Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Has Remote Work Changed the Travel Landscape?

  • Updated
  • 0
Remote work is giving people more flexibility to travel during the week, on business trips and more often during the year.

Young man working on his laptop on the beach and talking on the phone. Leisure activities / Remote working concept.

While some workers return to the office this year, many others continue to work remotely indefinitely. This seismic shift has changed where people live and work and, increasingly, how they travel.

In the first quarter of 2022, nearly 25% of job postings at the 50,000 largest companies in the U.S. and Canada were for permanently remote positions, according to the job listing service Ladders. That’s up from a mere 4% before the pandemic.

“It has enabled us to extend trips, leave early and work different hours,” says Kirsten Reckman, a credit risk manager based in Tampa, Florida, who works remotely. “My boss is very accommodating as long as the work gets done.”

Reckmen’s experience reflects a larger trend. One in five travelers this summer plan to do work on the road, according to a report from Deloitte, an international professional services network. Of these so-called “laptop luggers,” 4 in 5 plan to extend the length of their trips because of schedule flexibility.

The rise of 'bleisure' travel

Remote work has blurred the line between business and personal travel. Rather than leaving home rarely for vacation, remote workers can travel at any time. This has the potential to upend longstanding travel trends.

“Many travelers who have the opportunity are choosing to combine remote working with trips for a change of scene as well as maximizing PTO,” or paid time off, explains Mark Crossey, traveler expert at Skyscanner, a travel search engine and agency. “Workations allow people with flexible home and work lives to become ‘half tourists’ for a period of time.”

This kind of freedom appeals to Lisa Wickstrom, a mortgage underwriter based in Arizona who now works from around the world with only a suitcase.

“I got three weeks of vacation before,” says Wickstrom, “But I never feel like I have to take vacation time because … I’m always on vacation.”

For the travel industry, these nomads offer enormous opportunities. Remote workers can spend far more time — and money — at far-flung destinations. Yet “bleisure” travelers don’t fit the typical tourist mold.

“You can’t just go freely everywhere,” explains Derek Midkiff, a patent attorney who left San Diego during the pandemic and never looked back. “You’re living somewhere but also working. Someone asks me, ‘Did you do this and this,’ and I have to say, ‘No, I’m working, it’s not the same as when you’re on vacation.’”

Travel days are changing

Before the pandemic, it was expensive to fly on the weekends and cheaper during the week. That could all be shifting with remote work.

According to data from Hopper, a travel booking app, the cost of domestic flights on Sundays and Mondays has risen 5.90% and 2.97%, respectively, in 2022 compared to 2019, while the cost of flying on Friday and Saturday has dropped by 3.04% and 1.60%. It’s now cheaper to fly on a Saturday than a Monday, on average.

Further, remote workers can take longer trips during busy holidays, flattening the “peak” of peak travel dates.

“Since 2020, we’ve observed a small but noticeable shift toward Thursday departures for Memorial Day weekend itineraries,” says Craig Ewer, spokesperson for Google Flights, “which suggests that location flexibility is indeed having an impact on traveler behaviors.”

An industry adapts

Many workers fled large cities during the pandemic, filling the suburbs and rural areas. But remote work has changed the calculus more drastically for some, freeing up budgets to allow more travel.

“I save over $2,000 a month after taxes by living in Florida,” says Reckman. “We’re traveling a lot more because of that.”

Lower cost of living and tax incentives means more freedom for some remote workers. And some companies are seeing a potential windfall.

Airbnb, the vacation rental platform, reports that the number of long-term stays (over 28 days) doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019. The company has even introduced an “I’m Flexible” search functionality for travelers who don’t need to get back to an office on a specific date.

“I’ve found Airbnb to be cheaper, and have better rules,” says Midkiff, explaining why he chooses vacation rentals over hotels. “And I like to stay a month to get the discount.”

Remote work is here

No longer constrained by vacation days and getting back from a trip by Monday, remote workers have shifted the travel landscape, maybe for good. While executives continue to hem and haw over return-to-office plans, remote workers are happily sending emails from afar.

“I think about the office politics, the baby showers, all that,” says Wickstrom with a shudder. “I can’t even imagine doing all that again.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

0 Comments

Need to get away?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Unless you travel exclusively in first class or by private jet, you've encountered flying in the "economy," "coach," or "main" cabin of a jet plane. Chances are, you've found those seats to be tight — too tight for today's travelers. Back in 2018, Congress seemed to think so and it asked the FAA to issue standards for minimum seat size. And, here four years later, FAA finally agreed: It's about to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) asking for public comments on possible future minimum seat size standards.

Two decades after leaving his native California to launch his career overseas, musician and actor Van Ness Wu is celebrating the release of his first all-English-language album “Take a Ride.” Over the years, the multi-lingual artist has collaborated with singers like Beyonce and Bruno Mars, but Wu’s latest collection of songs pays homage to his childhood musical influences (Michael Jackson, Prince, A Tribe Called Quest), while putting a fresh spin on his unique sound that incorporates hip-hop, pop and rhythm and blues. Given that his busy schedule takes him around the world often, it’s not surprising to learn that the singer-songwriter penned songs for “Take a Ride” while in London, Kyoto and Malibu. As for this interview, Wu answered questions from his hotel room in Changsha, China.

I’m high in the Swiss Alps in a tiny mountain hut on a perch called Ebenalp. Here, a spry grandpa in a sweater as worn as his face pulls a wide-eyed child onto his lap to teach him to drum with old wooden spoons, as the old-timer next to him pumps on his squeezebox. Tall, sloppy mugs of beer stoke the commotion. I’m immersed in the conviviality, but eventually climb upstairs to my lofty bunk.

If this summer seems worse than usual for flight cancellations, you’re not losing your mind. According to FlightAware, more than 120,000 flights were canceled in the first half of the year—more than in all of 2021. July is shaping up to be just as miserable, especially in Europe. The month started with significant Air France […]

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News