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Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-Young-Caucasian-woman-running-to-the-tropical-waterfall -in-Thailand

16 Top Workation Destinations – The Best To Work From In 2022

The massive transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the emergence of a new trend – workation (work + vacation). Workation is when a person works full time from anywhere in the world without being tied to an office or one home. The Guardian describes it as “the same job, with more sand and better coffee”. You may not be ready to go full digital nomad, but the increased freedom of remote work means you can easily turn a beachside hammock into your office for the day and enjoy that top workation destination.

In this post, you’ll find the top 16 destinations for workation. We’ve gathered cities and places that are already ahead of the game in terms of speedy internet access, comfy workspaces, welcoming people, and the stability you need to stay productive. Naturally, we’ve got the fun part covered too. All that’s left for you to do is grab your laptop and go!

Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-St-James-beach-Cape-Town
Seaside landscape at St James beach, Cape Town / GETTY IMAGES

Where are the best places to workation?

Remote work is here to stay. In fact, an estimated one in four Americans are doing it. The flexibility of working wherever and whenever you want means it’s finally practical for families to take extended workations away from their primary residence — whether that be on an extended cruise, road trip or even a vacation home.

By learning to balance work and play within your home — or second home — you can have a more fulfilling career as well as a more rewarding lifestyle.

Combining work and vacation time is a clever way to extend your stay in a destination that benefits both you and the local people.

More places are setting up co-working spots, beefing up wifi, and changing legislation to attract remote workers.

What does workation mean?

Workation is a “working holiday” or “working vacation”. The concept combined the words “work” and “vacation”. It turns out such an ideal balance: you don’t burn out, and you don’t have time to miss working days.

  • A workation differs from a traditional vacation in that you aren’t necessarily taking any personal time away from work. You have the option, of course, but you could choose to clock in and out as usual, all while reaping the benefits of your beach house or favourite ski resort.
  • A workation does not require you to clear a solid block of time out of your schedule — you only need the ability to perform your tasks via the internet. You can still meet all your deadlines and answer your emails, but instead of doing them in the office, you can do them from the comfort of your second home. And those precious vacation days can still be used when desired.

What are the types of workation?

Not all workations are the same. In fact, they can take many different forms depending on what suits you best:

  1. Short-term workation – probably taken relatively close to home.
  2. Medium-term workation
  3. Long-term workation – often require special visas or permits, depending on the destination. Fortunately, many parts of the world are now offering remote-work visas in response to this new trend.

Is it a new trend?

The workation trend emerged in 2012. Then large corporations introduced this option as one of the bonuses for their employees. However, the format of a workation was a little different: several teams travelled together out of town or to another country for a week to work, relax and unite.

For example, the American company Gusto took out all employees for five days in San Francisco. There they rented a house, organised hackathons, solved work matters, and in their free time, they went on hikes, and arranged movie screenings and board game evenings.

Hilton Head Health, a South Carolina wellness resort in the USA, launched the WorkWell program for those who want to lose weight without being distracted from work, Velas Resorts offered companies to rent two resorts for “corporate services”, and cruise ships have become “floating co-working spaces” for freelancers from different countries.

A similar concept was implemented at Konnect Public Relations by Sabina Gault, the company’s CEO. She periodically organized trips out of town for employees: to a ski resort, a sea cruise, wine tasting. Sabina’s goal was to show employees that Konnect PR is more than just a job.

So where are the top workation destinations?

The top workation destinations can vary depending on who you ask. And how excited you feel about working in a particular country can also depend on who you are and your circumstances. For example, some destinations are much safer for men than for women. Sometimes your preference will change depending on whether you are moving abroad with children or not: we also have a list of best countries to relocate with your family.

We’ve taken a look at several studies and league tables, and the cities and countries below are the most common entries. We have analysed factors such as monthly costs for renting an apartment, internet speed, safety and fun. This ranking is based on all the different data points, with highest weight given to cost (should be affordable), internet speed (should be somewhat fast and usable) and safety (should have low crime). The ranking will change throughout the seasons: current temperatures should be comfortable for you working abroad. In the summer, places in the US and Europe start moving up while (like Berlin) in the winter Asia (like Thailand) and South America (like Medellin) do very well.

