What is Remote Year? [2019 • HONEST REVIEW]

If you are here I have a sneaking suspicion you are wondering… what is Remote Year?! 

Here’s the deal. 

In essence, Remote Year is a travel program for Digital Nomads or other traveling professional.  Simply put, it’s an alternative lifestyles that combines work, freedom and some epic travels!

But is Remote Year worth it? How does it work? Where does it go?

Don’t worry – we answer all of your questions (and more!) so you know exactly if Remote Year is for you or not!

 

Remote Year is VERY real and tons of fun

In theory, this depends on your philosophy towards reality, conscious experience and the space time continuum. But, we’re going to keep things simple with a hearty YES! Remote Year is as real as you or me.

“So IF it’s legit and something I should totally consider doing, why have I not heard of it before”?

Here’s the deal.

While Remote Year is gaining in popularity, it is also relatively new. It was only launched in 2014, by Greg Caplan and Sam Pessin; both of whom wanted to find a solution to the time old dilemma faced by travellers – how to travel with friends who have completely different work schedules?

Is Remote Year Legit?

Wondering if Remote Year is the real deal? Read on...

100%. Since it’s history, Remote Year has expanded from catering to just 75 participants a year to include 500 travelling professionals across 6 programmes.

Dayum! In total, they’ve clocked well over 150,000 working hours in 25 totally different countries. And they’re still gaining momentum. How the hell is this possible?

Thanks in no small part to the rave reviews they received, Remote Year has been able to form strong alliances with 100+ companies and 20+ Fortune Companies who have their employees on Remote Year.

What on earth does all this mean? A shit ton more capital! For example, Highland Capital Partners have invested $12 million in Remote Year. Remote Year have also received investments from Jesse Middleton co-founder of WeWorkLabs, and Nate Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb.

With the new funding they’ve been able to double on providing the best infrastructure, programming and communities for the Remote Year as well as grow the team and provide additional training.

Remote Year takes you around the world - there's no shortage of awesomeness

Applications for the first Remote Year only opened in December 2014 – but within just three days there were already 3,000 applications from curious would be digital nomads as well as 15 companies that were interested in hiring workers who participated in the program.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015 and Remote Year facilitated the first program for 75 participants. Competition had been fierce. Over 25,000 people had applied from 40 different countries.

The first Remote Year excursion began in cheery Prague and then sprung on to ancient Ljubljana, before leaping forth to sunny Cavtat with it’s snowy white sand beaches.

Next came the East & West cultural mish mash splendour of Istanbul, before a total change of scene (and continent) with jungle surrounded Penang in Malaysia.

Remote Year crew on the trail!

Temples began to spring up left right and centre with Ko Pha-ngan before they clung to mighty mountains overlooking Hanoi. Then, came the peaceful serenity of Kyoto.

After this, it was time to hop continents once more, all the way over to South America, starting with fiesta filled Buenos Aires then moseying on down to beautiful Montevideo and friendly Santiago. The final resting place of this travel year, was the vibrant and exciting city of Lima in Peru.

Since then, Remote Year has run every year and now applicants have more options than ever, being able to customise their Remote Year by choosing from a number of different itineraries varying in length (4 – 12 months) and different continents available to visit.

How Does Remote Year Work?

What is the Remote Year Structure?

Over the duration of a Remote Year (or Remote 6 Months / Remote 4 Months, depending on which program you choose) you’ll visit a major city of a different country every month and stay there (alongside out of city excursions) to work (remotely, duh!), engage in new cultural experiences, explore and live.

That’s a pretty neat combo. The coolest aspect of it? You choose the ratio. The entire ethos of Remote Year is flexibility and freedom, so no one’s going to tell you how to spend your time in each city.

On Remote Year you can work (or play!) as hard as you'd like

You get to a new city and want to work your ass off? Hustle on dude!

You get to a new city and want to take a month completely off and travel your ass off? Live it up!

That’s the beauty of the program.

You’ll be provided with all of the necessary resources, tools and services to make exploration, work and living a breeze.

That’s right – the itinerary, travel logistics and events are all organised for you by the dedicated Remote Year team. Giving you more time to focus on exploring and/or getting shit done.

You’ll experience all of this alongside some 74 other participants. You still have your own private, meticulously furnished accomodation but it’ll be in the same building or group of buildings together.

