10 Budget-Friendly Workation Destinations around the World

Living under the pandemic has been difficult for a number of reasons, one of which is the repetitive nature of working at home. As great as it is working in your joggers, there’s something to be said for how draining spending your 9 to 5 in the same place that you cook and sleep. If you’re one of these folks suffering from the burnout of only opening your front door to let your food delivery in, then you might need a workation.

This portmanteau of ‘work’ and ‘vacation’ has gained popularity during the lockdown, especially as more countries are easing on travel restrictions. The basic goal of a workation is to use the change of scenery as a chance to refresh your mind and boost productivity, but it doesn’t hurt to use it as an opportunity to explore and enjoy wherever you settle on for your temporary new home office.

There’s a lot to take into account when compiling potential workation destinations, for this list we’ve focused on affordability, location, and facilities to try and summarise what makes a good choice for your all-important break.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

We’re kicking off the list with Buenos Aires. The South American capital of Argentina has a lot to love if you’re looking for a getaway. Aside from being exceptionally affordable in terms of travel, accommodation, and drink prices, the city prides itself on being a Latin American cultural hub, being home to over 280 theatres. It’s a city brimming with life and self-expression, making it the perfect place to refresh your mind, body, and soul.

São Paolo, Brazil

Coming in at around the same price range as Buenos Aires, São Paulo stands out as a fantastic option for group workations due to how much larger the city is, allowing for way more communal work space. It’s also a city that’s fairly easy to navigate with English as a language, making it much more accessible.

The city itself is incredibly charming, especially if you’re able to make your way over to Avenida Paulista, one of the biggest financial and cultural hubs of the city. This iconic street houses São Paulo’s Museum of Art and is an absolute marvel to behold at night as the offices are emptied and the people come out to bring the city’s night to life. Be sure to check out Parque Ibirapuera, the Brazilian answer to Central Park, for a beautiful blend of greenery, historic sights, and water attractions.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is an excellent choice if you’re really looking to get as much work out of your workation as possible. What the city lacks in terms of things to do, it makes up for with robust WIFI speeds and start-up culture. As a burgeoning business hub for Bulgaria, there is plenty of opportunity for networking if you can traverse the language barrier.

Krakow, Poland

Krakow comes with the one caveat of having slightly more pricey accommodation than the previous entries on the list. But what it lacks in cheap hotel prices it more than makes up with solid WIFI speeds, a cheap, thriving pub and drinking culture, and a beautiful historic city brimming with charming Polish architecture around every corner.

Few places will offer a lunch break that can match some fresh Kielbasa paired with a stroll through the market square. For those looking to get out of the city, the salt mines make for a fascinating and entirely unique experience that you’re sure to walk away from feeling refreshed.

Porto, Portugal

This seaside city is brimming with bohemian charm and serves as the perfect backdrop to your dream workation. It boasts an incredibly affordable lifestyle that allows its residents to enjoy their lunch breaks in style in the local restaurants for not much more than 5 Euros.

The café culture is very much in effect throughout the city, allowing for a ton of coworking spaces and stable WIFI wherever you go, making it a fantastic destination for any digital nomad. You may well find yourself striking up conversation with a fellow workationer or even local considering Porto is very English friendly.

New Delhi, India

If you’re looking for a workation that will expose you to a significantly different way of life to the traditional digital nomad destinations, then look no further than New Delhi. The city holds the esteem of being India’s political centre as well as a huge trading and cultural hub for the country. No matter where you roam around the city you will be greeted with friendly faces, bustling bazaars, and places of worship a-plenty.

Choosing New Delhi also comes with the benefit of being one of the most affordable capital cities in the world for both accommodation and food. Being as big as it is, it’s also incredibly easy to find co-working spaces. The only thing holding the city back from being the obvious top pick for a workation is the mediocre WIFI, but if speed isn’t your concern then you’d be hard pressed to find a better option.

Hanoi, Vietnam

In the same vein as New Delhi, what Hanoi lacks in WIFI speed, it more than makes up for with its fast-developing economic scene, ridiculously affordable food (we’re talking about £1.7 for a meal at a restaurant), and beautiful sights of busy folks and lively markets nestled down side streets that lead you to stunning places of worship all across the city.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest boasts strong WIFI, cheap travel, cheaper coffee, and streets filled with impressive Hungarian architecture to keep your eyes entertained while you explore the streets. Hungary’s capital is a fantastic all-rounder as a workation destination that really has few flaws to speak of. If you’re looking for somewhere gorgeous to get some solid work done, get a ticket booked and look forward to enjoying one of the city's famous spas at the end of a hard day’s work!

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest has been on the rise in recent years, in small parts thanks to how accommodating the city is for remote workers. Aside from sharing many of the positives that can be observed in Budapest, Bucharest stands out by having even cheaper travel and even faster internet speeds across the city. There are few places that work so perfectly for a digital nomad looking to take advantage of fast download/uploading times while still wanting to grab a cheap beer after the day is done.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Last on the list is Johannesburg, the biggest city in South Africa. Despite being the richest city on the continent, the costs for accommodation, travel, and food are still relatively low. While the WIFI speed across the city may not be the greatest, the city still serves as a cultural marvel and a cornerstone of African heritage.

The city itself is fairly close to a number of noteworthy attractions, like the Cradle of Mankind and the Pilanesburg National Park, but if your goal is to stay in Johannesburg, you’ll struggle to find yourself at a loss for things to do. The Apartheid Museum and Mandela’s House are just two examples of cultural locations that will offer fascinating insight into the history of Africa and the relationship its people has had with the world over the years. No matter how you spend your time in Johannesburg, it will prove to be an excellent way to give your mind a break from the doldrums of your home office.

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Tom Kalirai
August 30, 2023
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