Trade In Your Home Office For A More Inspiring View

trade in your home office for a more inspiring view pin

Pin it for Later!

Who wouldn’t want to live (and work) in paradise? Becoming a digital nomad has been the dream of many since it first gained popularity in the late 2000s. Now, with remote-working becoming a necessity during the pandemic, that dream could more easily become a reality. If you don’t have to go into the office or the classroom, why not live, work, and learn someplace new?  This just might be the time to explore the idea of chasing away the coronavirus blues in a safe and controlled environment, while treating yourself (and your family) to an international adventure.

Normally you are only allowed to visit a foreign country for a maximum of 90 days on a tourist visa. However, many countries aren’t keen to have an influx of short-term travelers right now. Using long-term residency programs as a way to give travelers the opportunity to really experience the destination (and supplement their tourism industries), these three countries (and one forward-thinking hotelier) have created special programs to help you work from paradise.



[Photo credit: Elly H via Unsplash]

Leading the charge is Barbados. The “Welcome Stamp” program hopes to entice remote-workers to their shores to wait out the pandemic. With beautiful white-sand beaches, tropical landscapes, and a healthy work-life balance, Barbados is positioning themselves as the perfect spot to spend the rest of 2020. 

The online application process is very straightforward. You can apply as an individual or as a family group including any dependents and children under the age of 26. Once the completed application is submitted you’ll receive an answer within 5 business days! 

Application Requirements

  • Online application to be filled out here 
  • Proof of employment and an income declaration of at least $50,000 annually
  • Passport size photo and scan of your passport bio page (required for all family members over the age of 18)
  • Proof of relationship between all members of the family ( such as birth or marriage certificates)
  • Proof of valid medical insurance

[Photo Credit: Annie’s Escapes]

Once approved, applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee of $2,000 per individual or $3,000 per family group. When the process is complete, applicants can spend up to a year in Barbados enjoying the sun, sand, and outdoor lifestyle. 


[Photo credit: Sandra Seitamaa via Unsplash]

Bermuda was quick to follow Barbados’ example and promptly set up their own “Work from Bermuda” program. Pink-tinged beaches, diving-friendly reefs, and a beautiful climate will greet you as you while away the workweek in a beach-front lounge chair. 

Bermuda’s application process is equally straightforward and can be done online. Each family member must apply separately, but all connected family applications should be submitted on the same day. Bermuda is also welcoming students into their program. If you can provide proof of sufficient means and enrollment in a university you could attend your online classes with a view of the sea. 

Application Requirements

  • Online application to be filled out here
  • Application fee of $263
  • Over the age of 18
  • Proof of valid health insurance
  • Provide a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test
  • Provide proof of employment or enrollment in a Research, Undergraduate, Graduate, or Doctorate program
  • Proof of means to support yourself ( no minimum amount set)

[Photo credit: Annie’s Escapes]

Once you submit your application, you should receive a response within 5 business days. The visa allows multiple entries and exits should you need to pop back to the States for a meeting or to show-off your relaxed sense of well-being and your excellent tan. 

Georgia (the country)

[Photo credit: Dennis via Unsplash]

If tropical beaches aren’t your cup of tea, Georgia has begun it’s “Remotely from Georgia” program. You can stay and work in this small mountainous country for up to 6 months with their new visa. Located just north of Turkey between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia is the birthplace of wine and has surprisingly diverse landscapes for such a small area. It has been one of the safest destinations in terms of pandemic cases. Combined with its low cost of living, stunning scenery, and ancient cities, Georgia is a really attractive place to spend the rest of 2020. 

Georgia’s program is aimed at freelancers and remote-workers with contracts for businesses outside their country. Although there are travel restrictions against American tourists right now, getting approved for this new visa allows you to work around the regulations. 

