Trade In Your Home Office For A More Inspiring View

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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! 

What’s it like to Visit Florence right now?

Have you been wondering what it’s like to visit some of the most popular tourist destinations right now, when crowds have disappeared? I’ve been fascinated to hear what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and what kind of atmosphere the cities have. Our marketing assistant, Liz, moved to Northern Italy last year and has spent the 2020 lock-down in a small town near Bologna. When the inter-province travel restrictions lifted in June she decided to make the most of it and take a day trip to Florence in early July! Here’s her experience:

One of the best things about living in Italy is that all these amazingly famous cities are only a short train ride away! Our train to Florence took just over an hour. (Having grown up in the Southwest, where you can drive 4 hours and still be in the same state, this continues to amaze me!) Masks are required on the train and every other seat is blocked off to facilitate social distance. This means even though we booked our four tickets together, each person had their own two-seat row. 

a street scene in Florence Italy

Travel restrictions and regulations have turned Florence from a tourist hot-spot into a typical bustling city. There were still people enjoying the sunny piazzas, the grand churches, and walking along the beautiful Arno river, but fewer crowds and with a more local vibe. We knew this was going to be a quick visit of walking around the city and seeing things from the outside, so we were excited to find this more relaxed feeling. 

looking at a ornately decorated marble church door on the streets of Florence Italy

When you’re walking around Florence it’s easy to really enjoy the city — there’s beautiful ancient architecture and churches around every corner, and now there is a sense of being a local

Of course, there were some noticeable changes…

a woman in a facemask posing in front of Santa Maria Novelle Cathedral and Il Campinello in Florence Italy

Currently, masks are required inside buildings and after 6pm. Out on the streets, you see a mix of people wearing and not wearing masks. We tended to keep ours on in more crowded spots and walked without them where there were fewer or no people. 

Although most businesses were open, a huge change is that the churches are no longer open on the weekdays. With the exceptions of the Duomo and San Lorenzo, most of the churches around the city were closed. Serendipitously this worked out for us since we forgot to dress in church-appropriate clothing anyway. Florence is a city of churches but if you’re a woman with bare shoulders or bare calves you are not allowed inside.

Our first stop was Florence’s most famous attraction: Piazza del Duomo. It’s famous for a reason — an absolute must-see that makes such a huge impact. Here you could really see the difference in the number of tourists. Having been to Florence once before in the off-season, I was still amazed at how empty it was!

a woman standing practically alone in Piazza del Duomo with the Florence Duomo in the background
a street view of the Florence Duomo and the street artists next to it

There are still the artists selling their renditions of the grand cathedral and although we didn’t have the place all to ourselves, we could take the time to appreciate the facades of these amazing structures. There are so many little details to appreciate as you walk around it.

Most impressive was how easily we were able to see the Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery. These amazing golden doors usually have a huge crowd in front of them so being able to go and look at the details for as long as we liked was a treat. 

a panel of the Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery in Florence Italy
a woman lays down in an almost empty courtyard in front of Santa Croce Florence Italy

Like the Duomo, Piazzale Michelangelo and Santa Croce were practically empty.

Piazzale Michelangelo does involve a lot of stair climbing, especially when the bus schedule has become less….scheduled. But climbing the steps up this hill is so worth it. The view is stunning and we were able to enjoy the many many stairs and views of the city almost by ourselves!

a drawing of the city of Florence and the panoramic view to match

Regardless of the tourist levels, I recommend this view. You’re able to see the whole city laid out, really appreciate the massive size of the Duomo, and glimpse the mountains in the distance. 

looking up at the marble facade of the church San Miniato al Monte in Florence Italy

For an extra level of stunning (and more stairs), head up to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. This beautiful church sits just a little way up from the Piazzale.

Of course, it was closed. So when we arrived at the top of the steps the entire courtyard was empty. There’s something very relaxing about sitting in the shadow of a huge old church enjoying the panoramic view of the city. It’s a great spot to recuperate as you prepare to walk back down the hill. 

two photos one of the san miniato courtyard and one of the view of Florence Italy from the courtyard

On our way from the Duomo to Piazza della Signoria, we stopped off at the famous Il Porcellino fountain. Superstition says that rubbing the boar’s snout will bring good luck and ensure a return to Florence! We tentatively touched the shiny snout and then immediately sanitized thoroughly.

three women in face masks touching the bronze pig statue il Porcellino in Florence Italy
closeup of the bronze boar pig statue Il Porcellino in Florence Italy

It was nice to participate in a truly touristy Florentine tradition that stretches back to at least the 1700s. But maybe sanitizing after touching a communal boar is a change we should keep. 

There are some areas of Florence essentially unchanged by COVID. Piazza della Signoria was a bustling town square. There were horses available for carriage rides and lots of people sitting around the steps. Considering the Piazza is adjacent to the Uffizi Gallery (which boasted a huge line) this was unsurprising. However, we were surprised to find the wait time for an un-reserved ticket at the Galleria dell’Acadamia was still over an hour! An hour in the hot sun when you only have a day? We decided to try again another time. It just goes to show – no matter when you’re visiting Florence – book your museum tickets in advance

horse drawn carriages and people in Piazza della Signoria Florence Italy

There was only one place in Florence that truly had that crowded, touristy feel: Ponte Vecchio. Families and large groups traversed the famous old bridge and peered into the glittering jewelry shops on either side.

looking up the entrance to ponte vecchio florence italy

There was a rotation of photo takers getting that stunning view down the Arno river. It was a 50/50 split on wearing masks. We kept ours on while moving through the crowds but took them off to snap a quick pic.

three women posing on ponte vecchio Florence

Almost as soon as we reached the other side of the bridge, the crowds dissipated. Once again Florence felt like a bustling and inviting city.

Overall our day in Florence was well spent, walking around 14k (!) in total trying to see it all! We felt safe and enjoyed being able to see the city with more local vibes. There was a lot of construction and I think the city is taking this time to ensure everything is perfect when all travelers are allowed to visit.

Florence is essentially a timeless city, there are still aperitivos (though sadly without the buffet), there are still piazzas and people sitting and enjoying the beauty at every turn.

delicious cone of gelato in Florence Italy

And most importantly: you can still go for some of the best gelato I’ve had in Italy. 

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)