Some of us aren’t waiting for retirement to visit or live in places that are calling our name.

Nearly half of new teleworkers say they have more schedule flexibility, according to the Pew Research Center. Many have also realized they can work from anywhere—as long as there’s Wi-Fi. (See our feature, “WFW—Work From Wherever.”)

 So where are they working?

The top remote-work application hot spots are smaller towns located near mountains and larger coastal cities, according to findings from LinkedIn. Their data indicates that as of August 2021, 30.2% of all applications to paid U.S. job postings on LinkedIn were for remote work opportunities—more than three times the rate of remote job applications from August 2020 and nearly a 10-fold increase from January 2020.

As far as small cities (defined by the Census Bureau as less than 100,000 residents), these locations had the highest proportion of remote work applications—with a minimum of 25,000—submitted on LinkedIn:

  1. Bend, Oregon: 41.8%
  2. Asheville, North Carolina: 38.7%
  3. Wilmington, Delaware: 35.9%
  4. Johnson City, Tennessee: 35.2%
  5. Eugene, Oregon: 34.9%

Bend, Oregon, a former mill town in central Oregon, drew remote workers even before the pandemic, especially those who love craft beer and outdoor adventure (the town’s close to the Cascade Range). Bend’s co-working spaces support those who need a dedicated desk or a conference room, and its location between San Francisco and Seattle benefits tech workers who need to maintain connections to big-city employers.

For larger cities (at least 100,000 residents), these places had the highest proportion of remote job applications (at least 100,000) submitted on LinkedIn:

  1. Cape Coral, Florida: 33.1%
  2. Charleston, South Carolina: 31.6%
  3. Tampa Bay area, Florida: 29.6%
  4. Jacksonville, Florida: 29.4%
  5. Orlando, Florida: 29.2%

The local economies in the remote hot spots above largely depend on tourism and recreation—industries greatly damaged by the pandemic. Because of this, longtime residents working in these industries began to consider remote work options. Take Orlando, where Disney World is the city’s largest employer. Leisure and hospitality drive the local economy there, which prompted many of its residents to seek remote work.

What does the future hold for remote work? A Pew Research Center survey conducted at the end of 2020 shows that 54% of respondents said they’d want to continue working from home even after the pandemic ends. This trend could increase the number of remote workers who are able to combine work and travel, a community known as digital nomads.

If you’re thinking about taking your job on the road, some experienced remote workers and digital nomads shared a few tips with Search Engine Journal, including recommendations to invest in an external hard drive, a travel router, a mouse pad and wireless ergonomic mouse, noise canceling headphones, a light therapy lamp (for video meetings) and a good laptop bag.

Additional tips include creating a backup plan for internet access, knowing the IT requirements (VPN access, security or data concerns) of your employer and/or client(s), ensuring you can get text notifications for identity verification (important when using two-factor authentication), creating a specific work schedule and space, and remembering to take breaks between tasks.

For more about remote work while traveling, check out these tips from Remote Year, an online remote work community.

Want to work from anywhere?

If you’re interested in combining work with travel, AAA can help.

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