How to rent rooms by the month when traveling?
A trick for bottoming out your travel budget or for breaking up the seeming monotonous routine of coming into places just to leave again the next day is to rent out rooms by the month. Traveling like this cuts the price of accommodation in half while providing the time and space to really get to know a place and a people. Renting out rooms for one to three months was my travel strategy during my days as an international student, and it has proved effective now that I travel with a wife and baby. But I found that creating a budget is key.
Where to rent out a room for only a month or two
Staying in places for only a month or two skirts the lee side of time parameters of both hotels and apartments. In point, many hotels do not want to rent out rooms for such a long period of time, and many apartments only want tenants who wish to stay for at least 6 months to a year. The trick is finding places that will meet you in the middle. They are out there.
When I am looking for a hub to stay in for a month or two I look for both hotels and hostels that have amenities for longer term stays as well as for furnished temporary stay apartments. I have found that many hotels also operate apartment buildings for guests that wish to stay over a month, and that many hostels often have private rooms set aside for travelers wishing to stay a little bit longer. I have also found that many cities — especially those who receive an influx of tourists — have many apartment complexes that function like longer stay hotels and cater to guests looking to only stay for a few months.
How to find rooms to rent by the month?
Finding a room for a month or two is simple in most parts of the world — all you have to do is follow the signs. Literally. “Room for rent” signs are often hanging up all over the streets of cities and towns. All you have to do is know the local language enough to identify these signs, make phone calls, and knock on doors.
Supermarkets around the world also serve as community meeting places, and there are often bulletin boards with community announcements near their doorways. This is where landlords, hotel owners, or people with extra space in their apartment often advertise rooms for rent. A trip to a supermarket is enough to get dozens of phone numbers for prospective places to stay.
Many of these advertisements that hang up in the streets or on supermarket bulletin boards will imply how long of a commitment the renters are looking for. If the ad is for rooms in a hotel or a temporary stay apartment they will often make it known that you can rent a room “by the day, week, or month.” If it is an ad for a longer stay apartment it will often imply that they want you to stay for X amount of time. Very often, there are signs up from people looking for roommates — which may not be a bad deal for a traveler.
I usually call about the rooms that are advertised for shorter stays first, as their rooms are usually furnished and have everything that I need already in them. It is also safe to assume that their owners are use to people only staying for a month or two, and they often do not bother with demanding inconveniencies such as security deposit, leases, or any other nonsense that comes from renting out an apartment long term. But I also call the more standard apartments as well — you never know.
Couchsurfing.org or other traveler message boards and forums also often have room rental postings on them. I have used CS to find temporary stay apartments or rooms to rent by the month when traveling.
In going through my rounds of searching for “room for rent” signs on the streets or in supermarkets I also walk into hotels and hostels and ask them directly if they have special prices for month long stays. Many tell me to go shit in my hat, that they don’t take people for that long, but some give me pretty good prices. This was how I found the room that I am staying in now at the Casa Madero Hostel in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
Timeline to find a room for the month
I usually give myself a week to find a room to rent by the month. If I did not have such extensive criteria for renting a room, I could find a place to stay in most cities in a matter of hours. But I am now a little particular about where I want to stay, so I give myself a few days to look around. I will often offer a hotel a discounted price to stay there for a week to provide me with a time buffer to search around a city for an adequate room to rent for a month or two.
Price to rent a travel room by the month
If I am renting out a hotel or hostel room for a month, I expect to pay less than half of the going rate: so if a hotel room is normally $20 a night, I want to pay well under $300 to stay there for a month. Often, I found that I can rent a room in a hotel or hostel for around 35 to 40% of the standard “by day” rate.
The hostel that I am staying in now now normally charges 250 Mexican pesos for a double room for one night, but I pay 3000 pesos a month, or 100 a day.
If renting out an apartment I want to pay between $100 to $300 a month, depending on the country. I have found that in most countries — including some expensive ones — that a room or an apartment can be rented for under $300 a month.
In point, renting out rooms by the month when traveling saves money — it more than cuts in half the most costly travel expense: accommodation. I find that my accommodation budget often drops down to $2.50 to $10 a day, depending on the country I am in, when I lay down the rent money by the month, rather than the day.
Renting rooms by the month also lends a sort of normalcy to life — I no longer need to be perpetually packing and unpacking my bags, mobilizing my family to move to a new place, spending my life sitting on buses and looking for places to stay. The work of travel is finding all of the things that you need — food, water, clothing, shelter — for a price you are willing to pay, and this work becomes pretty light when I rent out rooms from one to three months.
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