How I find perfect apartments traveling the world

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:

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.

Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook “How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 13 Years.”

My goal is to make this channel better every day. But I need your help. Please leave your new topic ideas, criticism, and other thoughts in the comments below.

This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube Channel for Please remember to like, comment, or subscribe. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

14 thoughts on “How I find perfect apartments traveling the world”

  1. Hello and it is great to read all the experience and learning, how to do the best way to our benefits.
    I’m retired and have a child let in my life, that still goes to School online. I’m a small landlord with only 7 units in Toronto. Would like to go DR to spend a couple months this winter, but need a safe place with internet for my 12year old. For now I booked to be in the hotel for couple weeks and some reviews are telling me that internet sucks. I’ll have to cancel my holiday, because of girl not be able to log in on line to be learning. This was just test, and went wrong on first try. Would anybody know, where is better place then Viva Wyndham Dominicus Hotel? Does anybody have any experience with internet in that hotel?

  2. Will retire in 2024 (get ss)… Wish to find pleasant spots to stay for a month or two, and hopefully find a SUKI where I will return again and again. Will be on budget though, and finding your site has been a blessing.

  3. Thank you for this great article! Will definitely start incorporating these tips…

  4. Hi Bill,
    Whatever you can negotiate.
    We shot for 40% but are happy if we can get 25% off.
    But it depends on area and season.
    Hot areas and high season are tough to find big discounts.

  5. I do it all the time without a translator. Just bring along your smartphone and use Google Translate. It works perfectly. 🙂

  6. This is a great big wonderful tip for booking the best (for you) place to stay, thanks!

    A question that kept popping for me is, how to do this if you don’t speak the language well enough to call or visit in person?

    Do you get on craigslist or equivalent and try to hire a local person to help?

    Thanks, gracias, Mahalo,

  7. Hi Jose,
    Thanks for enjoying my videos Jose. My advice is to not take month-long trips. My advice is to slow travel whatever part of the world you fly to. That way you amortize the expensive part (flights) over many months and explore more of each part of the world while you are there. I suspect that is what you meant, but I wanted to clarify for any new readers what you likely meant. I haver done a whole post on that idea here:
    Thanks for your comment Jose, you are helping our business grow! Dan

  8. Dear Dan: As an arm chair traveler I have seen many of your videos as well as many other bloggers including Gabriel Traveller, Tangerine Travels, Kinetic Kennons etc. Your videos are the most instructive and detailed when it comes to slow travel expertise. Since I retire soon and get my COVID-19 vaccinations, I hope to follow your advice and take month long trips to Mexico and Asia. Thanks for all the great advice

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