Remote work gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere. In fact, many people choose to work remotely because they have wanderlust or the travel bug. Maybe you just want freedom.
But it’s easy to get stuck in a work-from-home rut. You’re focusing on your business so much that you don’t have the time or capacity to plan fun trips or coordinate a travel schedule.
If you have ever felt this way, you might have looked into digital nomad groups. Or perhaps it’s the first time that you’re hearing of them. These groups coordinate long and short-term trips for remote workers.
You can work, travel, network and socialize for a similar cost as paying your current rent and expenses. Except you’d be roving the world and having mind-blowing experiences instead of holing up in your home office.
What Companies Offer These Trips?
There are several companies that organize trips and retreats for digital nomads. You can search for them using terms like:
- Remote work programs
- Travel programs
- Digital nomad communities
- Work and travel programs
They all differ when it comes to their clientele, vibe, programs, offerings and price. There’s a lot to look into. Learning what three of the most well-known digital nomad groups have to offer can give you an idea of what to look for in a remote work and travel program and decide which is best for you.
These three digital nomad groups have a strong track record but offer different experiences:
Hacker Paradise makes it easy to live abroad for any length of time. The company arranges accommodations as well as excursions, events and social opportunities wherever you go. You can participate in as few or as many of these planned activities as you’d like.
One of the challenges to living abroad is the effect the language barrier has on connecting with new people. Traveling with Hacker Paradise allows you to get to visit new places with a built-in social support team.
The company has an intensive application and onboarding process, which allows team members to put together the ideal group of people and experiences for each customized trip.
How it Works:
Joining and planning trips with Hacker Paradise is relatively straightforward:
- Submit an application and chat with the team to get to know each other, share your reasons for joining Hacker Paradise and learn whether the company is a good fit for you.
- Once you’re accepted, choose which trip(s) you’d like to go on and for how long. Pricing is mainly dependent on the length of the trip but may vary by location.
- Connect with others in the group as well as the Hacker Paradise member network via Slack for several weeks before the trip to get to know each other and make plans.
- Trip lengths are flexible and range from 2 weeks to 12+ months
- Access to coworking space is provided
- Good blend of networking, career-building and social opportunities
- Offer career guidance, including helping you encourage your current employer to allow you to transition to remote work
- Loaded SIM card
Who’s it For?
Hacker Paradise does attract people in the tech industry, but it’s for anyone with a remote job or personal project that they’d like to work on during the day. If you don’t have any goal-oriented work to do besides traveling, you might not benefit from the classes and workshops that focus on professional development. Whether you’re writing a book or doing virtual customer service, you’ll have time to focus on your work in between all of the activities that are planned.
Wifi Tribe has a more extensive application and screening process than the other companies. The company says that this is because building a community of like-minded people is so important. It’s essential that each member is committed to working, whether at a remote job or on a project, during each trip. Part of the benefits of traveling with this group is the accountability that you have for getting your work done. Knowing that the rest of the group is working when you are, and joining them in the coworking space, lets you work productively so that you can make the most of your free time.
How it Works:
- After the initial screening, you’ll find out if you are approved to join Wifi Tribe.
- Trips are called “Chapters,” and approximately 4 to 6 destinations are available every month.
- One annual membership tier is available
- You can get discounts by booking several chapters at once
- Trip lengths are 4, 6 or 8 weeks
- Choose from a wide variety of locations
- Annual membership fee in addition to trip-specific fees
- Events, dinners and excursions are often planned in the moment with input from the community
Who‘s it For?
Wifi Tribe is geared toward people whose primary focus is on making connections. With fewer activities pre-planned, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with your group and customize your experience. While you’re primarily there to work, you and the other members on the trip have each other to explore the area within your free time.
Remote Year offers trips of different lengths to more than 80 destinations around the globe. The group travels together, staying in each country for one month. If you choose a longer journey, you’ll travel with the same group as they change places. The destinations and itineraries are prearranged by the company. Remote Year also covers all flights between countries except for your entry and exit flights.
If you choose a 1-month trip, you are responsible for purchasing your flights to and from the destination. However, airport transfers are always covered. You can string up to 3 trips together, but you’ll also have to cover the flights.
How it Works:
Remote Year offers three membership tiers:
- Community membership – Access to the online community, meetup events, job board, resources and quarterly festivals
- Explorer travel membership – All perks above, plus 3-day early access to book 1-month trips and a 50% discount off of quarterly festival passes and a 10% discount off of partner locations
- Nomad travel membership – All community membership perks, plus 7-day early access to book 1 month trips or 4 or 12-month journeys, 25% discount off of trip prices, free pass to one RY music festival annually, and a 20% discount off of partner locations
- Trip lengths are 1, 4 or 12 months
- Job board lets you look for jobs or employees from anywhere
- Remote working resources offer digital-nomad-specific advice
- You pay for a membership as well as an additional fee for each trip
- Apartment or hotel-style accommodations
Who’s it For?
Remote year is excellent for people beginning their exploration of remote work travel programs and seasoned nomadic professionals. Because you can join the membership before booking any trips, you can interact with the community and decide which options are best to pursue.
Hacker Paradise vs Wifi Tribe vs Remote in a Nutshell
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to travel while meeting new people and keeping up with your work, digital nomad travel programs might not be right for you. You could likely piece together stays at Airbnbs, friends’ couches and hostels for less money than a digital nomad trip. But the DIY version is a lot of work. Planning the trip is a full-time job in itself.
The benefits of these digital nomad groups go beyond planning trips, though. They help you make friends to travel with and support you in your personal and professional projects for years to come.
Each program offers housing, coworking space and rapid internet access. They all have a digital community for members to keep in touch.
The way that the groups address excursions and programming differ, however. Whereas Wifi Tribe seems to have the fewest pre-planned events, Hacker Paradise offers lots of scheduled professional workshops and networking events, and Remote Year packs in excursions, some of which cost extra.
The best way to decide which company to join is to apply to the one with the most trips that you’d like to join. Not everyone is approved. Therefore, you might have to apply to more than one group. Once you’re in, you may want to stick with that group and get to know the community. But it never hurts to try more than one to determine which is the best fit.
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.