How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling

How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling

By |2016-07-21T23:57:48-04:00August 11th, 2010|"How To" Travel Guides, Travel Costs, Travel Tips & Advice|108 Comments


After writing my “Living Abroad for Less than $1000 per Month” post a few weeks ago, I received all sorts of interesting emails from readers. I honestly had a great time answering them and I stayed up until 3am a few nights in a row trying to respond as quickly as I possibly could!

Through all of those emails, I did happen to notice that one particular question kept popping up over and over again, and so I thought it best to answer this question as a post in the hopes that the information can benefit as many travelers as possible.

Here’s the question…

How do you find such cheap apartments all over the world?

While the answer to that question certainly isn’t anything groundbreaking, there is actually a particular method I do use that goes beyond your typical apartment hunting and lease signing. And without this method, there is no possible way I would have been able to afford the super-comfortable, perfectly-located apartments I’ve rented in such countries as Argentina, Czech Republic, Thailand and here in Mexico.

HOW MUCH COMFORT DO YOU NEED?

First, it is a fact that no matter where you go in the world, you can always find a cheap apartment. You might have to live a good distance away from the center of town or make due with a somewhat dilapidated building, leaky plumbing and moldy walls, but cheap apartments always exist. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these places, especially for anyone interested in exploring a foreign land on an ultra-tight budget, before you hand over the first month’s rent, you might want to consider whether or not the apartment truly offers what you need.

During my early years of traveling, whenever I would search for an apartment, my idea of luxury involved having a hot water shower, reliable electricity and a bed without bedbugs. But these days, I do require a certain level of increased comfort, not so much because I’m getting older, but because I spend a good deal of time in my apartment working on my internet projects. And as anyone who spends a lot of time working on their laptop knows, an apartment that lacks natural light and requires you to sit on a concrete floor while cockroaches crawl up your shorts, doesn’t exactly help create a favorable working environment.

What does help is a comfortable chair or two, a good wi-fi connection, a secure door to enter the building (there’s nothing worse than worrying if your laptop is being stolen while you’re out exploring) and a mattress that is more than a few centimeters thick. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a great location that allows you to walk into town or to the beach in just a few minutes!

So once again, the question is: How do you find such a place without breaking your budget?


HERE’S WHAT I DO…

After deciding on the ‘perfect neighborhood’ in the city or town I want to live in, I’ll spend a couple of days viewing as many furnished apartments as possible. I find these apartments simply by walking around, asking people if they know of any places for rent and calling the phone numbers on the “For Rent” signs that I come across. Usually, the places that interest me the most will be out of my budget, but I don’t worry about that and in a moment, you’ll see why.

As soon as I do stumble upon my ‘perfect place’, I immediately schedule a meeting to speak with the landlord/owner in person. And then, far from accepting the advertised monthly rent, I offer to pay them 60% of that amount instead.

Before giving the landlord time to reject this seemingly absurd offer, I then continue with my proposal. I quickly explain…

1….that I’m a great tenant! I don’t smoke, don’t party, don’t drink often, I don’t have pets, I’m super-clean, quiet and I mind my own business. I then offer to provide them with references from landlords of other apartments I’ve lived in.

2….that I won’t use the air-conditioner which, in many countries, will instantly reduce the landlord’s expenses by a couple hundred dollars. (It might get a little hot, but that’s nothing that a couple of cheap fans can’t fix!)

And MOST IMPORTANTLY

3….that I’ll allow the landlord to kick me out of the apartment with as little as three days notice if they happen to find someone interested in renting the place for either a longer period of time or for more money.

At this point, I finally stop talking and wait for the reply, hoping that I’ve presented as compelling a case as needed in order to secure the deal. Sure enough, nine times out of ten, the landlord accepts the offer, especially if it happens to be low season or involving an apartment located in a neighborhood with an abundance of places for rent.


IT’S A CLEAR WIN-WIN SITUATION…

The landlord earns some money instead of having the apartment remain empty and I’m able to live in a nicer apartment than I usually could afford, for a price that is well within my budget.

A good example is the new apartment I’m living in now here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The advertised monthly rent was 9500 pesos (approximately $800 USD) but using the above method, I’m only paying 5500 pesos per month, or $460 USD! And this place is spitting distance from both the beach and the town center, it has two, yes two!, balconies and a bed that has secured its spot as one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on.

