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Approximately 50% of American workers worked remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a 2020 Gallup survey. And almost 90% of workers believe that they'll be working remotely at least some of the time in the future, Boston Consulting Group reported in March.
What does working remotely mean? In general, remote work is when instead of working from your company’s provided offices, you work from home or another destination of your choosing.
Below is our list of the five best remote work destinations in the world.
Factors we considered in picking the best remote work destinations
Here are some of the factors that we took into account for our top remote work destinations:
Wi-Fi reliability: Without a strong and reliable internet connection, your remote work trip can turn into a flight home (or unexpected vacation) very quickly.
Time zones: If you’re expected to work during regular working hours in a certain time zone, it’s important to consider the time zone in your destination.
Digital nomad community: Especially if you’re traveling solo, having a strong digital nomad community can make the experience more memorable and the transition smoother. Access to other like-minded remote workers can make or break your time in a locale.
Weekend and after-work activities: Since we hope you won’t be working the entire time, we’ve factored nonwork activities into the equation.
Views: If you’re going to be working remotely from a new location, a great view can enhance the experience.
Open borders: We did not account for various open / re-open dates due to COVID-19.
Ideal remote work destinations in 2021
1. Medellín, Colombia
Medellín is Colombia’s second-largest city and nestled in the Andes Mountains. Nicknamed “the City of Eternal Spring,” it offers great weather and beautiful scenery no matter where or when you visit. On top of that, the city boasts a strong digital nomad community, good infrastructure (including reliable Wi-Fi) and a low cost of living.
The time zone in Medellín is beneficial to American workers as well. The city doesn't observe daylight saving time, so Medellín is either two or three hours ahead of Pacific Time, depending on the time of year.
2. Queenstown, New Zealand
If you want to work remotely while enjoying beautiful views and adventure, Queenstown is the city for you. Located on the South Island in New Zealand, Queenstown has one of the lowest crime rates in the country (which says a lot, given U.S. News & World Report ranked New Zealand as the fifth-safest country in the world in 2021). The city also has affordable and clean public transportation, which can help you get to and from one of the many coworking spaces.
And when you’re not working, Queenstown holds itself as “the adventure capital of the world” with plenty of opportunities to cross items off your bucket list, from bungee jumping to skydiving to whitewater rafting.
Remote workers would be wise to keep their eyes on Queenstown to plan a move after its reopening.
» Learn more: Best airline hubs in the U.S. for remote workers
3. Maui, Hawaii, United States
When you think of Maui, probably the last thing that comes to mind is work — which is why you might be surprised to learn that it's one of the best remote work destinations in the world. Hawaii recently began a campaign to lure remote workers to its beautiful islands. The island's stunning coastlines, year-round warm weather and annual whale migration are just some of the attractions that make this an appealing stop for digital nomads.
Maui isn’t cheap though, so be sure to book far in advance and look toward shoulder seasons (when the island is less busy with tourists) for the best deals.
4. Budapest, Hungary
If Europe is calling your name for a remote work trip, consider Budapest. The city is more affordable than many of the other big European cities you may be considering, so you can stay longer or upgrade your accommodations from what you would get for the same price in a city like Paris or Vienna.
Budapest also has a few coworking spaces located around the city, which, along with its rich history, beautiful topography and interesting architecture, help cement its status as one of the best remote work destinations in the world.
» Learn more: The benefits of working remotely from an Airbnb
5. Bali, Indonesia
There are many reasons why Bali is an incredible remote work destination, including its alluring scenery, vibrant culture and strong digital nomad community. But one of the qualities that makes Bali a top five best remote work destination is its low cost of living.
CNBC recently did the math and found that to live a “six-figure lifestyle” in Bali, including living in a villa with weekly massages, you would need to spend about $3,000 per month (all food and entertainment included). Though if you’re more budget-conscious and would “settle” for a nice apartment instead of a villa, living on Bali would set you back only about $1,125 per month — weekly massage still included.
If you do choose to work remotely when Bali reopens, keep in mind that working U.S. hours can be difficult. Bali is 15 hours ahead of Pacific Time, depending on the time of year.
» Learn more: What to consider when planning travel this year
If you want to work remotely in the best locales
Whether you’re new to telecommuting or have been doing it for some time, consider setting up shop in one of our five best places for remote work this year.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card