The VICE Guide to Right Now

What 'Workations' Are Like Around the World

People on workation can attend meetings by the beach in Aruba or crush deadlines before trekking scenic mountains in Japan.
September 28, 2020, 12:29pm
workation-travel-coronavirus-pandemic-lockdown-work-from-home-vacation

Imagine working a nine-to-five job but instead of your co-worker’s cubicle as a view, you're on a white sand beach enjoying freshly-squeezed orange juice. It’s called a ‘workation’ and countries around the world are now offering special packages catering to wanderlust-prone professionals for a much-needed boost in tourism.

The pandemic has employees around the globe bound to their desks at home and this has taken a toll on many. According to global online employment platform Monster, 69 percent of employees experience burnout from working from home. This unique variety of cabin fever helped birth the new travel trend, with people working in spots they would normally go to for a holiday. It’s like transporting an office to an idyllic getaway and staying more than you usually would. Instead of the four walls of a bedroom, employees on workation can attend meetings by the beach in Aruba or crush deadlines before trekking scenic mountains in Japan.

As countries across the globe gradually re-open their tourist attractions to local and international visitors, it seems the concept of a workation will continue to be a growing trend. The jury is still out on how much work you can actually get done when surrounded by picturesque landscapes but here are some pretty tempting options that may just make you want to try it out.

Aruba

Aruba has been slowly reopening. The island opened its borders to Bonaire and Curacao in June, as well as Canada, Europe, parts of the Caribbean, and the United States in July. It has since launched the “One Happy Workation” program, open to any U.S. citizens with a valid passport.

While there are no specific designated work zones, many accommodations have business centres for people to work at. People can also windsurf across the Southern Caribbean seas and take in wondrous sights on a guided tour. While the minimum stay is one week, visitors can extend up to 90 days.

aruba-beach

A beach in Aruba. Photo: Paulo Evangelista, Unsplash

Guests can stay in some of the island’s best hotels and resorts at discounted rates with complimentary WiFi — for staying productive — and all-inclusive food and beverage options. Amenities under the program will be available at special rates too. Rather than hitting tourist spots after work, visitors can “live like a local” by exploring unknown beaches and coves.

With the coronavirus still present, all travellers entering Aruba must follow a set of procedures — including a COVID-19 test — to ensure safety. Social gatherings of more than four people are prohibited, wearing a face mask is mandatory, and there is a curfew from 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM.

India

From the lively nightlife hub that is Indiranagar, to the colourful historic city of Jaipur, Indian hospitality chain Zostel is now enticing people to escape their mundane routines at home with the #movein initiative that launched in July. Zostel is offering discounted packages at its various properties including in holiday destinations such as Bengaluru, Jaipur, and Jodhpur.

Their indoor and outdoor common areas function as cozy work-friendly spaces. They also offer a strong internet connection. Guests can book a dorm room to share with other guests or choose a private room for some quality alone time.

The 15-day dorm package starts at $54, while the 30-day dorm package starts at $95. On the other hand, the 15-day private room package starts at $136, while the 30-day private package starts at $245.

The promo is open to both domestic and international visitors, although international travel to India remains limited.

Japan

In Japan, people can work from the balcony of a room overlooking scenic views of national parks. The government is now financially backing these parks across the country to make them more workation-friendly and help revive local economies.

Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel, located in the Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture, has set up a designated workspace for up to three people, separate from regular rooms. The space also provides a projector and speakers for employees to comfortably conduct web meetings. The idea is that after working in the morning, guests can enjoy activities, such as kayaking, cycling, and even stand up paddleboarding.

nikko-tochigo-japan

Nikko National Park. Photo: Hoang Dang, Unsplash

Similarly, Kyukamura Kishu Kada resort hotel in Wakayama Prefecture’s Setonaikai National Park now allows daytrippers to work in rooms usually reserved for overnight guests. This service originally ran from April to July but was offered again in September after positive responses.

The Japan Times reported that Kyukamuara is also looking to rent out large tents, portable power stations, and WiFi devices on camping grounds in four national parks, including Setonaikai and Aso-Kuju.

Japan Today reported that from October, Japan will be reopening its borders to all foreign visitors with permits to stay in the country for three months or longer, including students and business people, but excluding tourists.

Maldives

Imagine working while lounging at a beach resort, watching the crystal clear waters lap against the sand. The Nautilus Maldives is offering guests a chance to turn their office into a beach paradise.

Located in Baa Atoll, the luxury resort’s “workation package” offers a 7-night beach house stay with a starting price of $23,250. Guests can work on a secluded sandbank with a personal desk, shaded sun canopy, and high-speed WiFi. Meals will also be served without any additional charges.

maldives-beach

A beach at the Maldives. Photo: Dorsa Masghati, Unsplash

Other activities include a private movie screening under the stars, a guided house reef snorkelling tour, a private aerial yoga session, and a cruise on The Nautilus’ luxury yacht with wine-tasting and WiFi onboard.

The package is open to international and domestic visitors. As of July 15, Maldives has opened its borders to all global travellers.

Singapore

Walking distance from Singapore’s Chinatown, guests at the Furama Riverfront hotel can indulge in traditional local cuisine for lunch, or go shopping downtown if they have time to spare after work. The establishment offers “work from hotel” rates for daily ($11) and monthly ($182) passes.

Though pass holders are not entitled to a room, they can work at the hotel’s Waterfall Lounge or at the newly renovated lobby. They get access to WiFi, printing and mailing services, and presentation equipment. The package includes free-flowing drinks, parking coupons, dining credits, and a 10 percent discount at any of the hotel’s restaurants.

The passes are available for both domestic and international visitors. Singapore has opened to some travellers from certain countries. The government regularly updates its border measures, including the required quarantine duration.

Follow Frankie on Twitter and Instagram.