How Remote Year Empowers Digital Nomads to Travel and Still Get Paid

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Wish you could travel more? If so, you’re not alone. According to Expedia MediaSolutions, millennials travel 35 days per year on average — more than any other age group. And if you’re like me, even that amount of travel likely isn’t enough to satisfy your wanderlust.

For many millennials, such as Janet Barton, the only thing holding them back is the number of vacation days they have at work.

“I’d love to travel more, but I have to balance that with the fact that I only get 10 paid vacation days a year,” Barton said. “My boss lets me work from home sometimes, and I’d really like to explore more opportunities for remote work.”

If you’re interested in working while traveling, Remote Year might be the solution you’re seeking.

What is Remote Year?

Remote Year is a company that provides professionals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs a chance to travel abroad while they’re working and earning money. You live in a city, using housing and coworking arrangements set up by the company for a month, and at the end of the allotted time, you move on to a new city. With its year-long program, you’d live in 12 cities across the globe.

Remote Year started by offering only 12-month programs. It now provides four-month stints for people who find it too difficult (or too expensive) to get away for a full year.

“I was able to experience new countries while still building my business,” said Ashe Whitener, a Remote Year participant.

Even though Whitener dropped out of the 12-month program partway, he found value in having someone else make all his travel and living arrangements so that he had time to focus on growing his business called Liberty Entrepreneurs.

“Originally, I wasn’t comfortable traveling in Asia on my own, without any experience,” Whitener said. “Remote Year takes care of everything you need to get settled so you can focus on what matters.”

In addition to setting you up and arranging your travel, the company also offers three experiences each month, providing you with a chance to get a feel for the local flavor.

Plus, you have access to an instant community, according to Lauren Duffield, who participated in the Remote Year program. “Being surrounded by like-minded, ambitious people helped me move forward in my career,” she said. “I also made lifelong friends.”

How much does the Remote Year program cost?

“You really need a source of income if you want to do Remote Year,” said Whitener. “It’s kind of pricey, although for what you get, it’s not a terrible deal.”

It costs $2,000 a month to participate, whether you choose a 12-month or four-month itinerary. The 12-month itinerary requires an upfront payment of $5,000, part of which is applied to the last month’s fee. There’s an upfront payment of $3,000 for a four-month stint.

Here’s what you get for your money:

  • Access to a 24/7 coworking space within 30 minutes’ walking distance of your housing
  • Educational and cultural activities in your locality
  • Transportation between the first and last cities on the itinerary
  • A private, furnished room (you might have to share a house or apartment)
  • Access to local and traveling support staff

Beyond the excursions, you’re responsible for your food and entertainment. Whitener and Duffield pointed out that having a built-in community of participants provided plenty of opportunities to find people to do things with.

“You’re really paying for convenience and travel in a lot of these cities,” Whitener said.

He abandoned the program after falling in love with Chiang Mai, Thailand. He stayed back and divided the last eight months between Chiang Mai, a haven for digital nomads, and traveling through Indonesia.

“I’ve been able to live really well, having a place of my own and never cooking my own food, for about $600 or $700 a month,” Whitener said. “If you aren’t afraid to make your own arrangements and you learn the city, it’s easy to live on much less than $2,000 a month in many Asian, Eastern European, and Latin American countries.”

Can you have a regular job and do Remote Year?

“I’d say that most of the participants in my cohort had traditional jobs,” said Whitener. “And Remote Year played a role in helping them present the benefits of telecommuting to their employers.”

That’s right — the company will help you build a case to persuade your employer to let you work from anywhere. However, you do need a job that relies on technology and your ability to work on your own.

Here’s a breakdown of the jobs that Remote Year participants had in October 2017:

participate in Remote Year with a traditional job

Image credit: Remote Year

Duffield said access to reliable, high-speed internet was key to helping her maintain her income throughout the program as a part-time consultant for an app company and as an entrepreneur. Weekly calls using the Zoom app kept her on task, and she regularly used the coworking space provided.

“Working remotely is the only way I can imagine my future,” said Duffield. “Although, I think I’d like to stay in one place longer than a month.”

How to apply for Remote Year

Applying for the program is relatively easy. After hitting the prominent “get started” button on the company’s website and entering your name and email, you’re asked a series of questions about your work situation and income.

Remote Year makes it clear that it isn’t an employer. Instead, you’re paying for the experience it provides, so the company wants to make sure you’re a good fit. If you mark that you’re unemployed, you receive a warning like the one below, saying Remote Year expects you to make a plan to afford the program.

Remote year requires a professional plan

After you answer the screening questions and if it deems you to be a good fit, Remote Year asks you to schedule a 10-to-15-minute call to speak with a representative. Only after the phone call will you be accepted into the program.

Is Remote Year worth it?

For the most part, Duffield said, Remote Year was a positive experience and well worth the cost. She found the program a great way to get a feel for world travel while working.

Whitener was a little more ambivalent about the benefits. He wished there were more entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and side-hustlers looking for a flexible lifestyle in his cohort. He said he found the lifestyle too confining and structured for his tastes.

And Barton? She’s intrigued by the four-month option if she can save up for the deposit. That’s something her boss might let her do since much of her work is ideal for a remote setup.

“It looks expensive, but I like that it’s practically all-inclusive,” said Barton, a manager of operations and planning for a company in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “With instant friends and everything done for you, it looks like a good fit for someone like me.”

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.