How to Rent an Apartment in Europe for Less

By Teresa Roberts
NABBW’s Associate for Living Abroad

Fancy living on the Mediterranean? Ever found yourself dreaming about a second home abroad?

Whether your cup of tea is a big metropolitan city like Paris or Dublin, a seaside town in Spain or a remote village in Italy, finding a temporary home can turn out to be a tad less expensive if you follow a couple of  — OK, three — simple rules.

Let me preface the valuable suggestions I am about to give you by first saying that I have rented many apartments abroad. In most ways, I prefer having my own place to staying in hotels. But then again, I prefer long-term travel to a stereotypical vacation.

Soon, I will be returning to Spain where I have secured a two-bedroom apartment in the lovely seaside town of Torre Del Mar. It has a population of about 22,000 people. During the summer months, the number of people in town increases exponentially due to the many tourists who come to enjoy the charm of the Mediterranean Sea. teresa med window

However, I won’t be living in my apartment during peak season. That’s part of my secret to cheap living no matter where I find myself.

Travel off season

It is easy for me to accomplish this first bit of advice because I hate crowds. I am a slow and deliberate traveler, so throngs of people really put a damper on my style.

Although I love the sea, I am not a sun worshipper. In fact, I find really hot weather to be oppressive. That’s why the fall, winter and early spring months suit me best.

I love warm days and cool evenings. I don’t mind donning a light jacket or a sweater. I don’t even mind sipping a glass of wine or a cup of coffee in a local cafe on a rainy day.

It also benefits my pocketbook immensely to travel off season. When it comes to renting an apartment, the rates are noticeably cheaper when the crowds are thankfully smaller.

Barter for a long stay

Bartering for a better price is something that I do well. Trust me, if you’re traveling off season, many landlords are tickled to score a paying customer rather than have their apartment sit empty.

Teresa Lisbon aptYou can get your best deals if you agree to rent for a month or more. Americans are usually restricted by other countries to no more than a 90-day stay in a 6-month period. You won’t get to stay longer than that on your American passport.

But, if you can spare a month or two or even three out of your life, some of the deals that you can strike are shockingly inexpensive. A month’s rate might be equal to what you’d pay for as little as a week during peak season. Seriously! So plan to stay for while.

I will use my apartment in Spain as a portal to all of Europe. If I want to get away for a long weekend to Lisbon or Paris, for instance, I will lock up my Spanish home and catch a cheap European flight to wherever I want to go.

Get to know the locals

If you’re spending an extended time abroad in a particular town then by all means get to know the locals.

In fact, once you establish relationships with local people, they will often know of even better deals that you can take advantage of when you return.

I plan on using my apartment in Spain for many years to come. It will be our home away from home and my base in Europe.

I know that I only gave you three tips here, but as an experienced long-term traveler, I can assure you that these three approaches have made the biggest difference for me.

If I am to live abroad for months at a time, I must do it differently than a tourist. Otherwise, I won’t be able to afford long-term travel.

Follow this prescription and you, too, can live wherever you want to live.

Below, you will find the links to three websites where I have successfully found apartments in the past. Happy trails!

Cheers,

Teresa Roberts

 

Teresa Roberts retired early from a career in education to travel the world as an international house sitter. Along the way, she accidentally became an author/blogger/freelance writer, adding digital nomad to her evolving job description. Although insisting that she is still retired, Teresa writes a weekly blog on her website Creative Paths to Freedom, exploring the topics of creative living, travel adventures and life without debt. Her essay, How to Travel Without Being a Tourist, appears in the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel, released in February 2013. Teresa\’s published books include Finding the Gypsy in Me – Tales of an International House Sitter and Creative Paths to Freedom – How to Live Your Dream Life ASAP. She could be the poster girl for finding adventure at any age and on any income. Sharing her story as a guest speaker is also very rewarding. Feel free to contact Teresa at www.findingthegypsyinme.com.

 

 

 

Teresa Roberts retired early from a career in education to travel the world as an international house sitter. Along the way, she accidentally became an author/blogger/freelance writer, adding digital nomad to her evolving job description. Although insisting that she is still retired, Teresa writes a weekly blog on her website Creative Paths to Freedom, exploring the topics of creative living, travel adventures and life without debt. Her essay, How to Travel Without Being a Tourist, will appear in the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel, to be released in February 2013. Teresa\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s published books include Finding the Gypsy in Me - Tales of an International House Sitter and Creative Paths to Freedom – How to Live Your Dream Life ASAP. She could be the poster girl for finding adventure at any age and on any income. Sharing her story as a guest speaker is also very rewarding. Feel free to contact Teresa at www.findingthegypsyinme.com.