Apartment in Ulcinj, Montenegro

Renting A Short-Term Apartment While Traveling

Derek Montenegro, Travel Tips & Advice 35 Comments

Renting A Short-Term Apartment in Ulcinj, Montenegro
As I mention on this blog, in terms of accommodation, I typically stay in hostels, guesthouses or budget hotels when I’m traveling. And those options have worked quite well for me over the years, which is exactly why, when I decided to spend my week-long vacation in Ulcinj, Montenegro, I started looking for guesthouses and budget hotels as I normally do.

There were some decent budget options, all of which cost around $15 or $20 per person, but for some reason I had trouble making a decision. And so, I spent even more time on the internet, hoping that the perfect place for my friend and I to stay during this vacation (I don’t always travel alone!) would suddenly pop up onto my screen.

And that’s basically what happened…

At one point, I remembered all of the buzz that’s going around these days about using online short-term apartment rental services when traveling. I had actually visited a couple of these websites before when I was planning trips earlier this year to Vienna, Budapest and Istanbul, but the apartments always seemed too expensive so I never booked anything.

Assuming that I would find the exact same situation with Ulcinj (if I could find any apartments at all for such a small destination), I had a look at airbnb.com just in case.

Surprise!

This is exactly what happened….

– within 2 minutes I found the perfect apartment
– within 3 minutes I had made a booking request
– within 10 minutes I received confirmation of my booking

And what did I end up with?

Renting A Short-Term Apartment Bedroom in Ulcinj

Renting A Short-Term Apartment Kitchen in Ulcinj

A one bedroom apartment with two beds, a full kitchen and a terrace overlooking the town and the Adriatic Sea for a price of 30 Euros ($37 USD) per night. Not only that, but I ended up staying in an apartment owned by the sweetest, kindest, most generous couple I have come across in a long, long time.

From the moment we arrived, they invited us into their home, fed us endless slices of some kind of local corn bread, filled our glasses full of fruit juice and water, insisted we throw back a few shots of the local alcohol known as Raki and brought out a large plate of grapes, fresh figs and peaches for us to eat.

And that was before we even checked in.

Unmatched Hospitality

From then on, every single day during our seven-day stay, either Mrs. or Mr. Redzepagic would inevitably come knocking on our door and hand us yet another plateful of fruit or some freshly baked bread with cheese or a bagful of tomatoes or some more juice. Sometimes they would just come to say hello and check to make sure that we were still enjoying ourselves.

Renting A Short-Term Apartment Owners in Ulcing

However, the owners only spoke Montenegrin and German (and a handful of Italian words) and not a single word of English. And between my friend and I, we knew about ten words of German which were so embarrassingly basic that I won’t even mention them here.

Yet despite this language problem, whenever we would encounter Mr. or Mrs. Redzepagic, we would always end up in the most pleasant and hilarious twenty-minute conversation, with all those involved constantly laughing and smiling and having a great time. We would all combine every possible language we knew in order to try and communicate and it was common for us to use two or three languages in the same sentence.

I can’t tell you how many times I would say something as absurd as…

“Schlafen dobrou! Today vamos baden.”
Translation: Slept good. Today we go swimming.
Languages used: German Montenegrin! English Spanish German.

In the beginning we struggled but between us nodding along in a convincing manner and the owners speaking as slowly as they possibly could, we managed to survive.

Although, at one point, I asked Mr. Redzepagic if he had any friends in the town of Kotor (the next destination I planned to visit) that had apartments for rent. He quickly answered in a mix of Montenegrin and German and I interpreted his reply as “Yes, give me your dates and I will call my friend.” So, the next day I wrote down the dates I would be in Kotor and handed them to him. He looked at the piece of paper, said “Gut, gut!” (Good, good!) and then handed it back to me. And that was it. Nothing about any friends in Kotor or any apartments for rent.