In fact, here’s my place:

Apartment Playa del Carmen

It’s not overly luxurious or anything but for the excellent level of comfort that it offers, along with its prime location, this really is an absolute steal.

Also, in case you’re wondering, over the past 11 years, not one landlord has taken me up on my offer and kicked me out! But if I ever do have to leave on short notice, it’s really no big deal. I’ll simply stay at a hostel or guesthouse for a few days and repeat the process all over again…

And that’s how I find cheap, yet wonderful, apartments to live in during my world travels!


Do you have any useful tips to share that help you find cheap apartments during your travels or even at home?

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108 Comments

  1. […] –How to Rent an Expensive Apartment for a Budget Price When Traveling –Why I Rent Apartments When I […]

  2. […] used Wandering Earl’s tips for negotiating the rent. So I’m only paying about 60% of the asking price, but it’s a clear win-win for me and […]

  3. Tipps zum Geld sparen beim Reisen October 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    […] geht das für ein bis mehrere Monate problemlos. Earl von Wandering Earl hat auf seinem Blog seine sehr interessante und wohl auch wirkungsvolle Taktik beschrieben, um günstig an ein Apartment zu […]

  4. […] geht das für ein bis mehrere Monate problemlos. Earl von Wandering Earl hat auf seinem Blog seine sehr interessante und wohl auch wirkungsvolle Taktik beschrieben, um günstig an ein Apartment zu […]

  5. wayne May 4, 2014 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Hi Earl, I have gave me so much info, that it is to good to be true.Ok then I am looking to move down to mixco some time this year. I thinking in oct or nov., of 20014.I know the us money is at this time in may is $13.50 peso, And are money can go a long way. So if I got apartment next to the beach do you know how much it is going pries will be????? I am also on a budget that is $865.00 us. So do you think that I can live in playa del Carmen for that????? So if you can gave me Liz email. Then I will gave her a note to her. Thanks so much for the help Wayne.

    • Wandering Earl May 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Wayne – For an apartment right next to the beach in Playa del Carmen right now, you’re looking at a minimum of $1500 USD per month. For your budget, you could try to find an apartment that is a few blocks away from the beach and a few blocks away from the exact center of town. You might be able to find something in this area for around $500 USD per month during low season (summer). And Liz can be reached at: [email protected]

  6. Alana October 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Question! I’ve never rented outside of the States so pardon my ignorance… Do most overseas apartments have rental contracts that require you to stay for so many months or is it usually on month-to-month basis? I guess I could always just leave after a month regardless, but I would feel bad if I entered a rental agreement knowing I was going to break it.

    • Wandering Earl October 20, 2013 at 2:08 am - Reply

      Hey Alana – It all depends on the destination and the person you are renting from. There really is no set way. Some places require a contract and deposit, others don’t, some require minimum one or three months, other don’t. You just have to go to the destination, look around and see what you can find.

  7. ann September 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    I have been reading about Playa Del Carmen,very interesting information.
    I am a single mature lady that will be coming to Playa in October 2013.
    As you recommended I have booked into a hotel for four days while I scout out the,’budget’ furnished rental accommodation for three months(or longer if the Price is Right) It would be fantastic to meet with your friend Liz and see if she can help me. My question being,does she have an office in Playa? Speaks english I hope!!! my spanish is Null and Void.
    Cheers for any input you can throw my way.

    Ann.

    • Wandering Earl September 19, 2013 at 8:31 am - Reply

      Hey Ann – She speaks 100% fluent English and you can always just send her a message through her FB page! facebook.com/renting.playadelcarmen

      • Melissa Bahre May 27, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

        Hey Earl, could you please post Elizabeth’s FB page again, it won’t come up clearly on your page, no doubt my sorry techie behind!

        • Derek May 30, 2017 at 5:01 am - Reply

          Hey Melissa – Elizabeth actually isn’t working on this any more.

  8. Pat Kerr September 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl glad to see someone is taking the bull by the horns -so to speak- or has bull fighting been banned in Mexico already.
    We are as can travelers for many years and last year we tried a trailer park in Florida full of very old snowbirds from all over. we have traveller to Cancun, Stopped for 4 days in Playa and on to Chetemal. Belize city and St Ignacio Belize and back to Playa all by bus.
    We tried Boquete Panama, and back to Ajijic Mexico a couple of years ago . So far our favorite place has been Playa. We are feeling the draw again and want to find a place where it is not more than one block to the beach and the walking street where we have a view and with a reasonable price for January to the end of March or sometime in April.
    With some of the things you said there may (by now) a way of having someone look and negotiate for the best deal possible. Due to a recent change in my health I cannot walk long distances anymore. It says you are in Romania at the moment but WHO KNOWS right.

