As remote work practices make working more flexible, lots of new jargon is being introduced into our work vocabulary. We now talk about hybrid working, asynchronous communication, remote first, and zoom fatigue.

Another new word that has entered our vocabulary is “workation”. On the surface this seems self-explanatory, it is a blend of work and vacation. But what a workation looks like in practice can be more complex.

That is why we have put together this complete guide to answer the question: “What is a workation”.

We’ll start with a detailed explanation of a workation and how it differs from other types of remote working. We’ll also share real-world examples of what a workation might look like.

We’ll discuss the benefits of workations, both for traveling employees and the companies that enable them. Plus, we’ll review the challenges of workations that need to be managed. Finally, we will look at some of the legal and logistical concerns associated with planning a workation.

By the end of this article, you should be ready to discuss workations with your manager and colleagues, and excited to book your next workation trip.


What is a Workation?

A workation is when you go on vacation, usually one that involves travel, while also continuing to meet your work responsibilities.

This means that you can enjoy leisure and tourism activities wherever you are traveling, while still fulfilling your work commitments. It also means that you don’t have to use your holiday allowance.

Sometimes a person traveling on a workation might reduce their hours so that they have more time to explore their destination. Similarly, they might spend part of their travel time on workation, and part of their time on vacation.

Companies that allow workations often have a remote-first approach to working, which means that systems are already in place to facilitate remote access to servers and virtual collaboration. They will also usually allow workers flexibility in planning how and when their work gets done. They will agree on key deadlines, deliverable outputs, and vital meetings.


Examples of a Workation

While we have established the definition of a workation, you might still wonder what it looks like in practice. Consider the following workation examples.

Mark has always been fascinated by Japan but is also very career-oriented. He does not want to take much time off from work to travel. He has decided to spend three weeks in Japan based in the city of Kyoto while working at 80% capacity to give him some extra free time. On the weekends, he visits places such as Tokyo and Mount Fuji.

Brenda lives and works in California, but her family is in New York and her sister is getting married. She decides to travel to New York for two weeks to spend time with her family and attend the wedding, all while continuing to work full-time.

Adrian decides to escape the cold European winter by heading to Thailand for three months. He plans to work full-time for most of the trip but will also take two weeks of vacation to spend with his teenage daughter who will join him for this part of the trip.

Diana is being sent to Paris for a work trip on Monday and Tuesday, and she decides to stay in the city until Sunday. She works remotely on Wednesday and Thursday while taking Friday off to enjoy a long weekend.

These are just some examples of what a workation might look like. But, as you can see, while they all combine work and vacation, the organization is adaptable to specific circumstances.


Benefits of Taking a Workation

Taking a workation is not the same as taking a vacation. When on vacation, you should be free from work responsibilities, allowing you to completely switch off from work stresses for at least a few days.

Granted, many traditional vacations don’t look like this as workers continue to check emails on their smartphones and pull together the odd report for colleagues. But ideally, you should not work or be in contact with the office while on a proper vacation.

Therefore, a workation is not a replacement for taking a proper vacation, which everyone should take at least once a year. Nevertheless, taking a workation offers many benefits to both traveling employees and the companies that employ them.

Below are some of the key benefits of workations.

Improved Well-Being and Work-Life Balance

While a workation may not be the same as a vacation, the change in environment and the opportunity to engage in new and different leisure activities can help reduce mental stress.

When traveling and breaking normal routines, it can be easier for hard-working employees to switch off. The novelty of the place and the break in routine can help them prioritize experiencing where they are.

In the immediate term, this can help reduce stress levels. In the long term, employees may return more motivated to maintain a healthier work-life balance.


Boost in Creativity and Productivity

It can be hard for employees to produce their most creative work and remain productive when staring at the same walls, speaking to the same people, and being stuck in the same routine. Change and new inspiration are often exactly what is needed to boost creativity.

In addition, it is easy for employees to get bogged down in administrative and routine tasks that could be delegated, done smarter, or not done at all. In the day-to-day grind, we tend to hold onto old responsibilities while taking on new ones, leading to overwork and overload.

