In this coming age, the traditional 9-to-5 office grind is gradually giving way to a more flexible and liberating way of earning a living: working remotely. The rise of technology, changing attitudes toward work-life balance, and the global events (THAT ONE GLOBAL EVENT, to be precise) of the past few years have accelerated the adoption of remote work like never before.
People who lead this kind of lifestyle, where they work while exploring exotic locations, are known as Digital Nomads. While working remotely against the backdrop of crashing waves or winds from the mountains may sound exciting, it is far from easy. Especially to someone who’s starting out. This is where Remote Year comes in.
What is Remote Year?
Remote Year is a company that helps people embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. They aim to bring remote workers and digital nomads together as a community to work and explore. Travelling solo can be pretty daunting and Remote Year just eases that experience. Accommodation, food, experiences, and a lot more. All of that is taken care of by Remote Year. With more flexible and affordable options than ever, Remote Year has a program for every type of remote professional, budget, and lifestyle.
What to Expect while on Remote Year Program
It may not make much sense to you if you have been living this lifestyle for a bit. But if you are starting out, it’s definitely worth a look.
Facilities Provided by Remote Year
- Flight: If you have enrolled in a connected program that involves multiple locations, Remote Year handles all flight bookings from your departure city to your final destination. However, it is important to note that they do not take care of Entry/Exit flights.
- Accommodation: You’ll enjoy a private room in a hotel or apartment, complete with numerous amenities for a comfortable stay.
- Workspace Facilities: Access a 24/7 co-working space equipped with reliable Wi-Fi to facilitate your work.
- Professional Development: Participate in workshops, brainstorming sessions, and networking events designed to enhance your professional skills and knowledge.
- Guidance and Assistance: Each group is assigned a program manager who will offer the necessary support and assistance throughout your journey.
- Remote Year Marketplace: Explore a variety of social events, including excursions, adventures, and cultural experiences, accessible through the Remote Year Marketplace. Choose from Track Events, Plus Events, side trips, and unique local experiences to make the most of your experience.
Now that you know what Remote Year is all about, let’s do a little deep dive into this whole concept and determine whether will it be right for you or not. We will also feature some reviews from Reddit and Facebook so that you do not fall for gimmicky marketing stuff that’s out there on the web.
Finding the Right Program
All of the programs at Remote Work are clubbed into three main categories. The One-month program, the Four-month journey, and The Twelve-month journey. While the One-month program is only one destination and is solely beneficial for those who are starting out, the four-month and the twelve-month have multiple destinations and benefit those who have enrolled themselves in a program multiple times.
1. One Month Program
From enchanting destinations such as Marrakesh in Morocco, Split in Croatia, Lima in Peru, Goa in India, and Valencia in Spain, to the breathtaking landscapes of Cape Town in South Africa, there’s quite a lot of choice.
2. Four or Twelve Month Journey
There are plenty of packages to choose from, each thoughtfully designed to align with your unique desires and preferences. You can embark on a four-month exploration of the vibrant cultures found in Latin America, immersing yourself in the rich heritage of Asia, or embarking on a journey to discover the breathtaking landscapes of South Africa, among a host of captivating continents.
Alternatively, if you seek a more encompassing global adventure, Remote Year offers year-long packages that span the entire world. With these comprehensive options, Remote Year manages all the intricate logistics and details, allowing you to unwind and savor the journey. It’s an opportunity to indulge as you traverse the globe, encountering different kinds of cultures, cuisines, and landscapes, all while resting assured that the dedicated team at Remote Year expertly handles every aspect.
Pros of Remote Year
Trustpilot review of Remote Year (2023)
Let’s walk through some of the pros of Remote Year with the help of reviews from Reddit and Facebook.
1. Everything is organized
From your accommodation to local experiences, everything is taken care of by the Remote Year. You don’t have to worry about anything at all. And if you are starting out on a solo trip, Remote Year is one of the best ways to start. Everything will be planned and organized for you. You just have to hop on the ride.
Here’s what a Redditor had to say:
‘I did a 1 month RY trip earlier this year and had the same reservations, but I surprisingly really liked it. Now that they have 1 month, 4 month, and 12 month options it’s easy to just test it out for a month to see if it’s for you. And as someone else pointed out, they also have the option to pay for the community aspect only and you can find your own housing.
