The pandemic has changed how we travel in addition to how we work and where we live


While some employees have returned to the office this year, many others 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 top 50,000 companies in the U.S. and Canada were for permanent remote positions, according to Ladders. That’s up from just 4% before the pandemic.

“It has allowed us to extend travel, leave earlier and work different hours,” says Kirsten Reckman, a credit risk manager based in Tampa, Fla. who works remotely. “My boss is very accommodating as long as the work gets done.”

Rekmen’s experience reflects a larger trend. According to a report by Deloitte, an international professional services network, one in five travelers plans to work on the go this summer. Of these so-called laptop rogers, 4 out of 5 plan to extend the duration of the trip due to the flexibility in terms of time.

The rise of bleisure trips and workations: Remote work has blurred the line between business and personal travel. Rather than rarely leaving home for vacations, remote workers can travel whenever they want. This has the potential to reverse long-standing travel trends.

“Many travelers who have the opportunity choose to combine remote work with travel to change locations and maximize PTO,” or paid time off, explains Mark Crossey, travel expert at Skyscanner, a travel search engine and agency . “Workations allow people with flexible living and working lives to become ‘semi-tourists’ for a certain period of time.”

That kind of freedom appeals to Lisa Wickstrom, an Arizona mortgage lender who now operates from anywhere in the world with just a suitcase. “I was on vacation for three weeks beforehand,” says Wickstrom, “but I never feel like I need to take a vacation because… I’m always on vacation.”

These nomads offer enormous opportunities for the travel industry. Remote workers can spend far more time – and money – in remote locations. But “bleisure” travelers do not fit the typical tourist pattern.

For telecommuters, especially in the Airbnb era, a garret in Paris can be as practical a place to work as an apartment in Silicon Valley.

Thomas Samson/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

“You can’t just go everywhere,” explains Derek Midkiff, a patent attorney who left San Diego during the pandemic and has never looked back. “You live somewhere, but you also work. Someone asks me, “Have you done this and that,” and I have to say, “No, I’m working, it’s not the same as going on vacation.”

See: A time of reckoning: remote work, travel and the reality of home

And: Does hybrid work affect your job performance or your chances for advancement? Finally an answer.

Travel days change: Before the pandemic, it was expensive to fly at weekends and cheaper during the week. That could all shift with remote work.

According to data from Hopper, a 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 flights on Friday and Saturday increased by 3. 04% down. and 1.60%. It is now cheaper, on average, to fly on a Saturday than on a Monday.

Additionally, remote workers can take longer trips during busy holidays, flattening the “spike” of peak travel dates.

Demand patterns for air travel are not what they were before the pandemic. For example, today it is often cheaper to fly on a Saturday than on a Monday.

AP/Craig Ruttle

“Since 2020, we’ve seen a small but noticeable shift towards Memorial Day weekend departures on Thursdays,” said Craig Ewer, spokesman for Google Flights

“which suggests that location flexibility does affect traveler behavior.”

An industry adapts: Many workers fled major cities during the pandemic and filled the suburbs and rural areas. But remote working has changed the calculus more drastically for some, freeing up budgets to accommodate more travel.

“Living in Florida saves me over $2,000 a month after taxes,” says Reckman. “That’s why we travel a lot more.”

Lower living costs and tax incentives mean more freedom for some remote workers. And some companies see a potential windfall.

the vacation rental platform, reports that the number of long-term stays (over 28 days) doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019. The company has even rolled out an “I’m flexible” search feature for travelers who don’t have to return to an office by a specific date.

“I’ve found that Airbnb is cheaper and has better rules,” says Midkiff, explaining why he prefers vacation rentals to hotels. “And I’m happy to stay a month to get the discount.”

See: Try a home swap. You save on Airbnb costs and vacation as if you were a local.

A preference for remote work: No longer constrained by vacation days and returning from a trip by Monday, remote workers have changed the travel landscape, perhaps forever. As executives continue to bicker over plans to return to the office, remote workers are happily collaborating remotely.

“I’m thinking about the office politics, the baby showers and all that,” says Wickstrom with a shudder. “I can’t imagine doing it all again.”

Continue reading: The “big slowdown” in homebuilding is here as mortgage lending and spending slow, says Bank of America

Plus: Countries that will issue you a remote work visa and how to get one


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