Feeling burnt out? Consider a workation

The idea of the workation – to combine travel and work – long predates Covid-19. But just as the pandemic has widely established remote working, it has eroded the idea that we need to be in an office to work productively. An estimated 26.7% of US workers are currently working remote, with 68% saying they would prefer to be fully remote. There is little doubt that for many people, remote working will be here to stay. Digital nomadism is on the rise too – in 2019 7.3 million Americans labelled themselves as such nomads, that number has more than doubled since then.

But what does remote working have to do with workations? And what exactly is a workation?

Whats in a Name?

The term workation is a portmanteau of work and vacation, and essentially stands for the idea of combining work with travel. The idea behind it is to temporarily relocate to a new place while continuing to work remotely. While the idea of the workation has been around since at least 2013, the current rise of remote working has certainly helped to popularise it.

It might seem outlandish to claim that someone could just uproot themselves, continue to work normally and draw significant benefits from it. While its a little early to expect concrete research that shows quantifiable results, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing the potential benefits.

Responses from Mamalli freelancer survey on the biggest challenge remote workers face. Source

The travel subscription service Mamalli recently surveyed 180 freelancers about their thoughts on remote working. About 30.5% of them said that their biggest challenge working from home, was a desperate need for a change of scenery. Other common responses were that they were feeling burnt out, overworked or that they had bad work-life balance.  

Going on workation could be just the right thing to help alleviate all those challenges. Spending your working hours in a different, new environment can help you rethink your work. And outside of those hours you can venture out and immerse yourself in a new culture and environment. Having an incentive to go out and explore may also help you to re-consider and optimise your work-life balance.

There is also the ever-looming threat of burnout, which is a more pressing concern than ever. The past few years have been hard on us all – economically, socially and mentally. A workation may not be a fix-all, but people report coming back feeling refreshed – their creativity and productivity boosted because of their travels.

The Sky’s the Limit

There are however a few things to consider when planning a workation. There are some basic requirements, such as affordability and a stable wifi connection. Beyond that you might want to consider time zones – being out of your working time zone may impact how well you can communicate with your office at home.

Many people have also found that because of lower cost of living, they end up spending less in a day than they anticipated. There are many websites which compare possible destinations by their cost and standard of living, availability of internet connection and much more.  If you are interested in researching destinations, websites like these can be a useful starting point.

Iceland Air Wellness Travel Report, Top Ten Destinations for Wellness Workations. Source

Another consideration is the length of your stay. If you plan a longer stay, you may need more than a tourist visa – especially given that most tourist visas formally restrict your ability to work. But with the increase of remote working and digital nomadism, there has been a rise of remote working visa schemes. Websites like this one are great resources for this as they track which countries offer such visas, as well as the requirements and necessary steps to obtain them.

A Helping Hand

There are also services designed to help people plan and achieve their workations successfully. Companies like Mamalli and Remote Year are travel subscription services which offer workation packages that include accommodation, planned activities and access to a community of fellow remote workers. Services like the Apartment Network offer serviced apartments around the world, which they market as a more comfortable and affordable alternative to renting a conventional hotel room for weeks.

An example itinerary of a working day on a Mamalli workation compared to a normal day. Source

There are is also the 90-day Finn programme, which is currently in its second iteration. Run by a Helsinki non-profit, the programme helps its successful applicants in relocating to Finland for 90 days, taking care of all necessary documentation and providing all other kinds of support. While this is another kind of workation package, the programme is also committed to providing further support to its participants should they decide to permanently relocate to Finland. This year’s cohort, tech innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the globe, have already begun their stay and will remain in Finland until end of October (and possibly beyond).

In summary, the potential benefits to a workation are endless (and there are so many exciting destinations to explore), so it is well worth considering if you could benefit from taking one. Once you have made your decision, you can throw a dart at the world map and start planning.


15 Digital Nomad Statistics and Curious Trends [*2022 Update*]

7 Cheapest Countries for Taking a ‘Workcation’ | GOBankingRates

Join the 90 Day Finn program | Helsinki Partners

Remote Work Statistics [2022]: Facts, Trends, And Projections – Zippia

Tech remote workers perspectives on workcations: change of scenery highly desired — Mamalli – Remote Work Redefined

Wellness Travel Report | Icelandair | Icelandair

Was ist eine Workation (und für wen kommt diese infrage)? • Asana

Workation & How Can It Help Cope with Professional Burnout – Itnig

Working Vacations Aren’t an Escape. They’re Practice. – The Atlantic