What is Remote Year, How Much Does it Cost & Can I Afford it?

You’ve probably seen us on Facebook, scrolled through our epic Instagram feed or heard people talking about us in a local coffee shop. Remote Year is all over the place — literally we’re all over the world! Remote Year is making it easy for people to work while traveling, and I’m lucky enough to be a part of the team who handpicks the legends who make up our communities. Our team goes through thousands of applications a day and talks to hundreds of amazing people from all over the world. To help you better understand Remote Year and the costs associated with it, I’m going to drop some knowledge.

What is Remote Year?

Remote Year is a platform for location independent workers or aspiring location independent workers to take their remote job and travel and work around the world for a year, spending one month in each city. Each program is a community of like-minded yet interestingly different individuals from around the globe. These communities wouldn’t be complete without the Remote Year staff, consisting of Program Leaders who travel with you for the year, local Experience Managers and other RY staff who are, ironically, working remotely alongside the community to help create a kick-ass year.

Community: When you join Remote Year, you join the community of hundreds of people from around the world with different backgrounds, industries and of all ages who have something in common. They unite over the freedom to work and travel the world. This community is what we call our Remote Nation. Our nation is the backbone of Remote Year and the amazing people perpetuating this epic movement forward!

Remote Year Cousteau’s Positive Impact event- School Refurbish in Buenos Aires

How Much Does Remote Year Cost?

The cost of the program is broken down to a US$5,000 down payment which is used to secure your spot on a program. Each month while on the program, you pay US$2,000 (for 11 months) which covers five main things:

  • All travel between countries (travel to the first destination and home are on your own)
  • Private bedroom in an apartment or hotel
  • 24/7 access to a workspace with WiFi
  • Professional/Cultural/Social events & experiences
  • Exclusive Remote Year discounts in each city

| So, you’re just a glorified travel agent? What do I get out of this?

In addition to these five main things, we believe our value-add is two-fold:

  1. COMMUNITY is the core of our program. The most intangible benefit of Remote Year is the group of interesting and intelligent people you get to spend a year traveling with, living beside and learning from (and believe me, these people are amazing. We hand pick them ourselves *brushes shoulder off*).
  2. CONVENIENCE of not having to plan for a year of travel, accommodation, workspaces, reliable internet, and social activities so you can focus on work and enjoy the cities you are living in.
Remote Year Darien showing their Bollywood dance skills at the Prague farewell event

Can I Afford It?

This is an important question that should be thought about before you even apply for Remote Year (and if you’re scramblin’ to afford the $50 second round application fee, I would pay close attention to this part).

Think of Remote Year as trading in your rent, utilities and bills for a year of living, traveling and working around the world. We want to set you up for success both personally and professionally throughout the year — this includes being able to live comfortably day-to-day. We’re not going to hold your hand and tell you what to spend your money on, so budgeting is important.

In regards to a magic number you need to make to afford a year of travel, that will vary depending on what type of person you are in terms of social life, interest, personal needs, etc. Think of your daily life at home plus whatever local influences in the city you will be living. Are you going to travel every weekend because you can? Go out every night? Drink 10 coffees/day because you’re in Colombia and the coffee is on point? Get a tattoo in every city you go to? (Yes, this is a thing)

At the very least, if you make less than US$39,000/year *after tax* it would be hard to afford Remote Year and the costs associated with it. That does not include recurring or fixed costs back home (student loans, car payment, mortgage payment, etc). This also does not take into account any savings you might have.

There are costs outside of the program fees. These costs are your basic (or extravagant) living expenses. They totally depend on what you decide to spend money on — meals, daily coffee, side trips, nights out, shopping, shipping things home, tattoos, soccer matches, music festivals, museums, etc. Spending varies hugely for each Remote, but we get a lot of questions about this, so we’ve tried to offer an estimation that seems to capture many Remotes’ spending throughout the year. Remotes can expect to be spending anywhere from $1000-$2,000 USD per month outside of program costs. Of course some have found ways to spend less, and some to spend more, but this is a good range to use for budgeting purposes.

Realistic Cost Calculation(US Dollars):

  • Monthly RY Fee ($2,000)
  • Monthly Personal Spending ($1,000 to $2,000 dependent on spending habits)
  • Tax rate on annual income
  • Country and currency will vary

Monthly Fee + Monthly Personal Spending = Total Monthly Expenses

Total Monthly Expenses x 12 months = Annual Expenses

Income After Tax = (1 — Your Tax Rate)*Pre tax income

Annual Expenses /(1 — your tax rate) = Salary Needed Before Tax

We recommend that you speak with a tax professional to ensure everything in terms of taxes is done correctly. For US citizens, I would suggest looking into the FEIE which says that if you spend 330+ days in a year outside of the US, you don’t have to pay federal income taxes on your first $100,800 of earned income. Check out a webinar on this here.

It must be stated that these numbers will look different for everyone. Ultimately, you know your spending habits, how much you have in savings, how much you’re taxed annually, what fixed costs you have, etc. In addition, each country is different. Spending power for your home currency will vary depending on the country you are in. I would highly recommend looking into this as well.

Remotes enjoying the views of Belgrade, Serbia

Now what?

Now you know what Remote Year is all about. You know the costs associated with traveling. You should have a good idea of whether or not you will be able to work and live around the world for a year with the Remote Year community.

Next step: apply to the work and travel program!

Words from a Remote Year Admissions Officer by Tyler Taboada