    • Wandering Earl September 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Hey Pat – I am here in Romania actually but you should contact my friend Liz who is a local in Playa that helps foreigners find apartments at local prices. You can contact her through her Renting Playa del Carmen facebook page below:

      facebook.com/renting.playadelcarmen

  9. […] our friends Wandering Earl and the guys at Never Ending Voyage, we clearly we have a lot to learn about choosing places to […]

  10. […] Finally, there is always one other method that you should consider using when searching for an apartment, a method I wrote about last year in my post “How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price“. […]

  11. Jacqueline June 25, 2013 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Hey, Earl,

    I’ve got a question (that I failed to ask in your free-for-all post) that I’m not sure if others have asked and you’ve addressed already. Do you run into some language barrier when it comes to negotiating for a deal or, are you rather fluent in Spanish? I don’t want to assume that if I do look for a landlord in the future, that he/she usually rents out vacation homes and speaks moderately good English. I read about another backpacker who was arguing over an apartment rip-off but he already spoke Spanish in the first-place.

    • Wandering Earl June 27, 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

      Hey Jacqueline – I do speak Spanish quite well but I’ve also used this method in countries where I didn’t speak the language at all. However, you could always find a local that you trust (friend of a friend, someone through couchsurfing, etc.) that can accompany you for the translation of the negotiations.

  12. Missy H June 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    So you’ve got yourself a great monthly rate, and it’s oh so nice to have a safe place for your stuff. But this is your home base so you can go and come back. How long are you comfortable being gone to check some other place out before you before you feel you’re wasting your rent money? Would you sublet it to someone?

    • Wandering Earl June 17, 2013 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Hey Missy – If I am gone for less than a month, I would typically pay the rent anyway in order to keep the place. Sometimes I would pay even if I’m away longer if the price is right. Other times I will store some stuff at a friend’s place and when I return, I look for a new apartment, using the same method. Or I try to get the same apartment back, something that works very well if I am there during the low season.

  13. Michelle May 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    Love your posts! I’m thinking very seriously of relocating to Playa del Carmen. Are you still there? Did you get your rental biz off the ground? Is it hard to find a place that will let you have a little dog? Will it be difficult to move there with my dog? Any info you have would be welcome. 🙂 I would love to be there by the end of the year.

  14. […] How to Rent an Expensive Apartment for a Budget Price – I wish we were as good at negotiating apartment prices as Earl is. […]

  15. David T Pike August 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    How do you break the language barrier while making your proposal? I will be going to Central and South America and unintentionally destroy the Spanish Language…

    • Earl August 7, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Hey David – Haha…of course, knowing the language does help and when I was in Mexico, my Spanish did improve over time which naturally made a difference. But at the same time, I find that this method ends up being so tempting to the apartment owner that even in a broken language, you can usually secure such a deal. You can also enlist the help of a local, maybe someone from Couchsurfing, who can accompany you and do the translation.

  16. Jake May 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    That is a *fantastic* idea. I usually rent for three to six months and get really excellent deals, but your way is far more brilliant, even.

    • Earl May 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jake! I hope this method works out for you in your next destination.

  17. Hans Comijn May 15, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Excellent advice Earl,
    have you ever looked for a place before arriving?

    When you arrive, you stay in a hostel?

    • Earl May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Hey Hans – Sometimes I will contact people advertising apartments on a website such as AirBnB.com and ask what their monthly rates are. This may lead to a good deal in some parts of the world but in general, I usually wait until I arrive in order to find the more local deals that aren’t usually advertised online in English. Often times what you find online are apartments aimed specifically at foreigners and as a result, the prices are much higher.

      And these days, I will sometimes stay in a hostel when I first arrive but I tend to prefer a budget hotel or guesthouse instead. I just enjoy having a little more comfort and privacy after all those years of sleeping in hostels 🙂

  18. Anthony Secco February 1, 2012 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Do you offer a certain amount up front? Also, how long are your stays usually?

