, the heat reaches over 100-degrees. However, there's much less sin in Reno than Las Vegas and plenty of outdoor fun within an hour drive or so.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: Nevada is one of America's hottest startup hubs, and there's a large number of small businesses and tech companies looking for freelancers to hire. Entrepreneurs who love action and fun entertainment will adore living here, and there are tons of networking opportunities.
5. Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $900
What Living Here is Like: Mix together a suburban lifestyle with nature adventures nearby and you have Colorado Springs. It's only an hour South of Denver if you want a night out in the city, and with the Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak on the horizon, you have plenty of outdoor activities. Unlike most of Colorado, winters here aren't too snowy, and you won't find many bugs hanging around either. Parents also rave about the schools here.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: With a lower cost of living than Kansas City, MO, where the average home already costs a low national average of $135,100, Colorado Springs was my move of choice because freelancers can live well. Colorado is a great place for freelancers for a number of reasons, but Colorado Springs, in particular, is more affordable. It's perfect for families, and plenty of other professionals call this home.
6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,010
What Living Here is Like: Minneapolis molds together the welcoming friendliness of the Midwest with an urban city with tons of attractions, from galleries and museums to professional sports and award-winning restaurants.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: Remote workers flock to the Mississippi River waterfront area, which is a trendy area full of lofts, condos, parks, and cafes to work at. Plus, Minneapolis offers some of the lowest average health insurance premiums for freelancers.
7. Knoxville, Tennessee
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $780
What Living Here is Like: Many cities across Tennessee are quickly becoming the best places to live and visit. Knoxville is all about the University of Tennessee (whose main campus is here) and fun adventures on the rice, from canoeing and kayaking to paddleboarding and riding jet skis. Plus, there are plenty of historic attractions to explore.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: While Nashville is another highly affordable place for freelancers to live, Knoxville has more fresh air and offers gorgeous views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The art and music scene here is also huge, and the city was ranked as a top city for Millennial entrepreneurs by NerdWallet.
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $640
What Living Here is Like: People who know and love Cincinnati best call it a little-known treasure, and locals love to have a good time. There are amenities like museums and professional sports teams, and world-famous chili.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: With Fortune 500 companies nearby, freelancers have low unemployment rates in this city. There are plenty of cultural resources and coffee shops here, and an extremely low cost of living. If you have kids, the public school system here is good and there are a number of Montessori schools as well.
9. New Orleans, Louisianna
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $960
What Living Here is Like: Hurricane Katrina left this city in shambles back in 2005, but NOLA is one of the fastest-growing cities in America today. Many homes have been remodeled, and because most of the population left, you can find plenty of opportunities popping up daily here.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: New Orleans is famous for a slower lifestyle, and the city has seen a rise in co-working spaces over the past few years that make it perfect for freelancers.
10. Atlanta, Georgia
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,090
What Living Here is Like: Metro Atlanta is growing quickly, but the city's heart holds onto its Southern charm. Expect people to hold the door open for you in public. The town offers award-winning restaurants and dense tree cover. Escape from the urban settings to relax at the Chattahoochee River or Stone Mountain.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: Atlanta freelancers make up 4.4% of the workforce already thanks to the low cost of living, and the city has some of the cheapest cell phone plan costs for those who telecommute frequently. There are also 532 coffee shops per 100,000 Atlantans, which gives freelancers plenty of places to work.
11. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $770
What Living Here is Like: Millenials love Pittsburgh because it's affordable, the old suburban neighborhoods are distinctive, and there are ample nightlife and bars. People here are friendly and enjoy cultural arts. They shrive for community spirit and raise families here. Compared to other large cities, it has an incredibly low cost of living too.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: Pittsburgh has recently been called the tech center of America, so if you're tech-savvy or work in the niche, there are plenty of job opportunities available. Plus, freelancers have over 250 coffee shops to work from, and there are a number of coworking spaces.
12. Salt Lake City, Utah
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $950
What Living Here is Like: The Wasatch Mountains offer Utah's residents a backyard full of five national parks, many public parks, and some of the best ski resorts in the world. Recreation meets a thriving downtown nightlife here, and more developments and condos are being built in the area.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: With fantastic views, excellent restaurants, and easy to find jobs around every turn, Salt Lake City is a friendly city you can call home in no time. There are a free light rail system and high-speed train you can take to get to meetings, and you can find plenty of jobs hiring freelancers here.
13. Tucson, Arizona
The Average Price of a 1-Bedroom Apartment: $650
What Living Here is Like: Beautiful landscape and hiking trails surround the town, offering natural pine forests and ferns in the middle of the desert. Mexican food is widely available and spicy, and there are lakes and mountains a few shorts hours drive away. Tucson weather is hot (often upwards of 100 degrees F in summer) and it rarely rains. You probably won't need a coat during the day in winter, but nights drop drastically.
Why It's Perfect for Freelancers: If your business focuses on the tech or art niche, there are plenty of prominent industry companies hiring in Tucson. Plus, this place has low housing and health insurance costs, and although there are many more self-employed people in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, you can find plenty of work. Arizona also has low-income tax rates, and the Freelancers Union Spark network here allows you to meet other freelancers and network.
Where will you live next? Remote workers, have you lived or do you currently live in any of these places? Do you live a digital nomad lifestyle? Share your experiences in the comments below.