Organizing a workation generally requires prioritization, which can help you gain perspective on what you do and how you do it. This can lead to changes that boost productivity.

The new environment can also provide new focus and enthusiasm for certain activities. Workers that are feeling stale can be refreshed, and sparks of creativity can strike from anywhere.


Professional and Personal Development

A workation often provides an opportunity to develop new skills, whether that be adapting to new environments, learning to lead teams remotely, or improving foreign language skills.

Space away from the daily grind can also help people focus on their priorities and where they really want to go with their careers. With space to think, they can return with new ideas and motivation to learn and grow.


See More of the World

The world is a fascinating place and encountering new cultures is an enriching experience. But if you work full-time, you probably have a limited number of vacation days allocated to you each year. In the United States, the average person gets just 11 paid vacation days per year.

Working while traveling, on a workation, is a great way to spend more time traveling while using less of your holiday allowance.

Workations also provide flexibility in travel logistics, which means that you may be better placed to take advantage of affordable travel deals in the off-season. This makes travel more accessible.


Improved Workforce

Employers benefit when their workforce is less stressed and feeling more creative and productive. This is why it is in their interest to allow workations. Allowing workations also lets employers properly manage how work will get done during this period. Employers that don’t allow workations risk remote employees taking hush trips, which can be disruptive.

Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive job market, offering workations can be a perk that sets your company apart and makes it more attractive to the most desirable candidates.


Challenges of Workations

While overall workations represent a positive step forward for the modern workforce, successfully executing a workation is not without its challenges, for both employees and employers. But these are challenges to be overcome rather than issues that should block the possibility of traveling while working.


Balancing Work and Leisure

While we talk about workations letting workers better balance the time they spend working and engaging in leisure activities, learning how to strike the right balance comes with a significant learning curve.

Learning to focus in a new and stimulating environment can be challenging, and learning to switch off from the demands of work can be hard, even when somewhere new and exciting.

But this is a life skill worth learning that is beneficial not only when traveling. Workers who maintain a healthy work-life balance at home are also happier and more productive.

Here you will find tips on planning a successful workation that lets you be productive and enjoy your travel time.



Travel always tends to be expensive as you pay for premium short-term accommodation, eat out regularly, and spend on tourist activities. While this is a part of travel that most of us accept, it can feel like a greater burden when you are “paying to work”.



Workations are a fairly new phenomenon, and until recently, only certain types of workers have had the flexibility to work while traveling. This means that there is still a perception among certain people that a workation is little more than slacking off on the company dollar.

This can create internal conflicts within companies, especially between employees who take workations and those who can’t. It can also be frustrating to be accused of slacking when explaining your plans to family and friends.

This is a problem that is likely to resolve itself over time as workations become more common.


You Still Need a Vacation

While taking a workation is great for your mental health, it doesn’t replace taking a proper vacation. A vacation allows you to fully turn off from your work commitments and stresses for an extended period.

However, the perception exists that someone may not need a vacation because they have recently taken a workation. This can result in unhealthy practices with team members being unable or unwilling to take proper vacations. HR departments should work to raise awareness of the need for both.


How Long are Workations?

Most companies will cap the maximum length of a workation at between 90 and 180 days. This is to avoid many of the logistical hazards that are associated with longer periods of work abroad. The two principal issues relate to visas and finances.



The deadline of 90 days is important because it is the length of most standard tourist visas. If you are traveling for leisure with the intention of continuing to work remotely, your company probably can’t help you get a work visa for where you choose to travel, and you probably don’t need one.

Tourist visas forbid holders from working in the local economy while traveling in that country. But whether you can continue to work remotely for your foreign company is a grey area.

Technically this kind of remote work may not be allowed, but immigration authorities don’t have effective ways to track this type of work. It is also not in the interest of those authorities to prevent this kind of activity as it brings money into the local economy, so they are likely to turn a blind eye.

This means that as long as you are not conducting business within the local economy on behalf of your company, you can take your workation on a standard tourist visa.

Digital nomad visas aren’t recommended for this kind of short vacation-style travel because they can be hard to get and expensive. This kind of visa is not necessary if you are only travelling for month or so.