Yes, it was obviously more expensive than it would be if I planned it on my own or booked an Airbnb, but you’re paying for their staff and services to plan the details for you. It was pretty nice to have a break from trip planning and lean on their local city managers.
That said, I don’t really feel like I need to do another one? I’m in my late 30s and I met so many new friends on that one RY trip who I’ve already traveled with again. I think your experience depends on the group of travelers which can vary wildly but it seemed like the older nomads (30s and 40s) are on the 1 month trips and the younger nomads or new travelers jump right into the 12 and 4 month trips. Happy to answer any other questions!’ – u/themixtapeheart
2. The People
The best part of Remote Year is its sense of community. Whether you’re just starting out and unsure of how to navigate it, you’ll encounter like-minded individuals who can provide guidance and become your friends. Alternatively, if you’re an introvert looking to break out of your shell, Remote Year is the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll be grouped with more than 50 people in a program where you can form strong bonds. Also, Remote Year rotates participants every month or two to prevent fatigue from being with the same people for a long period.
You can enroll yourself as part of their membership program too. Billed annually at a modest $199 a year, you get access to a range of benefits.
With the membership, Remote Year offers everything you need to excel in your remote work journey. In addition to the freedom to explore any RY program or embark on Global Adventures, you gain exclusive access to the Remote Year Hub, connecting you with a thriving community of over 4,000 remote professionals. Their curated destination guides, Remote Job Board, and Housing Swap Forums are invaluable resources at your fingertips.
You can also dive into the RY Marketplace, where you can join exciting local experiences and weekend adventures. They host monthly in-person meetups, fostering valuable connections and networking opportunities across all the operational RY locations. The membership includes monthly workshops designed to enhance your professional and personal growth as a remote worker.
Plus, you have the chance to earn extra income through the referral incentives.
Here’s what a Redditor had to say about Remote Year:
‘Hey all, wanted to share my thoughts on this as I ended up signing up for a 4-month remote year program, which I’ve now been on for a couple of weeks. I read this thread (and as many others as I could find before signing up), and really wished there had been more recent reviews from people who had actually done one of the programs. So far, it’s epic. I’m having the time of my life in a beautiful apartment in Mexico City, which is a 4-minute walk to a 7-story co-working space that I have 24/7 hour access to, including a rooftop, private phone booths, and a cafe downstairs. Everyone on the remote year team is incredibly personable, excited to share travel tips and support, and very quick to make sure you have everything you need (including helping you arrange housekeeping for your apartment or helping you coordinate extra trips/adventures you want to take with your fellow remotes.) They’re incredibly focused on safety and respect, and I’ve already been on a life-changing experience via one of their weekend experiences to a small town, where we got to experience a ceremony with a medicine woman. But for me, the biggest thing is the community they provide. I’m in my 30s and feel like it’s so hard to make friends as an adult — and suddenly, I was dropped into a group of 30 new best friends with common values. I really can’t recommend it enough, and am so glad I pushed past the fear and made the leap. If anyone else is thinking about it, I encourage you to schedule a call with them (it’s free). They’re also doing a promo for $200 off their 4-month programs right now, which you can get through this link: www.remoteyear.com/general-application?referee=37804701 – – I think it only lasts through Jun, though. Let me know if you have any specific questions, and happy (hopefully) traveling.’ – u/weshouldbereading
‘I just did a 4-month Remote Year program. There were ~45 people in my group and the average age was 32. I was one of the youngest at 27. The oldest was 63. So RY is perfect for people in their 30s. I highly recommend it, I had a blast and met so many amazing people.’ – u/thatsrealneato
3. They Take Work Seriously
A review of Remote Year Worskpaces by Arielle Calderon on BuzzFeed
Remote Year is for digital nomads only. Not solo travelers. Freelancers or folks with remote jobs or businesses. If you are thinking of this as a vacation, we urge you to consider it as a working vacation. While not everyone in your group will be working full-time, most activities are scheduled to accommodate those working during US business hours. The coworking space is carefully vetted and organized, ensuring that you won’t need to worry about having reliable internet access.
