Finding accommodation when you are a digital nomad (DN) can be difficult and time-consuming, even for the most experienced DNs. Even more so is finding affordable digital nomad accommodation in a decent, safe location with quality WiFi and self-catering options.
With the number of digital nomads growing and more options entering the market, one would expect reasonable prices. Yet, we have noted the opposite. More and more hostels, backpackers, hotels, resorts, and guest houses are realizing the immense income potential DNs can generate. Most try to ‘capitalize’ on the growing location independent market. Accommodation prices in result, is reaching new highs, even in third world countries known for cheaper options.
From my own and various other DNs experiences, we at FDN Life have collected and put together a list of valuable tips and insider tricks to finding affordable DN accommodation.
To find quality, affordable digital nomad accommodation, do your research before setting out to a new city. It may save you a lot of headaches in the future. For instance, if you require high-speed Internet to work, check the internet connection beforehand. Most paradisiac and off-the-beaten-track towns have slow or non-existent Internet connections.
Consider creating a checklist of must-haves and things that are important to you, and match your list with potential cities. You may need to compromise in a few areas, but better prepared than sorry.
The website Nomadic List is a great place to search for digital nomad destinations. You can narrow down your search by using filters such as high-speed Internet, safety, fun, cost of living, and so on.
Location is usually the biggest determining factor when choosing affordable digital nomad accommodation in an area that is safe. Living in places such as London, New York, or San Francisco means that even the cheaper accommodations are out of reach to most DNs. On the other hand, countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, offer more affordable accommodation deals, even through Airbnb or privately-owned hotels.
Cut your digital nomad accommodation costs by traveling during off-season. Though this option is not ideal for everyone, (you may not want to be in Split, Croatia in the middle of the winter), it is recommended for the budget-conscious. Furthermore, with fewer tourists occupying hotspots and hanging out at attractions, you will find it way cheaper. In some countries, out-of-season accommodation prices are even 40 – 80% less than the usual.
Some hostels, co-living spaces, apartment rentals, and bed-and-breakfast are willing to negotiate on mid- to longer-term rental deals for digital nomads. If not, they may be able to help you with local tips and advice. Many hostels offer work-trade deals, whereby one works a few hours a day in exchange for accommodation.
Negotiating with your host or the property owner in person is always a much better option than trying to do so via SMS or WhatsApp. When talking to someone face-to-face, we establish report and trust. As such, the instinctive human relationship to be of service and help can be created. This type of relationship is what has helped humans in trade for centuries. DNs can use the same technique to negotiate with a landlord by talking to him/her personally. Many experienced DNs have found the landlord is more accommodating and willing to offer them a better deal.
Facebook groups dedicated to helping digital nomads find affordable accommodation, or local Facebook groups from the town you want to live in, can be another valuable source for finding quality, tried-and-tested accommodation. There are plenty of groups for short and long-term rentals, with landlords often advertising their properties on these. You may even be able to set up an appointment to view the accommodation before rending it.
If you are into the idea of home swapping, one of the best places to find digital nomad accommodation options is by joining a Facebook group called Home Swaps and House Exchange Around the World.
Airbnb used to be an affordable option for Digital Nomads, but things have changed, and prices have increased drastically. Luckily, there are still great deals to be found in some cities via Airbnb and Booking.com. Some landlords will even give you a considerable discount if you book for a week or a whole month.
Consider booking for a couple of days only. It will provide you with the time needed to find a better suited, longer-term rental option once you are there.
2 – HOUSESITTING
Consult some of the most popular websites such as Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House. (A good profile and references will enhance your chances to get responses from housesitting applications.) The e-Book Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting from the Globetrotter Girls offers helpful insights on writing a killer profile and all-around information about housesitting for sitters and house owners.
1 – LOCAL WEBSITES
Some countries, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe, have local websites where people advertise shared- and private accommodation options. Websites such as Craigslist and Gumtree are all worthwhile. If you are in search of mid- to long-term stays around Europe and the USA, check Nestpick, a great search engine for finding furnished apartments.
Thank you for reading. I hope my personal list has helped you secure, affordable digital nomad accommodation!
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