A hostel is a good place to start
If you’re moving to a new city, sometimes finding long term rentals can take some time. This is why a hostel is a good place to start. I would never ever ever, I repeat ever, send my money to someone to reserve an apartment without seeing it in person first. There are way too many unknowns. You literally don’t know if you will like the apartment, if the person is trustworthy, or if it is even a city/neighbourhood you want to live in. Not to mention if the apartment is even anything like the pictures. This is why it is very important to be in the country before you agree upon an apartment. Also, if you’ve never been to the city before, how are you and sure you will even want to stay there? When I move to a new city, I typically reserve a hostel, and then begin my apartment search for long term rentals.
Staying at a hostel is a great way to meet new people. You are moving to a new city, chances are you won’t have many connections. A hostel is a great opportunity to make some new friends, right away. First time staying in a hostel? Or worried about making friends? Don’t worry, it’s actually super easy to make friends at a hostel. I guarantee you’ll make a bunch.
As long it’s not a super small city you are moving to, chances are they will have some hostels. Pop onto Hostelworld or Booking.com and book a few nights stay for your arrival. This way you know you are taken care of when you arrive. From there you can start your apartment hunting.
Facebook groups for long term rentals
One travel tip that I found particularly useful in terms of finding an apartment, is by accessing and joining local Facebook groups. Finding these groups are generally quite simple. All you need to do is search (“City” Apartments for rent) or variations of the sort. I also use this trick to find sporting groups when I go to a new city. Once there just search around. Facebook marketplace can also be not a bad place to find long term rentals. If anything, it will also give you a good idea on what the going rates are.
Specialty apartment rental sites
The internet is an amazing thing. You can find literally anything. Sometimes things you don’t want to find… but that’s a discussion for another day. No surprise, if you’re looking for an apartment or room to rent, there will be no shortage of sites online. The problem with this, is there are probably too many to choose from. However, if the facebook groups fail, this is usually my next best option for finding long term rentals. If you do your due diligence and research around, you will most likely find some reputable sources. Also, if you have any contact with a local in the country, ask them where they search for apartments/rentals. When you can find a good local site, translate it to English (right click on chrome and hit translate to English).
Finding local rental sites is better than global ones or agencies in general. With local sites, you should be able to bypass those nasty, hiked-up tourist prices some agencies charge. Some of the best sites I have used in the past to find places are Zillow or Craigslist (North America) or Nomad Rental (international). However if you’re going to a less popular destination, you’ll probably have to dig for that local site.
Negotiate a long term rate at your hostel
This is a trick that most people don’t think of and in my opinion is a great travel tip. If you find a hostel that you really like, there’s nothing stopping you from asking the owner if you can have a discount for a long-term stay. I’ve done this before with stays as short as one week. Now this generally works best if you’re staying in a small hostel, or a locally owned one. If you try this at a chain hostel or very popular one, that will probably laugh in your face. This is also a lot easier to do if you notice the hostel isn’t very busy (during low season for example). This doesn’t always work, but if you find a hostel you like and you want to stay a little bit longer, it’s worth a try. An apartment on your own doesn’t always have to be your option for long term rentals. Plus this will generally be much cheaper than monthly apartment rentals. Give it a shot!
Roll up at the apartment and ask
Depending where you are in the world going to the actual apartments and asking may be your best option. I’ve had multiple issues, where an apartments site says there’s a room available, but it isn’t. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, during high season, I went to 20 apartments. Online all of them said they were available. After visiting all 20 across two days, I found out only 2/20 were available. As you can imagine this was an AMAZING experience for me. Avoid this headache! Call ahead, send a text message on whatsapp or line (apps for messaging) or maybe an email. And if you receive no response, just try to roll up in person. It’s your best bet at getting a place and showing you’re serious.
There’s always Airbnb
Now I would probably say this would be your last resource for long term rentals. If you can’t find an apartment with any of the strategies I’ve mentioned above, there’s always Airbnb. The one good thing about Airbnb for long term rentals is that most renters will give you a discount for staying one month. Unfortunately, 9/10 times this rate will not be as good as finding an apartment through other methods. Nevertheless, if you absolutely can’t find an apartment, this is always a fall back method.
Never used Airbnb, use my Airbnb sign up link and you’ll get $45 dollars to your first stay. (I’ll also get a $25 credit 😉 )
Follow these monthly apartment rental strategies and keep calm
Sometimes getting an apartment in a new place can be stressful AF. Luckily if you’re patience, and don’t mind chilling in a hostel for a bit, it’s not too bad. Just utilize the strategies above, and you’ll surely get one you like before you know it! Safe travels my friends.