But regardless, I loved every minute of the interactions we had with this couple and by the end of the week, I actually began to pick up some German, at least enough to turn my fake nods into real nods of understanding. And while we’ll never actually know how successful we were with the communication, I assume it was a good sign that every conversation ended with a handshake or hug and even more smiles.

Either way, this experience was certainly proof that rewarding interactions with locals are still very possible even if you don’t speak the same language!

Did I Mention The View?

Back to the apartment…

I know that I have indeed already displayed a photo of the view we had from the terrace but I’m going to show another one here! Sorry, but the view was just that spectacular…

Renting A Short-Term Apartment View in Ulcinj

Combine such a view with having your own private space, private bathroom, full kitchen and every possible amenity of a comfortable apartment and this accommodation option starts to sound remarkably appealing.

When Renting A Short-Term Apartment Makes Sense

I always thought that renting a short-term apartment made sense for big cities and very popular travel destinations. However, it seems that the best apartment deals on a site such as airbnb.com are actually to be had in the smaller, out-of-the-way destinations. In the major cities, the apartments are usually far more expensive than any other budget accommodation options but in an off-the-beaten track location, the prices will naturally be much more affordable as the overall cost of living is usually much lower.

And these are typically the type of destinations where you might want to be a little more comfortable or where there might not even be any hostels or guesthouses around. So if you plan to stay in such a location for a few days or more, it’s hard to beat having your own apartment, especially when, in many cases, the cost is the same as, or even less than, the cost of a hostel if you’re two or more people.

Renting A Short-Term Apartment Interior in Ulcinj

Again, we paid 30 Euros ($36 USD) per night for the apartment in Ulcinj, Montenegro. That’s about $18 USD per person, an amount that most would agree is money well spent for such a place.

As a result, I’m now hooked. Whenever I’m looking for accommodation in off-the-beaten-path destinations in the future, I’ll certainly be adding short-term apartment rentals to the list of options I’ll research.


Have you ever used a short-term apartment rental website? Would you consider using one during your travels?

*This post is not sponsored by anyone. I just happened to use airbnb.com to book the apartment and I wanted to share my positive experience with you.

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Comments 35

    1. Earl

      Hey Stephen – Exactly and the potential for finding a wonderfully comfortable place to stay is quite high if you do a little research. Definitely a great option!

  1. Audrey

    They seem like the sweetest couple! I love that photo of you posing with them, and the conversations you guys had together sound pretty hilarious. I like that they were so eager to chat even if neither of you spoke the same language. 😀

  2. Pauliina

    Hi Earl! I read something about a trip to India that you’re organizing. Is there more information on that yet? Sounds really interesting.

  3. Randy

    Great story. People of good will can get along in any language huh? BTW…have you or any of your readers had any experience with the translation software advertised as available on smartphones (at least in the States)?

    1. Earl from iPadNomads

      Google Translate has a nice app if you are online. While in Bulgaria in June, I downloaded a English to Bulgarian app for $0.99 on iOS to use with our iPad. It was nice because it worked offline too. The company also had an app for about $4 that worked with 7 European languages. It worked enough for us. We were able to have a full conversion with an older gentleman in a small town of 2000 people using just those two apps and taking advantage of the Bulgarian keyboard on iOS

  4. Kaylee Robinson

    I’ve been scared to use AirBnB but most of my friends here in Korea find good deals when they want to stay in Seoul for a weekend. Heading to Boracay in a few weeks so I think I’ll peruse AirBnB and see if I find a good deal. Thanks for the information. Glad to hear you’re having a good stay in Montenegro!

  5. Patricia GW

    What a great deal! Mrs. or Mr. Redzepagic sound very generous and kind, I’m glad you found the perfect spot to stay 🙂
    My experience has been similar when researching apartment rentals – they are usually much more expensive than a hostel or budget hotel, but I’ll keep them in mind now for the smaller cities.

