While some workers return to the office this year, many 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 openings at the largest 50,000 companies in the United States and Canada were permanently remote jobs, according to job listing service Ladders. That’s just above 4% before the pandemic.
“It enabled us to extend flights, leave early and work different hours,” says Kirsten Reckman, a credit risk manager based in Tampa, Florida, who works remotely. “My managers are very adaptive as long as the work is done.”
Rikmin’s experience reflects a larger trend. One in five travelers this summer plans to take work on the road, according to a report from Deloitte, an international professional services network. Of those so-called “laptops”, 4 in 5 plan to extend the duration of their trips due to the schedule’s flexibility.
The rise of “bleeding” travel
Remote work has blurred the line between business and personal travel. Instead of rarely leaving home for vacation, remote workers can travel at any time. This has the potential to upend long-term travel trends.
“Many travelers who have had the opportunity choose to combine remote work and excursions for a change of scenery as well as maximizing their PTO” or paid vacation, explains Mark Crossey, travel expert at Skyscanner, a travel search engine and agency. “Workplaces allow people who have flexible lives at home and work to become ‘half-tourists’ for a while.”
That kind of freedom appeals to Lisa Wikström, an Arizona mortgage underwriter who now works from all over the world with just a briefcase.
“I’ve had three weeks off before, but I never feel like I have to take a vacation because…I’m always on vacation,” Wickstrom says.
For the travel industry, these nomads offer tremendous opportunities. Remote workers can spend more time – and money – in remote destinations. However, “leisure” travelers do not fit the typical tourist mold.
“You can’t freely go everywhere,” explains Derek Medkief, a patent attorney who left San Diego during the pandemic and has not looked back. “You live somewhere but you also work. Someone asks me, ‘Did you do this and that,’ and I have to say, ‘No, I work, it’s not like I’m on vacation.'”
Travel days change
Before the pandemic, flying on the weekend was expensive and cheaper during the week. It can all be transformed with remote work.
According to data from the Hopper travel booking app, the cost of domestic flights on Sundays and Mondays increased by 5.90% and 2.97%, respectively, in 2022 compared to 2019, while the cost of flying on Fridays and Saturdays decreased by 3.04%. and 1.60%. Now, flying on a Saturday is cheaper than flying on a Monday, on average.
Moreover, remote workers can take longer trips during busy holidays, flattening the “peak” of travel dates.
“Since 2020, we’ve seen a small but noticeable shift toward Thursday departures for Memorial Day weekend cruise lines,” says Craig Ewer, a Google Flights spokesperson, “suggesting that location resilience is already having an impact on traveler behaviors.”
Many workers fled large cities during the pandemic, filling suburbs and rural areas. But telecommuting changed the calculus dramatically for some, saving budgets to allow for more travel.
“I save over $2,000 a month after taxes by living in Florida,” says Rickman. “We travel a lot because of that.”
Lower cost of living and tax incentives mean more freedom for some remote workers. Some companies see potential windfalls.
Airbnb, the vacation rental platform, reported that the number of long-term stays (more than 28 days) doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019. The company even introduced an “I’m flexible” search function for travelers who don’t have to return to the office on a specific date. .
“I’ve found Airbnb to be cheaper, and they have better rules,” says Medkiff, explaining why he chose vacation rentals over hotels. “And I would love to stay a month to get the discount.”
remote work here
No longer restricted to days off and back from a trip by Monday, remote workers have changed the travel landscape, perhaps forever. As executives continue to elude plans to return to the office, remote workers happily send emails from afar.
“I think about office politics, baby showers, and all of that,” says Wickstrom shivering. “I can’t even imagine doing all of that again.”
This article was provided to the Associated Press by personal finance site NerdWallet. Sam Kimes is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com.
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