The millenial business world is awash with buzzwords like advertainment, netiquettes, newsjacking and the latest addition - workation. A workation is a temporary trip that combines work and vacation. With more than half the world now working-from-homes and/or the rise of digital nomads and freelancers who prefer to work remotely, workations are on the rise. If you're planning a workation for a change of scene, here's everything you must know before you pack your bags and set off.
What Exactly is a Workation?
A workation is a vacation that allows you to work remotely. The idea is that you take a vacation from the workplace, and not work itself. Apart from the COVID situation that has forced people into working from homes, workations are also becoming popular due to technological advancements - laptops, collaboration tools, teleconferencing platforms, and all kinds of gizmos that help in a productive remote work environment. Workations straddle a strange line between holiday, remote work, and sabbatical.
Workation, (noun) – a working vacation, where you go to an exotic location and complete specific tasks or accomplish a goal before you leave.
Why Must You Consider Going On A Workation In Today’s World?
- Workations allow you to travel for longer than a regular vacation and since you're still employed, you have a steady salary credited into your account every month. This is almost dreamlike.
- Workations lower your stress level, it is likely to change up your routine, and help refresh your horizons & outlook. This can do wonders to your productivity and creative juices.
- The experiences you gain on a workation can make you grow both personally and professionally. You also meet other people in similar positions and can learn from them.
- Team Workations are proven to be a great team-building strategy and boosts productivity as well. It's also a whole lot of fun!
- For those looking to transition into a digital nomad in the long run, a workation is a trial run of the remote work life that allows you to test if the lifestyle is working for one.
- Until you get settled and find a rhythm, your productivity is likely to take a hit. Finding a routine and channeling your focus away from distractions can be hard in the beginning.
- While a workation in itself may not be as expensive, flights, insurance, visas, meals (unless you're preparing them yourself), can run up the costs.
- You will need to up your digital communication skills as all your work conversations will now happen from screen to screen. This can be hard, especially if you're used to face to face conversations.
- Finding the perfect work- station with strong internet connection, all the technological gizmos you need and a distraction free environment where you can sit and work dedicatedly in a foreign country can be hard, but not impossible.
Countries Reopening for Travel Again - Live Updates!
Top Countries with Remote Work Visas (Workation Visas) in 2020-2021
Now that most of the world has gone remote, a lot of countries are offering remote visa programs for incoming visitors. Most countries have introduced this in order to support local economies that have been decimated due to COVID-19. The hope is that these long-term visitors will support local economies without displacing any permanent residents' jobs. Here is a lot of countries now giving attractive remote work visas, making it condusive for a workation.
Read our complete guide to the best remote work visas in 2021.
How To Make Your Workations Work
#Rule 1 - Plan well ahead
If you're planning a workation, there's a lot you need to wrap up on the personal front before you leave home. Subletting your apartment, figuring your bills, someone to open your mail and what not. Make sure you tie all the loose ends before leaving for a stress-free workation.
#Rule 2 - Make more money than you spend
For a workation to be successful (and peaceful) you need to make more money on the road than you spend. While this is not too hard, you'll need to ensure this for any unpleasant surprises in a foreign country.
#Rule 3 - Stick around a place for 2 weeks atleast
Unlike a vacation where you can hop from one place to the other every 2-3 days, a workation requires some sort of stability. If you're traveling someplace new every few days, you'll be constantly drained from the travel, won't have time to settle and work, and lastly can't explore the place you're staying well enough. 2-6 weeks is ideal for workationing.
#Rule 4 - Set the ground rules from the beginning
Agree with your employer on availability, working hours and goals. If you have regular meetings, schedule them in advance and pay heed to time zones. Have a dedicated workspace at your accomodation (cafes on some days) and make sure you have a steady internet connection at all points. Do a little bit of research on ways to stay productive while working remotely in case you are not experienced with it.
