Digital nomads are being inspired
to imagine themselves working from – just about everywhere
June 9, 2021
Sitting under a patio umbrella, tropical drink at hand, tapping away on a laptop while watching the waves wash over sparkling sand: It’s the remote worker’s dream. Some want to go all in – move somewhere new (preferably exotic) and enjoy a change of scenery. Or maybe you’d like to get away for just a few weeks or months in a rental apartment or beach-side cottage.
Need more services? Think: resort. Your budget probably doesn’t allow for picking up and moving to a five-star resort permanently, but a week or so might be just the recharge needed for your pandemic-depleted batteries. OK, so you can afford maybe a day. There are “getaway” hotel programs for that, too.
Go really remote by leaving the country, as Leah Walker, a freelance writer from Texas, did. After selling her Houston home and living briefly in Rio de Janeiro, Leah moved to France on a passeport talent visa six years ago. She’s since created a marketing company in Paris and works with brands in the travel, tourism and lifestyle markets that want to reach the American market. “Finding my way in France wasn’t easy, but the struggles were definitely worth it. In France, I found my forever home,” she says.
As countries are recovering from the pandemic this year, it’s relatively easy to get a new, special work visa just for digital nomads and freelance workers. There are at least 20 countries offering them, from Bermuda to Antigua and Barbuda, or as far afield as Dubai and Spain. The hope is that these long-term visitors will support local economies without displacing any permanent residents’ jobs.
Most of the programs let visa holders remain in the country for up to a year, although some are longer or subject to renewal. The specific requirements differ from country to country but expect to provide proof of ability to support yourself through salary, savings, or investment for your time of remote work, pass a criminal background check, and purchase health insurance.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program for the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean is a new initiative for professionals and digital nomads which allows persons who are employed outside of the Cayman Islands with the financial independence to work remotely, relocate and live in the Cayman Islands for up to 24 months.
The Barbados Welcome Stamp is a visa that allows anyone who meets its requirements and whose work is location-independent to work in Barbados for 12 months. The plus side? It’s renewable. The downside? The application fee for individuals is $2,000 (other countries charge less).
Bermuda has amended the eligibility for a One (1) Year Residential Certificate to allow persons who are able to work remotely from Bermuda, such as digital nomads. Applicants for the One Year Certificate must have the means to support themselves while working remotely and cannot seek work in Bermuda.
Iceland’s long term remote work visa is valid for just 180 days, but there’s a plus: You are allowed to travel within the Schengen area of 26 European nations for up to 90 days of the 180 days you can be there.
Thinking of something even more exotic? What about the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius. It offers a Premium Travel Visa to any non-citizen who intends to stay in Mauritius for a maximum period of one year as a “tourist, retiree or a professional willing to come with his/her family and carry out his business or work remotely from Mauritius.”
Got kids in tow? Dubai’s virtual working program (valid for one year) grants access to all the standard services that residents benefit from, including access to phone lines, resident ID cards, banking facilities, and the ability to rent accommodations and send children to school.
Want a shorter commitment? There are many options for month-long rentals, from villas in Tuscany to condos in Florida. Check out the listings at sites like VRBO.com, HomeToGo.com and Airbnb.com.
Brian Chesky, chief executive officer of Airbnb reminded readers of Fast Company in its summer 2021 issue of the discovery white-collar professionals made during COVID – that they can work effectively from a home office. Ergo, with laptop, WiFi, Zoom and Slack, it’s possible to work from an office in any home (even one with a view of a snow-capped mountain).
No Place Like Home
Christopher Elliott, an author, advocate, and journalist, works remotely all the time, using a combination of long-term rentals and hotels. He has no permanent residence. His only tether to a land-locked place, he says, is a post office box in scenic Sedona, AZ.
Reliant on his laptop, “I use Google Docs, and I keep everything in the cloud,” he noted. “I always call ahead to ask about WiFi to make sure it’s adequate, but I also travel with my own hotspot.”
Resorts everywhere are strategizing to get into this market. After all, the key feature of a laptop is its portability. If you can work at your neighborhood Starbucks, you can work from Bohio Coffee at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel in the Dominican Republic.
What about settling down for a spell on a small South Pacific island in French Polynesia? The St. Regis Bora Bora invites guests to work from paradise with its “Work from Bora Bora” offer for a live Zoom background to die for. In addition to the expected – airport transfers and pre-arrival consultation – remote workers will enjoy accommodations in a Garden Suite Villa, Beach Front Villa or Overwater Villa, butler service (including an IT butler to help set up your remote office and stay connected), breakfast and dinner – plus a Kids Club with plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy while you work.
“Work from Hyatt” packages feature waived resort fees, a workspace that’s either a separate, private space or a complimentary second guestroom, free parking and free or discounted laundry services.
If Las Vegas is your preferred remote location, MGM Resorts International offers the ultimate home-away-from-the-home office experience at Bellagio and ARIA. “Viva Las Office” amenities (divided into three tiers by price) can include a poolside massage, cabana rental and discounted airfare with JSX, the hop-on jet service.
You don’t need to stay in one place – what about remote working on a luxury ship? Upon their return to service (expected this summer), every one of the 14 liners in Princess’ fleet will feature land-like connectivity as part of its MedallionNet WiFi service. For those passengers wanting to combine work with their vacation, this service will make possible remote working, distance learning, the opportunity to securely conduct important transactions as well as video conferencing. And the communications will reach all of Princess Cruises’ global destinations.
If your budget is small but your need to get away is crucial, take a brief respite from staring out your window at the same brick wall, listening to traffic noises (or the hubbub of a traditional office), with a day-away out-of-the-office experience.
Marriott offers a Day Pass program for business travelers. You’ll get 12 hours to cocoon (6 AM to 6 PM), hiding away from the distractions of office (home or not), and get some quality quiet time to work through knotty problems. Oh, and you can take an hour to swim laps in the pool or work out in the gym. Similarly Hyatt’s Office for the Day hours are 7 AM to 7 PM
Dreams of working from the beach may be most practical for solopreneurs. Those who have bosses – especially bosses who think employees aren’t working if they’re not stuck in a cubicle – may be more subject to misguided judgment. Despite studies that show offsite workers are often more productive, some supervisors just can’t cope without literally overlooking their workers.