Also, Remote Year hosts several workshops centered around topics like teamwork, morale, leadership, and a lot more to enhance your professional skills and knowledge. Much like corporate seminars.
A Redditor tried out Remote Year recently and shared a very detailed review:
‘I’m actually participating in RY right now, wrapping up month 5. I was a little skeptical heading in but it’s exactly what you think – “training wheels for the life” and feels like an adult “Study Abroad” program.
Personally I’m enjoying the program. Net I take home ~$3,000 month and do reasonably well without much of a budget but my goal is to break even on the year. I also love the group and I’m very laid back/understanding when it comes to any issues. If you need a dishwasher and in-house laundry everywhere you go, this isn’t a program for you but if you’re looking to travel and get a taste of living abroad, it’s a pretty decent program.
We’ve only travelled through Europe and Morocco so I can’t speak about Asia or South America but this is what we’ve had so far:
Facilities – you always get your own single+ bed and almost always placed in an apartment or house. I’ve had the best bed I’ve ever slept in, followed by a literal plank with a sheet over it. As long as you voice any reasonable concerns the staff is always ready to upgrade/make it right. Every place is supposed to be cleaned the day before you arrive and at least once during your month. We’ve run into a couple issues where apartments/houses were not great and they took care of that ASAP. If you want breakdowns on all the places we’ve stayed I can put together a comprehensive list.
Internet – Always guaranteed to have internet at the workspace for anything you can reasonably expect from an office. In Morocco the wifi is a little shoddy so they gave all of us mobile hotspots and a VPN for the month. It’s not necessary but definitely great to have. Home spaces will have enough wifi to send emails and do light browsing, but I’ve been able to WFH in every city on the basic wifi (again, primarily Europe).
Events/People – The only reason I’d say RY is worth the price tag is for the community. I definitely went in with mild expectations but our group has been amazing. I hear that’s not the norm and some break off into cliques and drama ensues but it’s pretty minimal here. This makes the events great. You get a welcome & exit event every month, accompanied by 2 free drinks and some food. The cultural events are hit or miss but you can also post your own events so calendars get pretty full. RY starts off with some events and then it primarily becomes people talking about activities and using RY as a platform to help sponsor/organize the events. There’s usually something to do every day and you can always find a group of people ready to explore each city. The last week of each month gets crazy with cramming in as much as possible from all of the positive reviews of activities you missed, and then the first week of the next month gets packed with all of people who “don’t want to wait until the last week to do all of the fun stuff again.”
Group Vibe – I’m sure every group is different. We are primarily American (~75%) and the first month felt like a party, being in the beer capital of the world (coinciding with Euro ’16) and a bunch of people who were getting to know each other in a each city. The party theme slows and there’s at least as much work as adventure by month 3. Almost everyone here is employed in some fashion and the very few that are not are looking for work or have side projects. One big issue with RY is that we felt like there would be more professional development/support from their side. A slight majority of the group works US hours to some capacity, so from ~2-11pm the workspace gets pretty crowded. That curbs the party vibes to a degree but when wine’s 2 euro/bottle in Lisbon, you take your Thursday/Friday evening calls with a couple of glasses.
Few Other Notes – One of our biggest concerns have been the disparity of apartments. One of our members created an Around the World Event to check out all the new apartments in a new city with food & drinks so you can tell that some apartments are great and a couple are pretty rough. When you’re used to paying $2k/month and you don’t get great water pressure or stuck with a wet room, it pisses you off for a month. Couples – Our group has a ton of couples. The average age is 31, but most of the group is younger. Most of us fall in that 24-28 range and with the ~60 of us left there have been at least 6 couples, not including the people that came into the program with a significant other.
My Recommendation: It’s great for the community and you can do it at least 40% cheaper on your own but if you’re looking for an Adult Study Abroad program and don’t mind a lower standard of living it’s a good program. I would probably look into something shorter since you really get the whole digital nomad life thing down after 2-3 months max.
There’s a ton I’m not writing about since it’s long enough so DM if you have any other specifics.’ –u/entryleveladult
Cons of Remote Year
Now let’s go through some of the cons of Remote Year.