#Rule 5 - Live around like-minded folks
It's important that you carry your working mood with you and while it definitely works wonders having your office folks around, it's not always possible to go on a team workation. Instead, check yourself into a co-working space on certain days of the week or a laptop friendly coffee shop so that you surround yourself with people who are in the same "work-zone" as you. This can work as a change of scene from your regular work station and maybe even improve productivity!
#Rule 6 - The right accommodation can make or break your workation
The place you stay plays a huge role in your productivity, so make sure to book a place that is suitable for working. Here's a quick checklist with essentials that you need for a conducive environment.
- Good speed internet connection
- A desk and chair you can sit and work at
- A resourceful neighbourhood with a supermarket, coffee shop, restaurants and such around so that you don't have to travel far for basics.
#Rule 7 - Establish a routine from day 1
Schedule your day and establish a routine from day 1. While perfecting it might take a few days and a few trial and errors, start from the very first day. Having the same schedule will help you stay organized, plan your day better and even give you some extra hours a day to explore the city you're living in.
Don’t expect to be extremely productive on day one. Give yourself time to settle in and you'll soon find a working routine that's productive and refreshing!
#Rule 8 - Eat healthy and don't forget to exercise
If you're on an extended workation, make sure to stock up on supplies and cook yourself a warm meal once in a while. Depending on your schedule, you could even indulge in cooking one meal daily. Eating food from restaurants for months together can take a toll on your health. Sometimes, a simple coffee run can lead to hours of exploring, and a well-stocked kitchen can keep you inside and on-task. Also, don't forget to go for a run, do some yoga and keep your body fit and fab. The best times to work out on your workation will be early in the morning and before bed.
Lastly, Workations only work if you do.
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Best Workation Destinations 2020-2021
If you're planning a workation in the near future, here's us sending some inspiration your way! We've asked 32 digital nomads around the world what their favourite workation destinations are and here are the top 10. Read more about the best workation destinations here.
Bali is secretly the undisputed workation capital of the world. This tropical paradise has no dearth of coworking spaces, each of them providing high quality internet, unparalleled business opportunities - all in the most incredible locations.
Best co-working spaces in Bali
No-Location, Outpost, Hubud, Dojo
Monthly cost of living in Bali
$720 to $2,600
Bali Workation Visa Rules
While Indonesia does not have a "digital nomad visa" yet, the Social, Tourist or Cultural Visa (B-211) allows you to stay 60 days, can be extended 3 times for 30 days each, issued by consulate or embassy outside Indonesia, extension can be done in Indonesia. A sponsor letter is needed to get this visa. Know More
If you’re going to work from home, why not work from paradise? Maldives is perfect for a luxury workation (or a budget one) with extensive Wi-Fi service literally under every palm tree and an impeccable view everytime you look up from your laptop.
Best co-working spaces in Maldives
While there aren't any "co-working spaces" in Maldives, all resorts here are equipped for a comfortable workation. The Nautilus Maldives, Soneva Fushi , Kudadoo Maldives, Anantara Dhigu and Pullman Maldives have launched attractive workation packages to lure digital nomads into the island for a long-term stay.
Monthly cost of living in Maldives
$827 to $1772 (excluding resort stay)
Maldives Workation Visa Rules
30 day tourist visa is granted for all nationalities on arrival to Maldives. If you're looking to stay longer, apply for a work Visa that is issued for a foreigner to stay in Maldives for the purpose of employment. Know More
Mexico has become a haven for workationers looking for affordable lifestyles, uber-cheap living costs, a stable and productive work environment as well as an inspiring and robust social life. The year round great climate and delicious food is obviously a plus!
