10 best cities for a working vacation in 2023

San Antonio tops our list for taking your job on the road

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

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  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Remote work may be declining for some employees, but many companies have either permanently vacated their offices or offer a hybrid work environment for their teams. 

Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 27.5% of private sector employees still enjoy remote work (either partially or in full). And that rate is substantially higher in certain industries, such as informational services (67.4%) and professional and business services (49%)[1].

This extra flexibility has allowed many workers to become location independent. They can combine work and travel without having to use precious PTO days. 

Does that nomadic lifestyle sound like a dream? We thought so, too. That's why we analyzed the 50 most populous U.S. cities on factors that contribute an ideal place for completing your remote work in style. Here's what we looked at:

  • Download speed: We looked at the mean download speed for each metropolitan area. Data provided by HighSpeedInternet[2].
  • Cost of living index: Numbeo's Cost of Living Index assigns a score for cities using New York City as a baseline at 100. Lower values are that much cheaper compared to the Big Apple[3].
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: We analyzed 30-day Airbnb stays in each city from September 15 through October 15, since many listings offer a discount for stays of 30 days or more. Then we averaged the highest and lowest rates to get a sense of costs in each locale. 

Ready to get inspired for your next remote work location? Here are our top 10 picks.

1. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio earned the top spot for remote workers who need a change of scenery. The city has one of the highest download speeds in the country so you can attend those Zoom meetings without missing a beat. The cost of living in San Antonio ranks sixth out of all the cities we looked at, which means you may find even cheaper expenses than your hometown. The average month-long vacation rental costs just under $5,300, which gives you room to explore options above or below that depending on the experience you're looking for.

San Antonio by the numbers

  • Download speed: 117.2 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 69.2
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,282

2. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is another contender for an extended working vacation. Internet speeds are fast and the cost of living is in the top 15 cheapest options in our list. Plus, you'll save on your vacation rental. Grab a house or apartment for under $5,000 for the entire month. That leaves you with room in your budget to chow down on some crabs and catch a Ravens game while you're there.

Baltimore by the numbers

  • Download speed: 119.7 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 73.5
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $4,834.50

#3: Houston, Texas

Looking for a southwest getaway without using up vacation days? Add Houston to your short list. Its internet download speeds are in the top 10 in the country, and the cost of living is a solid 30% lower than New York CIty. Vacation rentals are just over $5,500, and you can save by cutting back on amenities or staying farther away from downtown. Then you have cash to explore the city's dining scene, which has been growing a worldwide reputation.

Houston by the numbers

  • Download speed: 115.7 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 70.5
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,516.0

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

Internet download times may be slightly slower compared to other options on our list, but Salt Lake City is still a great place for a working vacation. The city has one of the lowest cost of living scores on our list. It also has one of the cheaper vacation rental markets, averaging about $5,200 for a full month. Plus, the Wasatch Mountains provide breathtaking views to enjoy.

Salt Lake City by the numbers

  • Download speed: 95.9 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 67.4
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,245.50

5. Indianapolis, Indiana (tied)

Indianapolis ties for fifth place thanks to its cheap expenses. The cost of living index score is 72.1 and the average 30-day vacation rental is about $5,100. On the down side, Indianapolis is in the bottom half of cities we analyzed in terms of download speeds. If your work isn't streaming heavy, this may not impact you as much as others.

Indianapolis by the numbers

  • Download speed: 101.2 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 72.1
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,119.50

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tied)

Philadelphia is our other fifth place finish. Internet download speeds are the second fastest in the country, so if you rely on fast-paced internet for your work, this is the place for you. The downside is that Philadelphia is among our pricier options for teleworking. Cost of living ranks 31st at 81.3. That means it's only around 19% cheaper than New York. Vacation rental costs are moderate in comparison to other cities we looked at. The average $5,400 price tag ranks 12th on our list.

Philadelphia by the numbers

  • Download speed: 126.1 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 81.3
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,458.50

7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Next up on our list of best cities for your working vacation is Oklahoma City. Let's start with the good news: vacation rentals are the cheapest in the country! A 30-day reservation averages under $4,500. The cost of living index score comes in at 75.7, making OKC 25% cheaper than New York. Internet speed, however, is simply average compared to other cities at 102.3 mbps.

Oklahoma City by the numbers

  • Download speed: 102.3 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 75.7
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $4,474.50

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is another attractive short-term destination for remote workers. The city's metrics are above average for download speeds (averaging 114 mbps) and vacation rental costs (about $5,800). The cost of living index is middle of the road compared to other cities at about 20% less than New York.

Pittsburgh by the numbers

  • Download speed: 114 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 78.3
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,790.50

9. Cincinatti, Ohio

Looking for a cheap place to get away from home for a while? Check out Cincinnati, which has the lowest cost of living out of all the cities we researched. At a score of 63, it is 37% cheaper than New York City. Airbnb costs are still in the top 15, averaging just over $5,500. Internet download speeds, however, are quite slow at just 94.1 mbps.

Cincinatti by the numbers

  • Download speed: 94.1 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 63.3
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $5,571.50

10. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville rounds out our list of cities to visit while doing remote work. Vacation rental costs are the highest on our list at $6,900. But the overall cost of living scores a 71.8 — about 20% cheaper than NYC. Internet is fairly fast at 11.2 mbps download speeds.

Jacksonville by the numbers

  • Download speed: 111.2 mbps
  • Cost of living index: 71.8
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay: $6,900.50

Methodology

The Zebra pulled three data points to analyze the top 50 MSAs (by population) in the U.S. related to working vacation travel:

  • Download speed: (HighSpeedInternet)
  • Cost of living index (Numbeo)
  • Average month-long vacation rental stay (Airbnb)

MSA data was used where applicable, and we sometimes substituted city or state data as necessary.