1. Slightly More Expensive
Remote Year can be a tad more expensive. But we believe it is worth it. The crew at Remote Year arranges for everything. So think of it as the added cost of having a preplanned, more organized remote working experience. Obviously, planning everything by yourself can be a lot cheaper but for a first-timer, that can be a bit too daunting. All in all, you are paying for the convenience and the community.
While Remote Year offers a splendid program, it may not be for everyone.
‘I think it would be neat to spend a lot of time with successful (and I imagine like-minded) travelers, and it’d be nice to have your itinerary neatly planned out from the get-go. But the prices seem sooo high! And part of the fun of being a DN is that you can up and leave from one location to the next whenever you feel like it instead of being locked into someone else’s schedule. I’m sure it’s a great experience, but probably not the best fit for someone like me.’ u/shzm93
But another Redditor points out a situation where planning all by yourself can be tough if there is a language barrier at the destination.
‘I normally travel alone, but there are a few instances where I am wondering about signing up to am informal group, for safety primarily. Remote Year and Hacker Paradise run groups to Japan, which I’m really interested in. Other destinations I’m happy to do on my own, but I’d rather pay a bit more to be part of a group in Japan, as the language barrier is so so high and there are things I’d probably like to do but I’d feel stupid and vulnerable flubbing my way through on my own.’ – u/BobHopeButt
2. You Have to Deal with a Set Itinerary
Since everything is preplanned, you will have to deal with a set itinerary. If you find the professional seminar sessions boring and want to go out exploring, you are allowed to do so. However, this wasn’t the case in the past. There used to be complaints about people not being able to do what they want which led to most of the travelers abandoning their program. It’s not the case anymore and all the pre-planned activities organized by Remote Year are optional.
A Redditor got to choose what they want to do and were ecstatic about it:
‘No, you can select which activities you want to do. I chose a handful and have enjoyed them. One of them I paid for but I couldn’t make it since I had a last minute meeting pop up. Nothing is “mandatory.” The group/community events are encouraged but I haven’t felt pressured to do anything.
I have no problem balancing work/activities. If I can make it to an event, I will but work comes first for me and many others in my group at lease.
And yes, I’ve met others. Also dependent on the kind of person you are. I have no problem making friends outside of the group however, I really enjoy that I’m traveling with likeminded people who are often willing to do the things I’m interested in also.’ – u/Lonestarmami
3. Poor Management
There have been complaints in the past of Remote Year and it’s inability to handle on-site issues or grievances. And ever since, it has harnessed a reputation of not being reliable anymore. However, all of this changed in recent years with Remote Year doubling down on their operations and with it now being one of the best Backpacking Tour Companies out there.
So much so that they even featured on CNBC.
Here’s what a Redditor had to say about managing your expectations with Remote Year:
‘Honestly, if you go in with an open mind and low expectations you’ll love it. Travel is never perfect, you have to embrace the uncertainty that comes with it and RY is no different. RY doesn’t always provide the most luxury accommodations. Sometimes things go wrong or break or you just get stuck in a meh apartment for a month. But what RY does provide is an amazing group or nomads to experience every day with. They quickly become your family. Furthermore they provide an amazing city team in each city that can show you the culture, give recommendations, teach you the language and help you plan trips, introduce you to locals, etc.
Remote Year is run by human beings like you and me. They don’t always get everything perfect on the first try but they are extremely open to feedback and usually act on it quickly. They’re quite organized and generally have their shit together. As a digital nomad “newbie” I felt a good level of comfort and a great level of growth for the whole trip. The decision to do RY was easily one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life.’ – u/thatsrealneato
Is Remote Year Worth it?
Here’s what we think about Remote Year. If you look at it objectively, it’s a pre packaged trip to overseas where you carry your work too. You get to make new friends AND enjoy the local sights. If you have been reading about Digital Nomads and want to give it a shot, Remote Year is the obvious choice. It will launch you in to this kind of lifestyle by doing a bit of hand holding. Perfect for newcomers.
You can even perceive it as this way; an opportunity to take a dive in unknown seas. If you can afford it then why not? One of the best things about Remote Year is that their programs have a massive group of around almost 50 to 70 people. So if you are a digital nomad who’s been at this lifestyle for a while but having a difficult time in making friends, then we recommend giving this a shot. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come out of this with new friends and new memories.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea due to its high pricing. But if you really want to work your way around the pricing then you can still enroll in the program while booking your own accommodation to save some money. All in all, Remote Year definitely serves as an excellent springboard for you to start your digital nomad adventures.