Application Requirements

  • The online application can be filled out here
  • Provide a certificate of employment
  • Minimum monthly salary of $2,000
  • Valid travel insurance for 6 months
  • Written consent to a 12-day hotel quarantine upon arrival at applicant’s expense

[photo credit: Jairph via Unsplash]

Once you’re approved for the program there’s no need for a special visa or anything attached to your passport. All you need is the approval papers and you’re good to go! Upon arrival, you will need to quarantine for 12 days at your own expense after which you will need to take a PCR test. But a mere 12 days for 6 months of amazing outdoor adventures, wellness retreats, and access to the Black Sea seems like a fair trade

Perhaps you’re not looking to move to another country for a full 6 months to a year. Maybe you’d just like a little taste of what the beach-life / home-office could be. Playa Hotels & Resorts has the perfect solution. 

Playa Hotels & Resorts

[Photo credit: Annie’s Escapes]

Playa Hotels & Resorts created their “Work & Learn from Paradise” program to make remote-working from an all-inclusive resort that much easier. If you book a room at select Hyatt all-inclusive resorts for longer than 14 nights you will receive a whole host of perks. 

Guests will be upgraded to suites or interconnecting rooms, given shared office space with free WI-FI, complimentary laundry services, and a personal fitness trainer for three sessions a week. Also included is private cabana access on the weekends, a study spaces for students, and two spa treatments a week! Resort specific perks range from educational experiences for children to Spanish lessons — all included in the program. 

Talk to us about booking a room at these all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, or Jamaica through December 22nd to receive the benefits of an incredibly luxurious ‘home office’. 

After months of lockdown, so many of us are looking for a getaway but wary of the travel health risks. Considering staying somewhere long-term offers the benefits of international travel without having to sacrifice any short-term public health measures. If you decide to start living the dream and working from someplace stunning abroad, let us help you find the best accommodations, activities and excursions to truly enjoy your new home-base! 

Bermuda Blast 2011

We just returned from the second annual Annie’s Escapes Group Cruise and it was a blast! Plans are already in place for next year’s group trip (a food/wine tour to Tuscany in October 2012) but you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for details and pricing.

For now, I can tell you all about our Bermuda Blast 2011!  We sailed with 40 people on a 5-day Royal Caribbean cruise on the Explorer of the Seas, from Bayonne, NJ to Kings Wharf in Bermuda. The group included a core of Annie’s Escapes clients/friends as well as a destination wedding party for a client who was getting married on the island while we were there. The full photo album (about 75 pictures) can be found here.  And my trip review is below.

Embarkation and Sailaway:

We drove from Rhode Island to Bayonne on Saturday morning (10/8) to board the ship, and it was a quick and easy trip marred only by some confusion over exactly where the entrance to the port should be (and we weren’t the only ones with a “confused” GPS – I think everyone in our group had an issue with finding their way into the port) It was SO nice to leave from a local port, rather than dealing with flights!

We were onboard by about 1:00 pm, with time to check out our cabin, enjoy a buffet lunch, and explore the ship before the lifeboat drill and the sailaway party. What an experience it is to sail out of New York harbor, with the skyline, the bridges, the Statue of Liberty and all the other sights! We were able to watch a handful of other ships sail out with us as well – from the NYC port on the west side of Manhattan and from Princess’s port in Brooklyn.

The ship:

Explorer of the Seas, at just over 1,000 feet in length and accommodating about 3,100 passengers, is smaller than the last two Royal Caribbean ships that I’ve sailed on (the Freedom of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas), but I have to say that the size felt just right. Big enough to have all the “bells and whistles”, like an interior promenade, rock climbing wall, skating rink, etc., but small enough that we knew our way around by the end of the first day (VERY unusual for me!) Two of our favorite spots on the ship were the adults-only solarium pool and the Viking Crown Lounge, where we spent several cozy hours with our books and cocktails enjoying the view (we even saw a school of flying fish from up there!) Our cabin, a category E1 balcony, midship on deck 8, was plenty big for the two of us, although the balcony felt a little more compact than others we’ve enjoyed in the past, and the location was fantastic – convenient to everything.