The second number, 180 days, is significant for financial reasons. Once you are resident in a country for 183 days you become a resident for tax purposes.

This can be a problem for you as you become liable to pay income tax on your international income in the country where you are. Meanwhile, you probably still need to pay tax on that same income back in your home country. You don’t generally stop being a resident for tax purposes in your home country until you haven’t earned an income there in more than one tax year.

Many countries have double taxation treaties in place to protect workers from paying tax on the same income in two different countries. But this invites a lot of fiddly paperwork, and not all countries have these agreements.

The 183-day deadline is also important for employers, because after this time they may become liable for things such as social security contributions in the country where you are considered a tax resident. If they don’t pay properly, large fines can be applied.

There are circumstances in which you can become liable for local taxes and social security before the 183-day deadline, but as long as you aren’t selling or negotiating contracts in the local economy on behalf of your company, these are unlikely to come into play. So, companies cap workations at less than 180 days.


Workation Logistical Considerations

While you are your company may not need to worry too much about visas and taxes when planning a workation, there are other important things to consider to properly prepare for a workation.


Remote-First Working

If your company has a remote-first approach to working, it should already have the infrastructure in place to allow you to work from overseas. You can log into virtual meetings, participate in team communications, and connect to company servers.

However, your company may need to check that all the resources you need are available from the country where you intend to travel. It is more common than many people realize for companies to block internet traffic from certain countries to their servers. This can usually be resolved using an authorized company VPN.

If your company does not have a remote-first approach, you may need to agree certain measures with your manager, team, and IT department to ensure that you can continue to do your job properly when working remotely from abroad.


Health and Safety

Companies are responsible for the health and safety of their employees while they are working, even when they are working remotely, and even when on workation. Your company should conduct a risk assessment for you before you travel.

This is less arduous than it may seem. If your company allows workations they probably have a template that applies in most cases.

They can also ensure that their insurance covers any work gear that you may take with you when traveling, such as your work laptop.


Managing Workload

Depending on the nature of your workation and personal preferences, you may wish to adjust your workload and commitments to give you more time when traveling.

You may choose to reduce your hours or use some of your vacation allowance to make more of your time. You may need to flag up meetings that you will be unable to attend due to time zone differences. You may need to pause or delegate certain tasks that are not a priority or can’t be completed while you are traveling.

You need to clarify with your manager and team what your priorities and deliverables are while you are traveling. This may involve alterations such as delegating tasks that require regular and prompt communication with customers to other team members. On the flip side, you may prioritize more creative and deep work tasks while on workation.

How exactly you manage your individual workload and organize things in relation to your team depends on individual circumstances. The more workation-friendly your company, the more options and flexibility you are likely to have. Whatever you choose to do, having a plan in place and transparency with your colleagues who are affected is essential.


Planning Your Trip

When you are planning your workation trip, you also need to consider making it possible for you to work.

This includes considerations such as booking accommodation that has space for you to work and reliable Wi-Fi. It means choosing somewhere with good transport links so that you can make the most of your downtime between work commitments. It means considering the time zone you will be in, and how you will balance what you want to do while traveling with what you need to do when working.

You can read our full guide to what to consider when choosing where to travel on a workation here.


The Verdict

The onset of the global pandemic served as a catalyst for a monumental shift in the workforce. Remote work, once a luxury, became a necessity, and with it, the seeds of the workation concept were sown. As we move beyond the pandemic, workations are now becoming a positive work choice.

As companies increasingly establish technological solutions that allow their employees to work from anywhere, they are putting in place work-from-abroad policies that enable employees to work from everywhere.

The workation is just one example of how employees can work remotely from abroad, but it is also probably the most accessible. It requires the least administrative hassle on the side of the businesses and is the least disruptive to the lives of employees, who often have local roots and commitments. They want to travel more but don’t want to embrace the full digital nomad lifestyle. Therefore, it is easy to see workations becoming increasingly common.

The big challenge around workations is to not let them replace proper vacations. They are not a replacement for the necessity to fully switch off from work for extended periods of time on a regular basis to destress, recharge batteries, and regain perspective.