Here’s how u/jlengstorf puts it. An excellent insight into what you should really expect Remote Year to be:
‘I’m not affiliated with Remote Year, but I spent a few weeks with them in both Thailand and Vietnam.
I thought the group was fantastic. There were definitely people who kept the party going (I went out a couple times with them and had fun), but there were also a lot of people who were responsible, mature adults who got their work done, had a beer, and called it a night.
I really liked the idea overall. Personally I wouldn’t join because I don’t like not being in charge of my schedule/accommodations, but that’s personal preference.
I think you gain a lot from the community, and I know that several of the RY folks I met have launched new businesses, built solid blog followings, and just generally accomplished a lot in terms of personal development.
However, I think you have to look at RY for what it is: a pre-packaged, year-long, working vacation. It’s not a career development move. It’s not a launchpad to make you rich or internet famous (though you can ride their coattails to get into all the major sites that talk about remote work). It’s not a guarantee of a remote job or a way to make money.
So if you can afford it and the idea of traveling alone freaks you out: do it.
If you’re looking for RY to solve a problem other than, “I want to travel but I don’t want to go alone or sea with booking,” it might let you down.
If you do join, make sure to take some time to travel alone. Big groups tend to create safety bubbles, and if you never leave it you might find that you spend the whole trip without ever experiencing what another culture is actually like. Let RY be a springboard, not a safety blanket.
If you want to simply test the waters first, we suggest subscribing to their annual membership program. For example, if you are in Lima, Peru, you can enroll in the membership program by paying $199 only and get access to a host of activities assisted by Remote Year. You can meet up with the other travelers and socialize with them. This will help you gauge whether Remote Year is worth it or not. In our books, that’s completely reasonable and a pretty solid idea.
Remote Year FAQs
1. Who can participate in Remote Year?
Remote Year is open to individuals who work remotely or have flexible work arrangements. This includes freelancers, remote employees, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and others who can work from anywhere with an internet connection. You can still join without a job. However, this program is specifically curated for working individuals and to instill a sense of community amongst like-minded working people.
2. What is included in the program fee?
The program fee typically covers accommodations, workspace access, travel logistics (flights, transportation between cities), group activities, meals, and support services. Specific inclusions may vary depending on the program.
3. Are flights included in the program fee?
Yes, Remote Year includes flights between program destinations as part of the program fee. This simplifies travel logistics for participants. However, entry and exit flights will not be covered and that will have to be borne by the participants themselves,
4. Can I participate in Remote Year if I have specific dietary restrictions or mobility needs?
Remote Year strives to accommodate dietary restrictions and basic mobility needs, but participants should communicate their specific requirements in advance to ensure a comfortable experience.
5. Can I join Remote Year with my family or pets?
Pets are generally not allowed on the program due to logistical challenges. If you have your own accommodation then you can bring along your pet. However, the designated workspaces and local vendors may still not permit pets.
5. Do different programs or groups cross over during one program at Remote Year?
Absolutely! Remote Year encourages connections between participants, fostering a vibrant community. Whether you’re on a 1-month Program or a Journey, you can expect opportunities to interact with other Remote Year members. Here’s how:
1-Month Program Participants: Even if you’re on a shorter 1-month Program, you can still expect to cross paths with participants from other programs. Remote Year often schedules programs to coincide in the same locations, providing opportunities for interaction.
Journey Participants: Journey participants can also expect to share locations with 1-month Program Participants. This creates a dynamic atmosphere with a diverse group of remote workers and travelers in the same place.
RY Nation: Remote Year’s selected destinations are popular among digital nomads and members of the broader Remote Year community, known as “RY Nation.” As a result, you’re likely to meet other Remote Year members who aren’t on a specific program during your stay in a particular city.
Additional Experiences and Events: Regardless of your program or group, all members are welcome to purchase additional add-on experiences and events each month. These opportunities further enhance your connections and cultural immersion.
Remote Year’s emphasis on community and connection means you’ll have ample chances to meet and network with like-minded individuals, regardless of your specific program or journey.