In this report, I share How I find perfect apartments traveling the world.
Why You Shouldn’t Book Month Long Stays Over the Internet
You have never been there before. But you researched service apartments on Airbnb, VRBO, Bookings, etc. You read all the reviews, you watched the Youtube videos to pick neighborhoods, and you found what you think would be the perfect place for your 30-day stay.
But when you arrive the neighborhood is not what you thought it would be. The apartment is not as good as you thought it would be. The pictures are dated, the Internet is slow, the restaurants are not walkable, and the kitchen isn’t really set up for cooking.
Two days later, you find the perfect neighborhood. The restaurants are right, shopping is nearby, the streets are friendly and walkable. There is even a nice park you can run around in the morning and a subway stop around the corner. Too late, you already booked the wrong place for 30 days.
How I Find Perfect Apartments Traveling The World
Step 1. Do not book long-term stays over the internet.
Step 2. Do all the same research you were doing including finding your favorite place in your price range in your favorite area. But you should also leave a message on the Facebook Expat Group for that part of the world asking if anyone has a furnished apartment or house that fits your requirements and area. Do this at least a few weeks before you want to arrive. If you get a reply, this could be the best method to save money. You may save on taxes, booking fees, and cleaning fees. But be careful also. If you are dealing with someone you met online, how do you know the apartment is real? When you are on platforms like Airbnb, you can read reviews of previous tenants. So if you decide to rent one this way, you should look for other proof that the landlord is real and trustworthy. That is one of the reasons we don’t generally book a month’s stay with an apartment we found this way unless they have social proof. Instead, we go visit these apartments we find in Expat Facebook groups in steps 5 and 6 below. We go see them with our own in step 6 below before finalizing a deal. We don’t send money in advance.
Step 3. Book your favorite place for only 4 to 5 days, even though you want to stay in that city for a month or more. Tell the landlord you will book for another month by the end of those 4 to 5 days if it feels like a good fit for you. (Make sure the days are available) You tell them your intentions so they don’t accept any short stays in the middle of the 30 days you intend to stay there.
Step 4. Next, but hopefully, before you travel there, identify the top two or three other areas you would like to live and pick a favorite place in each such area before you go to the city.
Step 5. Email the other landlords and tell them you are considering booking their place for 30 days but you would like to stop by and see their neighborhood first. Tell them you would like to see the inside also if the unit is vacant when you arrive. (These interior inspections will help you test the internet and the interior.)
Step 6. Upon arrival in the city, use the 4-5 days to do on-the-ground research. On day 1, confirm your meetings with the landlords. During the first few days, see the interior of the alternate apartments and walk your favorite three areas and see which feels perfect for your 30 days (or more) stay. While inside the units, make sure the AC and Internet wifi speeds meet your requirements. Here is a webpage that will test the router speed: https://www.att.com/support/speedtest/
Step 7. As you walk the neighborhoods, don’t limit your search to the original set of landlords you found on Airbnb, Facebook Expat groups, etc. Their prices are artificially too high because people booking online don’t know how overpriced they have become until they conduct research on the ground. Plus, Airbnb is being forced to collect a bunch of government fees that landlords may not need to pay if you deal directly with the landlord. Look for rental signs (weekly or monthly furnished) as you walk through the favorite areas. Call the landlords while you are standing in front of their units. They often live nearby and can show you their vacant unit immediately. This will save you hundreds of dollars, I am not kidding.
Step 8. After 3 or 4 days of on-the-ground research, you will know the right place for you. Make an all-cash offer for your 30+ day stay and hand the cash to them when they meet you at the property on your move-in date. This method will save hundreds of dollars in third-party booking fees in some parts of the world. Plus, you will have found your perfect place. However, this method will not always work as well during high season or in really desirable areas of the world.
This is how I find perfect apartments traveling the world. We used to just use Airbnb, but it doesn’t work so well anymore when you are slow traveling on a budget.
I know what you are thinking. I am not going to do all this work to save a few hundred dollars, right? But would you do all this to make sure you are in the perfect neighborhood where you feel at home, everything fun is within walking distance, your internet connection is strong and reliable, the kitchen has everything you need, the AC works perfectly, and you feel like you are getting the best experience you can in that city for the next few weeks or months? I would. When you love where you live life has rose-colored glasses.
That is How I find perfect apartments traveling the world, every time (almost every time). Sometimes we luck out and keep the first one. Other times some weird fluke happens and we find it another way. Other times we just pay full boat and take our beatings. Welcome to life.
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This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube Channel for VagabondBuddha.com. Please remember to like, comment, or subscribe. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?