Monotony, loneliness, and isolation are not a by-product of remote work but are traits of the modern work culture. Yet, if you’ve been a remote worker for some time now, you’re probably looking for alternatives to your mundane schedule. Workations provide promising ways to spice up your calendar.
Imagine waking up in the morning in a tropical land, having a good English breakfast, and sipping your favorite smoothie while getting ready for an important meeting with your boss at the local beach-side shack.
The truth is, blending a vacation with your work is a difficult job. The faint line between vacation and work cannot be erased. It involves a lot of paperwork, accounting for unforeseen events, and even bureaucratic red tape.
But don’t worry. With careful planning, the transition between work and leisure can be smooth.
5 Tips to Plan a Great Workation
1. Know The Best Workation Destinations
As many as 46 countries offer dedicated digital nomad visas for remote workers. With visa application fees varying from as low as $36 to over $1500, not all countries are budget-friendly. Apart from friendly visa policies, low cost of living, inclusive culture, and high speed, widespread internet connectivity make the best workation destinations.
Why is it important to choose the right destination?
- Your destination should facilitate your budget. It should have the right combination of luxury and thrift.
- Remote locations should have good internet connectivity and electricity supply. You cannot afford to lose days of work owing to a poor internet connection. Some seemingly beautiful destinations may have poor connectivity. Greece, for example, still suffers from the slowest internet speeds in Europe, despite being a hotspot for digital nomads.
- Make sure your destination does not replicate the environment at home. It makes the experience less eventful.
- Foreign locations may have exotic food options. But an adaptable palette is a must to experience it fully.
- The destination that you choose should have an inclusive and foreigner-friendly culture. Societies laden with discrimination can prove to be challenging and costly. At the same time, be respectful of local cultures.
Your destination should facilitate work and leisure to have a near-perfect balance.
With countries reacting positively to digital nomadism, numerous options are popping up. It is coupled with companies like NomadX, capitalizing on the trend by building nomad-friendly villages, first in Madeira, Portugal, and now in Pipa, Brazil. Dubai’s virtual work program, Mexico’s liberal visa policies, and the low cost of living in Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina, and India make them attractive destinations for workations. If you’re looking for a cultural retreat, Northern Bali in Indonesia, Osaka in Japan, and Nha Trang in Vietnam provide just what you need.
2. Decide Your Packing List
Deciding what to carry and what to leave behind is always a nightmare. To narrow down to the ultimate packing list, you need to have the following things in mind:
- Weather: Tropical locations are wetter than locations in higher latitudes. Remember to be equipped with water-proof bag covers, rain-proof jackets, and a small umbrella. On sunny days, a good pair of sunglasses, flip-flops, and a good sunscreen lotion is imperative. Similarly, colder areas require layers of warm cloth, gloves, and suitable head covers.
- Weight: Needless to say, if you’re going on a long trip that involves a lot of travel, be sure to pack light. Apart from packing only the required clothes, switching to lightweight gadgets like the Macbook Air, Microsoft Surface Go, and Dell XPS 13 can go a long way. It can also make room for accessories like mini-tripods, mini-drones, and a good camera.
- Segregate: Carry your office accessories like a laptop, mic, headphones, and universal adaptor in a separate bag. This way, every time you decide to work from a local café, you can simply carry the bag. It will save you from unpacking and repacking other non-essential items.
Apart from this, make it a point to carry a high-speed internet dongle, even if your hotel/ hostel promises uninterrupted WiFi. Also, if you’re a solo traveler, a small can of pepper spray can come in handy for self-defense, should anything unfortunate happen.
3. Look For Fellow Travelers
The best part of a workation is meeting new people. With the pandemic now coming to an end, there has been a resurgence in travel. More people are choosing to work out of distant locations than ever before. This gives you a golden opportunity to find your tribe.
The American novelist- Herman Melville said, “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” A community is a must if you’re looking to make the best use of your work trip.
Here are 4 reasons why:
- Tackles loneliness: Working outside your comfort zone for a long duration can become lonely. Sure, you’ll have the much-needed peace and a sense of solitude. But, after a while, your human instincts would kick in, and a need to connect would arise. In times like this, finding the right set of people, preferably fellow remote workers, is helpful. Remember to value small talk and maintain healthy eye contact after you pick up the courage to talk to fellow travelers.
Remember that the person across the room is just as likely looking for a human connection.
- Builds a network: When you connect, you exchange ideas. Your seemingly inconsequential “how was your day?” might become one of your biggest business deals. Even if it doesn’t, you’d have still made a professional bond. Talking to people can break you from your echo chambers and expose you to contrasting yet valuable ideas.
- Builds friendships: Not all bonds need to be professional. Working from hostels and co-working spaces might limit your social circle. If you expand your horizon by connecting with the locals who frequent the nearby café or by talking to café owners, you’re bound to get great insights into the local culture, cuisine, and favorite pastimes. This multiplies your experience.
A 20th-century anthropologist- Bronislaw Malinowski, noted that a great deal of conversations does not serve any purpose of communicating ideas but instead serve to establish bonds of personal union.
- Builds bridges between cultures: Workations can also double as individual cultural exchange programs. With first-hand knowledge about foreign cultures, your internal stereotypes get shattered. It gets you out of narrow perceptions of national borders and allows you to love people regardless of nationality, color, and gender.
4. Strike The Perfect Work-Leisure Balance
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But, all play and no work make Jack unemployed. Remember you’re on a workation- not a vacation. The idea is to not compromise on your work when you seek out some leisure.
The best way to remain efficient is by maintaining a semi-rigid timetable. Broadly divide your day into work and non-work hours. Before you sleep, write down your plans for the next day in detail. Remember to make room for adjustments.
5. Have Reliable Helplines
Apart from having a reliable list of friendly phone numbers to contact in the country of your stay, sign up for international health insurance and travel insurance. Travel insurance is a great plus because it covers expenses for stolen gadgets, bags, and other valuables. Also, before you land at your destinations, know the local emergency number, should anything unfortunate happen. If you are lonely and stressed, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional. This way, you’ll have someone to speak to even if your mom doesn’t pick up your call.
Remote work is beyond working from home. It’s a healthy trend to enable you to work from anywhere. Beat the monotony that comes with your comfort zone by embracing your location independence. It’s time to shape your career around your life and not vice-versa. What a beautiful time to live in!