It’s not too late to take a ‘workcation’ in 2022

Jan 7, 2022

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. We all know that. But it also drastically changed the way we work.

For many people, dates to fully return to the office keep being pushed back — and then pushed again as we continue to encounter new variants. Others have shifted to working remotely permanently, with companies giving their employees the freedom to choose.

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When employees suddenly found themselves remote, the idea of being able to travel more (when it was safe) was top of mind. Instead of being tied to a desk, most employees were simply tied to a strong Wi-Fi connection, and luckily that can now be found on the beach, in the woods and nearly everywhere in between.

Enter: The new age of the “workcation.”

In 2020, TPG claimed the workcation as the year’s biggest travel trend. A workcation, simply put, is when someone combines work with a vacation.

Though people have been doing this for years, the pandemic forced us to entirely reimagine what a workcation could be. As many of us realized we could do our jobs just as efficiently at home as in an office, people started to see they could also do it just as well at a beach in Florida or a cabin in the Smoky Mountains — or even beyond U.S. borders.

When workers started to travel, hotel brands around the world that were already dealing with the fallout from the pandemic saw an opportunity to capitalize on this new breed of remote workers traveling near and far — as permitted by governments and health officials, of course. They introduced special packages that allowed people to “work from anywhere.”

These packages and programs offered more than just a catchy name to attract travelers — they came with all the tools and necessary to get the job done while visiting a resort or hotel, oftentimes with enhanced Wi-Fi, a dedicated workspace (sometimes an entirely separate room that could double as an office), food and drink credits for coffee and lunch, with some even going so far as to set up special beachside workspaces so workers could take a Zoom call in the sand while watching their family play.

Now, the question is: Are workcations here to stay in 2022?

Well, if you look around, I’d say the answer is yes, in many ways, depending on how you look at it. You could take advantage of some of the specialized programs I’ve listed below, or, knowing what we know now, take a workcation anywhere your heart and Wi-Fi can connect.

Major workcation programs

view of swimming pool with beach chairs and palm trees during sunset
(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

One leader in the space is Hyatt, which quickly introduced a remote work program called “Work From Hyatt” back in 2020.

Within the program, guests could choose between a short-term room rental, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., that basically let a hotel room function as an office — perfect as an escape for the day from working at the house; a vacation-length work package that included waived resort fees and office amenities, maybe even a poolside cabana, if available; or long-term work packages around the world with a minimum stay of 29 nights.

You could respond to emails at the ultra-luxurious Andaz Mayakoba, 30 minutes outside of Cancun, or take a work call in the sun and sand at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour. If the mountains are more your speed, you could hit the slopes before your weekly team meeting at the Grand Hyatt Vail in Colorado

Depending on the package type, World of Hyatt members were able to redeem or earn points, receive most typical elite benefits and earn Tier-Qualifying Night credits. A win-win for many, Hyatt extended the program into 2021. In December, it announced Work From Hyatt would continue on through the end of 2022.

Hyatt’s not the only major hotel brand offering work from anywhere hotel packages, but its programs are the most robust.

Marriott’s “Day Pass” program lets guests use a hotel room for 12 hours, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., plus premium Wi-Fi, complimentary bottled water and use of the hotel’s business facilities.

Marriott Bonvoy members get even more perks, such as free snacks, the chance to earn 10 points per dollar spent at most hotels, lounge access for Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members where it’s offered plus 10% off retail merchandise. Day Pass does not, however, qualify for Elite Night Credits or select Elite Benefits, depending on the property.

Similarly, Hilton offers “WorkSpaces by Hilton,” a program that gives guests the daytime use of a hotel room with a dedicated workspace, solid Wi-Fi and tea and coffee. For Hilton Honors members, it earns points towards free nights and counts as Hilton Honors Stay Credit.

Beyond hotels

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

A workcation doesn’t have to just be a quick stop at a Wi-Fi-connected resort.

With companies like Remote Year, nomadic workers can join a week-long retreat somewhere exciting, like Cape Town, South Africa, or join a group traveling together for one, four or 12 months in locations across the world. These trips include housing, often a bedroom in a shared house or hotel, plus 24/7 access to a coworking space, the opportunity to join excursions and the chance to spend time with new people around the world.

In Portugal, the regional government of Madeira has created a pilot program to attract digital nomads to Madeira and Porto Santo by creating an entirely new infrastructure for them. With Nomad Villages, workers can head to Portugal and get access to communities offerings affordable housing, internet connectivity, coworking spaces and local hosts to help facilitate it all.

You can find a similar program in Croatia (the Digital Nomad Valley Zadar), too.

And the company Working Without Borders offers specialized coworking retreats in French Polynesia specifically for families that last between one and four weeks that include everything parents need to work along with “culturally immersive programming for kids and teens.”

In April, the “Tahiti Family Adventure” will have families staying eight days at the InterContinental Resort Tahiti and participating in a handful of activities such as a sunset catamaran cruise and hikes to waterfalls, all while being able to access poolside workspaces and Wi-Fi.

Create your own workcation

If you’re one of the people who, overnight, had to turn your home into your office, you probably realize now that you can, in fact, work from almost anywhere.

So, why not just make your own workcation plans, regardless of specific hotel offers? You know what you need to get your job done, so seek it out and take a trip to a destination you’ll enjoy that has the amenities you need (think: a desk, a Wi-Fi connection strong enough for video calls).

You could take advantage of some hotels’ free night benefits, like Marriott’s free fifth night on award stays. Or, you could book an extended-stay hotel.

Airbnb is also making it easier than ever for hybrid workers with new tools designed to help flexible travelers find the perfect stay, regardless of dates, plus confirming Wi-Fi speeds at rentals so there are no surprises.

Really, any hotel or home rental can be the place you take a workcation, so long as you make sure ahead of time it has exactly what you need to be successful in your job and affords you the fun and relaxation you deserve when it’s time for the vacation part, too.

Just please take a real vacation, too

I’m glad so many people have the opportunity to now take workcations when they want — and I hope more companies let their employees do it, even if they’re not hybrid workers or fully remote employees.

If working around the world means more travel, more relaxation and less stress, that’s alright by me.

But, it’s also important to take a proper vacation — one without work. I hope this year everyone gets the chance to close their computers, forget about e-mails and really go enjoy the sun, the sand, the mountains and the cities that we work to afford to visit in the first place.

Featured image by Suwaree Tangbovornpichet/Getty Images.

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