5 Reasons Why Digital Nomads should flock to BarbadosJuly 27, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen
For the past few weeks, travel blogs have been ablaze with anticipation over Barbados’ 12 month Welcome Stamp, which would allow digital and remote workers to camp out in Barbados for up to one year. Prime Minister Mia Mottley was clear that this is not just meant for people with Bajan roots living abroad, but for any foreigner who wants to work remotely. With most of us confronting new post-COVID realities, there are lots of good reasons to consider Barbados as an adoptive home for the next few months. Here are our top 5:
The internet and cable service are so good that your boss won’t even notice you’re gone. Why suffer on the mainland when you can take in the island breeze? Whether you are in Bridgetown (the capital city on the island’s southwest coast) or 2.5 miles away in Wildey, a satellite city in Saint Michael Parish, you can choose from the national cable and wireless company, Karib Cable, Digicel Barbados, Sprint PCS and many more to deliver broadband. High-speed internet costs less than $50/month. Also, the country is chocked full of free wi-fi hotspots, especially in Christ Church, Saint James, and Saint Michael parishes. So, you won’t have to worry about being disconnected while beach hopping, but you will have to remember not to make your colleagues jealous by turning on your camera!
The cost of living is cheap for the quality of life. The exchange rate is 1 USD to 2 Bajan dollars (BBD), and according to Numbeo, the most expensive food items are a gallon of milk at $23 BBD ($11.50USD) and a bottle of wine at $32.50 BBD ($16.25 USD). The lesson here is when in Barbados, do as the Bajans do. Drink rum! Small lifestyle changes can make a move to the island a no-brainer. With three-bedroom apartments coming in just around $1060 and utilities around $110, there is a lot of room for savings for early and mid-career professionals flying in from expensive cities like New York and San Francisco. With fresh vegetables easy to find and line fish extremely affordable, a move to Barbados could be good for your wallet and good for your health.
Your kids won’t miss a beat. Education is a big worry for families these days, but a move to Barbados doesn’t mean that kids would fall behind in school. Bajans take great pride in their education system, which is free at government schools and mandatory through high school. The nation enjoys a 99.7% literacy rate and it is one of the Caribbean’s wealthiest and most developed countries. For families with little kids, it is affordable to find live-in childminders and household help. Generally, foreigners can enroll school-age kids in local schools for around $7,500 USD per term, seek private schools at a higher price point, or let their kids continue remote schooling from home. For those pondering homeschool, Barbados is also a perfect place to unschool or world school. The options are endless.
It’s easy to social distance. While it only takes 3 hours to drive the entire country from end to end, with less than 300,000 inhabitants and 60 miles of coastline, there are lots of places to be alone! From Accra Beach to Bottom Bay, the sky’s the limit to the opportunities to enjoy nature’s biodiversity – at a safe distance from others. Most of the country’s sites are already naturally ventilated for the tropical weather. The only thing that would keep you indoors would be the mosquitoes during the rainy season (June-October), but they are nothing in comparison to the snow and sleet of an east coast winter (December-April).
Last, but not least, Barbados is a great option because this is not their first expat rodeo. Believe it or not, you won’t be the first expats to pick up and move to the island. Ross University has a medical school campus there, and blogs like Barbados Med Student outline what it is like for young people who have made the temporary switch. It helps to know that doctors – aspiring and acclaimed – have thrived in Barbados, and there will be a community of fellow transplants to help you find your way around. They suggest Barbados Property Search for housing and they even walk you down the aisle of a local supermarket to price compare. Seasoned veterans are a wealth of information and they help erase fears about taking this leap of faith.
If you’ve considered expat living before, now is a great time to imagine yourself in a nation known for Rihanna and flying fish. Just mind how many rum punches you have before joining your next Zoom meeting.