The gig economy means that you can work from anywhere, and travel all year round. But it’s not easy. So a crop of start-ups are helping freelancers build work time into their travel, with itineraries designed as co-work-cations.
In addition to sight-seeing, adventure sports and culinary sessions, these agencies offer access to co-living and co-working spaces that let you work through the night, meet people in the same field, and typically throw in events so you can network on the go.
American start-ups The Roam and Hacker Paradise offer services and itineraries across Asia, as well as in Europe, Australia and North America, and are finding takers in India.
Pune-based TraWork offers customised itineraries overseas (mainly in Europe and South East Asia) where you work and travel through each day, while also participating in community events organised by them and their partner companies.
Gurugram-based The Remote Life offers co-working spaces, community events, and a local ambassador to help show travellers around.
Gurugram-based The Remote Life operates on a similar model. Apart from the co-living access and community events, they provide travellers with a local ambassador throughout the trip and surprise activities ranging food walks to yoga sessions.
“I have a remote job as a web developer and always dreamt of travelling while working,” says Renato de Leão, 28, from Thailand. “Hacker Paradise provided a stable work environment through my trip, filled in my free time with trips to nearby woods and waterfalls, as well as community events, and I realised my dream could be a reality.”
TraWork offers similar services in countries ranging from Spain, Portugal, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to Poland, Finland and Estonia.
Akshay Dalvi, a consulting sales executive from Nagpur, went on a co-work-cation to Vietnam and Thailand via TraWork. He said the infrastructure all checked out, but co-work-cationers should prepare to meet a lot of new people.
“People, especially under 35, are looking to travel as much as possible, and work remotely at their convenience. They need flexible hours, the ability to change their itineraries. And that’s what we offer,” says Vandita Purohit, founder of TraWork.
Nishchal Dua, founder of the Remote Life, believes the market is set to boom. “Offices save a lot by not investing in real estate and infrastructure and are instead are organising co-working retreats for their remote workers. Remote working is a future that’s already here,” he says.
Parul Tewari, 30, a content strategist from Delhi, has been working remotely for two years. She went to Bali last December with The Remote Life and found that the infrastructure checked out, but the overall experience was mixed. “I like to start late and work through the night, so that was a bit of a challenge because the group itinerary is full of day activities,” she says. “Another challenge was the large numbers of new people you meet. I’m a shy person and everyone else was so eager to network and befriend each other.”
Akshay Dalvi, 26, a consulting sales executive with a pharmaceutical exports company in Nagpur, went on a co-work-cation to Vietnam and Thailand via TraWork in July last year, and had a similar experience. “It was a huge relief to have companies arrange everything, from accommodation to logistics to events,” he says. “I met and networked much more than I otherwise would have. I met many professionals from the pharma industry from Vietnam and China and we are still in touch. But one needs to be quite an extrovert because you’re going to be meeting a lot of people.”