Blueground and Landing offer flexible leases that allow you to move to a different city or country.
If you’ve ever tried full-time travel or being a digital nomad, hopping between cities around the world every few weeks or months, you know that the logistics can get exhausting. When planning your first few destinations, it’s fun to spend hours looking for the perfect Airbnb. But there’s a reason most people don’t move every month: it’s hard work, and there’s a lot more admin involved than just paying the booking fee and packing your stuff.
I’ve been living between the United States, Latin America, and Europe since summer 2019, and planning moves has easily been my biggest source of stress. I’ve lived in a co-living space with roommates I found on Facebook and in local equivalents of Craigslist. I’ve stayed in expensive Airbnbs and for free with family and friends. Sometimes, there are too many good options. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough, or there are a lot of catches, like needing to buy furniture or appliances you can’t take with you when you leave because the apartment is set up for short visits rather than longer stays.
In 2021, I found two housing companies trying to make it easier to move around frequently with just a suitcase or two. Landing operates a network of apartments within the United States, and Blueground has apartments in a few major U.S. cities as well as Europe and Dubai. These companies tout the ability to live entirely on your terms. They offer fully-furnished apartments on leases as short as one month, and they’ll let you move between apartments in their network every 14-30 days if you have at least a six-month lease. I tried out both last year for about three months each while living in Denver and then London. Here’s how they work and what it’s like to live there.
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Landing is based in the United States and operates a network of thousands of apartments in hundreds of cities and suburbs. With a six-month “explorer” lease, you can move between their fully-furnished apartments every 14 days with little more than an app booking and/or a phone call. Each apartment has a market-based rent price plus a fixed utilities fee, including Wi-Fi and unlimited electricity, water, and more; they truly have everything you could need in a house.
I moved into a Landing unit in Denver in March 2021 when a one-week stay to visit friends in Boulder unexpectedly turned into nearly four months. Denver rent prices start around $2,000, including utilities for a studio, and I was able to move into a place just two days after booking. I didn’t need references or a security deposit, just income verification. When I showed up, it was exactly as I’d seen it in the pictures. There was art on the walls, throw blankets and pillows on the couch and bed, the kitchen was stocked with trash bags, dish soap, dishwasher pods, and even a few snacks, and there was a vacuum, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. I had all the dishes, towels, cooking equipment, and soft, warm lighting I would have had if I’d furnished the place myself. I immediately felt at home.
There were a few snags with the moving process that are important for the company to address. Landing furnishes individual units from apartment buildings they have partnerships with, and sometimes they advertise empty, available units that are on the market for anyone to rent. If you book one, they’ll rent it from that company and furnish it before you move in. But since it’s also being advertised off their platform, sometimes the unit you want can fall through after you think it’s confirmed. This happened to me, and it was disappointing. Later, I moved to a different unit within my building, and again, there was a mix-up. Landing accidentally mixed up the dates of my move-in and the occupants’ move-out and had to push mine back with just a day or two’s notice. This wasn’t a massive inconvenience to me, though it certainly could have been under other circumstances. Landing sent me a DoorDash gift certificate as an apology, and I considered us even.
Throughout my stay with Landing, I called their customer service line constantly with questions, and every time their staff was helpful and patient. When I reported that an armchair was damaged upon move-in, just to make sure I wouldn’t get charged, Landing immediately offered to replace it—and let me keep it and give it away to a friend who’d fallen in love with it when they did (it was just aesthetic damage; it wasn’t broken).
Asking what my apartment had given me that week became a running joke with friends in Denver. For example, Landing offers members seven free nights in other units in their network as a travel benefit, and when I tried to use two of mine in New York, they didn’t have any available units. So, instead, they sent me a $250 Visa gift card to make up for it. They also run monthly giveaways for members and sent me a complimentary bottle of Haus grapefruit jalapeño liquor and a houseplant from Horti, a houseplant subscription service. I always felt like I benefited from the house, and it was amazing.
Overall verdict: For furnished apartments with incredible flexibility for indecisive travelers like me, on paper, Landing is a near-perfect solution. It can be frustrating when there are snags in the system, but the company has an all-star customer service team who works hard to iron out those wrinkles—and make up for them—when they do occur.