    • Earl February 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      Hey Anthony – It all depends on the owner but in general, I usually provide a deposit up front that covers one month’s rent. And then after one month is up and if I stay for longer, I do the same for the second month. My stays have been anywhere from one to five months in duration so far, although I just spoke with someone today who successfully used this method in Amsterdam last month for a 3-week stay. If an apartment has been sitting around empty, chances are the owner will be interested in any length of time just to make some money.

  19. nomadbiba December 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    These are really useful tips, can’t wait to try them out! Thanks so much for sharing them 🙂

  20. Marissa November 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    We tried a similar method when traveling in Greece and it was brilliant.

    • Earl November 21, 2011 at 4:05 am - Reply

      Hey Marissa – Glad to hear the method has worked for you as well!

  21. Ashley November 2, 2011 at 12:04 am - Reply

    These are great ideas! I’ve always wondered how people afforded to live overseas for extended amounts of time- hostels just seem like they would be really expensive after a week or so.

    Love the website btw!

    • Earl November 2, 2011 at 3:54 am - Reply

      Hey Ashley – Staying in a hostel would definitely be quite expensive for long periods of time and quite often travelers can only find apartments that are advertised towards foreigners, which is also more expensive. But these tricks do tend to work and can really help keep costs down for those extended stays somewhere!

      And thank you for being a reader of the website 🙂

  22. Amy Martin February 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Earl you are a treasure. Thank you so much for the advice!

  23. Amy Martin February 23, 2011 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    I am in Vienna using YOUR article to negotiate an apartment for a month. Your tips came just when I needed them.

    Do you typically pay a deposit? The custom in Vienna is to require a deposit of 3-months of rent, or at the very least, one month of rent, which of course is undesirable, especially because they have the right to not return it if anything is damaged.

    I am curious to hear your recommendation on this.

    • Earl February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am - Reply

      Hey Amy – I certainly hope my advice works out for you in the end! As for paying a deposit, I’ve only had to do this on two occasions and each time, I worked out a deal with the landlord. The last time was in Mexico where I ended up paying 1/2 the normal deposit (2 weeks rent), again using the fact that they had the ability to kick me out at any time to secure that concession. With that said, I’d imagine that sometimes the landlord won’t budge and a deposit will be required, although anything more than a 1 month deposit would seem excessive to me.

  24. Lisa | LL World Tour February 6, 2011 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Hey hey!
    Just found you by way of the Friendly Anarchist.
    Great advice!! I actually like negotiating and have done it with hotels around the world and even in the US where it’s harder. The smaller/independent ones usually give you something.

    Not sure if i could handle the 3 day notice in an apt. I think i’d have to ask for 7!
    I did try to negotiate my current apartment…but it’s in Chicago and that was tough. I did get $25 off though! 😉
    I needed a more secure lease here.
    Cheers!
    Lisa

    • Earl February 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Lisa – Welcome and thank you for the comment! I must say that even a $25 discount in Chicago seems like a success to me 🙂 It never hurts to ask and even a small discount can make a difference. And the 3-day notice does seem a bit quick but I’ve never been asked to leave by any of the landlords I made this offer to. Once your in the apartment, it’s just much easier for the landlord to take your money each month than try to find other renters willing to pay more.

      I never thought to negotiate with independent hotels in the US but will have to give that a try the next time I’m there!

      Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

  25. shpyo December 10, 2010 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Thanks for your tips! I think those tips can be used everywhere!

  26. Dustin Main | Skinny Backpacker November 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Wow excellent advice! I look forward to trying my luck using your methods soon, maybe just maybe I can duplicate your success. Just need to get a few successful tries under my belt and I’ll feel great I think. I’m a better negotiator on behalf of others than I am for myself. We’ll see how it goes in Argentina in 2011.

    • Earl November 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Hey Dustin – It does take a few tries to get comfortable with the methods but once you hear the first person say ‘yes’ to your proposal, it’s all worth it! And from that point, your success rate will continue to rise 🙂

      Argentina is a great place to try it out as well…

  27. Don September 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Earl, this is some very good advice. I have not yet used such advice to rent an apartment but have used similar tactics at mid priced hotels. With hotels, I find what works is to talk to the manager or better yet, the owner of the hotel. I have offered cash in advance for a month’s rent and have also bargained for a nicer room that is more quiet or with a refrigerator or a nicer view, larger bathroom, etc. Processing credit card transactions cuts into the hotel’s profit. If you have stayed there before or can get a local to vouch for you, all the better. Just be sure to get a receipt for your hard earned cash!

