So, what is a workation – and is it 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 job.
This is where workations come into the picture. 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 for varies, but the idea is to give yourself a change of scenery and combine your normal work life with new, rewarding experiences.
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.
Why should you go on workation?
There are all sorts of motivations for going on a workation. Some people do it to get away from the rat race status quo or to connect with nature. Others do it to pick up a new skill or immerse themselves in a different cultural experience.
We wanted to know what drives people to plan a workation, and here are the top five reasons that came out of our survey:
It’s not surprising to see that work-life balance is top of the list. This can mean different things to different people, but it usually involves a degree of flexibility around your working environment and business hours.
And as the pandemic has proven, we don’t have to be office-based to work effectively. Many of us have found that remote working not only offers us more free time, but also helps improve productivity.
What else did we learn about workations?
While people under 30 are more interested in workations than older respondents, it’s clearly an appealing prospect across the board. More than half of our survey participants have either already been on a workation or plan to go on one in the future.
The best European cities for a workation
If you’re considering a workation abroad, Europe offers a range of fantastic, affordable and easy-to-get-to settings to plot your adventure in. With so many stunning and varied countries to explore right on our doorstep, there’s no need to go further afield to find your perfect workation spot. But how do you decide where to go?
When it comes to the best European countries and cities for digital nomads and workation enthusiasts, your own taste, preferences and priorities will of course come into play. Maybe you love authentic Italian food or dream of speaking conversational French? Perhaps you yearn for the beauty and sunshine of the Croatian coastline or want to learn more about Scandinavian culture?
Even if you have thoughts on places that float your boat already, 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, we’ve carried out and collated research comparing some of the best European destinations for workations.
First up, we looked at the top 10 European capitals for a “workation lifestyle”. As you can see, Rome is our overall winner, but there are lots of good options to choose from on our list.
Most desired vs top ranked European workation destination
Next, let’s look at how the list of top countries for a workation compares to the most desired destinations. In our survey, we asked people to tell us which countries they were most keen to work from, then compared this with the 10 countries that scored highest across our 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.
That’s why it’s a good idea to read up on a few different places and think about what you want to get out of your workation before you decide on your destination.
The countries with the most holidays
If you’re working from home abroad, and your employer is a UK company, you’ll most likely have the usual UK annual leave and public holiday allowance.
But while you might not benefit from generous local holiday policies, the number of days that people typically get off work where you’re staying could be taken as a decent indicator of the country’s general attitude towards promoting a healthy work/life balance. And that might be something to consider if you plan to relocate somewhere for an extended workation.
Are you ready for your workation?
Hopefully, that’s given you some workation inspiration, as well as a snapshot of the top destinations within easy reach for people looking for a slice of digital nomadism.
If you’re thinking about heading off on an adventure, make sure you do your own research as well – and go prepared. As part of your planning process, have a look over our checklist of things to think about and sort before you go for an extended stay abroad.
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 for you to 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 the award-winning Babbel app
With Babbel you only have to spend 15 minutes a day to get your language skills to a conversational level. And you have the choice of learning with certified teachers via live lessons, or on your own using the app.
Babbel focuses on making sure that you’re able to apply what you learn super-quickly, so it’s a great tool for anyone looking to learn fast. In fact, 92% of Babbel users said they improved their language proficiency in just two months.*
We’d love to help you get started with your language training, so you have at least a few useful phrases in your back pocket when you arrive. Find out more about how quick and easy it is to learn with us and get yourself set up for the workation of a lifetime.