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Travelling while you work or vice versa

The opportunities to combine business and leisure have never been greater. You could be planning some ‘bleisure’ time, taking a ‘workation’ or diving into becoming a digital nomad.

Knowing how to scope your travels and getting the right travel insurance cover will mean you can avoid bumps in the road. This guide can help make working abroad work for you.

Posted: 9/10/2023 | By Amanda Duffy

man sitting on the beach with his laptop

What does combining my career with travel look like?

We're bombarded with glossy images of exotic tropical hideaways and far-flung corners of the globe on social media and the web. This, plus the recent memory of restrictions imposed during Covid-19, has put a rocket under our desire to see the world. 

Today, ‘WFH’ (working from home) has become a byword for work. We've finally embraced the idea of using technology to broaden our horizons. So now there's no stopping us. What if your home or office weren’t here or there but could be everywhere and anywhere?

The growth of ‘blended travel’

Recent years have seen a surge in popularity of travelling while working or working while travelling. The trend’s fuelled by not just advances in technology but also changing attitudes towards leading more flexible and balanced lives.

The idea of blending work and travel was once novel and a rarity. Now, the challenges of the pandemic years and shifting mindsets mean the concept of ‘bleisure’ – combining business and leisure – is rapidly becoming attractive to many.

When, in 2022, Crown Plaza surveyed travellers about travelling while working remotely, two thirds of UK people who responded said they loved the idea. In the US, the proportion rose to 80%. And 45% of those in the UK and 60% of those in the US said they plan to add leisure days to future business trips. 

Remote working is the ‘new normal’

While working from outside of the office was becoming a more recognised practice, the pandemic lockdowns forced employers to adopt remote working. And now some businesses are actively building on the experience to give employees greater flexibility in where and when they do their hours. Because they recognise it’s beneficial for everyone.

“The smartest businesses know that helping employees feed their curiosity and explore personal goals and interests will be a core part of professional development in the future,” says Ginger Taggart, Global Crowne Plaza’s vice president of brand management. “We see travel as a key part of that.”

A spokesperson for Tripadvisor told us: “The chance to work remotely opens up so many more opportunities for travel – whether you’re extending a trip to cram in a few more days of sightseeing or taking the chance to truly explore farther-flung destinations."

Benefits of combining work and travel

There are lots of potential benefits to working while you’re travelling. Here are just a few:

  • Work-life balance: Working while away from home can help you reset that crucial work-life balance. Once you’ve completed your working hours, your time is your own for sightseeing, catching up with friends or family, or even just chilling out on the beach
  • Flexibility: You’re able to work on your own terms, choosing when and where you complete your tasks. You can work when you’re most productive, adopt a schedule that suits you, and make sure you get the most out of your travels too
  • Reduced stress: Break the monotony of the commute and office routine by escaping to an inspiring location. A complete change of scenery and the freedom to explore can provide a sense of rejuvenation and motivation, while reducing stress and increasing your job satisfaction
  • Cultural immersion: Broaden your horizons by experiencing a new and vibrant culture, taking the opportunity to discover new cuisines and customs. This could help develop your understanding of the world and provide valuable insights that can enrich both your personal and professional life
  • Inspiration and creativity: A totally new environment can help to reignite your creativity and inspire you towards new goals. Meeting new people and encountering unfamiliar situations can encourage innovative thinking and boost problem-solving skills too
  • Personal growth: Spending time working away from your home turf helps you step outside your comfort zone. Learning to navigate your way in a new place can help you become more adaptable, independent and self-reliant
  • Networking: Travelling while working can also provide an opportunity to build up a network of global contacts. Finding like-minded individuals from around the world may just open up job opportunities and career advancements you’d never even considered before

Work while you travel, or travel while you work

In many ways, it’s easier than ever to enjoy these benefits. But that’s not to suggest working while you travel is entirely simple. Choosing a working life that embraces extended travel is different from booking a holiday. Planning and preparation will make reimagining your way of living a more successful reality. 

Once you've stuck your pins in the map and decided where you're going, there are a few questions to answer. Do you need a visa? Where are you going to pay taxes? Where will you live? How will you set yourself up to work?

Then there are the home-side issues to solve. Where will you store your things? Do your friends or family want all your stuff in their garage? Who should you notify? How will this plan work if you have an employer? What do you do if you have children?

Finally, how will you make sure you're protected while you're away? What if you have an accident and need medical attention, or your valuables are stolen? What kind of cover should you have to travel abroad more permanently?