    • Earl September 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Hey Don – Thanks so much for sharing this information!

      That’s interesting about the hotels as I’m sure that advice will come in handy for a lot of people as well. The idea of offering cash is a great method to try and receive a discount and offering it in advance is even better. And I absolutely agree that having a local vouch for you helps out a great deal, also when trying to rent apartments. Sometimes that alone seems to remove all of the worries a landlord/hotel manager might have!

  28. Migrationology August 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Earl, this is some masterful advice. Next time I need to rent an apartment, I am surely going to try this method out.
    .-= Migrationology´s last blog ..Luscious Malaysian Curry Laksa =-.

    • Earl August 16, 2010 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Hey Mark – Glad to hear you’ll put the method to use! I’m sure you’ll have some success with it…

      Perhaps you could try it with restaurants. Pay 60% of the menu price and as soon as they need your table, you’ll leave!

  29. Laura August 15, 2010 at 8:07 am - Reply

    This is SO useful! I would never have thought to offer 60%, but given your stipulations, I guess it’s hard for them to refuse. As I was reading, I was wondering how many times you were forced to search for new accommodation on such short notice, but I’m shocked that you’ve never been kicked out. I’m definitely trying this in the future!

    • Earl August 15, 2010 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Hey Laura – I think that once the landlord has some tenants, even if they’re only paying 60%, they seem to stop putting much effort into finding people to rent the place. Right now in Mexico the landlord even took down the “For Rent” sign from the window, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be kicked out of here any time soon! Hopefully you’ll have the same success when you give it a try at some point during your travels!

  30. Anil August 15, 2010 at 3:11 am - Reply

    I like your point # 3 – especially now that I’m in the final stages of apartment hunting. This is always the part of traveling where I drag my feet the most, will give this a shot next week 🙂
    .-= Anil´s last blog ..Learn How To Bring New Life To Your Travel Memories With Globejotting By Dave Fox =-.

    • Earl August 15, 2010 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Hey Anil – It takes some getting used to but you should definitely try it out. And you’ll have a huge advantage speaking the language fluently. Let me know if it works!

  31. Osborne August 14, 2010 at 1:18 am - Reply

    I would be curious to know it this tactic would be useful towards hotels. Or at the the part of them having the ability to throw me out the second they needed the room for a full paying customer.

    Ozzy

    • Earl August 14, 2010 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Hey Osborne – I’ve never really tried it with hotels, but that’s an interesting idea! As long as they have empty rooms, a lower rate would often be enticing until someone else comes along willing to pay more. I might try that the next time I need a hotel…

      If you happen to give it a shot, let me know the results!

  32. Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist August 13, 2010 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Hey Earl, thanks for sharing this piece of experience. I am still looking for something down here, but as the offer of furnished places is low, it probably won’t be easy to negotiate as strongly. I’ll still give it a try… there’s nothing to lose, in the end. And, as you say, it could well result in a win-win situation.
    .-= Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist´s last blog ..Luck Favours the Procrastinator =-.

    • Earl August 14, 2010 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Hey Fabian – That’s something that I forgot to mention. Normally this works if you’re in a place that has a lot of furnished apartments available for rent. Almost all of the cities/towns I’ve tried this method have had plenty but it would be more difficult if there’s only a limited number of furnished places around. I’ll be curious to see what you end up with down there…

      • Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist August 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm - Reply

        I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. We’re in a nice place here, despite the lack of infrastructure and it being a little remote. So we’re searching slowly, waiting for the right opportunity to turn up…
        .-= Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist´s last blog ..Good Reads- Countryside Edition =-.

  33. Carousel — 08.13.10 August 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    […] How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling: Another outstanding post by the wonderful Wandering Earl. His common-sense, no nonsense approach […]

  34. Margo August 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Maybe some day when I’m on the lam I’ll use these tips. I am negotiating to buy my first non-mom car in quite a few years tomorrow… I think I’ll offer them 60% and tell them I won’t smoke or drink in it and will give said car back to them with 3 days notice if they get a better offer and see what happens! No way am I giving up the ac though 🙂
    .-= Margo´s last blog ..Barefoot Paradise at Pawleys Island’s Sea View Inn =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      Let me know how that goes Margo! I’d love to see the car dealer’s face after hearing such an offer!!

