Some reports predict that the number of U.S. remote workers will grow by over 400% by 2025 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Besides improved work-life balance, one of the top reasons people choose to work remotely is the flexibility to travel. Trends like “digital nomading” have emerged and gained in popularity as a result.
The sharp and steady increase in the remote worker community, including digital nomads, has reshaped the travel industry across the board, from transportation to hotels and experiences.
Let’s explore some of the top travel trends and the most popular destinations among remote workers.
Remote work top travel trends
1. Remote workers are embracing slow travel
With laptops in their hands and virtual offices at their fingertips, remote workers can take work wherever they go. This increased mobility has directly impacted the frequency as well as the duration of remote workers’ trips; in fact, the average length of stay has increased by 26% with the rise of remote work.
Remote workers can spend weeks or even months in a new location, immersing themselves in the local culture, exploring the surroundings, and truly experiencing the destination. These longer stays are now known as the “slow travel” trend.
Another popular term coined to describe this new phenomenon is “workcation”—a combination of work and vacation where travelers can work remotely while enjoying a vacation-like experience in a different location.
Slow travel, workcation, digital nomads—these fast-growing trends are reshaping the travel industry from transportation to hospitality and experiences.
Let’s explore how the hospitality industry is reinventing itself to capitalize on new opportunities.
2. Demand for long-term stays is growing
A few weeks in Egypt, a month in Portugal, a year in South America—the world is remote workers’ oyster, and many are savoring every minute of it!
At least the data says they are.
According to some reports, this year as many as 35 million people describe themselves as digital nomads, which is an 18% increase from 2022.
With millions of digital nomads pouring in, hotels, home renters, and other types of accommodation have seen an increase in demand for long-term stays.
Naturally, home renters and platforms like Airbnb have largely benefited from this trend, but the hotel industry is adapting quickly as well.
Large hotel chains like Hyatt and Sonesta have packaged attractive deals and offers for weekly and monthly stays, as well as increased their property and suite inventory designed to provide homelike experiences, also known as “extended stay hotels.”
To accommodate digital nomads and other travelers on workcation, extended stay hotels have increased their in-suite workspaces, introduced kitchens or kitchenettes, and opened more business centers and meeting rooms to mimic coworking spaces.
3. Coworking spaces are becoming a part of the travel experience
Speaking of workspaces, remote workers have fueled the rise of coworking spaces, increasing the global demand by nearly 18% in 2023 compared to the previous year.
Digital nomads and travelers on workcation play an important role in this impressive market growth.
These modern hubs attract remote workers with their convenient amenities and tech gadgets, vibrant communities, and networking opportunities, and have even become a part of travel planning for digital nomads and workcation travelers.
From proximity to their accommodation (or vice versa) to 24/7 access, remote workers on an adventure value easy access to convenient coworking spaces.
4. More pets are embarking on adventures
Free to roam the world and stay in a new location for as long as they want (or their visa allows), remote workers may be able to leave offices behind, but not their pets.
Pet-friendly travel is growing hand-in-hand with the rise in digital nomad and workcation trends.
Last year, as many as 54% of pet parents in the U.S. planned to travel with their dog or cat including RV road trips, short and long-distance air travel, and even cruises to pet-friendly destinations in Central America and beyond.
The pet-friendly trend is also clearly visible in search; keyword volumes for searches like “Las Vegas dog friendly hotels” have increased from less than 200 in 2016 to over 4,400 in the U.S. alone in 2023, according to Ahrefs.
Whether they are looking for Las Vegas hotels that accept pets or adjusting the RV for their furry friend’s cross-country adventure, remote workers are fueling the pet-friendly travel trend worldwide.
5. Apartments, hotels, and even airports are preparing for digital nomads
We have already mentioned long-term stays and coworking spaces. Now, let’s see how these seemingly unrelated amenities and services are integrating to provide holistic remote work experiences for digital nomads.
Remote workers are changing how we travel, how we stay, and how we navigate new destinations. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most interesting changes we are seeing in the travel industry:
- Airlines have seen a change in usual travel times. A New York Times piece shows that more travelers are now choosing midday flights instead of previously popular early morning or late evening ones, thanks to flexible working hours as well as increasingly available in-flight WiFi.
- Airports are designing spaces for remote workers, from work desks with WiFi access and charging stations to full-blown coworking spaces.
- Apartments and aparthotels are increasing and improving their workstations, paying close attention to desks, comfortable office chairs, as well as digital-nomad-friendly amenities such as coffee and washing machines.
- Hotels, as we’ve seen, are gearing towards extended stay guests with apartmentlike suites and well-equipped business centers and meeting spaces.
6. More countries are introducing digital nomad visas
Also known as remote work visas or digital nomad permits, digital nomad visas are designed to attract remote workers who wish to live and work in a foreign country for an extended period, usually longer than three or six months.