Make sure you have the right level of insurance cover for your trip

It’s important to remember that not all insurance offerings are the same. Not all insurers cover work equipment, so it’s best to check their policy wording to ensure you are fully covered before you embark on your adventure.

Discover the right level of cover for you

What are the different ways to mix business and leisure?

Here are some terms you may have heard. All of them blend work with travel, but in different ways and to varying degrees.

  • Bleisure travel: If you're taking a work trip and you've decided to extend your stay to see some of the sights, you're taking some bleisure time. It's like going on holiday, but you're already at the destination. It's a great way to save money on travel and discover the area you're visiting
  • Workations: If you combine a break with some work time, you're opting for a workation. It allows you to prolong your holiday without impacting your earning potential. You can shut your laptop and explore at the end of your workday. You might make it a short-term or longer-term break
  • Digital nomads: If that doesn't give you enough freedom and you have itchy feet, being a digital nomad might be right up your street. These are people who use technology – laptops, smartphones, reliable internet connections – to lead a truly location-independent lifestyle. They might be freelancers, independent contractors, or employees of companies that already embrace remote working. For the more intrepid traveller, it's a great way to see lots of different destinations and cultures while earning your keep

Taking a workation or becoming a digital nomad typically requires a job that allows remote working. It might already be your daily reality and adding travel to the mix is a real prospect. You won't need to set an out-of-office notification because you'll be taking the office with you.

What kind of job allows me to become a working traveller?

Any role where you can work remotely, whether you're self-employed or work for a company. If you only need a laptop and an internet connection, your job can be done anywhere worldwide. As long as you can complete your tasks at a distance and have the required permission, that is.

What are the top priorities for working abroad? 

"There’s a bit more planning required on a working holiday," Tripadvisr tells us. "Not only to ensure your chosen destination is set up for remote working, but also to make the most of your free time in a new country."

Here are a few key things to consider for planning to work abroad.   


You must have a visa to work in a foreign country for an extended period legally. Many countries now provide special working visas, but each country has different rules. 

Some visas have stipulations, such as making sure you have travel insurance, so check all requirements and set one up in advance. Organisations like the Digital Nomad Embassy can help you complete your visa applications for a fee.


You'll also need to understand your tax liability in any country or countries you’re planning an extended stay in. If you're working for a UK company, you'll pay tax in the UK. But what about the country you'd be living in? The last thing you want is to pay taxes twice. 

Some countries don't require you to pay taxes. Currently, Barbados gives one year tax-free to people who make the trip to work and live, for instance. Why do they offer this benefit? Taxation is likely to act as a barrier, and they're willing to give this up for the positive impact your living expenses will have on the economy. 

Get advice from an accountant or an international tax lawyer before planning your move. Do your research before making your final decision, as these conditions can significantly affect your earnings.

Time zones

Work out the time gap between your home country and where you’ll be working from. Find the overlapping hours where both you and your colleagues or clients will be working. This will help make sure you’re available at the best times for meetings and collaboration. 

Use digital tools to help you schedule your time and communicate effectively. And keep in mind you may need to be flexible to adjust the hours you work, though this may even free you to enjoy your location at better times of day.


You'll be looking for long-term accommodation, which must be affordable. Unfortunately, it might not come with the swimming pool or sea view you'd choose for a vacation. Try researching companies that recommend suitable properties or look for local groups where these rental posts appear. Consider finding a co-living space to share with like-minded people, especially at the beginning when you're finding your feet. 

And you'll need a home with a suitable workspace, access to the proper facilities, and most importantly, a good internet connection. You might have to find a co-working space in the interim while you get settled in, but this shouldn't be a long-term plan as they're not budget efficient.

How do I plan my trip? 

The key to success is managing your mental health and avoiding burnout. If you've ever been on a single trip that includes different destinations, you'll know how tiring it can be to pack up your stuff and move continuously. That'll be intensified if this is your new way of living. And moving a lot also increases your costs and set-up times. 

Experienced digital nomads recommend staying in one spot for at least a month, preferably three, and using your free time to travel around the area.

Who does this mix of travel and work suit?

It's open to anyone who can work remotely, at any age.

It could be the right choice if you're flexible, settle into a new environment quickly, are happy working alone, and don't have responsibilities that make prolonged travel difficult. 

Think carefully, though, about whether it will suit you if you have a health condition that needs regular medical attention.

