The lifestyle of digital nomads is tiring.
Here, I said it. This is not what you want to hear after dreaming of dropping anchor and working anywhere there is a decent internet connection. As many companies expand the possibilities of remote work, it’s now easier than ever – in a way – to work while traveling the world. But figuring out where to live and how long to stay, as well as how to get decent Wi-Fi, are topics complex enough to make you unpack your bag (or pack the one you have and go home).
Sure, you can stay at Airbnbs, hostels, and monthly rentals, but there’s a catch: you need to plan your stay ahead of time. You need check-in and check-out dates. What happens if you want to leave early and move on? Luckily, quite a few companies have sprung up to solve these headaches (albeit at an additional cost). They try to offer comfortable and secure homes for people on the move. I’ve tried a few in the past year – and keep looking for more. Here is my take on these good, albeit imperfect, solutions.
First, there is Landing, which is a large network of furniture rental locations in cities and suburbs throughout the United States. The premise is simple: one lease gives you access to the entire network and, with a few exceptions, all you need to give is 30 days’ notice before you move into your new apartment. . Once you sign up, you can stay up to seven free days at available landings in other parts of the country each year.
I moved into Landing Unit Denver in March 2021 with just two days notice and it was the best apartment I have ever lived in. The furniture was beautiful and comfortable, and the company really knew how to work out the smallest details – it had dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, toilet paper, snacks, candles, all nine.
Overall, the experience was extremely positive, although I did notice a few growth issues with the company during my stay. Landing work with managers of apartment buildings across the country. It advertises units and then provides them when someone bites. It’s not a perfect system: when I booked a new room in a more pedestrian part of Denver, the management company was already renting it. Luckily, Landing had another squad, but my move dates were pushed back at the last second. As an apology, the company sent me a gift card for food delivery, and I considered us equals. Later, when I asked to stay in New York landing to try out my travel expenses, there were no available units. Once again, Landing sent a gift card to make up for this.
I must have called the rental company agents more than a dozen times in my three months in the airborne units, and each time I left feeling like I was winning, even when I was inconvenienced. On top of all that, Landing has monthly giveaways for members (I got a bottle of jalapeno grapefruit alcohol and a houseplant). I really enjoyed this experience.
Also, while living in Denver, I gave Deskpass back. Similar to Airbnb for office space, Deskpass is a subscription service that gives you a set number of days valid in a nationwide network of co-working spaces. It also operates in Canada, Australia and the UK. You search for a seat in the Deskpass app, book and come. No need to deal with daily rates or multiple short term memberships. A well-designed coworking space can provide a moment of bliss during a chaotic commute, and in my experience, it’s worth the investment to ensure the separation between work and play, especially when you’re living on the road.
I also tried Blueground, which is a more global competitor to Landing. Blueground has offices in several US cities including Denver, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as London, Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Berlin, Madrid, Dubai and other locations around the world. The concept is similar: sign one lease and you can switch between properties around the world.
Last summer, I spent about three months in the Blueground apartment in London (full disclosure: I received an advertising discount) while I was looking for a solution to a difficult problem: I was thinking of staying in London for a while, but I could not get a flat to rent as a foreigner on a tourist visa is not difficult. Blueground eliminates this red tape. Booking an apartment is more complicated than booking a hotel room or Airbnb because it involves renting. With Blueground, you don’t have to provide referrals and pay months in advance, as is often the case. In London, many landlords ask you to pay for your entire stay up front unless you work full-time for a UK company. Therefore, even though it is expensive, using a company like Blueground is a suitable option for longer stays.
Like Landing, Blueground is experiencing growth problems. For example, in Europe, the company usually works with individual owners, not building managers, and when my air conditioner started leaking, Blueground had a hard time contacting the owner. It took a couple of days to resolve the issue. Blueground is expanding its network, so renters looking to try out cities around the world would do well to explore its options.
However you decide to take the digital nomad train – or even if you just want to try an extended stay in a new place – you can be sure that you will run into problems along the way. (Ask me sometime, over a drink, to tell you the saga of a four-day blackout in a private rented apartment!). But these and other companies make life on the road a little easier if you’re willing and able to pay a little extra to have someone else handle the logistics.
Sign up for our weekly In The Know newsletter to receive entertainment news straight to your inbox.