      And good call with the AC, I’m questioning my decision to not use it down here as I continue to melt a little more each day….

  35. Brandon Pearce August 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Wonderful advice!! I negotiated our house here in Costa Rica down from $1200 to $900, but had to accept a year contract by doing so (which I’ve regretted, even though I love the place). Maybe I could have cut the term shorter if I used your technique to offer letting him kick us out if he finds someone willing to pay more or for longer. I will definitely be using this idea in future locations!

    We’re touring around South America in September and October, but probably won’t be staying in any place longer than 2 weeks, which makes it more difficult to negotiate a good rent. Any tips for finding cheaper accommodations for a terms shorter than a month?

    Now if only there was a way to negotiate airfare…
    .-= Brandon Pearce´s last blog ..Is Money the Root of All Evil =-.

    • Earl August 13, 2010 at 12:00 am - Reply

      Hey Brandon – Thanks for your comment! And actually, I did negotiate airfare once, on one of my trips to India. I ended up paying $150 cash at the check-in counter for a flight to Sri Lanka with Air India. I asked to speak with the manager, told him the flight I wanted and made him an offer. But that’s the only time I’ve tried that!

      Back to accommodation…With shorter stays, it’s definitely a bit more difficult. Although, there’s no reason why you can’t negotiate even for a 1 or 2 week stay at a local guesthouse or budget hotel or anywhere you choose to stay. I’ve always found that anything longer than a 10-day stay is open for negotiation.

      And the 1 year lease must have been tough. That’s a long time to be locked into something, but if you’re going to be locked in anywhere, you can’t complain about it being in Costa Rica!

  36. Moon Hussain August 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Earl,

    Rent off upto 60%? Pretty damn impressive. Looks comfortable, clean and has a style… plus the beach is right there. What more could you ask for?
    .-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..A Personal Update- 2 Months After the Move and Then Some =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Hey Moon – It’s quite a good set-up, I’ll admit that. Usually, I’d take a less comfortable place just to be near the beach but luckily, down here I managed to get both this time around!

  37. Kate August 12, 2010 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Wow, what great suggestions! I’m not a natural bargainer, so I never would have considered making a lower rent offer. I just hunt and hunt for the very best option at an affordable price. I’ll definitely give your way some consideration as our journey continues; your results speak for themselves.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..New Zealand- Land of Opposites =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Kate – Monthly rent doesn’t usually end up on the list of things we may bargain for during our travels! However, if you try it out, you’ll also find it helps save a lot of time as well. I know it can sometimes take ages to finally find a good place that is within our budget and this way, you have a good chance of getting that better place without having to keep on hunting…

      And of course, there’s nothing to lose at all by offering a lower price and trying to convince the landlord its worth it!

  38. Sabina August 12, 2010 at 3:50 am - Reply

    That is one beautiful apartment. When you’re presenting your offer to them, is it in English or their native language? I’m glad to know you’ve seen success with this, in whatever language. Maybe I’ll be trying out your method some day.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Sabina – It does help to an extent if you’re able to negotiate in the local language. And sometimes, if I’m unable to do so, I might invite a friend or another contact I might have to come along and help me out a bit. But I’ve had success using only English in non-English speaking countries as well, so it’s definitely not essential to use the local language.

  39. Audrey August 12, 2010 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Fantastic advice here. For us, we also need big tables to work off of – there is something about spreading out papers, maps and other items that helps clear our heads to write and work.

    When we rented a place in Buenos Aires, it was right before Christmas and I was desperate. So, I paid a small deposit on an apartment from afar (we were in Paraguay) to have a guaranteed place to stay. It was awful. I cannot recommend highly enough to see things before you book them. Your negotiation tips are great.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Three Vignettes- Beautiful Everyday People of Northwest Argentina =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Audrey – Good point, a big table is a must! As I’m sure you know, working on small coffee tables or while sitting on the bed just isn’t the same.

      And it’s tough sometimes deciding whether or not to book a place in advance. On the one hand, it’s much easier to just arrive in a new city, go straight to your new place and move right in. But I’d have to agree that the extra hassle involved in arriving without a booking and then actually visiting apartments before signing anything is well worth it. Having to spend a month or more in an awful apartment is not a fun experience.