If it fits your personality and circumstances, all you need do is plan and be sure you approach this new way of living in a way that's healthy and positive.

How do I take care of myself? 

Don't push yourself beyond what you can handle mentally and physically.

Find balance in seeing it all, working, and finding moments to relax. It's good to have routine and consistency. Perhaps map out days when you won't go exploring and instead tidy your living space, do your washing or watch your favourite box set. Other times explore local areas rather than venturing to far afield. And if you WFH already, you'll know the battle of shutting your laptop when work time is over and not letting it bleed into your downtime.  

Find a digital nomad group of like-minded travellers willing to connect or meet up and share their experiences and knowledge. A bit of research will put you in touch with these groups or explore co-working and living spaces to meet new acquaintances.

Tripadvisor agrees: “Whatever you’re planning, checking reviews and travel forums is the perfect way to get up to date insight from other digital nomads, from information on co-working spaces and Wi-Fi connection, to all the best spots to eat, drink and explore while you’re out there.”

What about the environmental impact of travel?

There are ways to lower your footprint. Staying in one place longer and choosing slower, more environmentally conscious forms of travel help. Or help support the local community by using authentic local businesses, getting involved with charities or fundraising. It'll help you feel more connected and go a little way towards offsetting your travel.

Do I need travel insurance for this kind of travel?

Travel insurance can provide assurances that you're covered if something goes wrong. Medical facilities aren't always as sophisticated in other countries and being in a foreign environment can make you more susceptible to disease or illness. If you get sick, have an accident or a medical emergency, you'll want the option to come home and be treated. And you might be liable for medical expenses if you don't have travel insurance. It could help prevent added costs and stress.

Bear in mind any items you take with you that are owned by a business (yours or your employer's) won't be covered by your travel insurance. This might include company laptops or phones. But, if you have business insurance, that may provide the cover you need instead.   

Of course, personal items you take along, which might include a laptop that's for personal use, will usually be covered by your travel insurance under the normal terms of the policy as a single item, up to the cover limit of the policy you choose. It's also worth considering additional gadget insurance to cover higher-value items. 

Remember to make time for fun 

Once you've got all the technical stuff in place, it's time to have fun. After all, chances are you’ve never seen these surroundings or experienced the culture before, and there’s likely lots of choice of things to do. 

Try working outside on some days, and soak up the atmosphere while you have lunch, a coffee or a glass of the local beverage. Go on walks during your lunch break. If it suits you and those you report to, take time out in the afternoon and work in the evenings, or whatever hours suit.

Whatever you do, embrace why you chose this path and take full advantage of where you are. You might only do this once in your lifetime, or it might become your new way of life. Whichever it is, make memories that will last forever.

Summary: top tips for combining work and travel 

  • Confirm you can do your job anywhere
  • Research work visas and tax liability 
  • Pre-plan accommodation so you’re up and running when you get there
  • Take care of yourself with travel insurance 

And then escape and see the world.

Looking for travel insurance you can count on?

Some common questions

  • ‘Bleisure’ is a term that combines the words "business" and "leisure." It’s a relative new trend where you travel for business purposes, but also incorporate leisure or personal activities into the trip. 

    Bleisure travel can take various forms such as:

    • Extending a business trip by a few days to explore a new city
    • A weekend getaway after completing a work task
    • Working away to allow you to spend your downtime with friends or family 

    It's important to remember that the scope of bleisure activities can vary depending on company policy, and the nature of the business trip. Always refer to your company’s specific guidelines on remote working and limitations on incorporating leisure activities during business travel. 

  • A ‘workation’ is a combination of "work" and "vacation". This differs from ‘bleisure’ by tending to be for a longer time in one or maybe multiple locations. It’s more like taking a longer holiday, where you still carry out your regular work duties remotely.

    It’s important you have all the tools you need to carry out your job effectively, such as a laptop, devices and a reliable internet connection.

    Workations offer an opportunity to break away from the routine of the traditional office environment, offering a fresh and inspiring backdrop for work. This can help to boost your creativity, productivity and job satisfaction.

    But, unlike bleisure trips, workations require careful planning and time management to meet work commitments. Setting boundaries, managing expectations and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are crucial elements to making the most of a workation experience.

  • Digital nomad is a catch-all term for anyone who uses technology to work from anywhere in the world. 

