Finding accommodation in a new city for short or long-term stays can be daunting. Digital Nomads have to find a new home regularly, so we asked the Digital Nomad Girls community for their best tips and tricks.
Here are their 10 commandments for finding accommodation in a new city:
Thou shalt do your homework
Always do your research. Find out about bills, deposits, and possible estate agent fees before signing any contracts or you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Patience is a virtue
Never rush into any decisions and never put any money down before you’ve seen a place or if it’s not on a verified platform. Sadly, there are a few people out there who take advantage, so be vigilant and trust your gut.
Stay in the student area
If you like to be in the hustle and bustle of things, it’s a great idea to stay near the university. You’ll be guaranteed to find some interesting people to live with, affordable, local eateries nearby, and, no shortage of bars and parties.
Location vs price
“When pricing out accommodations and deciding on your budget, consider the time and expense daily travel will take, whether you’ll be commuting, running errands, or sightseeing. Some cities have expensive or inefficient transit, so be sure to factor in the value of your time, as well as the cost of a transit pass or a car. You might be able to justify a place that’s a bit more expensive, but a whole lot closer to the action” says Susannah Bruck.
Live with locals
If you truly want to immerse yourself in a new culture, then you should live with locals. There’s no better way to learn about customs, traditions and pick up the language than living with local people.
Kris Oak has two great tips for us: “Most universities have a dedicated area on their website with either rooms that are available for rent or they give you great tips on where to find affordable accommodation in that specific city. So always check out the universities of the area you’ll move to.”
The power of asking
Use your network. Write a post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, let everyone know that you’re looking for accommodation. People will tag their friends who might know something.
And if someone shows you an apartment but you think it’s not the right for you, ask if they have any other apartments. Chances are high that if that person has one apartment to rent, they at least know someone else that does too.
Chat with the Locals
“One of the easiest and most beneficial ways of finding accommodation while living abroad is connecting with locals” says Sienna Brown “Odds are, you’ll get to know of amazing locations, apartments and opportunities that might not necessarily be shared on the web. I got access to my amazing 2-bedroom place in the south of Spain because of a friend of a friend! So be courageous and don’t be afraid to use your network when it comes to finding a spot to stay!”
Sian Peters swears by online communities: “There’s a Facebook group for everything. If you’re going somewhere completely new, find a community on Facebook that will have insider knowledge of the place you’re visiting. They can give you the lowdown on where to stay and who to book through. You might even make some new friends!”
Never accept the first offer! Often landlords ask for a higher price than they are willing to accept because they expect you to haggle. Always try to get a better price or the bills included.
Jennifer Lachs is a freelance writer for Open Colleges, full-time traveler, and runs the Digital Nomad Girls Community.