Moving from place to place and traveling slowly, (meaning we try and stay in locations for at least 2 months, ideally, more) means that finding a place to live takes high priority. Gone are the days of back packing and hopping from hostel to hostel, though to be honest, I (Elena) was NEVER that person. Jon was. NEVER me.
I’ve always been the homebody of this duo and my home environment is important to me. If I’m not comfortable and feeling ‘held’ in the space I live in, I tend to exist restlessly, never quite landing and not able to fall into the daily routine quickly, which is important to working and living on the road.
For these reasons and some listed below, we pre-plan our stay. We have in the past, landed somewhere, rented a hotel room for a couple of days and then used those days to look for a more suitable accommodation, but we haven’t done that in a while.
What drives our needs in this area is that we work Monday through Friday and then spend the weekends exploring the country we happen to be living in at that time. It’s critical that we land in our new location, settle in as fast as possible so that our daily routine isn’t disrupted very much.
In order to do that, knowing where we are staying and what amenities will be available to us before landing is also critical to our success.
The two services we use the most are AirBnB and when in Asia, Agoda. On occasion, for short term stays (1-10 days) we’ll look for hotels or guest rooms depending on what it is we are doing for that short term stay.
We like to keep our monthly rental budget under $2000 which is a LOT for Asia (and something we have never spent), but moderate in places like Europe. Note that though there might be times when we go over this, it’s rare and it’s an amount that we feel most comfortable staying under. Obviously, we like to go for the lowest price possible for the most bang for our buck.
As an example of range, we recently rented a 1 bedroom, 2 bath, two storied and air-conditioned apartment with a kitchen and a pool in Bali for $1200 a month and this was on the high side for Bali. We could have found something cheaper, but it seemed to suit our needs in terms of location and amenities.
In contrast to that, we just booked a condo in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in a trendy part of town. It’s a 1 bedroom air-conditioned apartment with kitchen and high speed internet in a gorgeous high rise, with a pool, a gym and a doorman for $30 a night/$900 a month with no monthly discount. (I mention the discount because often when booking for months at a time, AirBnB listings will offer monthly discounts which we like to take advantage of.)
The 5 Must Haves In A Long Term Accommodation
These are considerations that we make when looking for a home to stay in. Each nomad or nomadic duo will have their own requirements that are specific to them and their life style. These are the things that are a high priority to us and how we function best when living this way:
- High Speed Internet. Obviously, this is a must. We won’t even consider a place that doesn’t offer this. Though I love working in Cafes and Jon is an avid Co-Working space attendee, there are often days when we both work from home and we like having the option of staying in a few days a week instead of having to head out every day. The challenge we come up against, however, is that many renters really have no idea what high speed internet is. In other words, it might be fast enough for them, but for Jon, it’s barely hitting the mark, making it hard for him to do the work he has to do. I’m a bit more flexible as I don’t have to push websites live or other things a developer might do that I have no clue about. It becomes an issue for me when I need to upload a photo or a video, but my work around has always been to save those tasks when I’m out at a Cafe with better internet or a co-working space.
- Home Layout. Because there will be days in which we stay home to work or hangout, a living area is a must. Couches, a dining table, an office or desk are all things I look for. The beauty of sites like AirBnB and Agoda is that listings all feature images of the inside of their rentals. I completely skip over listings that don’t provide images of each room in the house and there are times when I ask for more images to make sure of the space we are renting before committing. I like to spend time working on a couch, Jon likes to spend time working at a table. I make sure there are at least these two types of sitting areas and then check them out for comfort as much as I can visually.
- Kitchen. This is a constant struggle for me. Staying somewhere for months on end and eating out every day can be exhausting for both of us. Sometimes you just need the simplicity and ease of a home cooked meal. The challenge I keep coming up against here is that not all kitchens are equipped equally, and though some are well equipped with what one would need to cook and eat, some are not. I’m learning to get more detailed in my inquiry before booking.
- Location. This is an evolving criteria that is hard to explain. We like to be close to cafes and activities, but not in the middle of it all. More and more we are both realizing that hard urban areas that sport more concrete than greenery tends to be draining on us both, but it’s not always easy to determine environmental surroundings when booking online. I’ve started to use Google Earth/Maps for a peek at neighborhoods. In the last couple of years however, we have been traveling back to places we have been to before and have an understanding of the areas we are seeking to stay at. As this changes, particularly in the coming year, my research will intensify. It’s safe to say however, that we tend to avoid Resort towns, opting instead for a more local vibe.
- Decor. This is mostly all me, though Jon feels the benefits of an environment that is aesthetically pleasing and feels more like a lived in space rather than the sterility of a hotel. Hotels are awesome for a weekend or a week, but when trying to feel at home, decor becomes critical to what we choose to live in and what we don’t. This of course has given rise to my #WhereWeAreLivingRightNow video series. We like warm, soft spaces that are artfully decorated and made for living and creating in. AirBnB is great for finding lovely places like this and though many are way out of our price range, there are still quite a lot that fit nicely into our budgets. Sometimes I’ll find something in under 20 minutes, other times it might take me days of searching to find what feels right.
Lately, after having been spoiled with a pool at a home we house sat at in New Mexico, I’m starting to looking for places that have access to pools as well. It’s not a deal breaker, and certainly not a top top priority, but I have to say, it’s making life loads more fun to have one when I can find it!