The food:

We ate in the main dining room every night (8:30 pm seating, tables for ten, in the Magellan dining room) and the food was very good. Some of us thought the portions were small, but once everyone realized that they could order multiple appetizers or main courses if they wanted to sample different things, it was all good! The late seating works well for us, because it leaves plenty of time for an afternoon nap, cocktails, and even a show before dinner on some evenings. The Windjammer buffet had typical buffet food for breakfast and lunch; not the best I’ve ever had, but perfectly acceptable. We had one lunch at Johnny Rockets, which had a small surcharge but was totally worth it for the onion rings! All in all, the dining experience was exactly what I expected, and I have no complaints.

The entertainment:

We saw several production shows, including music, dancing, a comedian and more, and all were very good. We did not make it to the ice show, although I heard it was fantastic. The “Love and Marriage” show was quite funny, and the cruise director did a great job. The only entertainment that disappointed us was the piano bar, which normally would be our regular late night hang out. We went the first night and the music was so disappointing (and the crowd so old and tame) that we never went back. We did, however, participate in a couple of the trivia contests later in the cruise, and we even won a Royal Caribbean hat!

The ports:

This itinerary includes two full days at sea and two (almost) full days in port in Bermuda. Like most modern ships, the Explorer is too large to dock in Hamilton, so it ties up out at the tip of the island, in the Dockyard area. We bought two-day transportation passes (good for unlimited travel on the island’s ferries and buses) and spent the first day exploring St. George (Fort St Catherine, swimming at Tobacco Bay, shopping in town, etc.)  On the second day we went shopping in Hamilton and then took a snorkeling excursion in the afternoon. Everyone agreed that one more day on the island would have been perfect, and I know that I would have loved to have time to show my husband the beaches along the south coast. This was the first time that I’ve docked out at King’s Wharf (Dockyard) and I was pleasantly surprised to see that you could just spend the day there if you wanted to —  there are shops, restaurants, an historic fort, and even a lovely little snorkeling park.


When we returned to port on Thursday (10/13) some of the group elected to try self-disembarkation, where you hold onto your own bags and walk off the ship early in the morning in one of the first disembarkation groups. Those that did it, loved it. Since we did not have anywhere to rush off to, we decided to sleep in a little bit and have a sit-down breakfast in the main dining room before we disembarked. Very civilized!

Post-cruise visit to NYC:

Wanting to extend the vacation a little bit, we had planned to spend one post-cruise night in New York City. We were off the ship by about 9:45 am, hopped in the car, and drove a couple of miles down the road to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. There we boarded the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The ferries run continuously, and you can explore both sites at your own pace. We enjoyed an audio tour of Ellis Island, and found the ship’s records for my husband’s great grandparents who emigrated from Italy!  Afterwards, we climbed to the pedestal at the Statue of Liberty (tickets to go all the way up to the crown are severely limited, and must be reserved months and months in advance) and took in the view.

We drove ourselves into Manhattan and checked in at the Marriott Marquis, where we were lucky enough to get a 40th floor room with a direct view down into Times Square. The room was spacious and modern, and the hotel is absolutely huge! We enjoyed a delicious dinner down in Chelsea with my brother and sister and their spouses (they live in New York) and spent the next day sightseeing and shopping before driving back home to Rhode Island and the kids. It was a great way to extend the vacation and wind down after the cruise, and I enjoyed being able to catch up with my family too.

My overall thoughts and impressions about the trip? This was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever taken, and we loved travelling with a group of friends. The only thing I’d do differently next time is to take a 7-day Bermuda cruise instead!

Pink sands are calling…


I’m excited to announce the second annual “group escape” for Annie’s Escapes clients, friends and family — a fun-filled five-day cruise from New York to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas!  We’ll set sail Saturday, October 8th, 2011 which, by the way, is Columbus Day weekend, so you’ll only need to take a couple of days away from work/school.  Check out the details and reserve your cabin soon, as space is limited!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)