In a year that’s brought turmoil and challenges all over the globe, perhaps no industry has been more impacted than the tourism industry.
Local economies dependent on visitors have been devastated by the loss of revenue and have been desperately looking for ways to draw people back in.
With the rise in telecommuting and the impact from the coronavirus continuing, many countries are putting out the welcome mat for a special kind of tourist.
Remote work is at an all-time high due to the continued ripple effects of the pandemic. And let’s face it, it’s not always easy to balance the work-from-home lifestyle.
It becomes even more difficult for parents who have children enrolled in schools that are doing distance learning for this school year.
Weighing their options with all these factors in mind, ministries of tourism in many nations have decided to adapt some of their tourist visa programs with the remote working family in mind.
And it seems to be a great opportunity for everyone involved.
There’s no place like home, but we’re ready for a change…
Sure, working from home has its benefits. You can work in your pajamas, throw in a load of laundry on your lunch break, and avoid the dreaded commute each day.
But it also comes with challenges – and major distractions. Bored and frustrated children, no separation between work and family time, isolation from other adults… and the house seems to be in an endless state of chaos.
Well, if you’re looking for the opportunity of a lifetime and you and your kids are doing everything remotely, how about switching your residency to a warm and tropical location for the winter?
Sounds incredible, right? And, there are several dreamy options available.
How about sunny Bermuda? With the country’s new extended visa program, visitors are welcome to stay for an entire year – long enough, hopefully, for us to all get back to a little bit of normalcy.
If you’re over 18, have health insurance, a job that allows you to telecommute, and a mere $263 for the application fee, you are invited to apply online for a one-year remote work visa.
If you have kids, they simply have to be enrolled in a distance learning program with a school outside the country.
Just imagine lounging in the warm sun, a tropical breeze blowing through your hair, and the kids playing in the sand (after they complete their schoolwork) while you answer all those emails.
You’ll have to prove you can afford this adventure, however, because the bottom line is that Bermuda wants you to boost the economy by paying for lodging, food, and entertainment during your stay.
Can’t afford to stay for a year? Bermuda is also offering a 6-month program that does not require obtaining a visa.
Barbados and several other island nations are offering similar options, so the island life awaits!
In Aruba, the tourism bureau has extended their usual 30-day tourist visa to three months – the perfect amount of time to recharge with a change of scenery and skip the cold temperatures of the winter months.
They’re calling it “One Happy Workation,” and I can’t think of a better name. Sign me up!
And in Costa Rica, the usual difficulties in obtaining a work visa have been eased, thanks to some loopholes now being used by eager remote workers.
Typically, a visa requires a staggering $50,000 “bond,” money that must be kept in reserve in a bank in order to provide the country security in case a visitor has an emergency or cannot provide for their expenses.
Many visitors have taken to “country jumping” every three months to stamp their passport in a bordering nation and then returning for their stay in Costa Rica to avoid this fee.
But anyone who entered the country in recent months is exempt from the three-month limit, so remote workers are taking advantage of the opportunity to live and work in an exotic location.
And the island resorts that would charge hundreds of dollars a night are now offering affordable rates for long-term stays – some are as reasonable as a full month’s lodging for what would have been charged for a 3-night stay pre-pandemic.
“Workation” options are everywhere!
Can’t swing moving to an exotic location with the kids and pets in tow, even for just a few months?
Believe me, I get it — when you’re a parent juggling all of life’s challenges right now, a long-term move can be an overwhelming proposition.
But if you’re still in desperate need for a change of pace – and especially a change of scenery – there are options galore for smaller “workations.”
Many luxury resorts, including in the U.S., are offering packages for remote working and schooling families because even domestic resorts have seen a huge decrease in visitors.
Guests can stay for a week or a month, or anywhere in between, and enjoy all the luxuries these resorts have to offer.
Golf, tennis, swimming, room service, gyms and laundry services are just some of the perks available while you work from a luxury resort.
Many have horseback riding, guided hikes, and other great social distancing options – plus these are great experiences for supplementing the kids’ education while they’re distance learning.
The need for escape is greater than ever.
Sure, many of us travel for work – but for the most part, we travel because we need a change and want to experience new things.
No matter how lovely our homes or wonderful our lives may be, it’s just not healthy to always be in the same place.
Experts have lauded the benefits of travel for decades. It nurtures the soul and offers a much-needed respite from our day-to-day routines.
And especially now, there is no greater time to offer ourselves and our children an escape – no matter how brief – to recharge our batteries after this crazy year.
If you work remotely, there’s no better opportunity than now to explore all the options for a workcation.
It’s sure to be the best of both worlds.