Are there any benefits of coliving?!
A couple of dozen strangers living in one common building – you might think “why would you ever do that?”. At first, it may seem a little weird or hard to comprehend.
But on the contrary, coliving has become and continues to be a very popular accommodation option for digital nomads. Sure, you could get an Airbnb, a hostel or a hotel…but coliving just offers so much more than any of those ever could.
We stayed at our first coliving when we first became digital nomads back in 2018. Our whole idea of what the ‘digital nomad’ experience changed. We met some pretty special people and learned to truly value the digital nomad community.
That’s not all coliving is about though. There are layers to why you would choose a coliving with a bunch of strangers over a comfy Airbnb.
In this article, we’re going to share the top 10 benefits of coliving for digital nomads that work online and constantly travel.
What Is Coliving?
Wondering what is coliving?
A coliving space is where digital nomads, remote workers and online entrepreneurs can come together and live under one roof. The coliving usually offers private bedrooms with private bathrooms, a shared kitchen, a common living room, and more importantly a coworking space.
Coliving is a new(ish) term that is commonly used amongst digital nomads. The best way to distinguish between a coliving vs a hostel is they offer coworking space and a lot more privacy (there are usually no dorms available). More than that, coliving spaces usually vet their guests to make sure that the right people stay and add value to the community.
You might be thinking, “why would digital nomads live in a coliving space?”. Well, for several reasons:
- reduced sense of loneliness
- sense of community
- meet like-minded people
- learn from inspiring people
The future of work is going remote and the coliving movement will only continue to grow because of where work is headed. This is definitely a term you will see more of as it’s only going to get more popular.
What Does Coliving Usually Include?
You can tell the biggest difference between a coliving and a hostel simply from the features and amenities that are included.
Here’s what some coliving spaces include in the price of their stay for members:
- private bedrooms w/ private baths and/or studio apartments
- a vetted community of digital nomads
- a coworking space
- a recreation area (rooftop bar, swimming pool, games room, etc)
- community events (social & educational)
- communal space (kitchen, lounge, living room, etc)
- a gym/space to workout and exercise
- a cafe or bar
I know it sounds kind of ominous but once you try coliving out yourself – you’ll see what I mean.
10x Benefits of Coliving Spaces For Digital Nomads
I’m actually writing this as we are staying at a coliving space in Lisbon – I guess there’s no better time!
There are plenty of benefits of coliving and as a digital nomad, it’s important to keep an open mind and remember that this is an accommodation option for you! While coliving isn’t available everywhere yet, we have found a lot of digital nomads choose their next destination based on a coliving space. Hence why we will be coliving and traveling with friends to a small, remote village in Cyprus!
Here are some of the biggest benefits of coliving we have experienced as digital nomads.
#1. You’ll Get An Instant Community When You Arrive
Isn’t difficult to land in a foreign city where you know no one and you’re left to meet people through active/inactive FB groups, meetup.com or WhatsApp groups?!
No one really understands the stress and how much you have to work to find a sense of community. It’s not easy to constantly put yourself out there and not sure if you’re going to get anything in return. We’ve been to several cities that barely had any active digital nomad communities and it was honestly always a hit or miss with the events!
Wish you could just have a built-in community from the moment you arrive?
One of the biggest benefits of coliving spaces is that you get an instant community of people as soon as you arrive. I’m actually writing this as we’re staying at SameSame Coliving – as we were checking in (we hadn’t even made it into our room) and we had already met 3 people from the space.
You’ll never feel lonely in a coliving space and that’s one of the main reasons all digital nomads (whether solo or a couple) should consider joining one!
#2. You’ll Love The Affordability
A coliving space is more affordable than an Airbnb?!
Yes, surprisingly so! Coliving spaces usually price themselves at the fairest price possible – at least that’s been our experience. Here are some of the USD prices we paid for coliving spaces vs the Airbnb costs:
- Bali, Indonesia: Coliving ($484) vs Airbnb ($578)
- Medellin, Colombia: Coliving ($800) vs Airbnb ($900)
- Limassol/Paphos, Cyprus: Coliving ($775) vs Airbnb ($1100)
The reason this is one of the benefits of coliving is that more than just a place to sleep – you get a community of digital nomads and coworking included in the price above. With an Airbnb, you’re only paying for the space and there are no other benefits. This is what makes coliving so much more affordable than other options.
We chose to stay in a coliving in Lisbon because we worked out that it would be more affordable for us in the end. Here’s how we thought about it: If we booked an Airbnb, it would have cost us more than the coliving in the end since coworking in Lisbon is usually upwards of $150-$200 USD per month. We always consider our costs for a place to stay but also a place to work!
