Work and Travel Program for Professionals

Monday, May 21, 2018

We’ve all been there: it’s not even 11:00 a.m. and the day is already dragging. Somewhere between the endless piles of emails, boring staff meetings, and the four walls of your cramped cubicle, you find yourself asking the same daunting question time after time again…

Where did I go wrong?

Before your head starts filling up with self-hatred and loathing, listen up and repeat after me: it’s not your fault. For most of us, the idea of living out the rest of our days in a cushy corner office with an even cushier 401K is so ingrained in us from a young age that it’s practically second nature. 

After all, can you remember any time in high school or college or even grad school when somebody told you that it was alright to pursue a different path? That you could earn a living while traveling the world? That you had a right to structure your own life your way?

Well, guess what? You can do just that! What you need is a little planning and a bit of knowledge about this fantastic little thing called a remote year. Basically, it's a work and travel program for professionals.

A Remote What?

Remote year is the perfect opportunity to travel around the world and increase your general productivity.

What is a remote year (or a work and travel program for professionals), you may ask? Simply put, it is a time for you to see the world. A time to try exotic foods and meet people with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from your own. A time to check off a few places on your bucket list and get away. A time to explore all of the amazing things that this planet has to offer and expand your worldview. A time to enrich your life for years to come.

Read more: The Fusion of Work and Travel

A remote year is an opportunity for you to keep your current job (thanks to the powers of WiFi and video conferencing) while you work from anywhere in the world that calls to you. 

Unlike a traditional vacation that needs to fit into an average two-week timeframe, the work and travel model allows you to truly immerse yourself into the cultures of your destinations for a broader and more meaningful experience. 

Forget tourist traps and awkward guided tours! On a work and travel program, you will live and work in the destinations you’ve chosen!

How To Take a Work and Travel Program for Professionals

If you're using a laptop and the Internet on your job, then you're all set for a remote year! Not all professions are fit for a remote year, after all.

Sounds amazing, huh? Before you start packing your bags and passport though, there are a few important questions you’ll need to answer:

First and foremost, how in the heck you will make a living while traveling? Sadly, very few of us can afford to jet off to exotic locations while still making rent. So unless you’ve got a private island to call your own, we suggest coordinating your work and travel program with your current employer and keeping your job.

I know I know, that sounds way easier said than done. And, depending on your profession, it very well might be the hardest conversation you have in your career. If you’re trying to assess whether a remote year is right for you, ask yourself these three simple questions:

  1. Does my employer have a policy set in place for remote work?
  2. Can I do my job well from a remote location (i.e., away from the confines of my office, state, or even country)?
  3. Can my team function and thrive in my physical absence?

You can tell that there are just some jobs that aren’t a good fit for a remote year right off the bat. If you work in the retail, medical, or service industries, chances are you can’t perform your current duties overseas (think about it, do we really want all of our doctors and nurses jetting off to Bali? Probably not…). Ditto if you are a manager, founder, or CEO whose team depends on in-person contact. After all, the key to taking a remote year is to ensure that your typical 9-5 are still waiting for you when you come back (not so likely if all of your employees are running amuck while you’re gone).

Read more: Places to Visit in Bali

Nevertheless, for many of us, work can be done remotely. Thanks to the invention of the Internet, document sharing portals like Google Docs and Dropbox, and video conferences, most of the desk work that used to be done in an office traditionally can, in fact, be done anywhere with a decent WiFi connection and a bit of discipline.

Starting the Dialogue

The key of successful remote year dialogue with your employer is to be confident and know what you're getting into.

When you’ve decided that you can, in fact, do your job well remotely, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your employer. If you’re feeling a bit intimidated, try our talking points to get the conversation started:

  • Explain what a remote year is, and why you want to take one. For many employers, the concept of a remote year is entirely foreign, so you’ll want to explain the differences between this structure and a traditional vacation or extended leave.
  • Reassure everyone involved. Nobody appreciates an employee that drops the ball, so reassure your employer, assistant, and the team that you will continue to be as committed to your job while abroad as you are currently in the office.
  • Share your contact information. Along the same lines, you’ll want to let everyone know that you are available for meetings, calls, and periodic check-in’s just like you are now. Make sure everyone has your email address, global cell phone number, Skype name, etc. so they can reach you when they need you.
  • Set realistic expectations. That said, nobody should expect that they can reach you at 11:00 p.m. your time. Let everyone know about any time differences that may apply and set a schedule for yourself (i.e. “I am generally available by phone between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. my time Monday thru Friday, and will respond to most emails within one business day”).

That’s it! Once you get the go-ahead from the big boss man, you’re all set to start planning the work and travel program of your dreams. Whether you’ve been dying to live in Thailandinfo-icon and the Philippinesinfo-icon or have the itch to see the beauty of Africainfo-icon firsthand, the only thing holding you back now is your imagination. So…what are you waiting for?  

Need More Guidance?

If the idea of confronting your boss 1-on-1 is enough to make you break out in hives, don’t worry. Some companies work with employees and their employers to schedule remote years. In fact, Remote Year (one of the most popular companies to offer this service) actually plans your entire getaway from initial coordinating and approval to housing and excursions! 

Remote Year currently offers planning and itineraries for durations of 4 months or a full year, so there really is something for everyone. For more information, please visit:

Elizabeth Murray freelance content writer at
Traveling is about expanding your mindset and challenging every custom, tradition, and way of life you thought you knew.