Working desk in a garden.

What’s a workation? How to work remotely from a holiday destination

Ready to attend Zoom meetings from a tropical paradise? Find out how you can get in on this remote working trend.

7 min read

With the rise of new technology in recent years, jobs that were traditionally considered office jobs have evolved so much so much that they can now be carried out from anywhere in the world. And by anywhere, we mean seriously—anywhere. Say hello to the workation!

Sounds great, but what does this new way of working entail, exactly? What are the pros and cons of working while abroad, and what platforms can you use to find remote work as a freelancer in Spain? Read on to find out how you can make your workation dreams come true.

N26 for business

The 100% mobile bank for busy entrepreneurs. Get 0.1% cashback, a free Mastercard and more
Get a business bank account (new tab)
Hand holding a N26 business debit card.

What is a workation?

The term workation is a hybrid of the words ‘work’ and ‘vacation.’ It refers to a form of telecommuting to your job from a holiday destination. If you decide to take a workation, you’d be fulfilling all or most of the duties of your regular job while staying in a holiday destination. Head to an island, the mountains, the seaside—the options are endless! From a hut in the middle of the Amazon rainforest or a coastal village in Galicia, anywhere with a decent wifi connection is a viable option for a workation.

In theory, anyone can take a workation, whether you’re a salaried employee working for a company or a freelancer working as your own boss. If you’re an employee, however, you should carefully research your company’s policy on working while traveling abroad. While some companies have been willing to make certain exceptions when it comes to remote working (especially given the current pandemic), taking a workation as an employee will generally require specific permission from your supervisor. But if you’re a freelancer in Spain, you have the ability to take a workation just about any time you like, since you’re the one creating your own schedule. (If you have any doubts about the differences between a salaried employee and a self-employed worker, read this article to get the details straight.)

Differences between teleworking, digital nomads, and the workation

The idea of a workation is related to the digital nomad lifestyle. The term "digital nomad" was first coined in 1997 by authors Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners. Their book, Digital Nomad, talks about an emerging way of life among digital natives and tech savvy individuals. Access to technology makes it easy for people to lead a nomadic lifestyle, traveling often and not necessarily needing to stay in one place for long. Thanks to smartphones, laptops, and other devices, people can take their work with them wherever they go. As long as you have access to a solid internet connection, you can get the job done. 

A workation is a form of remote working, also known as telecommuting—another concept that’s grown in popularity over the last year, thanks to the social distancing measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike regular remote working, however, which can simply be done from home, a workation implies that you’ll be working from a vacation destination. 

In order for it to be a real workation, the following three things have to be true:

  1. The work must be carried out remotely.
  2. The location must considered a vacation destination.
  3. The duration of the workation needs to be set for a specific period of time—it  can’t be an indefinite trip.

Beyond that, though what you consider to be a vacation destination and the duration of your vacation is up to you. If you’re from Australia and decide to work in Madrid for a spell, this could be considered a workation. The same goes if you’re from Móstoles and travel to Sydney. As long as you consider it a vacation destination, then it counts as a workation.

Save up with Spaces

Use N26 Spaces sub-accounts to easily organize your money and save up for your goals.
Discover sub-accounts
Different N26 spaces to save money.

The advantages of a workation

  • If your company allows unlimited vacations, choosing a workation is a great opportunity. You can spend time getting to visit a new area, while still managing to stay on top of your work and support your team.
  • If unique circumstances prevent you from taking time off from work, you can suggest a workation as a way of staying connected to your work while still getting a fresh change of scenery.
  • As a freelancer in Spain, you’ll be able to enjoy longer "vacation" periods, but without sacrificing your ability to make money.
  • Breaking out of your routine will also help you clear your mind and renew your motivation. Enhanced inspiration and creativity generally have a positive impact on your work performance overall, no matter white kind of work you do.

