Rating the paradise destinations

We reveal the pros and cons to each desirable destination

telecommuting in paradise

What a life, sitting in your beach chair soaking up the sun while working on your laptop. Your main concern is what spf to use for that day. There are plenty of choice destinations across the world where this scenario could be real, but in every location there can be downfalls. You know, terrible infrastructure leads to slow download speeds or intermittent connections not to mention the occasional hurricane blowing through. We rate the various hot spots around the world. (See Telecommuting from paradise.)

The Caribbean
Credit: Flickr/Pete Markham
The Caribbean

The names just roll off the tongue – the Bahamas, Antigua, Aruba, Tortola. Beautiful islands, year-around temperatures of 70 to 90 degrees, sunshine, sandy beaches. And, best of all for telecommuters, these islands are in the US eastern time zone half the year, and just one hour ahead the other half.  But not all islands are created equal. Some are US territories – Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands – and moving there is easy.

Others are foreign countries, welcoming to tourists, but wary of foreign workers. Of course, telecommuters aren't competing with locals for jobs and, instead, bring money into local economies. Local governments are catching on – but not all at the same rate. Infrastructure varies greatly as well.

Hawaii
Credit: Wikimedia
Hawaii

Since Hawaii is a state, relocation is relatively hassle-free. The time zone is two hours later than Pacific, making it convenient for folks telecommuting to companies on the West coast. Hurricanes are rare, and typically do little damage if they do hit. Infrastructure is generally very good, and Hawaii offers most of the conveniences of modern life.

Central and South America
Credit: public-domain-image.com
Central and South America

As many retirees have discovered, Latin America offers an abundance of low-cost destinations in beautiful locations. Plus, the time zones are convenient for US employees. But infrastructure varies greatly, as does the paperwork required for relocation. But, you may need to learn Spanish or Portuguese in order to make the most of your experience.

Europe
Credit: fotopedia.com
Europe

You can't beat Europe for dream destinations, and the infrastructure is usually excellent, but the time zones are inconvenient for working with colleagues in the U.S. or Asia and you might need to learn a new language. Work visas can also pose difficulties, and the cost of living can be high.  

Asia
Credit: fotopedia.com
Asia

China, the Phillipines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are becoming increasingly popular with American ex-pats because of low costs and interesting locations. Visa requirements vary, as does infrastructure, though it tends to be pretty good these days in cities and tourism destinations. Singapore and Hong Kong are particularly appealing for English speakers. The time difference to the US East Coast is about 12 hours, so many telecommuters work a split shift – a few hours at night, and a few hours in the morning. There is also the opportunity to act as a liaison or coordinator with Asia-based outsourced development teams.

Australia and New Zealand
Credit: wikimedia
Australia and New Zealand

The world's largest island offers a variety of climates and gorgeous scenery, the Great Barrier Reef, an English-speaking population, all the modern amenities, and time zones convenient for doing business with Asia. Getting a work visa can be a challenge. As with many other countries, the laws assume that you will be working for a local employer, thus taking a job away from a local resident.

American islands
American islands

You don't have to leave the continental United States to find island paradises. Check out Key West in Florida, Mustang Island in Texas, Santa Catalina in California, St. Simons Island in Georgia, Whidbey in Washington, Vinalhaven in Maine, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Block Island in Rhode Island, Hilton Head and John's Island in South Carolina, and Roanoke Island in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

ALSO: Watch another slideshow on telecommuting from paradise