If you work in the world of startups and freelancers, you’ve probably heard the term workation thrown around quite a bit.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s essentially uprooting your normal workday routine to a totally new environment (typically in an entirely new country and often surrounded by other remote workers who are doing the same.)
I have to admit, when I first heard the term I wasn’t entirely a fan of the idea.
As someone who values work-life balance, yet often find myself struggling with it, I often dream of taking a fully unplugged vacation but it’s a lot harder than it seems and I never seem to pull it off.
The last thing I needed was yet another reason to work on my vacations, or so I thought.
I still fully support taking sufficient vacation time each year to truly unplug and disconnect (or you risk experiencing chronic burnout and serious health issues).
However, I’ve come to realize that remote workers are fully capable of (and the most in need of) incorporating both regular vacations and workations into their lives.
When you work remotely the lack of commute, office politics, water cooler chit-chat, and useless meetings typically increases your focus on output and lowers your focus on social interactions – sending your productivity through the roof.
This can mean amazing things for your business or career overall, but if you’re not careful, all that hustle can quickly leave you feeling isolated and unmotivated.
The best antidote to getting out of that remote worker’s funk is to shake things up a bit – catch a flight, change your scenery, and most importantly, connect with other remote workers from different cultures.
Now that we’re on the same page as to why a workation is definitely not overrated,
Here’s why 2017 is the best year to plan a workation in Europe:
1 – Cheap flights
This one is a given. If you’ve been paying any attention to the travel industry lately, you know that prices on flights between the U.S. and Europe have gotten seriously cheap and will likely continue to be throughout most of 2017.
You can thank low-cost airlines, increasingly efficient planes, and lower fuel prices.
2 – Ease and affordability of trip planning
It’s become so ridiculously easy to plan your vacation on a whim that you could easily have an entire trip planned and purchased in under an hour.
With the rise of apartment vacation rentals, it’s simple to find a beautiful yet affordable apartment for your European workation.
Choosing an apartment over a hotel means you’ll feel completely at home, have reliable WiFi, and won’t have to worry about bothering anyone if you have to hop on a late-night Skype call with your team member in Hong Kong.
3 – Increased popularity of co-working offices
It was nearly one and half years after I first started working online, that someone mentioned to me that I should check-out a co-working office. I’m sure they were around before this, but they certainly weren’t popular, and no one on my startup team worked at one.
Now, co-working spaces are everywhere, with new ones being built literally every day.
Pro-tip: I’ve visited loads of co-working offices and a personal favorite is Coco Coffice in Barcelona. The vibe is fantastic, they have flexible daily or hourly rates with coffee and snacks included, and Barcelona was recently ranked as the top European destination to visit in 2017.
4 – A workation boosts overall productivity and wellbeing
I’ve found that there’s often an instant sense of camaraderie amongst remote workers regardless of cultural background, due to the fact that they have similar motivations and made the conscious decision to embrace the challenges and freedoms that come with working online.
Not working in a traditional office generally means you have fewer opportunities to vent about daily work frustrations or bounce ideas off of colleagues.
It can be extraordinarily refreshing to hear how others are faring in their remote work lifestyle, exchange ‘war stories’, and chat about the latest online trends.
Surrounding yourself with people from other countries who work online also opens you up to new ways of thinking about work, productivity, and daily routines.
And of course, it’s a fabulous way to expand your personal and professional network internationally. You never know who could be your next teammate or co-founder!