#3. You’ll Meet Inspiring People Doing Interesting Things
We have met a great range of people doing very cool things. A lot of them do things we have never even heard of and that’s what makes it so great!
We love learning about new professions, digital nomad skills and knowledge in any industry. It’s so interesting to hear the wide range of things people work on – there’s no shortage of it in the digital nomad lifestyle. Here are some of the cool things people we met on the road do:
- digital marketing
- UX/UI designers
- wrestling (yes, for real)
- web development
- software development
- startup founders
- and the list goes on…
The latest digital nomad statistics show that startup founders, web/software development and marketing professions are the top industries digital nomads work in. A majority of digital nomads are actually self-employed, around 51% to be exact. You’ll find a range of workers in the coliving space that is either:
- business owners or
- remote workers with a 9-5
There was usually a good mix of people that were self-employed and employed which is always great because you get to hear different perspectives. One of the best benefits of coliving spaces is that you’ll constantly be inspired by the people around you and the things they are achieving in their business/profession.
#4. You’ll The Convenience & Pay One Price For Everything
Ever wish you could just pay one price and be done with it?!
Matthew especially loves this benefit of coliving spaces lol. He hates it when there are so many add-ons from the original price and you end up paying more than you originally thought. If you also hate getting surprised by hidden costs – you’ll love this about coliving spaces.
With coliving spaces – it’s one price for everything such as your room, use of the common areas, coworking and most social activities. Normally, you don’t have to pay for annoying things like electricity or water. It depends on how the coliving structures it because we did have to pay extra for this at our coliving in Bali. We don’t really mind as long as the owners are upfront and transparent about the costs.
The convenience of simply booking straight through the owners (usually via WhatsApp or email) and it’ll all be taken care of for you. They will sort your room before you arrive and ensure you have all the amenities you need to feel at home.
#5. You’ll Get A High Level Of Customer Service Care
The hospitality of coliving spaces is next level. Why?
They are usually independently owned. It’s not some worldwide hostel/hotel chain that barely cares about your coming and going. You will usually have contact with the owners of the place because they want to make sure you feel welcome and enjoy the coliving they worked hard to build.
If you like a more personalized customer service style, you will enjoy the benefit of coliving spaces. For example, the coliving in Medellin called Balu Coliving is one of the best we’ve seen for customer service. You message the owners, Joe and Diana, directly and they will help sort out your dates and rooms. If you need an airport transfer, they can also arrange that for you so it takes you straight to your new home in the coliving! They have also created a community WhatsApp for members to interact and make plans together throughout the week. Talk about customer service, right?!
Coliving spaces are unique in this way as it usually starts with one person dreaming of a collaborative house of like-minded people coming together to enjoy life and work hard. That’s one of the best benefits of coliving spaces that are independently owned.
#6. You’ll Attend Organized Social Events And Activities
It’s so much easier to meet new people when you can all meet at an organized event. While we were Zagreb digital nomads, there was a coworking event every Tuesday and that’s how we met all of our friends in Zagreb. I had to go digging through Facebook Groups to find this one event (and it was only created a few weeks before we arrived)!
The best benefit of coliving is that you will have all kinds of events already organized and set up for you. Here are the kind of events we’ve experienced from a coliving space:
- weekly member lunches
- weekly member dinners
- day trips to nearby attractions
- weekend getaways to nearby destinations
- morning hikes
- cooking classes
- board games nights (our personal fave)
Usually, you just have to RSVP to the events, sometimes you can even just show up. Most coliving spaces will release a calendar for the monthly events and a calendar for the weekly events they have set up. Simply attend and you’re bound to make some friends!
#7. You’ll Have Coworking Included (And Sorted For You)
Coworking is very important to digital nomads. Why?
Well…if we can’t get our work done, we won’t be traveling for much longer. 🤪
Digital nomads need a stable, consistent place to be productive and get work done. Some of the benefits of coworking are that it gives clearly defines your work life vs your personal and it’s a much more comfortable space to work a full day than say the kitchen table.
When you join a *real coliving space, they will have a coworking space sorted for you. This might be within the same building (like our coliving in Bali) or in a building nearby (like our coliving in Lisbon) or it might be one a couple of blocks away with your membership already sorted for you. One of the best benefits of coliving is that your workspace is already sorted for you because they understand that digital nomads actually have to work!
I’m actually writing this in the coworking space of our Lisbon coliving and it’s so nice to be able to get out of the room and into the coworking space. We didn’t need to pay extra for a hot desk seat as it’s already included in our coliving price – the way it should be!
#8. You’ll Share & Receive Knowledge From Like-Minded People
Want to be inspired, motivated or encouraged?
Stay at a coliving space filled with digital nomads. You won’t have a boring conversation!