The top workation destinations in the world in 2022 are as follows:

Rank City, Country Monthly cost Internet Fun Safety
1 Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand US$1,051 Fast: 24Mbps Great Great
2 Gran Canaria, Spain US$1,789 Fast: 35Mbps Good Great
3 Lisbon, Portugal US$2,429 Fast: 28Mbps Great Great
4 Austin, TX, USA US$3,797 Super Fast: 76Mbps Great Good
5 Sao Paolo, Brazil US$1,495 Good: 6Mbps Great Okay
6 Budapest, Hungary US$1,637 Fast: 30Mbps Good Good
7 Canggu, Bali, Indonesia US$1,411 Fast: 25Mbps Good Great
8 Belgrade, Serbia US$1,555 Fast: 27Mbps Good Good
9 Berlin, Germany US$3,465 Fast: 27Mbps Good Great
10 Buenos Aires, Argentina US$904 Good: 6Mbps Good Okay

In the rest of this post, we take a closer look at six countries that both a) feature regularly in lists of the best countries to work abroad and b) are highly popular with our members, including digital nomads. We hope we inspire you to fulfil your workation dreams in 2022!

Our round-up of the best countries for workation in 2022


What makes these countries the best places to work abroad in 2022?

Our list covers the best workation destinations in 2022. Bear in mind you’ll need to do your own research about local restrictions if you do decide to move. We’ve based our ranking on factors including:

  • Earning potential
  • Quality of life
  • Visa fee
  • The amount of documents you will need
  • COVID-19 situation
  • Entry conditions
  • Healthcare
  • Suitability for remote work
  • Friendliness to foreigners and more
Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-Tbilisi-Georgia
Evening view of Tbilisi from Narikala Fortress, Georgia / GETTY IMAGES

1/ Georgia

The Georgian government has allowed foreigners from 95 countries (including Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and others) to come for six months or a year even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are going to the country under the new program for digital nomads must fill out this form and prove that they earn more than US$2,000 per month.

Visa fee:

n/a

What else do you need:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Payslips
  3. Completed application form (see above)
  4. International health insurance for the entire stay

COVID-19 situation:

69,681 cases so far

Entry conditions:

12-day quarantine (so you don’t need to plan the first two weeks of the trip) and a lateral flow COVID-19 test. Only with a negative result you can freely travel and work around the country

Did you know Georgia is one of the best countries for digital nomads?
Find out who else made it to the list of top countries for relocating with kids
Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-father-daughter-fatbiking-in-Estonia
Fatbiking can be a great activity during your workation in Estonia / GETTY IMAGES

2/ Estonia

A visa for “digital nomads” in Estonia also appeared during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government decided to issue it for a year and only to those who can confirm that they work remotely or freelance.

You can apply for a visa for €100. But to move to Estonia as a freelancer, you will have to prove your income and savings. Now the threshold is €3405 (without tax).

Visa fee

€100

What else is needed

A completed application form

COVID-19 situation:

6881 cases so far

Entry conditions:

Maybe a two-week quarantine (depending on where you are arriving from)

Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-Palm-Jumeirah-Dubai-UAE
The Palm Jumeirah shaped island in Dubai United Arab Emirates aerial view at sunrise / GETTY IMAGES

3/ Dubai, UAE

Dubai was the first Emirate to welcome tourists after the COVID-19 pandemic and the first to introduce a new one-year visa for freelancers, remote workers, entrepreneurs and business owners. This visa gives the right to use all services – rent an apartment, connect TV and Internet, study at courses, at universities and other educational institutions. And you can visit it at any time and any number of times a year.

To apply, you will need to pay a fee of US$287, take out international health insurance and prove that you receive at least US$5,000 income every month (the same conditions apply to entrepreneurs and company owners).

Visa fee:

US$287

What else do you need:

  • Valid passport
  • Payslips
  • Completed application form
  • Medical insurance for the entire stay

COVID-19 situation:

145,599 cases in UAE so far

Entry conditions:

COVID-19 test before travel or upon arrival

Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-English-harbour-Antigua
English Harbour & Falmouth, Antigua / GETTY IMAGES

4/ Antigua and Barbuda

Following other islands in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda decided to launch its program for digital nomads. The conditions are almost the same – there are only a couple of small differences.

The authorities decided to issue a visa for two years at once. A single traveler (freelancer or remote worker) can get it for US$1,500, a couple for US$2,000, a family (from three people) for US$3,000. A prerequisite is to earn approx US$50,000 a year and have the means to provide for the family. Those who receive a visa will be able to freely travel around the islands and stay anywhere. You can also go outside of them.

