Digital nomads are on the rise. But where should they live now?

When Julie McCane became a remote worker during the pandemic, she had no problem choosing a location. London, Paris, and Athens were high on her list. But how to find a reliable rental apartment, now that It was not easy

Most vacation rental platforms are created for short-term leisure travelers. Dealing directly with a landlord, and deposits and utility bills, seemed too complicated.

Then she saw an ad on Instagram and a light bulb went on. a company called Blue background offers furnished apartments for monthly stays at a competitive price.

“Discovering Blueground helped me piece together a lot about this European season that I was dreaming of at the time,” says McCane, a consultant working with law firms. “Finding a well-located furnished apartment on flexible terms meant I had a lot less to worry about as I prepared for this move.”

How many digital nomads are there?

McCane is not alone. A recent study by MBO Partners found that 16.9 million working Americans currently describe themselves as digital nomads. That’s a 9% increase from 2021 and 131% more than the year before the 2019 pandemic. By some estimates, there are 35 million digital nomads worldwide.

The actual number may be higher. Many remote workers, including McCane, don’t use the name “digital nomad” to describe their lifestyle. They prefer to be called consultants or location independent employees.

“Being a digital nomad is both a blessing and a curse,” explains Denise Rousseau, professor of organizational behavior and public policy at the Carnegie Mellon University. “It’s attractive because of the flexibility and the feeling of freedom. But for many knowledge workers, it’s hard to sustain over time.”

Rousseau, who has studied remote workers and digital nomads, says that housing can be one of those difficulties.

As the number of digital nomads or remote workers grows, the need for reliable and affordable accommodations also grows. Remote workers aren’t necessarily interested in the amenities of a vacation rental, like a pool or entertainment center. Instead, they need fast Wi-Fi, a fully equipped kitchen, and laundry facilities.

What are your extended stay housing options?

You have many hosting options as a digital nomad, almost too many options. Here is a short list:

airbnb

The largest vacation platform is also an option for remote workers. For Ravi Davda, CEO of a marketing agency, is your preferred place to book accommodation. Davda says that in some parts of the world, rates are reasonable and hosts can be flexible.

“There were times where we booked for the initial month on Airbnb and then spoke to the host directly instead of continuing through Airbnb,” he says.

Both airbnb Y vrbo they offer monthly rates at a significant discount from the weekly or daily rates charged to leisure travelers. But you still have to deal with the fact that most Airbnb rentals are created for people who are on vacation, so you may not find all the amenities you need as a digital nomad.

Blue background

McCane, who is about to move from a Blueground rental in London to one in Paris, says the company tries to make its apartments a home.

“They have a pet-friendly policy, which is wonderful,” she says. The furniture and accessories are the same from one city to another, which is also comforting to him. But Blueground differs from a traditional rental in other important ways. Most messaging with Blueground is done through a smartphone app. In McCane’s experience, the response time is lightning fast.

For example, when she arrived in London a few months ago and was still jet-lagged, she left her keys in her apartment.

“I messaged the team through the Blueground app, and someone happily delivered a new game in less than two hours,” she says. “That’s no mean feat in central London, so it’s a great system they have in place.”

Apartments for extended stays

Some destinations are so appealing to digital nomads that they are creating a new type of flexible living accommodation category. Take Portugal, for example, which has just introduced a new digital nomad visa. “Portugal’s geographic location and time zone also favor international work,” explains Chitra Stern, CEO and co-founder of Resorts in Martinhal.

The company already offers long-term rentals on some of its larger units, outfitted with full kitchens and living rooms. (Rates start at $45 per night based on a six-month rental agreement.) The company is also putting the finishing touches on the Martinhal Residences project in the Parque de las Naciones district of Lisbon. The property is purpose-built to cater to a digital nomad audience with a mix of hotel suites and luxury extended-stay apartments.

Hotels and resorts

Some hotels cater to long-term guests. For example, him dolphin house, a luxury boutique hotel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, has a “Work At Hotel” special in select weeks of January and from mid-April to mid-September. For $950 per week per person, a rate that includes breakfast, digital nomads can settle in Mexico.

Tim Hentschel, CEO of hotel plannera travel technology company, says hotels are actively courting digital nomads by offering lower rates and larger accommodations for extended stays.

“This phenomenon may turn out to be the biggest change in the travel and tourism industry since the invention of the airplane,” he says. “I’m not kidding. Hotels are spending millions and millions on these extended-stay deals now. It’s a whole new category of permanent travel.”

Landing

When Paige Beauregard and her husband, Francois, needed a place to stay in Orlando, they turned to the internet. “I think I wrote ‘long-term corporate housing’ and that’s when I found Landing,” says Beauregard. They applied for membership and were accepted. Landing gives you access to your apartment inventory as a member ($199 a year).

“To say that we were surprised by the apartment and the furnishings would be an understatement,” he says. “Not only was the apartment beautiful and the furnishings perfect, but the apartment complex itself was beautiful, private, and with amazing amenities.”

Landing has apartments in dozens of US cities, from Albuquerque to Winston-Salem. And like Blueground, the amenities are standardized, so you’ll get the same furnishings, blazing-fast Wi-Fi, and other conveniences.

Mint

Another option for location freelancers is Mint, which is trying to create a new technology-driven category of hospitality. Mint includes full kitchens, spacious living rooms and connected workspaces in central locations including Miami, New York and Seattle. Mint emphasizes technology integration with mobile check-in, keyless entry, and 24/7 digital concierge services. The company caters to business travelers who need a reliable Wi-Fi connection “but want to have fun at either end of the trip and even bring their families,” says Paul Sacco, the Mint’s director of development.

rent direct

Location-independent travelers who plan to spend more than a month in one place can also do a short-term rental. That is what Steffanie van Twuijver, a travel bloggerIt has done so in Korea and Germany.

Prices and requirements vary. There are forms that need to be filled out and the deposits can be hefty.

“For example, my apartment in Seoul required a deposit of $4,500, the minimum deposit amount, and my rent was $600,” he says. “My rental house in Germany has a deposit of about 2,500 euros and 1,350 euros per month. So be prepared to have a large deposit for some areas.”

How a digital nomad does it

I have been a digital nomad for the past six years and have tried most of these hosting options. There is no perfect choice. Finding the right place to live depends on the location, your needs as a remote worker, and your preferences.

For example, this spring I stayed in a Vrbo rental in Cape Town, South Africa, which was ideal for a digital nomad. It was close to supermarkets, a shopping center and the beach; plus, it had an incredibly fast wireless connection.

In terms of ease of use, you can’t beat Blueground and Landing. It’s all handled through their smartphone apps. Connecting to WiFi in the Blueground Athens apartment was a breeze. The apartment also had everything you would need as a remote worker without the over the top amenities you sometimes get with a vacation rental. Landing locations are always in the middle of it all, close to supermarkets, shopping malls, and subway stations.

McCane, the legal consultant, says she wouldn’t trade it for a stable life despite the difficulties of being a remote worker.

“A new environment has reinvigorated me, especially after the isolation from the pandemic,” he told me. “Although there is more to juggle, being here helps me run a better business; I can also give good advice to clients who are considering life changes.”

So how do digital nomads juggle it all? I will tell you about it in the second part of this series.

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