How we find our accommodations around the world
Recommendations for short stays & long-term rentals
Finding the right accommodation is an important factor for your journey. Whether you are staying short-term or long-term, there are always ways to find good deals.
As this page is a go-to resource for all my reader, it will be quite extensive. Please, use the boxes below to jump to the topic you are interested in.
As digital nomads, we are usually staying in one place for at least one month. Mostly around 90 days, actually. Finding affordable long-term rentals is one of the most important things.
Before we even decide on a country, I normally research the average price for rentals in different cities. I also search for the best locations for digital nomads. This way I am starting to get an idea of what the prices are like, what’s around to do, internet speed and so on.
So, the bottom line is, I am an organizer who likes to read a lot of blog posts and loves Facebook groups.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide what I do before we book a flight:
- Find cheapest flights to other countries: It all starts with the flights and countries we are interested in.
- From these flight options I start searching for DN guides online: At first, it often starts with a random search like “digital nomads albania” in order to get a rough idea
- This eventually brings me to specific cities
- Sometimes other bloggers review their apartments which gives me more details on how much they pay, what districts are good/safe, and so on
- Then I check AirBnB just for the fun of it. This doesn’t always mean that I gonna book there but it’s a good way to find the highest point of the pricing spectrum.
- Next, I check the Facebook Group “Digital Nomad Accommodation” because sometimes someone will post something for the next destination
- In addition, I would do a Facebook group search for “digital nomads in [country or city]” or “expats in [country or city]” and see what comes up. Some groups do a very good job with recommendations etc. So it’s always worth looking.
- From there I usually decide on the country and city after I compared our options.
How we find our accommodation in the end
Ok, so now that we got the research out of the way, we still need a place to stay.
There are actually three ways and it kinda depends on the length of the stay:
- If we are somewhere only for one month: I will book an apartment online through AirBnB (most likely). That’s just because we don’t like to go through the apartment hunt for such a short stay. And, frankly, it’s the easiest way. Not the cheapest, though. AirBnB isn’t exactly the best place because of many incidents that happened over the years of operation but they have a huge amount of rentals listed. That’s the only reason why I still use it. I sometimes look at VrBO as well but they tend to be much more expensive.
- If we are somewhere for longer: I actually have made good experiences with Facebook groups. Some might say different though. It’s always good to have a Plan B and to not be naive. For example, I wouldn’t make any upfront payments and check the apartment before I rent it. Yes, that also means there isn’t much organization before you get there.
- Walking around to find an apartment: This is something we only do if we stay somewhere for 3 months. It can become quite exhausting. We just book a hotel, BnB or else for the first few days, and then walk around, ask around and so on. It is definitely the absolute cheapest way to find a place to stay because you will get a place that is closer to the local price. Talking to real estate agents for rentals might be another way but we haven’t made any experiences with this yet.
That’s it. This is how we do it.
Having a base for a couple of months usually leaves us with short trips to explore the rest of the country. So, I am quite keen on finding good deals.
9 out of 10 I find the right place on Booking.com. I am not just saying this because I am an affiliate (which I am). I, honestly, use it all the time.
Ok, but this wouldn’t be comprehensive if I don’t give you more tips:
- Use HotelCombined for comparing different websites. It will show you the prices from Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda, Hostelbookers.com and more, which makes it easier to find the best deals.
- Depending on the type of accommodation, you might want to check on AirBnB, VrBO, and WIMDU. I sometimes find great deals there for apartments, cabins or whole houses. As I said, it depends on what you are looking for.
- Use your credit card benefits: Some credit cards like Chase Sapphire and American Express sometimes have deals for your destination.
- Use a package during flight bookings: If you are just doing a city trip, you might as well book the hotel with the flight. Some packages on Skyscanner or Expedia offer great value and can save some money.
Tips on finding good deals on Booking.com
- Get an account in order to see Genius or Secret Deals. If you already have an account, make sure you are already logged in. These are not available for all hotels, but it will show you in the search results.
- Use the filter for your search: Set a budget, type of accommodation or whatever you need.
- Definitely filter the results for the review score. You generally don’t want to go below 7 (Good: 7+) but that’s my personal standard. I’ve been in places below that and I never was happy about the outcome.
- Sort by Price (Lowest first) at the top if you are on a budget.
- Utilize the map view if you are looking for specific areas.
- Be flexible with your dates if possible. Sometimes it changes a lot if you play around just with one day.
- Keep an eye on the pricing and wait if you still have time. As much as I love it when you click my link and book right away because of the commission, sometimes it is better to book last minute. Don’t get intimidated by these pop-ups for recent booking, that’s just bullshit. However, I would NEVER suggest waiting for peak season bookings. Then it’s best to book as early as possible. Otherwise, you might be left with shitty places.
- Beware of the additional costs and perks! Once you click a listing, you’ll see additional costs or what is included next to the room selection. This can sometimes make a good deal look like crap or the other way around. If you have breakfast included and it’s just $US 1-2 more than another option, it would be a better deal. Tourist fees/taxes or resort fees may add up, which may ruin your budget plan.
- Refer a friend in order to get 20 Euro/15 USD credit for your next stay. Your friend will receive 10% off the booking.
Ready to book? Start searching on Booking.com!
9 general tips to save money on accommodations
Everyone loves to save money. Although we are not going for the cheapest places with the best reviews anymore, there are still ways to find great deals.
I already suggested websites to check out in the sections above. So, I won’t repeat myself here.
1. Compare different websites
This is no secret tip. It’s always good to compare the prices on different websites. I mean, if you are purchasing something expensive, you are probably also shopping around until you find the best deal. So, the same goes for travel accommodation.
2. Avoid the high season
A no-brainer but people still make this mistake. Of course, sometimes it’s unavoidable or even intentional. This year, we decided to Montenegro in summer knowing that prices are the double. However, if you want to stay in Europe, there is no way around the high season. That brings us to the next tip.
3. Travel to more affordable countries in high season
We settled for Montenegro because it’s so affordable even in high season. We are living quite well with $US 1800 per month (2 people). This would be impossible in Italy or Spain during summer.
4. Be flexible in dates
This is often impossible if you already scored a super good airfare. So, it’s not the best tip. However, sometimes you are more flexible in dates and it could make a huge difference. Rooms or apartment could be rented for the dates you picked, but a day later it may show different results.
5. Set a budget (according to the destination)
Setting a budget is one thing but keeping the destination in mind is another. If you’re on a tight budget, you shouldn’t be traveling in more expensive countries. This might even open you up for visiting countries, you didn’t think of.
Having a budget makes the search way easier. You can use filters so that you can find the best deals faster.
6. Live outside the tourist areas
Another no-brainer and yet so many people make this mistake. I literally never enjoy being in the middle of a tourist area. Prices are high, too many people, too much noise. I rather look for places in walking distance to attractions or public transportation.
With this method, you are not only saving on accommodation but also food. Restaurant prices decrease a lot.
7. Check out other cities
Maybe, just maybe, other cities in the country of your destination are worth seeing and not as expensive. Maybe they are closer to more attractions and could be a good base to visit different locations of the country or region. It is often cheaper to rent a place for a longer period. So, choosing a base, instead of changing the accommodation every few days or weeks, might be wise.
8. Rent long-term
It is always a better option to rent one place as long as possible. The per-night prices are insane sometimes, but looking at prices per week or month might be a whole lot different.
9. Compare packages with individual bookings
If you are doing a short trip with flights, it might be worth it to check the package prices from Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner. Then compare it with individual bookings. Check out accommodations and add it to the flight price. Sometimes those packages are not that bad.
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