Best co-working spaces in Mexico
Nest, Homework, The POOL, Impact Hub, Ayni
Monthly cost of living in Mexico
$800 to $2,000
Mexico Workation Visa Rules
The working visitor visa is the most common type of visa for the employment of foreign nationals on a temporary basis. One can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days with permission to be remunerated in Mexico for activities carried out in the country. If you intend to stay longer, Mexico issues a Temporary Resident Visa to remote workers that are financially self-sufficient, that’s good for one year with the ability to renew for another 3 years. Know More
Overwater bungalows on lapis lazuli waters makes for an ideal vacation and a workation too. While Bora Bora is a popular hit among honeymooners, workationers are slowly moving to the islands of French Polynesia for recluse from the worldly hustle.
Best co-working spaces in Bora Bora
Tahiti Coworking, Work'In Tahiti
Monthly cost of living in Bora Bora
$1500 to $3,000
Bora Bora Workation Visa Rules
Any foreigner who wishes to stay more than three months in French Polynesia must apply for a long-term French Polynesia visa with the exception of citizens of the exempt countries. If you're interested in staying for less than 3 months, visitors holding a residence permit from one of the countries of the European Union or the Schengen Area are exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa provided that their residence permit is valid for the duration of their stay in French Polynesia. Know More
New Zealand has vibrant metropolitan cities and at the same time, the rolling hills and ancient Kauri trails in rural New Zealand is a treat beyond. If you're a workationer who likes the best of both city life and bucolic serenity, this is where you should head for the perfect balance.
Best co-working spaces in New Zealand
BizDojo, Digital Nomad , Bridge Street Collective, ARGO beach Co-working, SODA Inc , Hangar Workspace
Monthly cost of living in New Zealand
$780 to $1000
New Zealand Workation Visa Rules
If you’re a US Passport holder and age between 18-30 years, you can get a working holiday visa. If you do not have a US passport and still want to workation in New Zealand, a tourist visa that allows you to stay upto 3 months in the country. Know More
Thailand, a jungle island paradise is one of the global hubs for digital nomads and workationers are soon encroaching for their slice. Cotton-white beaches, street-side noodles, tuk tuks and Buddhist temples around every corner - Thailand has a great balance of postcard-worthy destinations and workation essentials. Not to forget, the dirt cheap accomodation that allows you to stay guilt-free for as long as your visa permits!
Best co-working spaces in Thailand
Hubba, KoHub, The Hive, Hub53, The Company, BeachHub, Punspace
Monthly cost of living in Thailand
$290 to $700
Thailand Workation Visa Rules
Digital nomads in Thailand might soon be able to apply for the Smart Visa, allowing an up to 4 years stay without a work permit. Until the Smart Visa gets approved, a Triple Entry visa is your best bet. It has the longest validity, the lowest risk and allows you to be in the country for 6 months (with 3 border runs in between) Know More
Bansko is a small mountain village in Bulgaria at the foot of the Pirin Mountains that turns into ski-town during the winter but is very quiet during summers, ideal for workationers. The best part about Bansko is its nomad community - “Co-working Bansko” with 100+ location independent expats/nomads/business owners (on site). This community has put Bansko on the map as a digital nomad destination, fostering an amazing environment to be productive during the day and socialize in the evenings.
Best co-working spaces in Bansko
Coworking Bansko (one and only place)
Monthly cost of living in Bansko
$500 to $800
Bansko Workation Visa Rules
Bulgaria is part of the EU, but not in the Schengen zone. This means EU citizens can stay there indefinitely without a visa. Non-EU citizens can stay for up to 90 days, while those from other countries are required to get a Visa C that allows them to stay in the country upto 90 days. Know More
Georgia is an upcoming workation destination among remote workers, thanks to its generous visa system for more than 95 countries where remote workers are invited to stay for 365 days, visa-free! Add to that the country's stunning scenery hospitable locals, affordable prices, and fantastic wine - this country is a prize-winner!
