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Chris Cerra, a.k.a The Nomad Accommodation Guy, on digital nomads, his newsletter for saving on remote stays, rental tips and trends, and Flatio’s Nomad Inspectors Club

3. april 2024 · 7 minute

Chris Cerra, known as “The Nomad Accommodation Guy”, has made it his mission to help remote workers, including digital nomads, avoid overpaying for accommodation.

It all started with a curiosity to experience new places and cultures, and short stays of a few days made possible by a remote-friendly job he got in 2016.

As his interest in traveling grew, he gradually extended the duration of his stays to several weeks.

To his surprise and delight, he figured that it was more financially viable to book accommodation for a month or longer. He also found a new appreciation for quality when he realized how important it is for longer stays.

Driven by a desire to share tips, experiences, and offers that could benefit other remote workers, Chris—who has been a full-time digital nomad since 2018—started a newsletter.

Some 5,000 nomads and members of the wider location-independent community of professionals receive curated accommodation deals in this newsletter, RemoteBase. And his platform continues to grow in reach and popularity.

The vetted listings not only help subscribers save “up to 80%” on rent, but also meet the specific needs of those working from home, such as a dedicated workspace, a convenient location, and plenty of natural light.

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Chris' inclusion in the Remote Influencer Report's Top 50 Remote Enablers list for 2022 and 2023, as well as mentions in prestigious publications like The Guardian, Forbes, and The Washington Post, and appearances on podcasts such as About Abroad, That Remote Life, The Remote Show, and Nomad University, show his positive contribution to the remote work community.

Chris also helps enhance the experience of location-independent professionals in different parts of the world as a member of Flatio’s Nomad Inspectors Club

This exclusive club is a community of digital nomadism influencers, including nomads, experts, consultants, and content creators.

They stay at accommodations listed on Flatio, inspect them, and award them the "Nomad-Verified" badge if they meet remote work requirements, such as:

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi
  • Proper workspace 
  • Space for mediation and exercise 

Their reviews and the badge help remote workers make informed decisions when renting through Flatio.

In an interview with Flatio, Chris talked about a variety of topics, including the RemoteBase newsletter, his lifestyle, tips for renting accommodation, what he thinks is missing in the digital nomad community, the latest rental trends, his experience with the Nomad Inspectors Club, and some advice for other Nomad Inspectors.

If you're interested in these topics, we recommend that you read this interview. We believe it'll encourage you to sign up for his free newsletter or consider a premium membership to gain access to even more exclusive benefits.

Also, we’d like to invite you to check out our Nomad Inspectors Club, aimed at influencers, and its LITE version for non-influencers interested in helping remote workers make more informed decisions when it comes to renting accommodation with their property reviews.

Happy reading!

Interview with Chris Cerra, The Nomad Accommodation Guy

1 - Can you tell us about your journey as a digital nomad and what inspired you to adopt this lifestyle? 

I didn’t travel much growing up, but it was always something I was drawn to. The idea of traveling to new places and seeing things so different from where I came from made me curious.

But I never thought I could make traveling such an integral part of my lifestyle until I got a remote-friendly job in 2016. I traveled more and more alongside work, and by 2018 I was living the nomadic life full time.

2 - What challenges did you face when looking for accommodation as a digital nomad, and how did this influence the creation of your newsletter, RemoteBase? 

For me, two challenges overlapped.

The first challenge was always judging quality. The second challenge came with time: finding a place where I could really feel at home, no matter where I was.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I tested out the lifestyle slowly at first, traveling for a slightly longer period each time: 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 1 month, 6 weeks, 2 months. The longer I stayed, the more important it became for me to find a nice place to spend my time—not just a place to sleep.

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Also, something interesting happened around the 1 month mark. I noticed that rental prices tend to be lower if you book accommodation for a month or more.

That was great! It meant more budget-friendly options. While price was important, quality became even more important to me as I continued my nomadic lifestyle. 

If you book a place for two nights and it’s a bit noisy or not very homely, that’s fine. It’s only for a short stay. But if you book an accommodation for two months, that’s different. You don’t want that to be your reality. In such a case, quality becomes an even more important factor

3 - What criteria do you take into account when curating listings for RemoteBase?

All listings featured in the newsletter are equipped with kitchen, AC/heating (depending on climate) and, of course, Wi-Fi. The decisive factor, however, is the quality.

Accommodation is a very personal choice. So there is a wide range of styles—from cabins on the beach to modern high-rise apartments. But those included in the newsletter will always be of good enough quality to live and work from. 

Chris Cerra, The Nomad Accommodation Guy

4 - How do you maintain the balance between automated processes and manual curation in RemoteBase?

Where possible, the curation process is automated. In reality, however, it is not possible to automate much and still focus on quality. I personally vet every listing before it’s sent out to ensure the quality of the newsletter. 

5 - What sets RemoteBase apart from similar accommodation-focused newsletters?

