So you’re thinking of rallying your digital nomad friends in one location for a month or two to work and live together in a beautiful location. Can’t be that difficult, right? What else is Airbnb for?
Trust us and our over two years of experience in searching for new accommodation in new locations every four to six weeks for our chapters: it’s not quite as easy as it seems. In our experience, it always ends up taking more planning than expected.
Of course, the biggest issue would be getting there and finding out that our dream-accommodation doesn’t have what it takes to be suitable for coliving with a group of people. Which is why we have a list of criteria to be fulfilled before we sign off on a place, which we’ll break down for you.
The order of these items wasn’t chosen at random. We recently polled all our experienced WiFi Tribe members about which criteria are the most important to them - and the Tribe has spoken.
To keep things intriguing, we’ll count down from least to most important. Some of these rankings may surprise you! (They sure did surprise me.)
7. Air Conditioning
Our tribers’ least important criteria turned out to be AC, and we’d have to agree. In fact, AC isn’t a must-have in all locations.
On the other hand, it is in some.
This really depends on where we’re setting up our coliving camp. Tropical locations usually already have AC in their accommodations and we happily accept it. Most European houses, on the other hand, don’t have built-in ACs because it doesn’t get hot enough for a long enough time during the year to justify the cost.
But some people really dig AC and can’t sleep in a blazing hot and humid room. We’re currently in Budapest with one of our chapters and we are all praising our landlord for his ability to predict ongoing weeks of 95-degree weather in this fair city, and for wanting to make his renters as comfortable as possible.
Figure out if you have people in the group who simply can’t live without AC if it gets hot and then make sure your accommodation offers the possibility to turn at least one of the rooms into an ice box.
6. Close to the Nightlife Action
We love this lifestyle because we love to see new places, meet new people and experience new cultures - what better way to do that than to dive into a city’s nightlife?
Being located close to where the action takes place at night beats having to take a bus, metro or scooter every time you set foot in front of the door to go out. You’ll end up doing it more and by the end of your stay will feel more like you’ve lived in a place rather than merely passing through.
5. Well-Equipped Kitchen
Digital nomads aren’t on vacation. We’re not on a two-week stint to spend all the money we made in the last six months with the specific purpose of blowing it all on eating every meal out during our time away from home.
As digital nomads, our coliving spaces are our homes. And most of us can’t afford to eat out for every meal of the day. Therefore, a well-equipped kitchen with enough space to fit everyone’s groceries is a must-have.
4. Cleaning Service
If you’re staying somewhere with a group of people who aren’t family for an extended period of time, then having the house cleaned on a regular basis is non-negotiable.
Obviously, there need to be some basic rules which must be adhered to by all; cleaning up after yourself being number one on the list. Still, there is some elementary cleaning that needs to happen beyond that - bathrooms and toilets need to be scrubbed, floors vacuumed and mopped, as well as bedsheets and towels changed.
Don’t hope to manage that between the people living together. Especially in larger groups, it’s just never going to happen. Might as well avoid the hassle and disputes of setting up a cleaning plan that nobody ends up following anyway, by making sure you have a cleaning service pop round on a regular basis.
Most accommodations provide this service automatically for longer-term renters. If that’s not the case, the landlords can at least give you the contact information of the cleaning crew they use in between renting out their places.
3. Comfortable Common Area and Work Space
The Tribers were pretty unanimous in their conviction that a common area isn’t as important as having a comfortable work space to go with it. And it makes sense - we’re not only coliving but coworking together. In that sense, a comfortable work space is a little more important than a common area.
So the ideal situation is to have both a work and common area in the apartment. However, that’s not always an attainable goal. Especially in more expensive locations, where you might even have trouble finding accommodation with a spare room not filled with beds.
Our tip for more expensive locations:
For example you can set it up for working during the day and hanging out in the evenings and at night. This may take a little more planning and a lot of open communication to keep everybody happy - but we’re all adults here, aren’t we?
2. Fast And Stable WiFi
It kind of goes without saying, but fast, stable WiFi is every digital nomad’s lifeline. Without it, we can’t do our jobs. That makes it an essential element of every coliving space.
Even if a place offers WiFi, make sure your landlord knows how important it is for you. Ideally he should be willing to upgrade his plan if the WiFi isn’t strong enough for everyone, or to get in touch with the provider should issues arise.
To make 100% sure you always have WiFi coverage, you can bring along a MiFi-device and hop on that should the accommodation’s WiFi crap out on you, for example during an important call. As long as cell-phone service is reliable in your area, a MiFi-device should always work. Just split the cost between everyone and you’re golden.
Good WiFi is so important that, to be honest, I was expecting it to be Number One on this list according to the polls. Apparently, we digital nomads have something that is even more important to us, though…
1. Central Location
It’s a fact of digital nomad life: We love being close to all the essentials.
Be it grocery shops, cute shopping stores, gyms, parks, or of course coworking spaces and workable cafes - we prefer our accommodation to be in a central part of whatever location we make our home.
It just makes living in general so much easier when you don’t need any form of transportation to get downtown; when you can walk outside of your accommodation and reach everything you need within a few minutes’ walk. It also makes coliving easier because you don’t have to get organized to head into town together.
Bonus points if the city’s nightlife takes place just around the corner of you, too!
That’s it folks: the most important criteria to look for in a coliving space, according to WiFi Tribe’s collective wisdom.
If you don’t feel like going through the trouble of organizing the perfect coliving space for you and your digital nomad friends, why not join WiFi Tribe and let us do the work for you? We choose spacious, well-located villas or apartments with large communal areas that inspire us to work productively and to enjoy our time off. Click here to apply now or be inspired by our amazing upcoming locations.
Pia Newman is a copywriter, translator, virtual assistant and novelist. She finds her inspiration in many things, but above all in traveling around the world as a digital nomad and a happy member of WiFi Tribe. Follow both her novel writing- and digital nomad journey on her English blog, or find out more about her services, as well as her guidebooks on virtual assistance and earning money online on her German website