Best co-working spaces in Georgia
Regus, Impact Hub, Terminal Khorava
Monthly cost of living in Georgia
$700 to $1,000
Georgia Workation Visa Rules
Citizens of more than 90 countries and territories can enter Georgia without a visa for stays of up to one year. Non-visa-free nationalities must obtain a short-term visa that allows them to stay upto 30 days (extensions allowed). Know More
Montenegro is one of the cheapest countries in the Balkans with a rare combination of snow-capped mountains and almost year-round sunshine. It is one of the most popular Balkan states among digital nomads, and it is also very much in trend among adventure travelers. With cheap mobile phone coverage, many co-working spaces to choose from and a sprouting community of digital adventurers - Montenegro allows the perfect balance of work and adventure.
Best co-working spaces in Montenegro
Playworking, Work Hub , Kolektiv Novi, HUBrela
Monthly cost of living in Montenegro
$600 to $800
Montenegro Workation Visa Rules
The best visa for workations in Montenegro would be the long stay visa that enables one to stay in Montenegro up to 6 months per calendar year (no visa runs required). Know More
Iceland is a land of awe-inspiring natural landscapes, with its gnaturally occurring hot springs, bubbling mud pools, a string of unpredictably violent volcanoes. It has warm locals, a strong cultural life and presents a stunning view of the Northern Lights. Add to this scenic equation, the recently introduced Work in Iceland program and you've got yourself the perfect workation destination.
Best co-working spaces in Iceland
Regus, Hitt Húsið, Minor Coworking, HUSID, The Blue Bank, Innovation House
Monthly cost of living in Iceland
$2000 to $3500
Iceland Workation Visa Rules
As per the Work in Iceland digital nomad visa introduced in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, teleworkers to work remotely for overseas companies and stay in the country for up to 6 months. However, to qualify for this visa, workers have to earn at least $88,000 per annum. In addition, Iceland requires applicants to satisfy certain health insurance requirements as well. Know More
If you're looking for specific workation hubs around the world, here are the top recommended ones.
Outpost is a home base for a fast-growing community of global citizens seeking to design life on their own terms in idyllic destinations. From vibrant and comfortable coliving spaces to modern coworking spaces with active communities, each Outpost neighborhood has been created to help you feel connected and productive from the moment you arrive.
Coconat is located just over an hour outside of Berlin, a space for digital workers to "be inspired, concentrate, work, and play in the countryside". One can enjoy solitude with like-minded people and ditch the mundane routine and urban excess for a greener place at a secluded countryside manor house.
3KoHub Coworking Space
KoHub is a coworking space in Thailand based on one of the most livable islands in the tropics. It claims to be a productive oasis and the perfect place for digital nomads or location independents seeking a friendly community of like minded people. It is a spacious and stimulating environment, ideal for an extended workation.
The WiFi Tribe chooses a different city to call home every month. An inviting mix of passionate, wild and free, like-minded people who are on the journey of remote work travel make up the crowd here. From co-living and co-working in Cusco to Antigua, WiFi Tribe is one of the most sought after workation organizations.
Hacker Paradise chooses amazing destinations with vibrant coworking spaces and great housing, making it easy for you to leave the cubicle life behind and advance your career while working remotely. Take your job, passion project or side hustle on the road and be productive as you travel.
How Much Does a Workation Typically Cost?
The cost of a workation is dependant on many factors, some of the most important ones being:
- The destination (South East Asia will work out cheaper than Europe)
- How long you plan on staying
- Your standard of living - how much you spend on accommodation, food, and entertainment
- Choice of accomodation - workation packages or choosing your own stay
- Additional expenses like travel insurance, visa, vaccinations, flight tickets etc
On an average, a workation can cost anywhere from $700 to $2000 a month. Read our complete guide on how to manage finances and save money while workationing.
If you're not confident enough about going on a workation by yourself, sign up with a group like WiFi Tribe or Hackers Paradise who arrange everything for you. But do not ever replace a workation for a vacation. Since you will be working most days of the week, you won't get the "much needed" break, no matter how blue the beach is! So make sure you still go on a vacation when you need one.