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The best place on Earth to work remotely is actually an underdog city in the U.S.

June 27, 2022, 8:01 PM UTC
Union Station and downtown Kansas City, Mo., as viewed from the Liberty Memorial.
Eddie Brady—Getty Images

The “Barbecue Capital” of the U.S., better known as Kansas City, Mo., just gained a new title. It’s now the best place to work remotely in the world. 

That’s according to an Icelandair analysis that found the best places to travel and work away from the office. It assessed and ranked 150 cities around the globe based on 11 factors, including quality of life, cost of living, internet speed, average working hours, pollution, and more.

Kansas City won out as the best place for what Icelandair calls a “wellness workcation,” ranking above the often more romanticized cities of Vienna, Austria, and Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Recognizing the importance of prioritizing wellness for burnt out workers and employees’ fondness for virtual work, Icelandair deems the wellness workcation a trip in which an employee mixes work and relaxing travel. It’s “a fantastic way to make the most of remote working and prioritize your mental and physical health at the same time,” the airline writes.

Below are the top 10 places to spend a wellness workcation, according to Icelandair:

  1. Kansas City, U.S.
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Wellington, New Zealand
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Edinburgh, Scotland
  6. Victoria, Canada
  7. Perth, Australia
  8. Frankfurt, Germany
  9. Brisbane, Austria
  10. Helsinki, Finland 

Kansas City won out over more popular cities like New York City because lesser-known cities have become more attractive to tourists looking to integrate themselves into a new culture, Icelandair global marketing director Gisli S. Brynjolfsson told CNBC. Big cities “aren’t always best when you’re looking to take a step away from the busy hustle of a usual working day,” he said.

It’s part of the slow travel movement that has gained popularity during the pandemic, which encourages less travel from place to place in favor of spending more quality time in one location to truly understand the culture. Livability and ease of comfort becomes more important in slow travel, as tourists favor really soaking in a place rather than jet setting across the world.

Kansas City scores from Icelandair did not point to one extremely outstanding element; rather, the city came out on top due to its jack of all trades qualities. Averaging above all other locales Kansas City wins in the increasingly popular world of slow travel due to its highly rated quality of life, internet speed, relatively low air pollution, and affordability, among other factors. Despite the high ranking for wellness, the city is located in a state that just introduced an abortion ban.

Those reluctant to live somewhere with restrictive reproductive rights might want to consider a wellness workcation in Europe instead.

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