Cube-dwellers everywhere share a similar fantasy: Relocate the office to a beachfront bungalow where you can keep an eye on the surf while reviewing spreadsheets and answering emails.
A lucky few actually make this happen. But many discover the dream of working remotely is far different than the reality.
That beach bungalow? It lacks wifi, and cell coverage is sketchy at best. The “kitchen” is a camp stove and the salt air wreaks havoc on your computer (what’s the workaround for a keyboard that no longer types the letter “s”?).
The logistics of running a mobile lifestyle can be a full-time job. Assembling short-term rentals through services like AirBnB or VRBO is time-consuming and expensive. Even locating basic amenities in each new location can get frustrating when you’ve got deadlines to meet.
Fortunately new companies are emerging that cater to the needs of digital nomads.
If you’ve moved beyond hostels and shared rooms with bunk beds but still want company, co-living spaces could be your new home away from home. Roam is establishing a network of locations that combine hotel-like accommodations with community kitchens, workspaces, and events. Members can stay for as little as a week, but longer stays are encouraged. A one-month lease is currently US$1800 and allows access to locations in Bali, Miami, and Madrid (with more planned).
Another company, Coliving, is assembling a diverse collection of co-working, co-living locations around the world. Their properties range from hostel-type arrangements to houses that may be shared by an entire team.
For travelers who crave more privacy and independence, a company called 6x2x6 has put a twist on the traditional home exchange model. The service assembles small groups of like-minded travelers who then individually rotate through multi-month stays at participants’ houses. You don’t travel as a group, but through regularly scheduled calls and emails, you get the benefits of community (and local knowledge) as you move from place to place.
“We created 6x2x6 to fill a void we saw in the travel market. Not everybody is comfortable living in shared spaces, so we wanted to create an alternative. 6x2x6 combines compelling destinations and a sense of community with affordable private accommodations,” says co-founder Lizzie Hedrick.
A few companies are pushing the potential of location-independent lifestyles even further by creating experiences that blur the lines between remote work and vacation. CoBoat sends digital nomads sailing aboard its wi-fi equipped catamaran. And PandoraHub enables travelers to combine rural, rustic locations with support for focusing on their startups or careers.
For most digital nomads, the goal is to work less and experience life more. This requires making your work time more productive, and eliminating hours managing logistics. These alternatives to hostels and hotels let you do both. There’s never been a better time to take your office on the road.