I often get asked how I go about finding accommodation for longer stays so I have compiled this list of accommodation resources.
For short stays (anything up to a week) I usually use Agoda or Airbnb. The purpose of this article is for short-term apartment rentals (1 to 3 months) suitable for slow-travelling long-term travellers and digital nomads looking for a working base.
For long-term stays (like a one-year lease) we are getting into expat territory, but you could still use some of these tips to find a place.
I have listed below useful accommodation sites and I will update this as more resources become available. Feel free to email me any suggestions.
Short-term apartment rental sites
Out of all the apartment booking sites Airbnb has become the go-to choice for nomads. The appeal of Airbnb is that you are staying in real homes as opposed to a holiday rental apartment that feels like a hotel.
I’ve used it a few times in Bangkok when I have wanted a break from hotels and I found deals like this apartment for $18 a night.
I’ve been using Airbnb to stay at places for a week at a time but I haven’t used it for monthly rentals. For tips on monthly rentals, Ian from tropicalmba.com wrote this comprehensive guide on negotiating up to 50% off the listed price.
Of course, Airbnb is not the only show in town for renting private apartments.
Roomorama list private rooms and apartments, and they also have an introductory offer for new users. Get $20 off with the code: TWENTYFORME.
Tripping.com is a comparison site that compares the biggest vacation and short-term rentals sites, which will save you searching through all the sites.
Forums are a useful place to find monthly rentals and the most active forums are Facebook Groups. If you are looking for a specific destination do a search in Facebook for “digital nomad [city]”, “expat [city]”, or “[city] housing” and see what groups are there.
For example a search for “Bali housing” found Bali (South) Housing and Accommodation. This is a group that lists short and long term private rentals, often by members who are looking for someone to take over their lease.
Home Swaps for Digital Nomads around the world is another Facebook group that is useful if you have a home to swap.
Beyond Facebook, Nomad Forum has a housing category where you can ask about availability or look for inspiration for a place to stay.
In that forum I found this spreadsheet of apartments for nomads.
House sitting is an alternative for longer stays on a budget. In exchange for looking after pets and plants you get to stay in someones house for free. This works best if you are flexible with time and location.
The experiences I’ve read make housesitting sound a like a destination idea generator. For example Simon and Erin stayed at a farm in the middle of nowhere, Spain. In addition to looking after dogs they had to look after horses as well. It was an adventure they would not have otherwise found if it wasn’t for housesitting.
I’ve noticed that people who have the most success at house sitting are couples (or at least couples are blogging the most about it), and you must be comfortable with looking after pets.
Apart from housesitting for friends I have never house-sat via a brokering service. I did try but I found I was too selective with my locations (I wanted an apartment in the middle of Barcelona next week rather than the middle of nowhere in 3 months time).
TrustedHousesitters.com is the biggest of the home sitting sites. As a house sitter you pay an annual fee and the owner selects the house sitter, so your profile page needs to be a compelling sales page of why you would be the ideal person.
If you want to improve your chances on landing a dream home sitting job then check out the ultimate guide to housesitting, which is written by a friend of mine who is a seasoned housesitter.
Digital nomad accommodation
The resources I’ve listed so far are traditional travel booking sites. With more people taking up the location independent lifestyle there is now sufficient demand for accommodation that is tailored for travellers who are digital nomads.
Anyplace – A platform that provides flexible-term housing (month-to-month, no leases) in cities across the globe.
Going beyond listing a room in a house, Chiang Mai Buddy is a concierge service that helps digital nomads get set up in Chiang Mai. They will find accommodation for you as well as other services like getting a mobile service and motorbike hire.
Good list there are a few that I’ve never heard of.
Great article. I’d be keen to write about you on my blog http://www.secretnomads.com – I’ll be in touch soon!
Drew Meyers says
We’ve been working on a private couchsurfing/airbnb app called Horizon – which helps you find friends, friends of friends, and members of communities/groups you belong to to stay with. We have many groups setup, several for nomads, that require unlock codes to gain entry into.
Group unlock code for Global Nomads: gn2015#insiders (meant for members of this FB group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/fulltimetravellers/)
Any thoughts on the concept/product would be super appreciated.
Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home says
Very good article, James. In my opinion, for long-term stays, the travelers could negotiate the prices directly with the hotel or owner.
Alyssa Mayo says
I’m a design student trying to understand how Digital Nomads live.
I’m looking for you to send me 30 images of how you live in your “home”. These can be really mundane things in your home, to things you think might be unique about how you live.
Great article, thanks!