Hi! I’m Arielle, and from September through December, I lived in Latin America while working remotely at BuzzFeed.

Arielle Calderon

I did this through a program called Remote Year, and each month, 25 of us lived in a new city/country. Here are all the things I learned from my travel experience!

Arielle Calderon

1. Remote Year is essentially study abroad for working professionals.

Arielle Calderon

What exactly is Remote Year? It’s a travel program you apply for which allows you to work remotely and live in a different country each month. Applicants already have a job or freelance work going into the program. So no, Remote Year does not supply you with income or a job. I still worked at BuzzFeed and wrote about travel. Some people worked in advertising, some in HR, some in art design, etc (all different companies). Each RY program usually has anywhere from 20-70 people per group.

2. Normally you pay for the program yourself and ask your employer to approve it. BUT in rare instances, you can potentially build a case for your employer to front the bill.

Dan Gold / Via Instagram: @danielcgold

The latter is not common and pretty hard to convince, but it can be done! Whether it’s helping your company grow internationally, doing seminars in different countries, or anything that will benefit your employer, that’s something to bring up. But typically, you still have to get your manager and HR on your side just to allow you to participate.

3. And once you apply and put down a deposit, the RY team will help you try to convince your job to let you do the program.

Arielle Calderon

If your job says no and you don’t have other remote opportunities, you can get your deposit back. Really no loss. If you inquire about joining, ask the Program Consultant about this.

*But if you don’t need employer approval to do Remote Year, then the down payment is non-refundable.

4. You don’t actually have to do RY for an entire year — you can participate in the 4-month program.

5. Included in the cost is housing, a co-working space, flights/transportation between each city, and several local activities.


Most people give up their apartments when joining Remote Year, so not paying that monthly rent cost (especially in major cities) definitely softens the financial blow of the program. There’s also a down payment (prices vary depending on which itinerary you choose), but you’re also saving a lot of money by living in typically cheaper cities and countries.

6. But you DO have to pay for your initial flight out and your flight home.

Paramount Pictures

Still good considering you don’t have to pay for any of the flights in between, especially since the program spans from South America, to Europe, to Asia.

Pro tip: Get yourself a good travel credit card (even better if it comes with Priority Pass/lounge access) and add your frequent flyer numbers to all your flights. I personally recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve.

7. All the housing was actually way nicer than I was expecting. I figured it would be like a questionable hostel situation, but it was nothing like that.

Arielle Calderon

Before you travel to each city, you fill out a survey with your living preferences (women only, private bathroom, 1-2 roommates max, washer + dryer, etc). Every apartment has private rooms, reliable WiFi, towels, linens, and cookware. Most accommodations also have a doorman and are located within 20 minutes walking distance of the workspace. All of your roommates are other Remote Year members on your program, and everyone is usually in close proximity to each other. So the beauty of Remote Year is that all of this is handled for you and you don’t have to do research or worry about finding accommodations.

8. And the co-working spaces were generally nice and similar to (if not) WeWork.

Arielle Calderon

There are private spaces, phone booths, common areas, etc. Most of the offices we worked out of were spacious, stylish, had 24-hour access, and had reliable WiFi. You can of course choose to work from home some days, but the office is open to your disposal as needed.

9. You spend one month in each city on your itinerary, and each place has a city team to guide you.

Arielle Calderon

You’ll have an experience manager who is in charge of things like creating events, giving recommendations, and helping with language barriers. You’ll aslo have an operations manager who’s in charge of fixing your apartment issues, getting your SIM cards, and other living logistics. They are super helpful and can help you make the most of your 30-ish days.

10. And if you want friends to come stay with you? No problem, but you do have a limit of 10 days visitation per month.

Arielle Calderon

You’ll have to register your visitors with your apartment building. They limit the number of days per month because it wouldn’t be fair to your roommates nor the other RY members paying the full cost.

11. Remote Year has something called “tracks,” which are weekday and weekend activities planned for the group (at no cost).

Arielle Calderon

In every city, there is one big weekend track, which can range from white water rafting, to sand-boarding and riding dune buggies in the desert oasis, to hiking mountains and chilling at a pool. The weekday activities usually take place after work hours and consist of something unique to the local culture. For instance, in Mexico City, we went to a Lucha Libre match. In Lima, we did a cooking class and made lomo saltado!

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