Short term vs long term accommodation

Finding a place to live can be a major source of stress – even more so when moving abroad. Should you book a short term base or settle on your permanent home before you arrive? We looked at the pros and cons of each.


Searching within the country

If you plan to search for apartments yourself upon arrival, it’s important to have a base for when you first arrive. Booking short term accommodation gives you somewhere to stay when searching – whilst having no commitments to stay permanently! You’ll have time to explore the city and find the spot that’s perfect for you.

Google Maps is great, but it’s hard to really judge the layout of a city before you experience it for yourself.

Amenities included

Temporary accommodation is often kitted out with everything you need when you first arrive –  nothing is worse than spending your first day in a new city dashing around trying to find a pillowcase and some utensils.

Learn from the veterans

Lots of expats will sublease their apartment when they travel – and staying here can be a good place to get an insider’s perspective on your new home. Alternatively, companies do exist to rent short term accommodation directly to expats – allowing payment via bank transfers so you’re not worrying about cash or cheques. However, it is important to thoroughly investigate these business before transferring any money to avoid scams.

The cost of convenience

Unfortunately, these companies do come at a price – and a high one at that. Many companies will try to take advantage by charging high prices for the convenience and relying on expats not knowing average apartment prices.

Verdict: Slightly more expensive, but a convenient place to start off whilst making sure you have no regrets about where you live.

Renting before your arrival

The camera can lie

Finding long term accommodation from abroad can be a nightmare. Pictures can only show so much and you might find out later that your new home wasn’t everything you were expecting. Problems can arise with the place itself, the roommates, and even the location it’s in. It’s also important to be aware of scams, as the apartment you just put a deposit down on might not even exist!

Having your permanent home secured does have the benefit of being one less thing to worry about. This way you can spend time focusing on all the other boring bureaucratic stuff that needs to be taken care of.

Verdict: You may think you’re saving time in the long run, but committing to a property you’ve never seen in person can be a huge risk to take. House-hunting online is great, but don’t hand over money till you’ve seen the place.

Overall, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Book temporary accommodation for your arrival and dedicate time to finding the perfect place when you’re able to visit the properties yourself.

Rosy Parrish

Rosy Parrish grew up in Britain and now lives in Madrid. She divides her time between teaching English, writing about expat life, and befriending dogs in the street.

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