Workation: The Digital Nomad Test Run

This article about going on workation was created in collaboration with our partner GoGoPlaces. Jess Morgan and Thais Vieira wrote and originally published it on GoGoPlaces’ blog on the 12th of August, 2019. Join the acework network to receive offers to start your first workation with GoGoPlaces.

As a remote worker, you have the opportunity to work from anywhere. Whether that’s from a home office or a new exotic locale each week, the option is up to you. However, a workation is different. Whether you’re a freelancer or have a full-fledged remote career, choosing to work abroad for a while is a great alternative if you don’t want to be a full-on digital nomad. 

What is a workation?

A workation is a ‘working vacation’. So instead of waiting for the 2 to 6 weeks a year to hop on a plane to explore a new place, you can do that as you work. Digital nomads are the most common example here. They jet around the globe full-time, working from their laptops. But constant travel may not be your thing. It could be exhausting if you’re not the on-the-go type. This is where workations come in. If you’re already working from home most of the time, a workation could be the ideal change of scenery. Technically you’re still working, but you’ll be working from a spot where other people go on vacation. Meaning that as long as you complete your work, you can use the rest of your time to explore a new place.

workation at the beach

What are the benefits?

You may be wondering if this is worthwhile. Will you actually get any work done on ‘vacation’? The rising popularity of remote work also means that more options have become available to easily plan and launch workations. 

Test the waters of digital nomadism

A workation is an easy alternative to the life of a digital nomad. It’s a great way to dip your feet in the world of ‘travel and work’. 

If your key aim is to be able to travel and work remotely, then taking a workation is a great way to test the waters. Living the “laptop lifestyle” brings along disadvantages as well. You may find that living from your suitcase is not as easy as you first thought. 

Live like a local, on a budget!

For many, working from home is their preferred option. However, what if your home was in Spain? Rather than working from hotels and coworking spaces, having a flexible home base cancels out the need for constant travel. Working from a location that’s refreshing and motivating stimulates your growth as an employee worker to get more done and bring new ideas to the table. 

Maybe you’re from Canada and would like to experience life on the coast of Spain. Why not go on a workation? Finding a second home to live in for a month or more brings a sense of security that a hotel may not have.

Another upside is the affordability of a workation. Obviously you’ll save on travel costs like flights when you decide to stay in one place. In addition, you’ll get the chance to truly explore and find the best and most affordable spots in your new neighborhood. Digital nomads often have the urge to experience all the highlights each new place has to offer, which often cuts into your budget. On a workation, cooking at home will not feel like you’re missing out on the chance to visit yet another restaurant. 

Finally, long-term rentals are a lot more affordable than short-term Airbnb stays or Co-living options. On platforms like GoGoPlaces, all rentals are quoted per month – and yes, they are definitely affordable!

Go off the beaten path and explore.

If you have the opportunity to spend a month or more in one place, why not do it like a local? Try not to go to very touristy cities, instead, use your flexible living style to find out what the world has to offer. 

a female tourist looking at the Seine in Paris

With the rise of flexible working arrangements, some countries are now specifically trying to attract this kind of tourism. Countries such as Portugal or Estonia created solid systems of incentives to foster the digital nomad community. In case you are still unsure about this lifestyle, why not start your workation from there? Plan ahead, find your house and a coworking space. If you’re not used to working from home, that might be ideal! 

Pick your location and pack your bags!

flexible working with view of the mountains

The next step is to decide where to go and what to look for. First, think about a country that is affordable, since this is probably your first remote work experience, it’s good to start off by cutting on some expenses so you can understand how the digital nomad life doesn’t have to be for those already making a lot of money as remote workers. 

a view of a Portuguese village by the ocean

As we mentioned, Portugal can be a great option. New up and coming digital nomad hub in Europe, the country has a lot more to offer than just fast wifi. With amazing beaches, great food, friendly people and government incentives to entrepreneurship, many startups are moving their HQ’s to main cities like Lisbon or Porto, which has been attracting a young and skilled workforce. And Portugal still has a wide array of other great cities to live that combine the quality of life, the infrastructure you need to work on a high level and offer unique experiences by remaining as authentic as they’ve ever been. 

a birdseye view of an Estonian city at dusk

Another great alternative is Estonia, the new digital nomad hub in Europe. Over the last few years, Estonia has embarked on massive technological innovation and it is really stepping into the future. It was the first country in the world to adopt online voting and today, almost all government services are managed online. It is definitely a very digitally advanced society. On top of that, the Estonian government has recently launched an e-Residency programme, a digital identity that enables digital entrepreneurs to establish and manage a trusted global company entirely online – no matter where you are in the world. Sounds good right? The program aims to create a new digital nation for global citizens and for that reason Estonia is definitely a country that should be on the top of your list when considering developing a remote career. 

Ready for your workation?

ready for your workation with acework and gogoplaces

The next step is to consider is where you’re going to live for the next month or two. Differently from looking for hotels or an Airbnb for your summer vacation, looking for your next ‘work home’ should not be focused on being near a tourist spot or popular restaurant. For this, you need to research the wifi speed, and maybe the proximity to a coworking space. You can also check whether or not you’ll have a space to set up your home office. There are probably a few more things you can list that currently improve your workday. Do you enjoy having a gym or cute coffee shop nearby, or work in a garden with a view? 

Why live in one place when you can live in multiple? With our souls constantly filled with that never-ending wanderlust, there’s no need to work from home all year round. Change your home base and take a workation. Why not spend a month on the coast of Portugal, because you can!

At acework, we are warriors for greater flexibility and happiness at work. We are here to help you find your remote dream job. Get Remote Ready with us here, sign up and get matched with opportunities. You’ll be able to plan your first workation in no time. If you have any questions, comments or ideas get in touch directly (talent@acework.io).

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