Visa fee:

US$1,500 (for one person), US$2,000 (for two), US$3,000 (for a family of three)

What else is needed:

  • Photo
  • Passport details
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Proof of relationship when applying as a family
  • Payslips
  • Completed application form
  • No criminal record
  • Medical insurance for the entire stay

COVID-19 situation:

131 cases so far

Entry conditions:

COVID-19 test upon arrival

Looking for the most eco-friendly destination to live?
Check out our top ten best countries for green living for expats
Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-White-Sand-Beach-Barbados
Colorful Cottage on White Sand Beach in Barbados / GETTY IMAGES

5/ Barbados

The authorities of Barbados opened the borders to tourists in July 2021 and immediately launched a programme for freelancers. Remote workers from all over the world can come to “live in paradise” for a year. You will need to confirm that you will earn US$50,000 yearly. Find out more about the Barbados Welcome Stamp programme here.

Visa fee:

US$2,000 (individual) or US$3,000 (family)

What else is needed:

  • Photo
  • Passport details
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Proof of relationship when applying as a family
  • Payslips
  • Completed application form

COVID-19 situation:

249 cases so far

Entry conditions:

COVID-19 test before travel or upon arrival

Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-St-Georges-Bermuda
The waterfront in St. Georges, Antigua and Barbuda / GETTY IMAGES

6/ Bermuda

As an alternative, freelancers can choose Bermuda: the scenery is spectacular, the situation with COVID-19 is the same, and the cost of a visa is 10 times lower. Here, you will need to pay US$263 to receive an annual “registration”. Another US$75 is an advance payment for COVID-19 tests that will be carried out at the airport upon arrival, on the 4th, 8th and 14th day of stay.

To get a visa, you need to prove that you work remotely. The authorities will need documents on the opening of a company, individual entrepreneurs, a certificate of registration for self-employed people and other certificates. The main thing for them is guarantees that you will not apply for local jobs. They also agree to maintain social distancing and wear a mask in public places.

Visa fee:

US$263

What else do you need:

  • Photo
  • Passport details
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Payslips
  • Completed application form
  • No criminal record
  • Medical insurance for the entire stay

COVID-19 situation:

214 cases so far

Entry conditions:

COVID-19 test before travel arrival and four additional tests upon arrival

Should you take a workation?

If you’ve never experienced the benefits of working on the road before, it can be difficult to finally take the plunge. A lot can be at stake if something goes wrong. Here is a checklist that can help you make a decision and figure out if a workation is right for you:

  • Do you have too few vacation days to make a long trip worth it?
  • Will someone cover your work responsibilities while you are away?
  • Does your work have flexible conditions?
  • Do you have a destination in mind that provides reliable internet access?
  • Will you be able to perform all of your typical work functions from this destination?

If you answered yes to those questions, then a workation might be just the thing you need to squeeze more travel into your life.

How to plan a workation and prepare in 7 steps

It is not very difficult to organise if you are a freelancer or working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workation is essentially a combination of work and leisure, so if you want to try it in practice, in theory, you can just buy a one-way ticket, book an apartment or hostel, work out your 6-8 mandatory hours and go explore the area in the evening. Companies can do the same. If employees are willing to travel, of course!

However, we recommend planning ahead. Workation is a move, for several weeks or months. Therefore, it is worth deciding what to do with the apartment, mail, bills and work. You will have to take care of many things in advance. Not just to rent a house, but also to find out how high-quality and fast the internet is there, think about what you will do if it suddenly turns off; work from a cafe nearby, create an internet point from your mobile, and so on. It is also worth thinking about technology and what to do if something goes wrong – install a remote access program on your computer or find someone local who can help with problems on your computer at the workation site. Be sure to take a day off on the day of arrival, or better still, a couple of days – so you can get to know the place, improve your life and get some rest before you get back to work!

