Workation – my experience working from another continent for a month

It has been on my mind for a long time and in winter 2023 I finally did it: I left my home office in Switzerland and switched it for a workation in Thailand for a month. These are my experiences and tips.

View from workation in Thailand

Article by


Laura Antonietti

4 min read19 Dec 2023

What is a workation?

A “workation” is a mix of work and vacation, where professionals balance both seamlessly. It involves blending business with pleasure in new and exciting locations. This trend has become popular, and at Mindnow, we've been embracing it for a while. We've worked from inspiring places like beaches, mountains, and our parents' countryside home.

So, why did I choose this adventure? Well, I have a strong desire to travel, and I’m set up for remote work anyway. While I could also work from the Mindnow offices in Baden or Zurich, I do visit the office only occasionally for meetings with peers and partners. I discovered that I'm most productive working outside the traditional office. Also, commuting from my hometown Basel leaves me with a long train ride. Plus, my partner, who is an IT consultant, also works from home full-time. So, the idea of starting the winter in a place where we could extend our summer vibe was an easy decision for us.

Find out more about Mindnow’s best practices for remote work.

Setting the stage

Picking our getaway wasn't a straightforward decision. First, there were our two cats – deciding who'd take care of them and for how long was the initial challenge. Also, being new to the concept of workations as a couple raised uncertainties. Would we enjoy it? Could we keep up our work momentum on the move? Maintaining the quality and quantity of our work was a must. So, we bravely opted for a one-way ticket, leaving the return date open-ended, aiming for roughly a month.

Then came the choice of location. We needed a place where time zones aligned with our Swiss working hours, spanning from 8 am to 7 pm. Anything within a 7-hour time difference was manageable. Since we preferred working in the afternoon and evening, we headed eastward.

Hunting for hot weather took us from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia. Our checklist included internet infrastructure, comfortable accommodations, easy travel, safety, tasty food, and, of course, enjoyable activities. Oh, and my golden rule – no location was considered without a beach.

As for the final destination, having been to Thailand before, and with insights from previous visits, we chose it as our workation spot.

View over Thailand with an infinity pool
Image Source: Laura Antonietti

Location, location, location

Now, let's discuss our plan – the strategy for our adventure. It was clear that sticking to a single location wouldn't do; we craved variety, a mix of experiences. While I'm a beach enthusiast, my partner prefers city vibes. So, we aimed for a balance between urban adventures and sandy shores. Here's the rundown:

We began with a few days in Bangkok to ease into things – a bustling city to orient ourselves.

Next up: Chiang Mai, a relaxed week up north to immerse ourselves in the city's charm and culture.

After that, beachy paradise awaited us first in Phuket and then in Koh Lanta for a solid two weeks of sand, sea, and sunshine.

For our last week, we planned an actual vacation, some off time. We stayed open and spontaneous in our choice since we wanted the perfect weather conditions. This was tricky though! We booked a hotel in Koh Lipe because, on the west side of Thailand, there was a dry season. Our plans were crossed though, by a big storm on the entire west side. So we went to Koh Samui instead and then added 5 days in Hong Kong to quench our last adventure thirst.

Now, the real challenge – finding the perfect workation nests. Since we usually work in separate rooms due to endless meetings, we needed accommodations with two fully equipped workspaces. Think comfortable chairs, proper desks, lightning-fast internet (a must), air conditioning for comfort, and a small kitchen with a fridge for essential refueling.

But that's not all; our ideal digs had to offer a mix of tranquility and vibrant surroundings. And, of course, we had to consider our budget – somewhere between 50 and 80 $ per night. Our detective work led us to Airbnb, where we used some clever filters: “House or Apartment”, “Internet access”, “air conditioning”, “working station”, a maximum budget for one week, and ratings of 4,5 stars and above.

To be honest, the options that met our criteria weren't exactly abundant. So, we had to juggle a bit with check-in and check-out dates, but in the end, we secured some really good places.