  40. Kyle August 12, 2010 at 2:29 am - Reply

    A man, we just rented our apartment. We could have used you two days ago 🙂

    Seriously good tips, though. We’re going to use them next time we find an apartment.
    .-= Kyle´s last blog ..How to be a Great Houseguest =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Hey Kyle – Are you in Chiang Mai? That was actually the first town where I tried this method…

      I’m sure you were still able to get a good deal, prices aren’t terribly expensive up there anyway. I’d be curious to know where you’ve ended up staying…

  41. Jonny | thelifething.com August 12, 2010 at 2:21 am - Reply

    Great advice Earl, I will be trying out your wicked negotiation skills when I am next abroad.

    – Jonny
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..The Seven Learnable Traits Of The Fantastically Wealthy =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jonny, I look forward to seeing where you end up next time you head overseas!

  42. Cris Campos August 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Brilliant! This is certainly a post to remember, so useful!
    We rented an apartment in Morocco in front of the beach and it was the best time we had in that country! It was so much cheaper and comfortable than staying in a hotel.
    Thanks for sharing, Earl.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Hey Cris – I completely agree that renting an apartment and staying in one place for a while is one of the most rewarding ways to travel. And it does work out to be cheaper than a hotel, especially if you want to be near the beach (which I almost always do!).

      A beach apartment in Morocco seems like quite an ideal spot to throw down the backpack for a while!

  43. Nate August 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Such a useful post! I’m seriously so glad that you shared this. This is a topic that concerns me quite a bit and is one of my biggest worries for when I start moving around more. I’ll definitely be coming back to this! Thanks, Earl.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..what’s your story =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you found this post useful Nate! It will definitely make a difference, no matter where you end up going…

  44. rose August 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Now that is advice I will remember! And the pictures of your flat make me want to run down and rent a similar one right away… Maybe when the lease is up on this one : )

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Rose – Actually, the apartment next to mine is still available!

  45. Globetrottergirls August 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Great tips! We’ll definitely use them in the future – like Adam we wish that post would’ve come a bit earlier – could have used these tips a few weeks ago in Oaxaca 🙂 Your place in Playa looks fantastic, btw. Thanks again for the contacts for Playa del Carmen!!!
    .-= Globetrottergirls´s last blog ..The Tops and Flops of our first 100 days =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Hey Jess & Dani – Sorry I didn’t get this post out soon enough! Although, you ended up with one of the best deals in Playa as well! Looking forward to meeting you in person…

  46. John Bardos - JetSetCitizen August 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Brilliant advice. I love to negotiate everything but I never thought about apartments.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Hey John – That’s exactly how I decided to start using this method. I realized that if I could negotiate for a book from a street vendor in India or for a taxi ride in Mexico City, why can’t I try with apartments? I look forward to hearing about an apartment negotiating success story from you in the future!

  47. Adam August 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Ahhhhhh where was this post 2 weeks ago when I was looking for a room in Tel Aviv! Actually I did okay finding a place but I bet I couldv’e gotten a nicer place with
    Your method. So awesome to know that this has worked often for you too!!!
    .-= Adam´s last blog ..This is my grad school =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Hey Adam – I remember reading that you were going to stay in Tel Aviv for a while, sorry I didn’t think to pass this info on sooner! But since the method has so far worked in many countries, I’m sure you’ll have a chance to try it out during your current adventure…

  48. Doug August 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the update on that aspect of your previous post. Great advice!

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Doug, I thought this information might be a good follow up!

  49. Michael Hodson August 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    great tips. I wish I was a more aggressive negotiator when I travel. I really need to improve in that area… soon!! Moving to South America in a month.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Hey Michael – Negotiating takes some practice for sure. Once I realized that I have nothing to lose, it made it much easier to make my offer. I’m sure you’ll get a chance to practice once you arrive in South America! Where are you headed?

  50. Tweets that mention How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling | Wandering Earl -- Topsy.com August 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm - Reply

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  51. Andi August 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    OMG, can I come visit!?! Haha! What a steal! That’s a great idea. Usually, I just book mine on websites. But, I think your way is much better.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..India- Day 9 Part 2 =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Andi – Booking a place ahead of time does eliminate much of the hassle, but if one doesn’t mind a little extra effort, the potential savings are huge… And I’m always up for visitors!

