2023 Summer Workation Guide
Learn how to talk to your boss about taking a workation, the best workation destinations for Summer 2023, and best workation practices
You’ve probably seen the term workation thrown around the internet, but exactly does that mean and how does it differ from being a digital nomad?
A workation is a vacation which you are able to extend the span of by continuing to work but with reduced hours.
A digital nomad on the other hand is someone who travels for long periods of time (maybe forever) while working for a company, freelancing, or running a business.
Workations are a fantastic way to slow down and enjoy travel for a month or more even if you’re not one of those lucky Europeans with massive vacations.
In this guide, I will break down:
how to talk to your boss about taking a workation
the best destinations for a workation this summer
and some best practices for your workation
Let’s jump in 👇
How To Talk To Your Boss About Taking a Workation
If you’re a salaried employee, the first thing you need to do is find out if your company has an existing policy regarding workations.
If you’re part of a larger remote organization it’s likely that someone has already done a workation or at least tried to take one.
If you’re the first, or there isn’t any existing rules around it, you need to pitch it to your boss.
The best practices for something like this are to…
reduce or eliminate risk from the situation
position it as a win for them
Reduce risks for your employer
When you approach this conversation you should think like your boss. Ask yourself, what will they be concerned about around this proposal?
Your ability to stay in communication?
It’s effect on your productivity?
Tax liability to the company?
Work time overlap?
List out all the possible concerns you would have about this proposal if you were in their shoes and come up with prepared answers.
Position this as a win for the company
What sort of benefits will the company get from you taking a workation?
It will certainly help you recharge your batteries and improve your productivity when you come back. If it goes well the company could create workation guidelines so other employees could also benefit which could then become a great company perk and attract new talent to the company.
Positioning this as something that benefits the company, vs something that is only a win for you will always improve the chances of getting what you want.
Best Summer Workation Destinations for 2023
Without beating around the bush, the best workation destinations for this summer are ALL in Europe.
That’s not to say that there are no great places for a workation outside of Europe, but there’s really nothing quite like summering in Europe.
I’ve broken down these locations into three categories:
best location for people who want to take lots of weekend trips and explore Europe
best location for people who want to be in nature
and the best location for people who want to enjoy the beachside lifestyle
For the Weekend Trip crowd - Budapest, Hungary 🇭🇺
Budapest has been a digital nomad favorite for years and there is a good reason for it: it’s beautiful, affordable, easy to work from, and really centrally located.
The city itself is very pretty. From St. Stephens Basilica to the Danube, the city is great for cafe hopping and sightseeing in between work calls. Since this is a workation and not just vaca you will be happy to know that Budapest isn’t just a nomad favorite because it’s pretty, but because it has a great remote work infrastructure.
There are tons of coworking spaces (with KAPTAR being my personal favorite), plenty of laptop-friendly cafes, and reliable fast internet.
But the real reason why Budapest gets my recommendation as the best workation destination for people looking to explore Europe is its location.
Budapest is almost perfectly positioned in the middle of Europe meaning that no European city is too far away. On top of that, while the Budapest airport is small compared to other major European cities, it’s actually really well connected with direct flights to Paris, Rome, Berlin, London & 120 other destinations.
Another one of those direct flight destinations is our runner-up Barcelona.
Runner-up for the Weekend Trip crowd - Barcelona, Spain 🇪🇸
I know Barcelona is a bit of a cliche as a recommended remote work destination but there’s a reason why it’s so popular.
I’ve always said that Barcelona is like 3 different cities in one: a modern metropolis, a beach town, and an old European medieval city.
Barcelona has long been a favorite for digital nomads because it has dozens and dozens of awesome cafes and coworking spaces to work from. But what makes it a great city for those looking to do a lot of weekend trips during their workation is that the Barcelona–El Prat Airport is one of the best-connected airports in Europe.
For the Nature crowd - Madeira, Portugal 🇵🇹
During COVID Madeira went from obscurity to a safe haven for remote workers and digital nomads from all over the world, and for good reason.
