Dreaming of digital nomad status? Airbnb is giving 12 people the chance to live anywhere for a year

Jun 17, 2021

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Travel is back, and the industry has learned a lot from the last year — including just how many people are eager to jump on the trend of full-time remote work. That’s why Airbnb is looking for a dozen participants to become digital nomads for a year.

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If you’re selected for the Live Anywhere program, you’ll live exclusively in Airbnb listings starting in September of 2021 for at least the next 10 months. All accommodations would be covered, and Airbnb will provide a stipend for transportation for the duration of the experience. Plus, you can take up to three friends or family members with you during the program, and Airbnb will provide listing suggestions and offer local experiences at your destinations.

Sound like something you’re interested in? You have through the end of June to apply.

Airbnb used to be a go-to site for people who wanted to book long weekend getaways with friends and family members. But since the pandemic, there’s been an increase in longer stays. According to a recent Airbnb report, longer stays (28 days and longer) increased by 10% between 2019 and 2021, and Airbnb is looking to offer more flexibility and a better experience for hosts and guests planning these longer stays.

Related: The case for living out of Airbnbs full time

(Photo courtesy of Airbnb.)

The hope is for participants in the Live Anywhere program to share feedback from their time on the road with Airbnb so the company can learn more about what it’s like to live nomadically and improve the platform (think: product changes and resources for digital nomads and insights into the best accommodations for specific groups such as solo travelers or families with young kids).

If you’re worried about paying the bills on your current residence while you’re gone, Airbnb is also encouraging participants to “test the experience and opportunity of hosting while living nomadically” by listing their primary residence on Airbnb during the program. The average annual earnings for hosts, Airbnb reported, is $9,600 for new listings in the first quarter of 2021.

Is the digital nomad life for you?

The pandemic changed the game for many companies. Businesses that once required employees to show up at an office Monday through Friday were forced to turn fully remote. Even now that offices are starting to reopen, many are keeping remote work policies that will allow workers more flexibility.

So, if this opportunity sounds like it’s right up your alley, you still have a few weeks to apply (applications close June 30, 2021).

Not sure if the digital nomad life is for you? TPG senior writer Katie Genter has been a digital nomad with her husband for almost four years, ever since they gave up their Austin, Texas, apartment and sold most of their belongings to hit the road full-time in 2017.

There’s a lot to love, of course, about the freedom to work anywhere. Genter says her favorite part of being a digital nomad is experiencing different cultures.

“From Serbia to Vietnam, I’ve loved living and working in residential neighborhoods and getting to experience local life in a culture different than mine when I’m not working,” she said. “Plus, I love the freedom and flexibility that I have as a digital nomad.”

(Photo courtesy of Airbnb.)

But that doesn’t mean that the lifestyle doesn’t have its drawbacks. For Genter, the biggest challenge of being a digital nomad has been making time for personal sightseeing and experiences.

“Too often, [I’ve] spent far too much time working and barely saw the places I visited,” she said. “Other challenges include working strange hours to sync with your employer and finding good connectivity ….”

Related: How to secure your data when using public Wi-Fi

If you are a remote employee and do plan on applying for the Airbnb Live Anywhere program, it’s important to plan where you want to visit and how you can maximize your stay while still staying connected to your team.

Also, Genter recommends starting slow. You may be tempted to see as many spots as possible with the time you have, but it’s smart to start with at least one week at each destination. According to Genter, most digital nomads spend anywhere from two weeks to a month at each spot they visit. And while you’re at each place, make sure to prioritize truly experiencing what it’s like to live there.

“Go on a free walking tour when you land in a new city,” Genter said. “It’s a great way to meet people and learn about your new home. Decide what’s important to you and tailor your travel to it.”

Despite any challenges she and her husband have faced while working from the road, Genter does still encourage people to apply for this opportunity if you love to travel and have the capacity to either work remotely or use the year to travel without working.

Related: Tips for working from home — or working from anywhere 

Airbnb isn’t just looking for working professionals, either. In a statement, the company encouraged travelers from all walks of life — “from young families to remote workers, creatives, empty nesters and more” — to apply. Participants must be 18 years or older in order to qualify. The Live Anywhere program begins in July of 2021, and 10 months of the program will include traveling and staying at Airbnb accommodations.

If you’re interested, make sure to read the application criteria on Airbnb’s website and apply before the deadline on June 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Featured image courtesy of Airbnb. 

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