This is fantastic for the sense of community that develops between work away groups with long lasting bonds being formed with people you’d have never met otherwise.

David went on Remote Year for a year in 2018/2019

What Exactly is Provided for me on a Remote Year?

Travel Logistics, Booking, Events & Activities – Perhaps the only downside of zipping through the sky to far flung destinations, kicking back in luxury hotels with epic views and embarking on new cultural excursions is the actual research and organization that goes into making them possible.

With an immense scope of online travel resources, now more than ever, many travellers feel a mandatory obligation to put X amount of time researching the countless options that they can throw into their travel itinerary.

Even if a travel option, destination, event or some other experiences instantly appears to be the obvious choice, many travellers actually report feeling lazy if they book it instantly.

Remote Year gives you access to a large support base of like-minded traveling professionals

After all, they should at least spend several hours researching the alternatives, if for no other reason than to confirm that the initial choice was indeed the best one…right?

Wrong! Remote Year Workers can rest assured that they will embark upon a kickass itinerary, participate in incredible events that are as varied as they are exciting and get the absolute best bang for their buck with everywhere they stay, everything they do and all of the nitty gritty travel details in between.

All without having to so much as open Google!

Why? Because Remote Year are a certified travel company with years experience of doing this kind of thing.

They will arrange all of the travel booking, accomodation, the entire itinerary, other travel logistics and events, so you don’t have to.  It’s literally their job. So let them do that, whilst you do yours, stress, research and organisation free.

Unleash Surf
Remote Year is designed for Digital Nomads - good WiFi is priority #1

24/7 Work Access: A defining feature of the Remote Year structure is being able to combine travel with work.

But as anyone who’s ever been a Digital Nomad can vouch for, this isn’t always easy in some corners of the world. Poor wifi can wreak havoc on online productivity.

Fortunately, for Remote Year workers this won’t be the case. Remote Year have a partner work space in every one of the cities you’ll visit during your itinerary.

These work spaces are never more than a 30 minute walk from where you’ll be staying, making wandering on down to them a perfect way to start the day.

Specially designed with the Digital Nomad in mind, they include facilities like private call rooms, work desks, meditation rooms, beanbags, printers, copiers, coffee making facilities, outside lounges – basically everything you need to be super productive.

Plus, the majority of these work spaces, also have special dedicated sections where only Remote Year workers can go. #exclusivity

The accommodation can be pretty sweet (shot in Medellin, Colombia)

Private Room Accommodation – No more painful awakening in dorms at  3am to the sound of frat bros in a yelling competition mere feet from your concrete “bed”.

Remote Year guarantees that in every destination at which you stay, you’ll have your own private room in a fully furnished apartment where you’re fellow Remote Yearers are staying. Cushty.

You can dart back and forth between rooms socialising, frolicing and fornicating or retreat to your own room to shut the entire world off and get some down time.

There's no lack of (included!) events when you join Remote Year

Social, Professional and Positive Impact Events – Remote Year will organise a spectacular variety of events and activities. Roughly these fit into three categories:

  • Professional Events – Such as Networking, Collaboration and Brainstorm sessions. At least one of the reasons you’re on a Remote Year is to work, right?

It therefore makes sense that you get some opportunity to broaden your professional horizons, network and accomplic itinerary.

The great thing about doing this in a Remote Year Setting? You’ll be attending these events with other like minded people in the same current professional and social situation as you, who you can continue to bounce around ideas with for the next year!

  • Social Events – Examples!? You might end up climbing a mountain to get a new perspective of the city…only to realise you just got a new perspective of…*sniff*… yourself.

You could idly wander through a colourful night market losing yourself in the tranquel lights and all of your brand new friends who are about to give you the best price (shhh, don’t tell anyone else!).

Or maybe you’re more into reducing your natural life span by several years with the mother-of-all-bar-crawls.

You’ll never have to choose, because all of these options and many more will be meticulously organised for you by Remote Year.

  • Positive Impact Initiatives – Remote Year firmly believe in giving back to the amazing destinations that they feature on each itinerary. Each program is committed to fundraising, volunteering and other positive impact initiatives.

Get a whole new cultural insight into the less-pretty side of where you are visiting and strive to make a beautiful change.

Remote Year Staff are always there to help

Dedicated Staff – From the moment you apply for Remote Year you’ll be assisted by a dedicated team who will happily answer all questions as well as assist with choosing the best possible program for you.