Balancing work and leisure

Let me tell you more about our workation routine. Finding a rhythm that suited both of us was a bit challenging initially, given that my partner and I had different approaches to work. Here's how we managed to find our balance:

For me, the key was creating a relaxed morning routine. I'd start the day with coffee and some reading, followed by exercise around 10 am – whether it was hitting the gym, swimming, snorkeling, or strolling along the beach. Afterward, I'd enjoy the sun with a good book until 1 pm, when it was time to satisfy my hunger. Around 1:30 or 2 pm, I'd kickstart work, just as most of my colleagues were waking up. This gave me a solid 1,5 to 2 hours of highly productive solo work time. After about 6 hours of work, my partner and I would take a break for dinner. At 9 pm, we'd dive back into work for another 3 hours. By midnight, it was time for me to unwind with a book and head to bed.

Now, for my partner, the rhythm was a bit different. His peak working hours were from 10 am to 3 pm, followed by a break until 6 pm. Then, he'd resume work until 8 pm, when our nightly dining adventure began. After refueling, he'd continue working until around midnight, wrapping up the day's tasks.

As for our ambitious plans for day trips, we imagined exploring the week away. However, in reality, we only embarked on two half-day adventures. They turned out to drain our energy and make us less productive for work. On weekends we would tour around though: either just enjoying the surroundings, or doing some action-packed day tours – be it temple-hopping, diving, or island adventures. Surprisingly, weekends became the high points of our workation, even surpassing the excitement of weekends back home!

Green view through a window
Image Source: Laura Antonietti

Challenges and solutions

There were some smaller issues, like working in a hot environment when the AC wasn't working and dealing with annoying, hungry mosquitoes. Power shortages leading to no electricity, which meant no light or internet, also gave us a bit of trouble. And then there were none-work-related problems, like accidents – a broken toe, a bad flu, and some stomach issues from food. Despite all that, we didn't let it shake our resolve to stick it out and go back home. It's all about keeping a positive mindset and adapting to whatever comes our way.

Productivity insights

What I discovered is that this workation didn't significantly affect my productivity, neither positively nor negatively. However, I did notice a boost in my creativity. Normally, I'm not too keen on writing blog articles, but during the second week in Phuket, I suddenly felt the urge and ended up writing three articles.

Another noticeable difference was in my energy levels throughout the day. We adopted a local eating approach, focusing on smaller portions, mostly vegetables and light meat – fewer carbs compared to our usual diet of bread and noodles back home. This eating habit seemed to contribute to staying energized and focused throughout the day. We didn't experience those post-meal energy crashes that sometimes hit after a heavy lunch or dinner, the kind that makes you want to just lay down on the couch for a quick nap.


For those considering a workation, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Opting for a familiar place where you feel safe and have the necessary infrastructure makes a lot of sense. If you're anything like me, being in a completely new location that you can't fully explore because of work commitments during the week can be a bit of torture.

The key factor is your internet connection, so ensure that your chosen accommodation offers fast internet. It's a good idea to ask for a screenshot of the speed test before booking, and anything under 150 Mbps might leave you frustrated. Also, make sure you have enough workspace. A sofa and a side table won't do it since you'll be spending a significant part of your day in your work spot. To create a perfect working environment, bring what you can to feel comfortable working. We brought our laptops, extra keyboards, mice, cameras, along with multi-plugs. Bringing an extra screen wasn't feasible for us, but some accommodations offered to provide one. While we mostly used the accommodation's wifi, there were times when we worked elsewhere, such as closer to the beach. For that, we downloaded an e-sim with an unlimited 5G connection, which proved to be reliable. We used the Airolo app to download the e-sim, paying 19,90 $ for 15 days.

For those who like to be around other people and who like to have a more proper working setup, there are multiple co-working spaces in countries like Thailand, Mexico, and other more common workation spots. You can get a really good deal for a proper office with fast internet, complimentary water, coffee, and fruits. We did not use any of those options, but we saw some beginning from 5 $ per day.


All in all, our workation was a great experience and I would do it again any time. In fact, we are planning to return to Thailand in February for another 3 weeks workation!

Image Source: Laura Antonietti

Pro-tip for Minds who like to go on workation with access to a nicely equipped workstation and colleagues to chat with: You can always visit our offices in Belgrade or Catania.