Most digital nomads have interesting stories of how they started this lifestyle, what made them transition into and how they continue to fund it. You’ll be inspired by the bravery and courage they have to make the leap (even if you’ve done the same). You’ll also be overwhelmed by the level of intelligence and skills of your fellow coliving members.
From simply staying at a coliving space and talking to the other members, we learned so much about these topics (some we never even heard of prior):
- cryptocurrency and NFTs
- financial literacy
- media buying strategies
- how to manage work remotely
- tools, apps and advice on devices
and so much more! You can receive and share your knowledge through the educational events the coliving organizes or through simply conversing with your fellow coliving members in the common areas.
Remember: I mentioned sharing and receiving knowledge specifically. We don’t believe in just taking what you can get from the digital nomad community. It’s great when you can also share your skills, knowledge and advice. Digital nomads are some of the friendliest and most open-minded people and it’s important not to take advantage of that!
You will learn a wealth of information (old and new) and it’s one of the biggest benefits of coliving as you get to expand your mind plus knowledge.
#9. You’ll Have Privacy When You Want It
- Don’t want to share private space with strangers?
- Over the cheap, budget backpacking hostel dorm rooms?
- Too old to share your bathroom with other people?
Yeah, us too! I remember staying in hostels while I was on exchange. I just turned 20 and it didn’t really matter where I slept – visiting more cities was the most important thing.
But now…as digital nomads who travel full-time?! We won’t consider hostels ever – we like our privacy and space too much. But isn’t coliving a communal style of living?!
Yes and no. One of the best benefits of coliving is that you’ll usually get your own private bedroom and private bathroom. That’s right, you won’t have to share a room or bathroom with anyone. There might be some common spaces such as a kitchen, living room and obviously the coworking space.
Some coliving spaces even offer studio apartments that have your own kitchen too! This is our ideal kind of space. There are also usually no dorms available in coliving!
You can decide for yourself when you want to join the activities and when you want some “alone time”. There’s no pressure to join and you’ll always be welcome!
#10. You’ll Get An All-In-One Space For All You Need
Wish there was a space where you could sleep well, meet people and get work done?
That’s exactly the biggest benefits of coliving! You have all you could need in one space which can usually be a community building, a big villa or house, or a bunch of villas in one compound. It really depends on what the space is going to be like but usually, they are all within 1-2 minutes walking distance from each other.
When we stayed at our coliving in Bali, Bali Bustle, we had one big building where the coworking and swimming pool were located on the bottom floor which is an easy elevator ride down. The gym was located on the rooftop and the rooms were in the middle of the building. We happily said goodbye to commuting!
Is Coliving For Everyone?
I’ll be straight with you: Coliving isn’t for everyone.
But those who love it, LOVE IT!
We are part of those people because we value community quite a lot and that’s what coliving is all about. If you’re the same, you’ll also probably enjoy coliving as much as we do!
Coliving is in that sweet spot between a hotel and a hostel where you get the social aspect you expect from a hostel but the comforts of staying in a hotel-like space. It’s honestly the best of both worlds in our opinion!
If you need to work remotely, coliving will suit you best. We feel most coliving spaces are set up with digital nomads in mind and not your usual traveler (backpacker, vacationer, etc).
If you arrive with the expectations of only enjoying the new city you’re in, going on tours every day and going out every night – you’re probably in the wrong place. You’ll find that people work hard throughout the day and enjoy the afternoons/nights together.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Coliving Spaces?
I have to be honest, even as avid fans of coliving – it’s not perfect. There are a couple of things that may annoy you about coliving such as:
- conflict amongst coliving members (if you don’t get along – you still have to see each other)
- staff may or may not be well integrated into the community
- amenities may not be up to par/updated
- not available in every city around the world (yet)
- personal space may be invaded (if you’re not used to living with others)
We found that if you had any problems in a coliving space, a good host/owner will be able to find a solution for you. For example, we are having problems with our air conditioning and hot water (or lack of) at our coliving space since we arrived. It’s been a week with no updates of it getting fixed anytime soon.
The way this is fixed depends on the owners and how eager they are to help you. Unfortunately, you don’t luck out every time and we’ve learned we are just going to need to deal with this for the rest of our time here as they don’t give clear answers and respond hours/days later.
Are The Benefits Of Coliving Make It Worth The Try?
After our first coliving experience in Bali, I have to say we are hooked! Before we even search for our Airbnbs, we Google to see if there are coliving spaces in the area. We will always choose it first because the benefits of coliving far outweigh any of the negatives.
If you’re someone that values community as we do, you will probably enjoy coliving as well. And hey, you never know till you try it for yourself.
Have you ever tried coliving? What was your experience like? Comment below and let us know your thoughts, we’d love to know!