PHOTO: A historic New York City townhouse found through FlipKey. (all photos courtesy of A Cruising Couple)
We love a glamorous hotel or quaint bed and breakfast as much as the next person, but sometimes, there is nothing like the comfort of feeling at home while abroad. When we know we'll be hunkering down in one spot for a while - or if we're simply looking for a more authentic glimpse of a location - then we always opt for an apartment rental.
And while it's not always easy to find an epic apartment at a reasonable price, we've learned which resources to use - and how to get the most out of them. If you're keen on renting a house or apartment during your travels but you're not quite sure where to start, here's an introduction to how we do it ourselves:
Use Social Media to Network
With so many digital nomads out there, it's now easier than ever to follow in the footsteps of those who have been before you. Do you follow any travel bloggers? If so, where did they stay on their last stint abroad? If they were in a location for a couple of months, then chances are they have great contacts they can share with you.
If you don't know who to ask, then head to Twitter or Instagram and search for the hashtag of the destination you will be visiting. See who is talking about it - and not just the tourists, but people who look like they are experts on the location. Do they have a travel blog or website? Don't be afraid to reach out if it looks like someone can help.
Finally, get on Facebook and ask your friends! Whenever we have any question about a potential destination, we always use social media as a platform for asking advice. It's amazing how small the world is, and who might just know a local in Djibouti who is renting out a beautiful guesthouse at crazy low prices.
Explore Specialized Websites
If you're short on time or you can't find the help you need on social media, don't worry. There are still plenty of great websites that cater directly to travelers seeking great apartment and house rentals around the world. Airbnb is perhaps the most popular, and definitely a site that we frequent quite often. For example, it was the first source we went to when we recently decided to visit Greece during the busiest time of year and were looking for authentic accommodation options in quiet villages for only two or three nights at a time.
FlipKey is another one of our favorite places to find real rooms in stunning houses or flats. If you do enough searching, there are some real gems here that you wouldn't find elsewhere. For example, we stayed in a historic townhouse in New York City that looked like it was straight out of the 1920s. Tagged on to a tour of some of New York's speakeasies, we might as well have traveled back in time.
If you're traveling specifically in Europe, then we recommend trying Go With Oh. We stayed in the most luxurious apartment in Montmartre, Paris (with an adorable balcony) for a fraction of the price of most "mid-budget" hotels.
If you really want to get adventurous, there is also always the option to try Craigslist. This is how we found our recent casita in Costa Rica, and while it wasn't perfect, it was a comfortable and clean option for a few months.
Wait Until You're On The Ground
If you have the time and don't mind spending your first few nights in a hotel, then one of the best ways to find long-term house and apartment rentals is to wait until you arrive in your destination. Of course this is really only possible if you are planning on staying in a destination for at least a month, but you will find the best value for the best prices.
Find out where other expats hang out, and the go make some friends. Often people on the ground will know of something available that you never would have found online. This is how we found our house rental in Mexico, and also how we discovered the newer and nicer house we'll be moving into in Costa Rica.
It takes a bit of courage, but typically your patience will be rewarded. House and apartment rentals aren't for everyone, but they are certainly a wonderful way to experience a location like the locals if you're up for what could be an adventure!
How do you find your apartment rentals?
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