For some travelers, the idea of renting a home or apartment holds great appeal over a hotel room. You get more space, often for a similar or cheaper price than a hotel. Cooking facilities allow you to prepare your own meals when you feel like it, which can add up to significant savings when traveling, as this is a necessary daily expense you will encounter. If you are someone who has the ability to stay in one spot for an extended amount of time, you probably would rather set yourself up in some cozy home-like surroundings rather than living out of a hotel room for weeks or months. As someone who travels long-term, and almost always sets up shop somewhere at least a month, I have rented lots of houses and apartments in my day. I have learned a few things, and here are some tips to help you choose your next accommodation.
Research the General Area
Before deciding on a place, research the general area to get an idea of size, the different neighborhoods, where restaurants and another amenities are clustered, transportation options,etc..to get a good idea of what areas are suitable based on preferences, budget and other individual factors. That cheaper apartment away from the center may not be such a great deal if your only options to get to the action are expensive taxis or really long walks. You may find that the town or city is not that big, or that you have easy access to reliable and inexpensive public transportation, making it possible to get more house for your money in a less prime locale.
When I stayed in Penang, Malaysia for a month, I was a bit far out of the center in one of the suburbs of Georgetown, but I was located close to plenty of shops, restaurants and a giant shopping mall with an awesome supermarket; the city has a great bus system that is dirt cheap and I was only five minutes walk from a stop. Knowing all this, I did not feel as compelled to rent something closer to the city center that would have been smaller and more expensive.
Determine Your Priorities
Figuring out what is important to you personally will help focus your search and increase the chances of finding a property you are happy with. For some people, being super-close to everything in the main part of the city is the most important part; there is little interest in having to walk or take public transport. Me personally….I do not mind walking a bit as it forces me to exercise. While I do not want to be out in the boonies, I have no issue being somewhere that requires me to walk 20 to 30 minutes to get to the heart of the city. Being that I travel with my fiancé, maximizing the amount of space I can get is important, and I am willing to pay a bit more for a larger place if it means eliminating frustration I may feel from being on top of each other all the time. Other people may have price as their primary concern and are interested in finding the cheapest place possible. If you really value a quiet area, inquire to the owner about what type of street the house is located on, if there is any construction going on in the area or if it is surrounded by any noisy elements, such as a school.
Do Not Make Any Assumptions and Always Ask if You are Unclear about Something
One of the most helpful life lessons I have learned from traveling is, never make assumptions. No matter how likely or unlikely something may seem, if you do not know for sure, ask. If you are looking at serviced apartments, for example, and there is not a clear indication of exactly what services are included, find out. If whether utilities are included in the price is not explicitly stated, ask. Did you know that kitchens are not a given in many parts of the world? If you are looking at an apartment in Bangkok, and it does not say anything about one, chances are it does not have it. If it says it has a fridge but makes mention of nothing else, that is all the ‘’kitchen’’ you probably get. If the picture of that one room looks like it does not have a window, it may not so you better ask if natural light is important to you.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about travel; if you are looking for luxury accommodations in the Virginia area, she recommends visiting Dabney Properties.