The disadvantages of a workation

  • If you spend too long on a workation, you might start to experience an imbalance between your work life and personal life. Bear in mind that to work at 100% efficiency, it’s crucial to take a real break from time to time. Before you set off on your remote work holiday, define clear goals and make sure you set aside some time to relax. Remember that sometimes you have to disconnect before you can reconnect again.
  • Since you’ll be far from home, there will be new expenses to account for. In addition to travel, meals, and accommodation, you’ll also have to budget for expenses back home, like rent and utilities.
  • Depending on your preferences, you should also factor in the costs of accessing a reliable internet connection or renting a co-working space.

Freelancing platforms in Spain

Does the idea of workation and setting your own schedule have you considering a freelance career in Spain? Below is a list of some of the most popular online platforms where you can offer your services and find freelance work.

  • Freelancer—This website features a wide variety of projects posted by companies looking to collaborate with all different kinds of freelancers. Plus, you can also share your profile and portfolio so that other companies can contact you if they’re interested in your skills.
  • Fiverr—One of Fiverr’s advantages is that you’ll be able to contact companies worldwide—that is, you can achieve global visibility. Register for free and then set an average price for your services. As soon as a prospective client is interested in hiring you, you’ll receive an email to discuss the details of the offer and complete the project in question. Once the order is fulfilled, Fiverr will send you the amount you’ve earned for your services.
  • SoyFreelancer—This is one of the leading platforms that brings together companies and freelancers in Spain. It’s especially useful if you’re looking for work in digital marketing, graphic design, online copywriting, and web development.
  • Upwork—On this international portal, formerly known as Elance, you’ll find freelance job offers in many different fields. Best of all, its commission isn’t charged to the freelancer, but to the company that does the hiring.
  • Infojobs freelance—You may already be familiar with this platform if you’ve looked for freelance work in Spain before, but be sure to keep an eye on it as it’s constantly listing new offerings.
  • Toptal—The jobs offered on this site are aimed at freelancers with previous experience. You have to go through a selection process to join the platform, but tends to make the projects even more lucrative.
  • Workana—Just create a profile with the details of the services you offer, your portfolio, and your professional experience. Then you can start browsing the different projects and send your proposals to potential clients. Finally, companies can pick the candidate based on their interests.

N26 business plans

From our free account to premium plans with smart features, find the right one for you.
Compare N26 business accounts
N26 business plans.

N26 and freelancing in Spain

Starting a freelance career is a huge challenge full of opportunities—among them, the opportunity to plan and embark on your own workation. But being your own boss comes with challenges, too. At N26, we’re here to support you in anyway we can. We are the first neobank becoming a collaborating entity with the Social Security system in Spain! This means you can collect your benefits in your N26 account and also pay your freelancer tax and make other payments to the administration through us.

That’s why we’ve created several bank accounts specifically designed for freelancers. Whether you choose for the free N26 Business Standard account or one of our premium options, you’ll earn cashback on every purchase you make with your N26 Mastercard.  Sign up for N26 Business Smart, N26 Business You, or N26 Business Metal to unlock 10 Spaces sub-accounts. Use Spaces to organize your money easily alongside your main account. Set goals for special projects, professional development, or even your dream workation. Visit our compare page to find the plan that’s right for you.

At N26, we’ve taken the red tape out of opening a bank account in Spain. Open an online account in minutes—all you’ll need is your smartphone, a valid address in Spain, and a valid photo ID. You’ll get an official Spanish IBAN, so you can pay and be paid like a local. Plus, there are no hidden fees and you’ll always have access to English-speaking customer service, so you can focus on settling in to your new home.

By N26

Love your bank

Related articles

These might also interest you
Woman working on a lap top.

Freelancing FAQs: everything you need to know about freelancing

Going freelance is a big career change and may leave you confused. Read answers to the most commonly asked questions about freelancing.

A freelancer man working on a laptop and drinking coffee.

How to set freelance rates & decide your pricing

Setting your freelance rates can be a challenge, especially when you're new to freelancing. We've put together some useful tips to help – read them here!

a freelancer working on a table.

10 in-demand types of freelance jobs you can land tomorrow

What freelance skills do you need to make it in the gig economy? Here’s a list of the most popular types of freelance jobs that you should consider.