We are nearing two years of suffering through a pandemic. Many of us have spent this time isolated at home. With the sudden surge of the Delta variant and the possibility of new strains, it looks like we’ll have to deal with Covid-19 for the foreseeable future.
For adventurous-minded people and those who desperately need a change of pace, there’s a new trend emerging. You can consider going on a “workcation.” Instead of working remotely at home, you can travel to an interesting location around the world to both work and explore new vistas.
During the early days of the outbreak, wealthy people fled big cities. In the New York area, CEOs, executives, hedge fund managers, bankers and those with means left the Big Apple and moved to the Hamptons, an enclave of the rich and famous. White-collar professionals called the moving trucks and made their way to the suburbs of New Jersey and Connecticut.
Airbnb, the home and apartment rental tech platform, sensed an opportunity for enticing digital nomads and wanderlust adventurers to travel. The company wrote in its blog, “While travelers have long booked with Airbnb to immerse themselves in new communities and explore new cultures on vacation, Airbnb is now a longer-term option for more guests who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from anywhere.”
These primarily rural locations, far from urban centers with Covid-19 hotspots, included Stratton, Stowe and Windsor County in Vermont, Portland and Western Maine, Whitefish, Montana, Summit County and Steamboat Springs in Colorado, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Utica, Saratoga Springs and the Adirondacks in New York.
Several countries courted Americans. Having lost tourism revenue, some nations needed another source of income and encouraged people to migrate with special visas and open arms. Barbados, Estonia, Bermuda and Georgia have all opened their doors to Americans, inviting them to come, work, pay taxes and contribute to the economy. In an open letter from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, she warmly encouraged people to migrate to her country. “On behalf of our beautiful island of Barbados, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you.”
Sarah Siddle, marketing manager at Holidu, a fast-growing travel tech company, said about this movement, “The events of the past year and a half have completely changed the way we work, showing us that we don’t always have to be in the office five days a week to do our jobs.” She pointed out that living in another interesting and exotic country for work “is the perfect way to spend an extended period of time in a destination you want to explore” without using up your vacation days.
Holidu compiled a list of the best cities around the world for “mixing business with pleasure.” The travel organization analyzed “a variety of factors that every wanderlusting remote worker will deem important, and we then identified which cities around the world rank the best for these factors.”
The company’s index ranked 150 cities to determine the best place to both work and immerse yourself in the local culture. To find the best places around the world, the company researched the costs of a one-bedroom apartment, after-work drinks, average hours of sunshine, internet connectivity and the array of activities available.
The recommended destinations are ranked as following:
- Bangkok, Thailand
- New Delhi, India
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Barcelona, Spain
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Budapest, Hungary
Bangkok was selected as the first choice, due to the affordable cost of living, inexpensive dining, an English-speaking population and corporate facilities available to people who may want to pop into an office setting once in a while. According to the site, there are plenty of interesting places to visit, as well as shopping centers and local food markets.
“All of the cities that got the top spots managed to do so mainly because of their very affordable cost of living, with the price of accommodation, food and drink offering extremely attractive prices,” Siddle said. “On top of that, these cities are cultural hotspots in their own right, all offering an array of incredible things to see and do.”
The U.K.-based company didn’t include any U.S. cities in the top 20 rankings. Los Angeles made the cut at No. 30. Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and New York are on the list too.
One of the benefits of the pandemic is that people have become much more creative and open to new opportunities and experiences.