The introduction of digital nomad visas has not only impacted the duration of remote workers’ average stay in a new country, but it has also fundamentally reshaped how we travel.
Digital nomad visas allow remote workers to truly immerse themselves in a new country by experiencing day-to-day life, seasons, and yearly holidays and traditions.
Imagine sampling some of the world’s best beers at Oktoberfest in the fall and touring Munich’s breathtaking castles in spring. These experiences would usually require two trips to Germany, but with the introduction of digital nomad visa, remote workers can enjoy the country as the locals do.
Allowing travelers to live in a foreign country for several months, these programs have blurred the lines between travel and migration.
Most Popular Destinations for Workcation
From travel trends to trending destinations, remote workers are rediscovering as well as putting new locations on the map.
Let’s explore some of the most popular cities and places for workcation.
1. Bali, Indonesia
Bali has become a hotspot for remote workers seeking a tropical work environment. It offers a vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, refreshing waterfalls, an affordable cost of living, and a thriving coworking scene.
Ubud, in particular, is known for its tranquil surroundings, artistic community, and wellness-focused lifestyle.
2. Lisbon, Portugal
Due to Portugal’s reputation as a digital nomad hotspot, Lisbon has become a go-to destination for remote workers, thanks to its reasonable living expenses, temperate climate, and relaxed ambiance.
The stunning city of Lisbon offers a mix of historic charm, modern amenities, and a vibrant startup community.
The neighborhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto are particularly attractive for their lively ambiance and coworking spaces.
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai has become a favorite destination for digital nomads and remote workers due to its affordability, cultural richness, and comfortable lifestyle.
The city boasts a combination of ancient temples, bustling markets, and modern amenities, with plenty of nearby destinations for excellent Chiang Mai day trips.
Nimmanhaemin Road is a popular area known for its numerous coworking spaces, cafes, and entrepreneurial community.
4. Tulum, Mexico
Tulum has emerged as a trendy workcation destination, combining natural beauty, Mayan ruins, and a bohemian vibe.
Remote workers are drawn to its stunning beaches, wellness retreats, and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Tulum offers a range of boutique hotels, beachfront co-working spaces, and opportunities to explore nearby cenotes and archaeological sites.
It’s also the doorstep of Central America, a haven for nature lovers full of hidden gems.
5. Medellín, Colombia
Medellín has transformed itself into a thriving digital nomad hub, attracting remote workers with its pleasant climate, affordable cost of living, and friendly locals.
The city boasts a modern infrastructure, scenic mountains, and a lively social scene.
Neighborhoods like El Poblado and Laureles offer coworking spaces, trendy cafes, and a vibrant expat community.
6. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona combines vibrant city life with a beachside location, making it an enticing destination for workcations.
Remote workers can enjoy the coworking spaces in the Eixample and Gracia districts, along with leisurely walks and lots of bike trails along the famous Ramblas and beyond.
Finally, Barcelona is a great family-friendly destination as well. What’s not to love?
7. Austin, Texas, USA
The city offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and outdoor activities, along with a range of coworking spaces, hip coffee shops, and networking events.
8. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town offers a unique workcation experience with its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Remote workers can work from the city’s bustling cafes, enjoy breathtaking views of Table Mountain, and unwind on beautiful beaches during their downtime.
Cape Town also boasts a growing startup ecosystem and a lively arts and culture scene.
9. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, has emerged as an attractive workcation destination in Southeast Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City has well-designed and convenient coworking spaces that offer modern facilities, fueling the city’s energy and entrepreneurial spirit.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has become a sought-after workcation destination for its rich history, delicious Czech cuisine, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere.
Remote workers can find a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities in this picturesque city.
Prague offers a variety of coworking spaces, such as Impact Hub and Locus Workspace, where remote workers can collaborate, network, and stay productive. Additionally, the city’s central location in Europe provides easy access to explore other nearby destinations, from ski resorts to UNESCO World Heritage Sites during weekends or extended breaks.
Remote work has directly impacted the travel industry, from where we travel and stay to how we get there.
Some of the top travel trends fueled by remote workers (digital nomads included) are:
- Slow travel: Travelers prolonged trips and stays
- Extended stays: Hotels increasing their focus on extended-stay properties
- Coworking spaces: Travelers incorporating coworking spaces into travel planning
- Pet-friendly adventures: Demand for pet-friendly accommodation grows
- Hospitality businesses designing new spaces and offers: Airports and airlines included
- Digital nomad visas: More countries trying to attract this highly skilled workforce
Surely, the list doesn’t end there. We are yet to see where the rise in remote work trends is going to take us. For now, let’s recap where remote workers are taking their workcations:
- Bali, Indonesia
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Tulum, Mexico
- Medellín, Colombia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Austin, Texas
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Prague, Czech Republic