The coronavirus pandemic has turbocharged the transition to remote work, and this is expected to have a huge impact on the already rapidly growing number of digital nomads - remote workers who have no fixed location work over the internet.
The number of digital nomads has been growing over the past decade, and with the majority of the workforce experiencing working from home over the past year, many more people are expected to adopt a digitally itinerant lifestyle once the pandemic is over and borders are reopened.
Israel is likely to be one of the first countries to open its borders as it leads the world in vaccinating its population against COVID-19 and is in the process of negotiating bilateral agreements with several countries to allow inoculated travelers to enter the country.
The first travelers to arrive will probably be digital nomads, who were either stuck at home over the past year or stuck in whatever exotic destination they were working from and will now be looking where to head next.
Israel was never a top digital nomad destination (according to nomadlist.com, Tel Aviv ranks #829 out of the world’s cities) as it has been considered pricey in comparison to other destinations where the cost of living is much cheaper.
What does Israel have to offer digital nomads?
The first thing that will change drastically is cost. For example, Tel Aviv already offers accommodation options for less than $1,000 a month (dorm rooms start at $500). Prices for these same lodgings would have easily been double before the pandemic.
Apart from a fair price, Israel has a few unique selling propositions for nomads: Kibbutz lodgings, quirky hostels, and its own 24-hour party city.
A new initiative is looking to make Israel’s kibbutzim the perfect haven for digital nomads.
After talking to Omer Har-Shai from "Gather" it started to make sense. Many of the kibbutzim are located in quiet locations in magnificent natural settings.
The infrastructure of the kibbutz can be used easily to fulfill the needs of digital nomads - country lodging, joint facilities for work and big dining rooms that kibbutz members and visitors alike can use.
Omer started his project in the pre-coronavirus era and spoke to 40 kibbutzim, some of whom agreed to join his initiative.
A first pilot trial was held in January 2020 in Kibbutz Kfar Blum in the north, where 15 digital nomads from Israel and all around the world stayed for a month. The program included remote work at a joint facility, voluntary activities (such as tree planting) and a regular communal dinner.
Further places that will open post coronavirus include Kibbutz Tuval in the Upper Galilee and Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev. Prices will be reasonable and this unique Israeli kibbutz offer will surely attract digital nomads from around the world.
Juha’s Guest House in Jisr az-Zarqa
Juha’s Guest House is the only hostel in the only Arab fishing village that sits directly on the beach.
It is also located on the path of the Israel Trail (a 1,000 km path that crosses Israel from north to south).
The hostel brought development to Jisr, one of the poorest villages in Israel - located close by to Caesarea, one of Israel’s richest areas - through social tourism projects that attract Israelis and tourists.
Not far from the hostel is the BeachHub, an innovation center that is situated directly on the beach. This is a perfect working space for digital nomads with Wi-Fi, a working space and of course, sea and sun.
Israel has pretty good weather for around nine months of the year, making the combination of a great small hostel and a nearby working space that also creates small temporal communities a good choice.
Prices in a dorm or private room at Juha’s are very reasonable and with good access to Tel Aviv or Haifa can be a great choice to spend a few weeks.
Tel Aviv may not have been the obvious option for digital nomads because it has been very pricey.
But the pandemic has brought down hospitality prices and rents and you can currently find a big choice of hotels, hostels, and Airbnb accommodation, with dorm prices starting from as little as $500 per month.
With low prices Tel Aviv will become a very popular digital nomad destination because it is innovative, vibrant (with cafes, bars, clubs, and niche communities galore) and a beach city with great weather almost all year round.
All these make it a perfect match for nomads.
The big advantage of Tel Aviv is that in terms of size it is a small city with endless cafes, bars, and working spaces within walking distance of wherever you are staying.
So whether you are staying in Florentin, around Rothschild Boulevard or even Jaffa, you will find access to all required services nearby.
A few recommended spots for nomads:
Mazeh 9 is a hub for Tel Avivians that also has a lounge where you can work and meet inspiring young people up to the age of 35 in a dynamic environment.
Address: Yefet 83, Jaffa Tel: 03-5084123 (Open Sun–Thu, 9am–9pm)
TAMI is a hackerspace where you can meet people and work on different projects digital but also metal, wood, audio, video and much more.
Address: Shoken 19, Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a vibrant city with young people developing ideas about the new next technologies or the next Israeli start-up headed for global success.
There is a wide choice of cafes across the city where you can work and join the local technorati, creatives and everyone else just taking it easy as people in Tel Aviv love to do.
Bucks, Little Prince, Nehama Vahetzi, Tachtit, Bookworm are some of my favorite cafe options.
Many of the cafes in Tel Aviv are laptop friendly with free fast internet access.
Uri Sharon is a tourism professional with a Master's degree in Tourism Development and Planning from Haifa University. He is the founder and editor of trvltrend.com and has many years of experience in digital and offline marketing, e-commerce, integrative media planning and public relations. The main focus of his writing is digital trends in travel and hospitality.