Rather than booking a one-week holiday, more people from the UK are considering an extended “workcation” at home or abroad. A new report highlights the benefits of taking one, the highest ranked workcation locations and what to consider before you go
If you had a case of the January blues last year, you may want to consider booking a workcation. As a relatively new concept, there are different ways to define it – but a workation (sometimes spelt workcation or worcation) is when you take time away from your usual place of business to work from somewhere else for a period of time. How long people go varies, but the idea is to give yourself a change of scenery and combine your normal work life with new, rewarding experiences.
“Exploring other cultures through travel and language is something everyone should be able to enjoy,” says Babbel, the foreign language learning app who carried out new research on this new work-life balance trend.
“And while becoming a digital nomad might seem like a drastic move, it doesn’t need to be. As the business world evolves, new ways of working “nomadically” are emerging. If you like the idea of exploring other countries, cultures and languages without giving up your day job, a workation might be the perfect solution,” said the Babbel report.
Many of us have found that remote working not only offers us more free time but also helps improve productivity. That is if we have a support system set in place to keep an eye on our kids or our loved ones if we are a part-time carer. But there are a host of reasons why people are looking to workcations as an alternative to the daily grind.
Here are just some of them:
How is a workcation different to digital nomadism?
For many, ‘digital nomad’ conjures up images of social media influencers, travelling in style from country to country on a seemingly never-ending holiday binge. But don’t let the filters mislead you.
Digital nomads come from all walks of life, and even workers with conventional 9-5 jobs are finding ways to combine their passion for travel with their day jobBabbel
Whereas traditional digital nomadism would typically involve travelling frequently and living in different places as a lifestyle, a workation is more like an extended working holiday. This means it’s potentially a better fit for someone with a 9-5 job, who has the flexibility to work remotely.
Of course, every country has its own unique charms and qualities, so comparing them is impossible. Instead, the research survey focused on key workation benefits – internet speed, average temperature, number of restaurants, price of food and drink – that could help you decide how suitable a destination might be for a working stay.
Why are workcations growing in popularity?
While people under 30 seem to be more interested in workcations than older respondents, it’s clearly an appealing prospect across the board. More than half of those surveyed by Babbel have either already been on a workcation or plan to go on one in the future.
Young families can book workcations during the school holidays and empty nesters should have even more flexibility when it comes to workcations. For anyone looking to retire abroad, what better way than to test drive a new country than by having a workcation there?
The best European cities for a workcation
Even if you have thoughts on places that float your boat already, Babbel’s research suggests it’s never a bad idea to consider some additional factors that can help make a destination the ideal location to work remotely from. To get you on your way, here are some of the best European destinations for workcations to consider.
Most desired vs top ranked European workation destination
Babbel looked at how the list of top countries for a workcation compares to the most desired destinations. In their survey, they asked people to tell them which countries they were most keen to work from, then compared this with the 10 countries that scored highest across ranking criteria.
Again, Italy came out on top – both in the rankings and as the most desired destination. Other than that, the lists look quite different. This does make sense, as the countries that sit highest on people’s wish lists won’t necessarily correspond to the places with the most affordable food and drink, or the fastest internet speed, according to the report.
Do your research on a few places so that you can get the most out of your workcation, based on your needs and desired activities, before you decide on your destination.
- which places have great summer clubs for kids so you can work during the day?
- Medical centres nearby if you have any underlying medical conditions?
- Art galleries if you need a cultural injection?
- Safe places to cycle or run if you want to make the most out of a warm and sunny climate?
Learning a language can make your workcation so much more meaningful
One of the key things to consider is learning the language, and as we’ve seen above, this is one of the main reasons why people go on workations.
Living abroad for a while is a great way to get fluent, but it’s also a good idea to have a grasp of the destination language before you travel. Being familiar with the local language will help make it easier for you to get settled – from sorting paperwork and accommodation when you arrive, to meeting people and making new friends.
The best way to learn a language will depend a bit on your preferences, time and budget. Some learn best in a group setting, while others prefer one-to-one sessions, or learning on their own.
Here are some options Babbel suggests you consider:
Attend a language course
A group language course before you go, or at your choice of destination, can be a fun way to learn. You’ll be able to practice phrases and conversations with your fellow students, meet new people and hopefully make some new friends.
Take private lessons from a native speaker
If learning in a group isn’t your thing, but you like the idea of personal interaction and authentic pronunciation, you could find yourself a tutor to study the language with. Many expats and exchange students offer one-to-one lessons in their native language by the hour. Plus, they may be able to give you some good tips for things to see and do in your workation country.
Take an online language course
Online language courses are a good alternative if you want a really flexible approach that you can easily fit around work and other commitments. This will also allow you to learn at your own pace, with no external pressure.
Learn your chosen language with an app
According to Babbel, you only have to spend 15 minutes a day to get your language skills to a conversational level if using their app. And you have the choice of learning with certified teachers via live lessons, or on your own using the app.
Babbel said that 92% of Babbel users said they improved their language proficiency in just two months.
Check out their podcasts: Learn a new language with Babbel podcasts
Have you had a workcation? Share your experiences (the good and the bad) and any tips you think people should be aware of, such as:
- Entry visas
- Length of stay allowed
- Access to good internet connectivity/ WiFi and related costs
- If staying in a hotel or short-stay apartment or home rental is best?
- Rules about bringing pets and related paperwork and costs?