  6. Rebeca

    As a family of six, this is often the best option for us. We can usually rent a 2-3 bedroom apartment or condo for less than the price of a hotel room. With a full kitchen, we can do a lot of our meals in, so we save money on eating out as well. Airbnb is great, as well as enrout.com, which searches several sites.
    We just bought your travel guide and are looking forward to reading through it as we’re preparing to embark on an open ended travel lifestyle.

    1. Earl

      Hey Rebeca – Thanks for buying the guide and once you have a read, let me know if you have any questions! And I can imagine that for a family of travelers, renting an apartment is almost always going to be the best option!

  7. Tim Richards

    I use them occasionally when travelling for a few weeks on a Lonely Planet gig in Poland, so I can wash clothes (Poland basically has no laundromats). I think they have pluses and minuses; a lot more space and you can cook your own meals, but less social potential than a hostel or hotel.

  8. TravelnLass

    Goodness Earl, I’m sold! I too had previously only casually looked at airbnb. And coincidentally, another blogger here in Saigon (that I only bet this week at a little blogger meetup) recommended airbnb. ANYWAY, after reading your post, just now I checked the site for places in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (where I head next), and… Amazingly, I found a nice looking apartment in downtown Ulaanbaatar with KITCHEN and W/D… for just $10/night!!

    Definitely gonna keep airbnb in mind for all my future travels – even for just short-term – THANKS!

  9. Sheila

    Airbnb has spoiled us. Getting a whole apartment is a bit of a splurge, but it is still cheaper than getting a hotel room. We’ve stayed in amazing places, with great views thanks to Airbnb.

  10. Andrew

    Nice work Earl, I couldn’t sing the praises of Air BnB loud enough. I managed to get myself a ‘huge’ furnished bedroom (flat screen + desktop PC) 5 minutes out of Manhattan, Queens or Astoria I think, for $40/night.

    I’ll be using Air BnB a lot during this Christmas break.

    1. Earl

      Hey Andrew – I remember you renting that apartment in NYC…there is no other way to get such accommodation for that price in such a city.

  11. Fred Perrotta

    Thanks for the post. I’m staying in my first Airbnb house in two weeks. Always good to hear others’ experiences.

    PS The guy in the picture looks very tense. What did you do to him?!?

    1. Earl

      Hey Fred – He just liked to act macho as much as possible. I didn’t even know he was doing that until I saw the photo later that day!

  12. Earl from iPadNomads

    It’s funny, in our first 5 months of travel this year, we had not been successful finding places on CouchSurfing, mostly because we didn’t plan our destinations early enough, and had forgotten about airbnb until we met up with you in Bucharest. Since then we booked places on airbnb in Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Due to the small nature of European apartments, we found plenty of available apartments in each city, some better than others. Had decent places in Vienna and Prague but the best was Budapest and nearly half the price of the other two cities (I will gladly recommend it to anyone who wants)! Traveling as a couple, short-term apartments are great for having some space to call our own for a few days!

  13. Sam

    I love airbnb! I’ve used in several times now, and had lovely experiences. When I travel together with my partner, we will certainly use it more, as we both value the privacy and independence that having an apartment gives us.

    I’ve only used the site in cities so far, and in my experience there are definitely also good deals to be had. I rented a huge one bedroom apartment with a friend for only €37 a nigh in Berlin earlier this year, and a cute studio on my own in Hamburg (one of Germany’s most expensive cities) for only €25 a night last month.

    I wouldn’t be so keen on the ‘paid couchsurfing’ kind of experience that The Queer Nomad mentions, so I always filter my searches for “entire apartment” listings.

    Anyway, glad you’re enjoying your holiday, Earl!

  14. Nancy F.

    I have a 2 reservations through Airbnb for next week in Portland Oregon and McMinnville. Everything seems to be great except for the fact the cities are cracking down on the rental owners by sending them a 1099 at the end of the year so they now have to pay city taxes/bed taxes, etc. just like hotels. They are not happy.

  15. Nic Freeman

    Hey Earl,

    Glad to hear you stumbled across the joy of a great airbnb place. I’m now 7 months into a 9 month European adventure with my boyfriend and we have used airbnb more than not to find awesome accommodation.

