Employees worldwide are exploring boundaries with remote work, and have been for some time now. Where in the past, the phrase “Work from anywhere” has been a millennial-ish luxury statement (with visions of sun bleached posts on social media), it is actually becoming a very real option for many people.
As some have become comfortable with working remotely in their own home, many have now begun to wonder about taking their work elsewhere. What about working somewhere that previously was only considered a vacation spot? Is it actually possible to work somewhere that was only considered fantasy before?
The reality is, remote work really has empowered people to begin asking Where do I really want to live? or Where would I like to visit for a year? And the truth is, many of these vacation island spots are actually encouraging remote workers to join them for an extended period of time.
But, before you grab your passport and swimsuit, there are a few things to consider. It is important to take a step back and make sure you will be set up for success before making any deposits on a place to stay, and actually check to ensure the situation is feasible from different angles.
Here are a few things to consider before moving to an island for remote work:
As exciting as it is to possibly be able to follow up on a lifelong dream, before you spend a single pound, you must make sure you can enter the island appropriately. The last thing you want to do is get off of the plane with a huge grin on your face, only to find out you’ve missed a crucial step that will send you right back where you came from.
You need to have a thorough understanding of whether or not you have a visa requirement (based on your country of residence), and the maximum amount of time you can stay. You should also understand if there are any licenses that need to be filed or permits that allow you to work there, as opposed to visiting for a short-term vacation.
Trust me when I say this can be a heart-breaking assumption to make — do your homework on this one!
If you’re working remote, more than likely you will be using electronics, and more than likely computers. How does the technology stack up on your destination island? Do they have reliable internet and wifi? Can you use your phone as a hotspot if need be, or is that a main source of connectivity?
You will also need to sort out proper mobile phone plans, and whether you can use your current phone, or if you need to invest in a new one where you’re going. Being able to connect to the ‘outside world’ is crucial, and you need to ensure you can actually work while you are there. Also, consider looking into whether a generator is a must have, and what others recommend who have worked there long term.
Failing to put some effort into this research will have you using paper airplanes and carrier pigeons rather quickly!
As exciting as it is to imagine your days and nights of remote work on an island, you must consider the cost of living on that island! Do a lot of searching to understand what kind of income is required to live comfortably and what kind of income you anticipate. Understand your taxes, as well, so that you know what you may have to set aside for payment while you work.
It’s important to not stretch yourself too thin, as there may be unexpected emergencies while you are there, and you may not be able to count on a wire transfer in a short amount of time. Make sure you leave enough room in the budget to cover food, rent, transportation and insurance, as well. When in doubt, overestimate your cost so that any surprises will be more manageable.
Clearly by traveling to an island for remote work, you want to do more than just stay cooped up in your room all day! After all, you’re moving there to experience the life it has to offer, not just see it from your bedroom window. Make sure your remote work allows for flexibility so that you can enjoy the island(s) while you’re there.
The last thing you want to do is find yourself feeling resentful that you cannot appreciate the activities you came to experience. This goes for money, as well — pouring your income into rent and food only to have nothing left over means you’re going to be sitting on the sidelines instead of taking that day tour you dreamed about.
As with money, be realistic with your work schedule to make sure it’s a good fit.
I cannot stress enough that it is also important to have realistic expectations about island life before coming out to see it first-hand. Yes, this means stepping away from those manicured social media posts for a minute. Don’t forget that an island is just that – removed from the ‘rest of the world’ and can sometimes be a world of its own.
Islands often do not have the same infrastructure as mainland living – so that cute beach spot you saw may actually require travel on a rough and tumble dirt road with potholes the size of baby elephants. Oh, and your favorite dipping sauces and sodas? Those will be imported, and may be either way more expensive, or not readily available. Not to mention, the grid may go out every now and again (…or maybe every evening during peak seasons where you live), so constant electricity may be a precious element that should not be taken for granted.
As exciting as all of this is, make sure you know what you’re getting into when you research your desired destination, and that remote work will be a feasible option when you arrive.
Lastly, just remember these are points to consider when planning out your remote work island transition!
This is an exciting endeavour, and you want to make sure it will be as successful as possible so that you can enjoy what you came for – the island life!