Has telecommuting changed the travel landscape? | Way of life

While some employees are returning to the office this year, many others are continuing to work remotely indefinitely. This seismic shift has changed where people live and work and, increasingly, how they travel.

In the first quarter of 2022, nearly 25% of job postings at the 50,000 largest companies in the U.S. and Canada were for permanent remote positions, according to job listing service Ladders. That’s up from just 4% before the pandemic.

“It’s allowed us to extend our commutes, leave earlier and work at different times,” says Kirsten Reckman, a credit risk manager in Tampa, Fla., who works remotely. “My boss is very accommodating as long as the job gets done.”

Reckmen’s experience reflects a broader trend. According to a report by Deloitte, an international professional services network, one in five travelers plans to work on the road this summer. Of these so-called “laptops”, 4 out of 5 plan to increase the length of their trips due to flexibility of schedule.

Growth of vacation tripsRemote work blurs the line between business and personal travel. Instead of rarely leaving home for vacations, remote employees can travel whenever they want. It could turn long-standing travel trends on its head.

“Many travelers who have this option are choosing to combine telecommuting with travel for a change of scenery and maximizing PTO,” explains Mark Crossey, travel expert at Skyscanner, the search engine and travel agency. “The job allows people with flexible home-work lives to become ‘half-tourists’ for a period of time.”

That’s the kind of freedom Lisa Wikstrom, an Arizona mortgage underwriter who now works from around the world with just one suitcase, likes.

For the tourism industry, these nomads offer huge opportunities. Remote employees can spend far more time—and money—in remote locations. However, leisure travelers don’t fit the typical tourist mold.

Travel days vary Before the pandemic, it was expensive to fly on weekends and cheaper during the week. All this can change with remote work.

According to travel booking app Hopper, the cost of domestic flights on Sundays and Mondays increased by 5.90% and 2.97% respectively in 2022 compared to 2019, while the cost of flights on Fridays and Saturdays decreased by 3.04% and 1.60%. It is now cheaper to fly on Saturday than on Monday.

In addition, remote employees can make longer trips during busy holidays, smoothing out the “peak” on peak travel dates.

The industry is adapting During the pandemic, many workers fled the big cities, flooding the suburbs and rural areas. But telecommuting has changed the calculus more dramatically for some, freeing up budgets to allow for more travel.

A lower cost of living and tax breaks mean more freedom for some remote workers. And some companies are seeing a potential windfall.

Airbnb, the vacation rental platform, reports that the number of long-term stays (more than 28 days) doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019. The company even introduced an “I’m flexible” search feature for travelers who don’t need to return to office on a certain date.

Remote work is here No longer limited to vacation days and returning from a trip by Monday, remote workers have changed the travel landscape, perhaps forever. While executives continue to puzzle over plans to return to work, remote employees are happy to send emails from afar.

“I think about office politics and baby showers and all that,” Wikstrom says with a shudder. “I can’t even imagine doing it all again.”

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