A program leader travels with each Remote Year group for the entire duration of the itinerary and is on hand to assist with any and every issue in addition to maintaining a kickass community spirit.

As well as this, in each Remote Year Destination there’s a local city team waiting to assist with absolutely anything, from apartment issues to the best street food to buy .

Extra Perks – Once you join Remote Year, even after you finish your trip…you stay in Remote Year.

If, for example you want to make a side trip or book a flight home, Remote Year is a fully accredited travel company who will help you get the best flights available outside of your Remote Year itinerary.

Plus, after you’ve completed four months with Remote Year or your program ends, you’ll go on to become a Remote Year Citizen.

What does this mean? It means having lifelong access to special discounts and opportunities only available to those within the Remote Year nation. You’ll also get to attend frequent reunions with your Remote Year Nation Comrades.

Where is Remote Year Based?

Since it was first developed, Remote Year has come on a considerable way. The flexibility it offers participants is now greater than ever:

Remote Years currently offers programmes lasting 4, 6 and 12 months. The 12 month itinerary still includes cities in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

However, one can now also embark on a 6 month itinerary around Europe, Africa and Latin America or a 4 month Itinerary around either Europe & Africa, Latin America or Asia Pacific.

12 of the major cities you are likely to encounter on your Remote Year are:

Latin America

  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Lima, Peru

Europe & Africa

  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Split, Croatia
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Cape Town, South Africa

Asia Pacific

  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
Some of the destinations are epic

Do I have to stick to the Remote Year Itinerary?

Nope! That’d defeat the freedom-loving ethos of Remote Year. If a particular destination really takes your fancy and you want to stay on a little longer or if you want to take a week detour, that’s no problem.

You can do just that and rendevouz with the rest of the group at a later date.

If you want to take a whole month out, your monthly cost will be reduced. You’ll still have to pay a small amount to keep your space open, but it won’t be as much..

How much does Remote Year Cost?

Below we break down the actual Remote Year costs’ by trip duration.

If you want to get more in depth with prices, check out our epic guide – How Much Does Remote Year Cost – we break everything down so you understand EXACTLY what you are paying for  🙂

12 Months – (Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific)

• Down payment: $5,000

• Monthly Payment: $2,000

 

6 Months (Europe, Africa & Latin America)

• Down Payment: $4000

• Monthly Payment: $2,250

 

4 Months (Europe & Asia)

• Down Payment: $3,500

• Monthly Payment: $2,250

 

4 Months (Latin America)

• Down Payment: $3,500

• Monthly Payment: $2,250

 

4 Months (Asia Pacific):

• Down Payment: $3500

• Monthly Payment: $2,250 

How does Remote Year make money?

Pssssttt. It’s you! You need only refer to the previous section: how much does Remote Year cost, to see that Remote Year, like any other rational and self respecting travel company makes its money via payments from its clients.

And it’s really that simple. There’s no secret angel, loophole or “surprise motherfucker”! secret pay demanded half way through.

In return, Remote Year provide stellar service, logistics organisation and personal assistance, all of which have gained them the still rapidly accelerating reputation they have today.

Can I read some Remote Year reviews?

We’re glad you asked because there’s not much better a way to research something than by reading reviews from people who have actually lived, breathed and experienced it first hand.

Nomads Nation Founder Aaron Radcliffe actually interviewed 7 Remote Year Citizens to get their BRUTALLY honest Remote Year Reviews!

How do I apply for Remote Year?

The first step to joining a Remote Year is to complete a Remote Year application. If you are deemed a good candidate, you’ll be asked to schedule a consultation with a member of the Remote Year program placement team.

This still doesn’t count as a commitment to joint the program. Instead, it’s merely a chance for you and Remote Year to get to know one another better.

Plus, you’ll be able to get answers to any burning questions that you may have (although obviously they’ve all been answered in this hulk of a Nomads Nations article).

Next, after talking about your budget and current personal & professional situations, as well as how Remote Year could help you grow in both these areas, the program placement consultant will decide which program is best for you.

Only then, will you be asked to make a downpayment, which varies according to which program you embark on. And then: badabing badaboom! You’ll receive your confirmation. You’re in. It has begun.

Cassie Loewen joined Remote Yearin 2018 - check out her photography - https://www.cassieloewen.com

Is Remote Year worth it?

