Workation is one of many new words that are now a part of everyday conversation thanks to this pandemic. A workation is a working vacation, meaning you work remotely while visiting a location that is not your home. This is exactly what my family and I did this past November in Aruba. Here are 5 tips for choosing a location and maintaining a work/life balance while on a workation.
Choosing a Location
One of the keys to working remotely successfully is communication. Just like at home, you’ll need to keep in contact with your manager, co-workers, customers, and clients during your workation. As such, the location you choose should be close to the same time zone as your home office. While working remotely from Croatia’s Dalmatian coast sounds lovely, if your job is located on the East coast of the United States, the 6-hour time difference would make this impractical.
Try to stick to locations that have a time difference of 1 or 2 hours. Aruba was a great choice for us since it was only 1 hour ahead of New York City.
Cost of living is another key factor. While working will help offset some costs while living abroad, there are still expenses back home that need attention, namely rent, utilities, and car payments. Choosing a location that has a lower cost of living will help alleviate some of the financial burden.
Do some research on the cost of groceries, meals out, rent, and transportation. Two great websites to consult are Numbeo and The Earth Awaits, which include detailed estimates for everything from a 3 bedroom apartment to the cost of milk.
Post-pandemic, consider renting out your home on Airbnb to generate income while you are away.
This goes without saying, but fast and reliable is a must have when working remotely. Your Wi-Fi can make or break your workation, so be sure to confirm that your accommodation includes a strong connection. If you’re tech savvy, ask for proof of a Wi-Fi test before booking a place to stay.
Once you arrive, be prepared for tech issues that may arise. Have a backup location, like a co-working space or cafe, where you can work if there are issues with your accommodation’s internet.
You may also want to consider investing in a portable hotspot. I purchased a SkyRoam Solis Lite prior to my trip to Aruba. Fortunately, I only had to use it once during my month-long stay. There was a Wi-Fi outage, but I was able to rejoin a team meeting using my Skyroam device.
Local Attractions and Amenities
The final thing to consider when choosing a location is what you’d like to do during your free time. Does exploring local markets sound fun? How about a hike to a waterfall? Take a moment to lay out what your ideal day looks like. For me, warm weather and lounging on the beach sounded divine, making the Caribbean an obvious choice.
Look into any special offers from each country’s tourism board as well. Many countries lost hefty sums of money due to the pause in tourism caused by the pandemic. They’re now enticing travelers to return with discounts on hotels, restaurants, and more.
Aruba’s One Happy Workation campaign pushed this island, which wasn’t on my travel list, to the top of the pile. The apartment complex we stayed in had just opened, so we were able to snag a 40% savings and a discount card to the local supermarket.
A workation doesn’t mean you should forget about the vacation aspect of your trip. Use the first day or two after you arrive to settle into your new place. Establish a routine that gives you time to enjoy your new surroundings. I used my lunch break to take a daily walk on the beach.
Don’t forget to take some time off to truly enjoy your new digs! Treat yourself to at least one 3-day weekend. Use this time to visit some must-see attractions and immerse yourself in the local culture. You’re in a beautiful new place; take the time to appreciate it.