    Although very much budget travellers, we found that airbnb offers great places for almost the same price as dorm beds in a hostel dorm (we look for about 40 Euros per night for two people). Other pluses include meeting locals, as you mentioned, and staying out of the tourist hot spots, which can be a relief on a long journey.

    At the moment I’m in a funky split-level apartment in Perugia, Umbria, with flowers and herbs on the balcony, our new neighbour cooking dinner across the lane and a local wine bar below.

    Glad to hear you loved your Ulcinj, Montenegro trip. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  16. Michele

    What an amazing little apartment for the price! You can’t beat that type of hospitality, room, and view. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there, and hope you thoroughly enjoyed your time away from the blog!

    You already know that the hubby and I have been looking at a LOT of travel next year. I’ve actually checked on guest houses, apartments, cottages, and even villas in certain areas. I’m always impressed with the prices.

  17. The Queer Nomad

    I find AirBnB etc useful in more out of the way places, in popular places they are a very expensive option, often more so than a hostel, especially when you are travelling alone. I have had some great experiences, but sadly, more bad ones or really weird ones where I though I rented a places and ended up in a ‘paid Couchsurfing’ kind of situation.

  18. Natalie

    We rented an apt in Zadar, Croatia, for 400 Eur/month earlier this spring. It was a great 1-BR in a nice area of town, with a very generous and welcoming host! We found the apt thru the receptionist at the local hostel. This option was *much* cheaper than anything we found online or through tourist agencies, who were quoting us $1200/month. We got lucky thanks to a local contact! 🙂

  19. Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels

    I’ve used AirBnB once to get a place in Toronto for a few nights. Wasn’t the cheapest option possible but I liked feeling like I had a home rather than a hotel room. I would consider an apartment again next time I travel. I’d also look into sites like Roomorama.com and vrbo.com

  20. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    And I love how Mr. Redzepagic is all flexed up for his photo op 🙂 The typical Eastern European “macho” attitude that has to be displayed at every opportunity. LOL Brings back memories of my time living in Bulgaria and traveling around the countryside all those years. The men always have to prove they are MEN….cell phones on the belt clips, flexed muscles at every opportunity, and LOTS of booze to prove they can handle their liquor 🙂

    Ahhh….Raki/Rakia 🙂 My first time with that in Bulgaria…wow. I had three shots of some home-made stuff from someone’s grandmother’s garage and was flyyyiiiinnnngggg. Of course, there’s also plenty of the high quality stuff, but if you aren’t careful, the local swill WILL run a vehicle and WILL burn nose-hairs. And cause evenings where you can’t remember what happened.

    1. Earl

      Hey T.W. – He did flex up all the time…and always showed me photos of himself as a young guy, pointing out how macho he looked!

  21. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    I stay away from hostels like the plague for anything longer than 2-3 night stays, and pretty much always stay in apartments or guest-hoses. AirBnB has some good finds (like what you found), but you can also find short and long-term apartments via the forums at CouchSurfing and TravBuddy, as well as Craigslist. I’ve had great luck with all of them.

    For me, it’s more about the privacy than anything else. I’m just not a fan of sharing a kitchen/etc. in a hostel setting, and I love to cook, so I’m almost always going for the apartment route. Plus, I find that it is almost ALWAYS cheaper to book the apartment options for anything longer than a week.

    Then again, I tend to stay in places for 6+ months, so I end up signing contracts (long term, not merely short term), although my place in Bogota was only for three months. Even then, I was able to get the fully furnished place on the 6th floor of an apartment building in downtown Chapinero for a mere 300 USD per month, with underground parking, 24/7 security guards + weekly maid service, all the Internet/cable/amenities + an epic view…for *much* less than what I would have paid in a hostel.

    Granted…that’s not necessarily short term, but yeah…for anything longer than a week I think you will always save money on the apartment/guest house/bnb rentals.

    Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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