While building LivingRoom, we’ve been reaching out to digital nomads and remote workers to get their views on what’s awesome about traveling and working remotely - and what isn’t so great.
One of our early access members, Danielle, wrote us with a bit about what to look for when working remotely and traveling. Here are her thoughts, along with what LivingRoom offers in each area.
What I look for in a good remote work accommodation
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, so this is definitely a wish list rather than essentials…
Danielle: Looking for slightly longer stays than if I’m vacation traveling, usually at least a week at a time. It’s really inconvenient that check-in/check-out windows happen in the middle of the workday. I like Airbnb’s discounts for weeklong or monthlong stays, but they are usually worse about helping cover that gap after check-out (luggage storage, having a place that you can stay and work while your room is being made ready for the next person, etc).
LivingRoom: Most digital nomad stays are longer than vacations - you want to have the time to explore the place in your more limited free time, and not feel like you’re traveling around all the time while working. So we’ve based our pricing for LivingRoom on the weekly and monthly stays that make the most sense for nomads. On top of that, if you want to take a short trip in the middle of a longer stay somewhere (for example, a getaway to Diani Beach while you’re renting with us in Nairobi), you’ll get the same reduced rate as if you had booked for a few months.
Danielle: Comfortable place to do work with good (natural) light, good outlet accessibility, reliable wifi and the ability to do calls privately/without disrupting other people. I’ve stayed in Airbnbs that had gorgeous places to work…but the furniture wasn’t actually comfortable to sit in. I get excited if there are places both outdoors and indoors that can be used as workspaces. I’d be open to staying somewhere that didn’t have a good working space in the accommodation but came with access to a nearby coworking space with phone booths. I’m usually a little hesitant to do private room in shared apartment Airbnbs when I’m working, unless I have another place to do work from (eg coworking or office space) or if it’s really economical and the room is pretty spacious and self-contained, because you don’t necessarily know what the other guests/hosts schedules will be like and how mutually disruptive your work styles might be.
LivingRoom: We vet all the rentals on our platform to ensure they’re properly kitted out for remote work - including making sure that chair is one you’d actually want to sit in. We also offer a combination of shared rooms and entire homes/apartments, so that you can get so deep work done when you need to and enjoy co-working if that’s more your vibe.
It's on you to provide the cute stationery, but we'll give you ample outlets and a comfy chair.
Danielle: Emergency/starter supplies (preferably at least a minimal amount that’s available for free at the beginning and info on where to get more) of:
- Coffee (preferably with a coffee maker rather than instant coffee packets)
- Water if tap water isn’t potable (or better yet, an effective filter system)
- Toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, soap; bonus points for a decent conditioner)
- Feminine products (I never see this but I’d love for it to become a thing!)
- Laundry detergent if a washer/dryer is available
Local recommendations on things to do, how to use public transportation, restaurants, cafes, bars, grocery stores, etc. Beach/pool towels if the place is near a beach or has pool access (and bath towels always).
LivingRoom: It’s always good to get sorted in a pinch before you’re properly. LivingRoom makes sure you have essential toiletries when you move in, and that you have key appliances like a water filter and coffee maker to use throughout your stay. When it’s time to restock our neighborhood guides (like this one for Westlands) will help you get sorted with what you need.
Everyone's stayed in a place with one cup and no plates and had to use a spoon as a knife once...it won't be with us though.
Danielle: Walking accessibility is important in general and especially when I’m working and have to be more efficient about time spent exploring and meal breaks. I’d be hesitant to stay someplace that was more than 15 minutes walking from at least one decent place to get food (ideally both a prepared meal and groceries within 15 min walking radius). Similarly, being close to whatever the major attractions of the area are—whether it’s hiking trails, the beach, hip parts of the city, etc. I’m usually trying to squeeze in the fun travel stuff into little windows of time around my work schedule, so if it takes too long to transition from work to fun, then it feels less worthwhile to be digital nomading. In a similar vein, a “nice to have” is a sense of local character… since I’m spending so much time in the accommodation during the day, if it’s too generic or sterile and it feels like you could be anywhere in the world, that also makes remote work feel less worthwhile. It’s nice to have things that feel more “unique” or context-specific like a good view, cool art/decor, locally relevant architecture/design, an outdoor space, native plants, etc.
LivingRoom: Location is everything - we always look to make sure both essential amenities and key attractions are within reach. With our neighborhood guides, you’ll also be able to see where things like groceries, cafes and things to do are nearby.
We’re also cognizant of the fact that many travelers from abroad won’t make it back to this part of the world again, so we try to show off some local flair where we can - like the Swahili-style architecture on the Kenyan coast.
What do you think? Let us know what you think and be sure to get on our Early Access list here to get great work-centered accommodations in East Africa!