  52. Shane August 11, 2010 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Thanks Earl. Those tips are so simple but could end up saving us thousands.
    .-= Shane´s last blog ..Three Roadblocks to Working Abroad =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment Shane. You really could save thousands of dollars over the course of a year, money that can then be used to stay on the road for a much longer period of time!

  53. Russ August 11, 2010 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Great practical info Earl, but I’ve got a question. Are you signing a lease for a set amount of time? Most landlords like a 12 month lease, so are going month to month or signing a lease for a lesser amount of time?

    I subscribed to your blog a few weeks ago & have really enjoyed it.

    Russ

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Russ – I actually rarely sign anything more than a one month lease and then extend it month by month. If I know I’m going to be somewhere for a longer period of time, I may sign a two or three month lease but I’ve never signed anything more than that. (I never know when I may feel like taking off to someplace new!).

      And you’re right, most landlords would prefer a longer lease but if you present the offer correctly, they should see the value in accepting a shorter deal, especially if the place has been empty for quite some time. Then, if someone does come around who is interested in 12-months, you’ll be kicked out and they’ll get their long term lease. It’s a difficult offer for the landlord to refuse!

      Thanks so much for following the blog Russ and I appreciate your comments!

  54. Erin August 11, 2010 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Brilliant tips Earl! We obviously need to work on our bargaining skills. We just accepted the quoted price for our apartments in Buenos Aires & Salta, and didn´t even think to negotiate. These tips will really help in the future.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Road Trippin’ – Northwest Argentina Part 2 =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks Erin! It’s funny how we never think of negotiating for rent. It’s one of those things that we just accept for some reason, but there’s definitely no harm in trying to make an offer. But be warned – once you start doing it, and after the first time it works, it gets a little addicting. Suddenly you’ll feel as if you can get a 3-BR penthouse on the beach for $200/month!

  55. Lauren Lionheart August 11, 2010 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I can attest to your advice working! That’s exactly what I did when I spent 4.5 months in Playa del Carmen and it worked like a charm. Has it worked this well for you in other countries, too?

    Peace,
    Lauren
    .-= Lauren Lionheart´s last blog ..9 Surprising Facts About Southern Mexico =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Hey Lauren – Thanks for backing up my claims of success with this method! It has worked for me in other countries as well, so far in Thailand, Argentina, Czech Republic and a handful of others, so I definitely recommend trying it wherever your adventure takes you.

      And I’m glad to see you guys are such Mexico addicts as well!

  56. Jennifer Barry August 11, 2010 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I love your apartment with all its bright, cheerful colors! It seems that the advertised rent is what landlords hope they will get, not what they will accept.
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Ghost Stories from Historic Southport- NC =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Hey Jennifer – The orange wall behind the bed is definitely a mood-lifter!

      And you’re right, landlords are usually willing to accept less than the advertised rent, although here in Mexico, it may have to do with the huge drop in tourism over the last year which has left many of the apartments un-rented for so long.

  57. Dina August 11, 2010 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Wow Earl, those are awesome tips! Especially the #2 and the #3, compelling case for the landlord indeed. I like the pictures from your current apartment, I’m intrigued by the tray on the bed, what’s on it!
    .-= Dina´s last blog ..A Taste of the Greek Islands- a Day in Santorini =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Dina – There was a tea pot and two mugs, along with some flowers, on the tray when I moved in. But I can tell you that my bed doesn’t look that neat anymore!

  58. Dave from The Longest Way Home August 11, 2010 at 9:55 am - Reply

    I’ve seen quite a few tips and tricks out there. I’ll have to add this it them as well.

    Some very useful and original ideas here. Am wondering if this needs to be tweaked in different cultures too. Asia vs Latin America vs Europe.

    I wonder too if you need a dazzling personality to woo the landlord!
    .-= Dave from The Longest Way Home´s last blog ..Why Travel Photography is becoming endangered- Ethics of Travel Photography =-.

    • Earl August 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Hey Dave – The biggest cultural difference that I’ve noticed while trying to use this method is that in some countries, the idea of flexibility is not as common. In some places, such as in South America, I found that if a landlord is looking to rent a place for a 12-month lease only, they’d rather keep the place empty than rent it out for a shorter time. They have a hard time understanding why renting the place for a shorter time actually benefits them…

      As far as a dazzling personality goes, I can assure you that’s not needed at all, or else I’d be living on the streets!

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