Top workation tips

  1. Schedule it in advance and do your research properly to know what to expect. What are the risks? And how can you avoid or minimise them? Calculate your budget: living in another city or country can be unpredictable and unexpectedly expensive. Be prepared to save money for housing, coworking (if needed), food, insurance, and other options.
  2. Set a routine and declutter physically and digitally. Work requires stability, and moving every two or three days will be more exhausting than energizing. And you also need to see a new area.
  3. Be aware of culture shock and cultural sensitivities to avoid finding yourself in tricky situations.
  4. Define boundaries with colleagues and family members, so they respect your work time if you have a workation with them.
  5. Make sure you have all the vaccinations you need for your destination, including your COVID-19 vaccination.
  6. Schedule your free time to explore the new country and stay productive.
  7. Have a safety net in case things go wrong – international health insurance will enable you to access private treatment if you’re injured or become ill.
The working week looks very different across the world
Which countries offer the best working conditions and benefits?
Williarm-Russell-blog-post-article-top-workation-destinations-best-to-work-from-couple-driving-their-dog-kayaking-workation
Couple are kayaking with their dog during their workation / GETTY IMAGES

Why is workation popular now?

If before the COVID-19 pandemic it was about individual freelancers or digital nomads who left with a laptop for Bali – now the phenomenon has become mainstream. According to a large-scale Booking.com survey (20,000 people from 28 countries took part in the study), 37% of travelers are already thinking about booking a place solely for a change of work environment.

Since the start of the pandemic, the attitude of employers and employees towards remote work has managed to radically change at least several times. During the first lockdown, it seemed that the transition to remote work was nothing more than a temporary measure. For many, quarantine was accompanied by organisational delays and awkward Zoom meetings with accidentally turned off microphones, poor lighting and a freezing picture.

By summer 2020, it became clear that the coronavirus was with us for a long time, and with it the format of remote work. Having come to terms with the new circumstances, most people have managed to organise a comfortable workspace in their apartment and embrace all the benefits of working from home.

However, gradually the joy of saving time on the road to the office was replaced by fatigue, overwork and the inability to really relax. It turned out that employees are now, as it were, by default obliged to be in touch 24/7. Plans for a vacation by the sea had to be postponed until better times. People were increasingly talking about emotional burnout (according to some surveys, 56% of employees faced it during the pandemic).

But in 2021, the mood changed dramatically. Between March and April 2021, FlexJobs surveyed more than 2,100 people who had been working remotely since the start of the pandemic and came up with an impressive statistic: 58% of respondents said they would definitely look for a new job if the company did not allow them to stay remote in the future. The majority of respondents (65%) said they want to continue to work completely remotely, 33% would prefer a hybrid option, and only 2% dream of returning to the office. Great resignation became a trend.

Perhaps the reason for this sudden love for remote work is that many have finally tried out an alternative to working from the office or from home – working from a resort location. Vaccinations and the partial opening of the borders gave us at least some possibility of movement. So far, not everyone has decided to book a full-fledged vacation in another country, since coronavirus restrictions have been added or removed almost every day. But just about everyone wanted to change the situation and finally go beyond the boundaries of their home.

It is not yet clear whether workation will become a panacea for burnout. At least that’s how it is actively promoted by the tourism industry. Marriott hotel chain is selling the opportunity to work from its suites under the guise of “fighting general fatigue from current jobs.”

Sceptics, on the other hand, say that all this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick invented by the tourism industry in order to somehow recover from the consequences of the protracted coronavirus crisis. The concept of workation further blurs the already fragile work-life balance of a modern corporate employee, finally blurring the line between work and leisure.

How much does a workation cost?

The final amount depends on several factors:

  • The country you are going to travel to
  • The period for which you want to stay, and the place where you think to stay. Apartments are more expensive, but working in a hostel is more difficult
  • Food, transport and entertainment
  • Additional expenses before the trip. You may have to take out insurance for the duration of your stay, or a long-term visa

Why do you need international health insurance on workation?

When going to a workation, you may be expected to show proof of adequate health insurance. This means having insurance that will:

  • Cover you in cases of serious illness, including conditions such as cancer
  • Help towards medical costs for ambulance journeys, hospital stays, the cost of essential drugs and so on
  • Provide various assurances, such as assistance in case of loss of income

Every country has its own rules when it comes to health insurance, and it can be difficult to know which policy to take out for which country. That’s why William Russell provides a comprehensive international health insurance policy that covers you no matter where you are in the world and strives to always provide the necessary level of cover to help your visa application process. You can even move between countries and stay under the same policy.

Just imagine that you break your leg while climbing Kilimanjaro and need emergency care — travel insurance will save you, but if you are diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires regular check-ups, it’s game over for both your wallet and possibly even your future travel ambitions.