There’s a long list of accommodation providers, and some of them regularly send out a newsletter.

RemoteBase is different because we’re independent. We share listings from a variety of providers and have no reason to favor one provider over another. This means that we can really focus on offering subscribers what we think is best.

There are other independent newsletters that share top deals. But they mostly focus on vacation bookings (weekends to 2 weeks) and not the monthly bookings that digital nomads and traveling remote workers are looking for. RemoteBase brings these two worlds together. Top deals, for nomads

6 - What are the three most important characteristics of a valuable newsletter?

Newsletters are becoming an increasingly popular way for brands (and people) to engage with their audience. In my opinion, the most important features of a great newsletter are the following:

  • They never spam you.
  • They give more than they take.
  • They give you the feeling that you're part of something bigger.

It’s easy for senders to complicate things, but these basics are all that’s really necessary.

7 - How would you describe remote work-friendly accommodation? 

In my opinion, a remote work-friendly accommodation is: 

  • Spacious enough to have separate living and working areas
  • Well lit
  • Conveniently located
  • Close enough to transportation infrastructure and amenities such as grocery stores
  • With plenty of natural light that doesn't disturb the body's natural rhythm

Interview with Chris Cerra

8 - Can you give us a few tips on spotting a good accommodation deal?

I'd like to see floor plans, the exterior of the building, and a door to the room I want to work in (so I can close it). But these preferences are different for everyone.

It’s important to know what you want from a place, before you start filtering the listings. It's best to think about your needs and preferences and write them down before you start your search. This will give you a much better starting point.

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9 - What factors should digital nomads consider when looking for accommodation? 

Again, the specifics of the property are a matter of personal preference, but there’s one thing every nomad should look for: a host who understands digital nomads.

I’d rather book with a less experienced host who I know understands the needs of nomads than an experienced short-term rental host who is unfamiliar with this lifestyle.

Our requirements are fundamentally different, and a host who understands that is a rare thing.

The Nomad Accommodation Guy

10 - What’s the most common misconception among landlords when it comes to digital nomads? 

Landlords often mistakenly believe that digital nomads have the same needs as short-term vacationers

11 - What advice would you give to landlords or property owners who want to attract remote workers as tenants?

Furnish the property as you would for a long-term rentals experience. A comfortable sofa and good cutlery will go a long way towards making the place feel like a home.

12 - Have you noticed any new trends or preferences among digital nomads in terms of accommodation options?

Subscription living and home swap.

13 - What do you think is missing in the digital nomad accommodation market? 

Loyalty programs!

14 - How do you see the future of the digital nomad accommodation market? 

I believe that the supply of properties tailored to the needs of nomadic families will increase.

15 - You have worked with Flatio as a Nomad Inspector to help us check whether a listing is remote work-friendly or not. How would you describe your experience with our Nomad Inspectors Club?

The process with the properties went smoothly overall. However, it would be beneficial to have the option to review and potentially sign the required paperwork online.

Chris Cerra, The Nomad Accommodation Guy

16 - How do you think we can improve our Nomad Inspectors Club? 

To improve your Nomad Inspectors Club, I suggest that you provide clearer guidance on what makes a successful campaign. It's important that you define your metrics for success. 

For example, if the goal is to drive traffic to the property page, you should encourage your brand partners to link directly to the property. If you want to collect email addresses, directing traffic to a subscribe page can be effective. Also, if you want to increase sign-ups for Flatio accounts, you should prioritize this.

In addition, as a brand partner, it's crucial for inspectors to understand the key performance metrics that are important to Flatio. Transparent campaign performance criteria guidelines ensure inspectors efforts are aligned with Flatio's objectives.

17 - What advice would you give Nomad Inspectors when it comes to inspecting properties?

I recommend that Nomad Inspectors thoroughly consider the experience from the perspective of other nomads.

Remember that their needs and routines may differ from your own. Some may be traveling with families, others alone or as a couple. How might these different circumstances affect their experience?

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One more thing before you go! 

If you’re looking for flexible, reasonably priced, and deposit-free stays from 5 days to a year, check out our listings in over 300 destinations in Europe and beyond

And why Flatio, you ask? 

Here's a glimpse of the features that distinguish us from other rental accommodation providers:

  • Flexible, reasonably priced stays (from 5 days)
  • Availability of rooms, flats, houses, villas, etc.
  • Utilities and Wi-Fi included
  • No deposit required for stays of less than 180 days
  • Balanced, legally binding, visa-friendly lease agreement (translated into multiple languages)
  • A very attractive cancelation policy
  • Online signing of lease agreement
  • StayProtection for Tenants, a service package to help tenants deal with emergencies such as internet problems and blocked doors, as well as accidental damage to property
  • Move-in Guarantee with a 24/7 emergency line
  • 100% money protection
  • Customer support available every day of the week
  • No hidden fees
  • A secure and simple payment system (including the possibility to pay with Bitcoin)
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