When planning a getaway for your family, friends, partner, or even just for yourself, accommodation is one of the essentials. Where you spend your stay in a beautiful town or city determines how much you will enjoy your vacation.
In most cases, the options are either to check in to a hotel or to temporarily sub-let an apartment. The choice you make depends on a couple of factors, such as how many people you are traveling with and your budget.
Read on to find out what each of these options means for your time out of town, whether you are out on business, or just for some R&R.
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Are apartments cheaper than hotels?
Although the costs of renting apartments have gone up all over the country, especially in metropolitan areas, the prices that come with booking a hotel room do not offer much consolation.
Here are a couple of ways in which a short-term apartment is cheaper than getting a hotel room.
When you rent an apartment, you have to buy your food and cook it yourself. Although it may come as a surprise to many, this option is cheaper than eating out at a hotel. This is because the hotel is a business and it strives to make a profit for every plate. The prices are higher because of the labor and resources that go into preparing the meals.
In an apartment, you are only spending money to buy the food, since you are cooking it yourself. If you do this, you have more money to spend on sightseeing and enjoying your holiday.
Apartments come with a kitchen and a washer/dryer. In some cases, the washer is not in the unit but is in the same building. This makes laundry charges cheaper, compared to what one would have had to pay in a hotel. This will also save you some coin from baggage charges since you can carry fewer clothes and wash them.
Also, a fridge and microwave will make it easier for you to buy enough food for your short stay in one instance. This might not only save you money because of bulk discounts, but it will also leave you with enough time for other fun activities.
Other advantages of apartments over hotels
If the costs are not enough to sway your opinion, here are a couple more perks you will enjoy if you spend your time out of town in an apartment:
1. Better locations
Hotels are usually located in commercial parts of the town. Living in an apartment gives you access to more residential areas. This will help you see the members of the community in their element.
You will also have easier access to the local fast food joints and restaurants. You will have a chance to make your experience more intimate and personal.
2. It is easier to plan
Living in a hotel means there are some of their policies that may not go with your plans. For example, if they serve their meals at a time where you would be unavailable, you might have to re-arrange your plans.
If you rent an apartment, you are living by your own rules. You will decide what you want to eat and when you want to.
3. More space
Compared to the standard hotel room size, one could get a more spacious apartment for the same price. Most apartments have a living area, a kitchenette, and a sleeping area. This partitioning makes it possible to have more sleeping options if you are not traveling alone.
In some apartment buildings or rental houses, there may be a balcony and a backyard. It is hard to get a hotel room that will offer this and if you do, the costs are usually really high. Backyards also give the whole trip a more home-like feeling than hotels.
4. More privacy
In an apartment, you do not have to worry about housekeeping or room service knocking on your door and interrupting you. Also, if you are renting an apartment with your friends and family, you have plenty of shared spaces like lounges and the living room. Here, you can socialize and have a good time without worrying if any people are watching you or any interruptions.
If you crave some solitude even from your companions, you can retreat to your room for some peace.
How to find a short-term apartment
Here are some tips that will be of help in your search for an apartment to stay in on your holiday or business trip:
1. Start early
Once you realize you will need accommodation, you should start your search for housing. Doing this will make things easier especially if you are going to a place you are unfamiliar with.
Looking for apartments a while earlier also gives you access to more options. This will mean you don’t have to settle for an apartment just because it was the only one available.
Besides, you will have more time to do the necessary rental procedures like reference-checking, getting insurance and the rent negotiations.
2. Have an idea
Your search for an apartment will be a lot easier and faster if you know what you want to get. Here are a couple of factors you should consider:
- Costs. How much you are comfortable with spending on rent is one of the most important things you need to consider. Also, try to find out the rent rates in the area where you want to stay so that you know if you are getting a fairly priced house.
- Furnishings. You should also know whether you want a furnished house or if you want an unfurnished one. This depends on how long you will stay in the house and how comfortable you want to be. If you opt for a furnished house, you might have to pay more in rent and be very careful not to cause any damage as repair costs might be taken from your security deposit. If you decide to buy your furnishings, this may cost you a pretty penny. Also, you should think about what you will do with all these items at the end of your stay- will you keep them, sell them, or give them out?
- Roommates. Are you willing to live with housemates? This might mean that the rent will be lower but this will be at the expense of some privacy. Also, living with new people can be an uncomfortable situation for some people.
- Access. If your stay will need you to be on the move a lot, you should look for an apartment that is close to a mode of public transport. If you have a car, you should also see whether the building offers parking space.
- Facilities. You will need access to some facilities to make your stay easier. If you plan on making your meals, you should find a house with a kitchen and preferably close to a shopping center. You should also check if your apartment building has a laundry machine. If it does not, look for a laundromat close by for convenience.
3. Ask around
Once you are sure about your travel plans, don’t be shy to ask for assistance from your networks. Since they know the area better, they will help you get better options and deals.
If your trip is work-related and they do not provide accommodation, speak to your liaison for the move for some pointers, or contact your HR representative.
If you are moving because of studies, your campus website and the student welfare department may be of help. Some campuses usually have temporary housing options available for this reason. If yours does not, they may provide you with a list of rentals where you can get a place.
4. Look online
The internet has made a lot of things easier, and house hunting is one of them. There are a couple of websites and mobile apps that make finding an apartment to rent/sublet a breeze:
This site lets you find an apartment with a host in the town you plan to visit. You can specify a couple of criteria like the price range, number of beds, and some house rules.
This site has a lot of users so you will have a lot of options. Also, they have safety tips that can come in handy, especially if you take a short term stay.
This is a site where people advertise items, businesses, and sometimes, people look for tenants and roommates. You should, however, note that there is usually a chance that a listing is just a con artist.
If you find a listing, look up the company online to verify them. Also, do not perform any financial transaction via wire transfer until you are certain you are not being scammed of your hard-earned money.