Now there’s a fine question. 

Obviously, we think Remote Year is an incredible way to broaden your horizons, meet new people and experience the world, all whilst continuing to develop your location independent profession in the perfect environment to do this.

However, everyone’s psychological, physical and social needs are different. So are their budgets, careers and preferred lifestyle. Ultimately, the only one can truly answer this question accurately is you.

As with most things in life, it’s best not to listen to anyone else and instead follow your heart. But let’s help your heart speak up a little louder, by neutrally summing up the main pros and cons of Remote Year:

Pros of Remote Year:

  • Lasting Friendships and a Sense of True Community

Consistently, those who review Remote Year, say that one of the greatest parts of the whole experience is travelling as part of such a tightly knit group for so long.

Because everything is organised for you, you’ll avoid the drama and tension that can sometimes arise when you travel with friends whilst simultaneously trying to organise everything.

When you embark on a Remote Year, you’ll form strong, boundless and lasting friendships. You’ll meet people from all different backgrounds, cultures and philosophies – you’ll learn about them and they might just teach you about you.

  • Stress & Research Free Travel

Everything from travel logistics, accomodation, events to itinerary is organised for you by a reputable and highly knowledgeable travel company: Remote Year.

You can relax and soak up the experience in it’s full entirety without having to worry about organising or researching it. This is without a doubt as easy as travel gets.

  • Work Remotely

It’s the career dream; work from where you want, when you want, how you want.

In addition to providing you with all the necessary resources and facilities to make remote work a breeze, Remote Year will bring you into contact with like minded individuals, expanding your networking horizons.

Because you stay in each destination for a month, you have ample time to settle into a strong work routine whilst also being able to explore your new home.

  • Incredible Itinerary and Events

Did we mention that Remote Year are a formidable travel company? Ok, we did. Last time, we swear! But we really want to hammer this critical point home.

In addition to getting all your itinerary prearranged, you can rest assured knowing that the destinations you visit, the events you embark upon and the structure of your trip is going to be truly top rate, because it’s organised by professionals. Remote. Year. Know. Their. Shit.

  • You get to join the Remote Year Nation!

By the time you’ve completed your Remote Year you’ll have formed boundless friends of a lifetime, people from all walks of life who you’d never have come into contact with otherwise.

In addition to having frequent reunions with your fellow Remote Year comrades, you also get access to exclusive travels offers and deals from Remote Year.

RY takes you to some pretty amazing destinations

Cons of Remote Year:

  • Fixed Itinerary

Although there’s the potential to take periods of time out from the Remote Year itinerary and events aren’t mandatory, you don’t get to choose the destinations visited, whilst you’re travelling as part of the group. Nor can you pick the activities. This can be frustrating for some.

It’s also important to note that the locations are all major cities. If you’re more of a country-bumpkin, then the Remote Year itinerary may not be for you.

  • Costly

Although you don’t need to be on stockbroker wages to go on Remote Year, it also ain’t cheap. It’s worth noting that during a Remote Year you don’t pay the rent, gas and electricity bills you would if you stayed at home.

But when accounting for Remote Year fees and food costs you’ll still probably struggle to do it on less than a $37,000 a year salary.

  • Leaving loved ones behind

The number of applicants for Remote Year far exceeds the number of places available. This in itself should speak volumes about the quality of experience provided but it does make it difficult to travel with partners.

At this time, Remote Year does not accommodate for children or pets, so there’s no way you’ll get to travel with them even if they apply…

For some people, home sickness and separation from loved ones can eventually become too much of a psychological obstacle to overcome.

However, at least with Remote Year, you can now go for as short a period as just 4 months.

Get your surf on in Cape Town!

Are there any Remote Year Alternatives?

You better believe that there are! We’ve assigned them their very own article. Check out our guide to the 21 COOLEST Remote Year Alternatives.

What is Remote Year: Conclusion

Ok, Nomads of the Nation. By now, you’ll be well and truly empowered with everything you could possibly know on what the hell a Remote Year is, how it works, and whether or not it’s right for you.

It’s undeniable that Remote Year seems awesome… and it’s undeniable that if you’ve made it this far down the article tht you are VERY interested….

So what are you waiting for?

Travel on, Nomad. 

Best of Nomads Nation…

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Noodle crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -