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

June 17, 2021
5 min read
Dreaming of digital nomad status? Airbnb is giving 12 people the chance to live anywhere for a year
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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.

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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 by (Photo courtesy of Airbnb.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more