New travel companies are making it easier for teleworkers to live and work abroad without long-term commitments.
So-called “workcations” are on the rise, with 74% of Americans who work from home saying they would consider using one, according to a report published in March by The Harris Poll.
But instead of booking a hotel room on the nearest beach, travel companies lure their employees further away from home with international itineraries and accommodations that fit their work schedule.
Work during the day, explore at night
Sojrn (pronounced “stay”) designs month-long trips that enable remote employees to work abroad and at the same time learn about a location-related topic. Travelers can explore philosophy in Greece, wine in Italy, wellness in Bali or knowledge of Spanish in Colombia – all while maintaining their regular working hours.
The company organizes accommodation and workplaces, as well as logistical items like SIM cards and airport transfers, the company’s founder and CEO Tara Cappel told CNBC. Each trip includes one themed activity per week, with optional activities that can be added if work hours permit, she said.
Trips of a month or more aren’t just for full-time remote workers, Cappel said. They also work for office workers who negotiate annual remote working hours.
“People won’t be happy just to go back to where they were before,” said Cappel, adding that they “will be more open to travel differently and bring their work with them when they can.”
Sojrn’s month-long Tuscany wine tour prices range from $ 3,900 to $ 5,800, depending on the accommodation.
Sojrn opened the bookings in April. The wine tour to Tuscany sold out in six hours while the wellness tour in Bali was booked out in a weekend, she said. There are now around 4,500 people on the waiting list for travel in 2022, said Cappel.
To keep up with demand, the company is organizing new trips for 2022 on topics such as conservation in South Africa, cuisine in Mexico City, fashion in Paris and history in Rome, she said. The US company is also launching its first domestic tour next year – Jazz in New Orleans.
Flexible stays in Europe
If a month is too long – or too little – to stay in one place, teleworkers can organize their own trips through companies like Floasis, a website with accommodations that have been reviewed for teleworking.
“Being remote workers ourselves, we knew how frustrating it was to get nasty surprises when booking a stay,” said co-founder and CEO Kristina Kutan. “That’s why we make sure that each of our [locations] is tested and approved by a remote operator.
Lola Casamitjana, the company’s co-founder and chief commercial officer, said the remote work lifestyle was inevitable.
“The pandemic was just an accelerator,” she said. “It was the kick that brought down the last walls and made it clear … we urgently needed new, more fulfilling ways of living and working.”
Remote work stays at this chateau in Manche, France start at 350 euros per week.
After a year of planning, the website launched last week, Casamitjana said, with entries that offer workspaces, inspiring environments and communities for workers to connect with.
Located in Europe and Morocco, accommodations vary from village houses and seaside apartments to a Portuguese winery, French castle, and Greek eco-farm. Most places can be booked by night, week, or month, and some include breakfast and yoga classes in the price.
“This year we’re focusing on Europe and aiming to get 1,000 listings by the end of 2021,” she said.
More opportunities for business trips
Companies like Remote Year started looking after remote workers long before the pandemic. The company was founded in 2014 and offers retreats of just one week as well as its 12-month programs of the same name that cross four continents.
Unsettled organizes semi-structured work trips that aim to connect like-minded people. The duration of the trip is one to four weeks.
For people who want to combine work, travel and social engagement in one trip, there is Venture with Impact. The weeklong and month-long trips are small – around four to ten people – and the company tailors participants’ skills and interests to meet needs in places like Mexico and Thailand. The 2021 itinerary includes trips to Medellin, Colombia and Lisbon, Portugal, although the exact dates have not been disclosed online.
Read more about working remotely
For those aspiring to the “digital nomad” lifestyle, WiFly Nomads is a training program that teaches people how to become a remote worker while also getting a taste of the lifestyle. Five-day programs take place in Bali and cost around $ 4,000, according to the company’s website.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid restrictions, the next program is expected to start in early 2022, said Kate Smith, founder and CEO of WiFly Nomads. In the meantime, the company runs 12-week online programs that teach people how to get a remote job.
“This was of particular interest to those who do not want to return to the office after work from home,” she said.