    Digital nomads typically rely on laptops, smartphones and a stable internet connection to get their work done. They embrace the flexibility and freedom that comes with working remotely, exploring new destinations, immersing themselves in different cultures, and living adventurous and fulfilling lives. 

    Being a digital nomad suits any type of job where time zones aren’t a consideration, and there’s no mandate to be in an office a set number of days per month or year.

    As with workations, there are challenges, though. Digital nomads must manage their time effectively, maintain a reliable internet connection and adapt to different time zones and work cultures. There’s also the potential to feel quite lonely if it turns out it’s not for you.

  • Becoming a digital nomad requires a blend of skills, planning, resourcefulness, and a willingness to embrace the unknown while shaping a unique and fulfilling lifestyle for yourself.

    It means freeing yourself of the confines of specific work locations, making the most of technology to work while you travel. And it starts with developing skills and a role that can be provided from anywhere using those technologies. 

    You’ll also need good financial planning and time management. Save money for your travels and create a budget you’ll work to. And make sure there’s a steady stream of income coming in to sustain you on the move. 

    When you’re choosing destinations to visit, research the local culture, the cost of living there and any safety advice for the region and specific area. Consider your accommodation options, from hotels and Airbnb properties to co-living spaces and even house-sitting. 

    You’ll need to stay productive amid all that exploring. Check out the quality and speed of local internet services and connections, and how local time zones gel with those of your customers. That way you can make sure you’re available at times that suit them and the pace today’s business demands. 

    Get into a structured routine from the outset, so you can manage workloads, expectations – and all that sightseeing you have planned.

    Of course, one of the best ways to prepare for the digital nomad life is talk to those already living it. Try networking with them in online communities and on social media or attending events. You can learn from their experiences and, soon enough, you may even be sharing your own.

  • If you have children, you might think it's impossible, but home schooling is an option. Take time to understand the legal requirements and go through the proper channels to get official approval. Be sure it won't impact your children's development negatively and that you're happy to add teacher to your list of roles.

  • If you travel alone, or even if you're with a partner, it's good to feel connected to the community. It can be as simple as visiting the same places daily and interacting with the locals. 

    Don't underestimate the impact of being in a country that doesn't speak your native language. Although many people understand and use English, if they don't, it might lead to feelings of isolation. Joining groups and staying connected with your friends and family will help.

    It's easy to forget you won't have the benefits of our health service. We’re so used to what it offers us, but you don't necessarily get the same access when you're away. 

    Finding the right travel insurance can help keep you safe while traveling. You don't know when or if you might need medical attention or to be flown home for treatment. Both can be expensive. Travel insurance can give you peace of mind and remove the stress of what-ifs. 

    Before you leave home, make sure your get all the vaccinations recommended for your destinations too.

  • If you work for a company, you'd have to agree they're happy for you to be based in a different location. Even if you work for yourself, you'll want to be sure you can do your job well in another country.  

    One of the big factors to consider is time zones. Will your job require you to work UK hours, and if so, are you happy to be online during unsociable hours? It sounds like a good idea in theory but imagine getting up at 3am every day to work. It might not be doable on an ongoing basis, so decide if you can cope with the scenario before signing up for the idea.

  • Travel insurance is highly recommended if you’re going to be visiting a different country. It can offer different kinds of cover depending on the policy. 

    • Cover before you go: if you take out cover as soon as you book your trip, you’re covered if it gets cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances
    • Cover while away: travel insurance can take care of medical expenses if you need emergency treatment or repatriation (getting you home to the UK) 
    • Cover your possessions: policies will typically also cover your personal belongings. And adding extra cover for your gadgets will protect your electronic devices that aren’t included on policies as standard. Remember to choose the right level to cover the items you want to include
  • You’ll need to check the following details:

    • Which countries does it cover?  
    • How many countries can you visit on the policy?  
    • Are there any length of stay restrictions for each destination?  
    • Are there any time limits on the cover?
    • What level of cover are you getting?  
    • What exclusions apply? 

    Please remember if you have a pre-existing medical condition, notify the insurance provider or you risk not being covered

  • You can choose how many people you want to cover. It can be for your alone or, if you’re travelling with your family, you can add everyone to the policy. You’ll be given the choices when you buy your travel insurance.

  • There are different ways to make a claim on your travel insurance. Each provider has a different process. You’ll need to inform them of the incident or issue you’re claiming for and provide supporting documentation, including medical and police reports. If you’re unsure what the steps are, contact them to learn how it works.

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