Blueground is similar to Landing in many ways with one major—and exciting—difference: they have apartments abroad, too. In addition to major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Austin, and Seattle, Blueground also has apartments in Paris, Istanbul, Athens, Berlin, London, Vienna, Zurich, Madrid, and Dubai, and will soon be adding other cities.
The new Blueground Pass allows residents to move between apartments as often as every 30 days on a six- or 12-month lease, as long as the apartment you want to move into is available within a couple of days of your move-in (meaning, it won’t have to sit empty for weeks to accommodate your move). Longer-term pricing is more competitive than a pre-booked short-term stay, and you’ll also get up to $1,000 off your second booking within your lease.
I came across the company while I was living in my Landing unit in Denver, and it sounded like a dream solution to my housing problem: I wanted to spend the summer in London, knew I’d be back in the U.S. for about a month afterward, and didn’t know where I wanted to be after that trip. Blueground allows you to freeze your membership for up to four months on a 12-month lease, so you can take time “off” from your contract to live in a city they don’t serve. If you want to terminate your contract before your lease is up, you have to pay one month’s rent as a penalty fee. On the Pass, though, you’re able to freeze your lease for up to four months if you want to temporarily move to a city that’s not in their network. You won’t be able to keep the apartment—you’ll have to move out—but you also won’t have housing costs during that period.
Blueground’s apartments are tastefully furnished with an aesthetic consistent throughout their apartments around the world, which I think helps make a space feel more familiar and cozier, faster. I didn’t sign up for a Blueground Pass because I worked out a separate deal with the company for a stay in London instead (full disclosure: they offered me a media discount; with full rent and utilities starting at £2,450 or about $3,300 per month, I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford it), but I did get to experience two different units in the network. The day I moved in, the water in my flat wasn’t working, so Blueground immediately set me up in another available apartment where I stayed for a couple of days while it was fixed.
In London, Blueground works directly with individual apartment owners rather than building managers or property companies, the way they do in the United States. That means there’s more variety and character in the apartments available for rent, and it also means it can sometimes take time to fix issues that are the homeowner’s responsibility. But I never had to deal directly with anyone other than Blueground. If there was an issue, like when my air conditioning unit started leaking, I sent a message through the app, and a customer service rep who was dedicated to my account handled all the logistics.
There were a few other hiccups throughout my stay, but ultimately, I left satisfied with how the customer service team handled everything. There were some minor things—the kitchen didn’t have a cutting board, so I messaged, and they sent one over straightaway. When I complained that I found the mattress to be quite uncomfortable, especially when compared to the one in the unit I stayed in when my water wasn’t working, it was discovered that it was an older model that hadn’t yet been upgraded since the company started standardizing its furnishings across the city. They replaced it for free.
While I didn’t get to experience what it’s like to move units or cities within the Blueground network, I did see first-hand that apartments have a consistent style and everything you need to cook well and live cozy. They’re very well-designed, full of Instagrammable corners, and they come ready with little touches that make them feel more like a home, such as Bluetooth speakers, local snacks and tea, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. If you need something that doesn’t come standard with your unit, such as a desk or child-friendly furniture, you can ask your sales rep about custom packages to meet those needs.
One major way Blueground differs from traditional renting is that you generally have to pay for your full stay in advance, like a hotel, rather than monthly, unless you set up a payment plan, which may incur extra fees. When you book your stay, you’ll be able to chat with an actual person who will talk through your options with you, which gives you an opportunity to ask all the questions you want, including asking about units that might not have come up in your search but may be a better fit for your needs.
Overall verdict: Though Blueground is quite expensive in London compared to other local options, their other cities are far more affordable, and those in the U.S. are on par with Landing’s prices. To my knowledge, the ability to move countries on the same “subscription” doesn’t exist elsewhere yet, and it’s a great concept with incredible potential. This could be a great solution for people primarily based in the U.S. who want the option to move abroad for a few months before returning to their home city. I hope we’ll see this trend grow.