Additionally, even with only emergency health care, it often means that they will send you back to your home country as soon as it is cheaper or more convenient for them to do so, or if it’s the only way they can give you sufficient care. Read more about the difference between international travel, health and local insurance.

How much does a comprehensive health insurance cover cost?

You can choose between our Bronze, SilverLite, Silver and Gold plans. The Bronze plan is a budget-friendly option that offers full cover for hospital treatment, mental health, cancer treatment, and medical evacuation, with outpatient treatment limited to post-hospital treatment for up to 90 days. Silver and SilverLite offer the same but with outpatient treatment, the main difference being whether you get a private or shared hospital room. The Gold plan includes extras like maternity care, with a higher annual limit.

To give you an idea on cost, the table below shows examples based on different circumstances across our range of plans:

Bronze

SilverLite

Silver

Gold

About you
International student
Digital nomad
Solo experienced professional
Mature family with kids
Avg monthly cost
US$95
US$141
US$225
US$821
Included as standard
  • Semi-private room & post hospital treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Mental health
  • Semi-private room & treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Standard out-patient up to US$5,000
  • Physiotherapy
  • Private hospital care
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Mental health treatment up to US$75,000 per lifetime
  • Wellness & vaccinations
  • Complementary therapies
  • Private hospital care
  • Cancer treatment
  • Medevac
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Mental health treatment up to US$100,000 per lifetime
  • Wellness & vaccinations
  • Routine dental
  • Maternity
  • Accidental death benefit
  • Cancer critical illness benefit

You can access the full policy document here.

What’s good about these plans is that they are fully personalisable depending on your needs. You will have to specify the country you are primarily residing in when signing up, however, you are free to travel about and receive coverage anywhere as long as it is in your area of cover.

Now, the workation has no boundaries or limits.

Previously, companies themselves were involved in the organisation of a workation (usually those who work in IT and creative industries). Some of them went to the mountains and started hiking every morning, some took a “working vacation” at ski resorts, and some set up an office on the seashore.

Now the “working vacation” has become available to everyone who works remotely or freelance. It became popular with:

  • Digital nomads who do not like to stay in one place and often travel the world with their work
  • Small teams and companies that want to recover from quarantine and are looking for inspiration
  • Big companies provide it as a bonus to their employees

To relax, unload, see new places and unite the team.

Many companies are introducing work because they can give employees time off and not stop projects at work.

People are happy to accept such offers, as they can travel and not think about money. Pros of workation include:

  • A change of scenery: this factor is always good for productivity and creativity. Why? You change your usual place of work, environment, look at other landscapes, respectively, new, fresh ideas come to you.
  • New experience, new skills: as we travel, we gain new experiences and develop new skills. This works for many reasons. First, there is a need to navigate the new terrain. Secondly, there is an opportunity to try new unusual products.
  • Improved staff retention: when people are happy at work they are less likely to leave.

The advantages in this format are obvious, and we have already listed them. Is it worth adding that a workation is suitable for those who always work at a distance, even better if you have a part-time job. But this format also has disadvantages.

  • The time difference – you may have to adjust to the schedule of your colleagues because of this factor.
  • There are also chances to lose balance – either adjust to rest and forget about your tasks, or not give yourself a proper rest because of work. Both options, of course, are unpredictable, and only you yourself can understand whether this will happen to you or not.
  • There are a number of difficult requirements. In some locations you need to pay US$2,000 for a visa, some you need to confirm that you will earn US$50,000 in a year, and others you need to pass four tests for COVID-19 in order to accurately dispel the suspicions of the authorities about your (not) illness.
  • Personal logistics and being away from home.
  • Taxation is another tricky subject. If you are living overseas, should you pay your taxes in that country or in your home country? Or somewhere else? The rules are not simple and this will really depend on where the person is based for their workation

Nevertheless, workation is an option to which you can adapt, the main thing is the desire to relax, gain strength, and adapt to a new place and schedule.

Wherever you move, we can help you safeguard your health

At William Russell, we have nearly 30 years of helping expatriates move abroad and settle into their new lives overseas by providing world-class global health insurance. Plus, we produce lots of expert material to help you and your family adapt to life abroad.

Making the move to another country can be challenging. But no matter where you go, you can take one thing off your mind. William Russell offers expat health insurance that can cover you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays, and we even offer medical evacuations to patients who require treatment in other countries.

Think you might need international health insurance?

Learn about our plans