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5 things digital nomads actually want in an Airbnb

If you’ve got an Airbnb and you hope to attract some long-term digital slomads, this post is to help you with getting it setup. From my own experience and what I see other digital nomads sharing in our secret digital nomad Slack and Discord communities, here are amenities digital nomads actually want in an Airbnb (and the listing).

1. Show the internet speed test in your Airbnb listing

When I look at the reviews, internet speed is the first thing I’ll search for to verify that previous guests confirm it’s fast. And any listing that has a good speed test in its photos, automatically goes in my short list. Having the photo there also saves us both time, because many digital nomads are going to ask to see a speed test if they are thinking of booking your place. 

A leaky roof, gunfire outside, an empty kitchen… we’ll overlook a lot if you have great internet.

You don’t need to have an amazing view. It doesn’t hurt. But what matters to me most is that my clients can have an uninterrupted conversation without needing to repeat themselves because the internet dropped.

2. A good chair

I care more about the desk chair than the bed in your listing.

Let’s say there are three types of digital nomads: a) people looking for any random, part-time remote job they can find to cover basic expenses and having fun, b) people working full-time running a global business, and c) people working full-time for companies in other countries that need to be at a desk eight hours of the day. The last two are arguably what you want to target, and they’re going to spend a lot of time in your Airbnb. They’ll want a good chair. 

This is a differentiator and desirable. A recent Reddit post in the digital nomad subreddit racked up 80 comments and 50 upvotes asking what people thought about buying a decent office chair for an Airbnb: Anyone ever ordered a chair to a hotel room or Airbnb?

That hard plastic chair you see in the photo there is very popular amongst Airbnb hosts. Not so amongst guests. 

I also need a desk that’s wide off for my laptop and my portable keyboard. Looking straight down at a laptop screen is not sustainable for 8+ hours.

This post on the Glocalme Duoturbo portable WIFI also covers the portable keyboard I carry with me: Review Glocalme Duoturbo

3. A big table

I often turn the kitchen table into a desk but I’m open to using a desk for work if it’s large enough.

Many listings like to add some random dinky little flat piece of wood and call it a desk so they can list themselves as having that “dedicated workspace” on their listing, but I’m looking for that in the listing. A real desk has space for a laptop and a light. Speaking of the light, here’s a bonus tip

Think about how your digital nomad guest will do video calls. If the desk is in a dark corner with the only light over their head, behind them, it’ll look terrible on video calls. I’m often needing to move lamps at accommodations so they’re in front of my face. 

You don’t need to have a fabulously decorated background, but this wall of art and shelf of antiques at a recent stay in Querétaro, Mexico, certainly didn’t hurt as a Zoom background:

This is a screencapture from Zoom, with the background I had at a recent Airbnb stay in Querétaro, Mexico. Walls of art and retro electronics was a common design theme in shops and cafes (and homes) around the historical center of Querétaro.

4. Food storage containers

Places that include containers I can store food in after cooking, I love you. 

Remember: us digital transients are not on vacation. So many places I check into give me a stack of restaurant takeout flyers. Sure, I’ll eat at every donut shop in the neighborhood, but I’m not going to eat takeout everyday. I need to fuel doing awesome things. Speaking of which, another bonus tip

Not only do I want to eat to fuel action, I also want to move my body while I’m staying at your place. A yoga mat is an amenity I’ve had at two places this year and appreciated so so much.

5. Instructions

An interesting quirk of the places I’ve been to, is that so few want to tell me how garbage disposal works there. I’ve had to ask every time. I think this is because people assume the way they do garbage is how everybody does garbage, everywhere. But it’s not. There’s amazing diversity to our trashing the planet.

I was recently in a place that had daily garbage collection. You left your garbage by a random tree down the street and somebody picked it up each night. I thought people were just littering there.  

You can write out how to do all of the basic activities of civilization. It’ll save you needing to repeat it for each guest. Garbage, using the stove, how does cleaning work, what can’t go in the toilet, etc. Assume your guest is a visiting alien. 

At a recent Airbnb, they had a washing machine. Beside it, there was an empty cupboard with an unlabeled bottle of white powder. It didn’t smell good, and it didn’t make soapy bubbles when wet, but I figured it was for the laundry, so I used it. The next week, after the cleaner left, I discovered they’d left an unmarked bottle of blue liquid. It smelled like dish soap. The week after, another bottle in the cupboard: a purple liquid that smelled like baby powder. One of these was definitely for the laundry, I think.

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