The small Portuguese island has great weather year-round (not too hot in the summer), plenty of coworking spaces around the island, a strong community of other remote workers thanks to Digital Nomads Madeira, and European infrastructure including fast and reliable internet.
For nature lovers, Madeira is an absolute dream! There are miles and miles of hiking trails, beaches, and an unlimited number of mountains to climb.
As an added bonus the small island of Porto Santo is a quick boat ride away where you can find miles of wide sandy beaches and some pretty awesome hikes.
Runner-up for the Nature crowd - The Canary Islands 🇪🇸
Not too far from Madeira, you will find the 8 Canary Islands. The two main islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, are both fantastic places to base yourself for a workation.
Santa Cruise de Tenerife, the main city on Tenerife, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are both really great cities that are no strangers to seasoned remote workers and digital nomads.
Both cities have plenty of coworking spaces, cafes, and everything else a remote worker may need. On top of that the Canaries are home to Repeople, a network of coliving and coworking spaces on the two main islands that also support a vibrant network of remote workers and digital nomads.
For the Beach Life crowd - Varna, Bulgaria 🇧🇬
I might be a bit biased on this one since I was born in Varna, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredible workation destination.
Varna is situated on the Black Sea, a small European sea with warm waters and devout of any large predatory fish. That’s right, swim in the water as much as you want, there are no sharks!
Varna is a beautiful Eastern European city with a great beachside lifestyle. The city beach is lined with cafes, bars, and restaurants catering to all different tastes.
In Varna, like most of Bulgaria, you will find really fast internet in most cafes and restaurants. There are also several great coworking spaces including my personal favorite Innovator & a newcomer to the scene Work del Mar which brings a little bit of LatAm to Eastern Europe.
While Bulgaria is part of the EU it happens to be outside of the Schengen zone, so if you’re interested in an extended workation in Europe, the time you spend in Bulgaria does not count towards your 90 days in the rest of Europe!
Runner-up for the Beach Life crowd - Lagos, Portugal 🇵🇹
If you were to list out “remote work-friendly” countries Portugal would be high on that list, and Lagos is definitely one of the reasons why.
Located in the Algarve regiod in the very south of Portugal, Lagos is a small town of less than 35,000 people but has tons of beautiful beaches with incredible rock formations.
Lagos also has its own digital nomad association - Lagos Digital Nomads, where you can find coworking, events, and even accommodations.
Workation Best Practices
Now that you have a few locations for your workation in mind, let’s talk about what to actually do while you’re on your workation to get the most out of it.
Embrace a non-linear workday
Being on a workation means not working a 9 to 5 workday. Sure, it’s important to get work done, but the whole point is to slow down and get a bit more rest.
Try working a non-linear workday. Perhaps put in a few hours of work in the morning, then take the rest of the day off to sightsee, go on a walking tour, or hang out by the beach.
Then, when the best of the day is behind you, put in a few more hours of work in the evening before dinner.
If you can, work a 4-day workweek
Recently there have been a number of studies published showing that most knowledge workers can get the same amount of work done in 4 days as they can in 5 days.
So, there is no reason for you not to experiment with a 4-day workweek during your workation. This gives you an additional weekend day you can use as travel days for any weekend trips you want to take.
Workation with a community
Just because you’re on a workation doesn’t mean that you need to work alone in your Airbnb. Instead, spend your work hours at a coworking space where you can meet and network with other remote workers and digital nomads.
If you’re feeling extra community-minded, experiment with staying at a coliving space. These days coliving spaces aren’t just for backpackers, many offer private rooms and are fully equipped to support the needs of a remote worker.
Remote work isn’t WFH
Working remotely provides you with an immense amount of flexibility. Working from home is great, but if you never use your location independence to explore all the other benefits of remote work you’ll be missing out.
Hopefully, this article gave you a gentle push to try out your first workation this summer. Cheers 🍻