A steep increase in remote working opportunities is probably the only good thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. With companies like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Microsoft taking most of their workforce remote, a lot of people now have the chance to realize their dream of working not just from home, but from anywhere (once borders open up, of course).
So if you’re one of these newly-minted remote workers who’d like to start exploring the world with their laptop, a.k.a. “digital nomads”, you’re going to stumble across the term “coliving” sooner rather than later. But what exactly is coliving, and how do you know if it’s right for you? Read on to find out.
What Is Coliving?
Have you ever lived in a flatshare with a couple of people, possibly other students during uni, or after moving away from home to start your first job? That’s kind of what coliving is, just on a larger scale. It means that you share accommodation with a bunch of other people, usually integrated into a single building, house, or apartment. You’ll have a private room or might be able to share a room to cut costs, and you’ll share kitchen, bathrooms, and common areas.
But you don’t just share living space. The key to a great coliving experience is sharing that space with like-minded people who subscribe to the same set of interests, values, or intentions as you. A good coliving community is based on values like openness, respect, humility, and inclusion.
Coliving can encompass many structural forms, from rental to ownership, although the latter isn’t as common by far in the digital nomad community. Some are longterm and stationary, others set up for shorter stays of one or two months before moving on to the next location. Mostly, coliving quarters are set in urban areas, with demographics leaning towards 20- to 30-something professionals rather than families or retirees.
For remote workers who love to travel while still being part of a community, coliving is a fulfilling concept.
The 3 Main Perks of Coliving
Let’s discuss why we believe that coliving is the best way to travel the world while working remotely. Sure, you can pack your things and head to like Bali, Thailand, Spain, Costa Rica, or anywhere in the world all by your lonesome. There are digital nomad hotspots in a myriad of locations these days, with coworking spaces popping up like daffodils in spring. Here, you’ll easily make new friends with other people living the digital nomad lifestyle. And yet coliving offers some serious perks over renting your own AirBnB in every new place you travel to.
Coliving is often more affordable than getting your own place, for the same reason that sharing a flat with your uni buddies was: because you’re sharing expenses. Especially in big cities like Barcelona or San Francisco, renting your own place in a central location for a month or more isn’t cheap. If you join a coliving community, you can often cut cost on rent in prime locations by a few hundred bucks. Even more so when you’re okay with sharing a room.
Most coliving spaces catered to digital nomads don’t just offer the necessary amenities, such as high-speed internet connections, regular outdoor activities, or common spaces like rooftop areas (where you can relax in a hammock after a hard day’s work). They also offer a ton of flexibility, allowing you to book a room, private or shared, for the amount of time that best suits you. Your level of longterm commitment is low when coliving, with many places allowing you to stay for as long or as short as you like.
The best coliving perk by far is the community. Instead of renting your own place and then having to go out to meet people and make new friends, you automatically get them integrated into your remote living experience. Coliving comes with a set of instant-friends, many of which turn into deep, lifelong friendships. You become a tight-knit group of people who share the same values, cowork together, and organize social events and meetups. Finding the right coliving community can feel like finding your family away from home, where people don’t just go on adventures or end up doing business together but take care of each other when necessary, too.
How to Find the Right Coliving Space for You
There are different types of coliving spaces and arrangements for digital nomads. Some are year-round and stationary, and you’re completely flexible on the dates you book; others hop between locations at more specific times. Some focus especially on the community aspect, while others focus on the living experience and let the community form and evolve all by itself. Some offer lower-cost accommodation while others offer high-end digs. Some have integrated coworking spaces, while others set up shop close to a myriad of coworking locations.
We recently gave an overview of the best coliving groups for digital nomads and remote workers, including popular ones such as Roam, Outsite, Hacker Paradise, and Unsettled (and of course our own, WiFi Tribe) – each of which has their own unique strengths. Now the real question to ask yourself is: How do you choose the right coliving community? Which one works best for you?
Before you dive into more research on specific coliving groups and spaces, ask yourself the following questions. They’ll help give you an idea of what you’re looking for, and will make it easier to compare and contrast coliving communities to figure out which one is best for you:
- What’s my monthly budget? How much money can you comfortably spend monthly on accommodation? Some coliving groups are more expensive (Unsettled, Remote Year) than others (Selina, WiFi Tribe).
- Do I want an all-expenses paid coliving experience? With some coliving communities, you pay mainly for the spaces you’ll be living and working in (Roam, Outpost, WiFi Tribe), leaving it up to you what else to spend your money on while on location. Others include weekend activities, flight bookings, or themed programs in their prices (Remote Year, Hacker Paradise).
- Do I want to travel to a myriad of different locations or stick to a few specific ones? Year-round, stationary coliving spaces are limited to their specific locations (Roam, Outpost, Outsite), whereas traveling coliving communities (WiFi Tribe, Remote Year) offer the opportunity of staying in different locations every month, often adding exciting new locations every year.
- Do I want to be able to hop on and off or stick with a group for a longer period of time? Usually, you can book yourself into the year-round stationary coliving spaces whenever and for how long suits you best (Roam, Outsite, Selina). Coliving communities that travel together tend to have specific start and end dates of time periods you can join, but flexibility varies from monthly commitments (WiFi Tribe, Hacker Paradise) to longer-term programs of three months or more (Remote Year).
- Do I want a strong focus on community in my coliving experience? You’ll have a sense of community in any coliving group, simply because you’ll be living under the same roof and maybe even room with other people. But some coliving groups work hard at developing and building the community aspect (WiFi Tribe, Hacker Paradise) while others tend to leave it up to the people living together to grow into a community (Roam, Outpost).
If your main criteria are regularly traveling to awesome new locations; high flexibility around those locations, timing, and pricing; as well as a strong community of like-minded people you’ll meet again and again, WiFi Tribe ticks all those boxes. Check out what exactly we’re all about here and don’t hesitate to apply to join this big family of digital nomads on our adventures all over the world. And if you’re curious about what’s happening in our coliving community, join our weekly newsletter to get inside updates and meet the Tribe!