When I was a kid, I loved staying in hotels, especially Motel6 along the California Central Valley I-5. It meant swimming all afternoon with my sister in a tiny dilapidated pool, watching hours of cable television, and falling asleep together in a lumpy queen bed. The best was eating dinner and breakfast at the diner next door, which, if we were lucky, was a Denny’s. Today, just a whiff of bleached sheets brings me back.
For different reasons I still love a good hotel. What’s not to love about complimentary soap and someone making my bed every day? However, in our planning for our world trip, we anticipated that hotel living wouldn’t be conducive to our style of travel. Our instincts were correct: while in Paris we enjoyed our hotel in Montmartre, but the size did not encourage us to linger at home and the absence of kitchen forced us out for every meal, driving up costs. Apartment-sitting in Budapest felt more like home. We could cook and sit around writing all day if we felt like it.
Apartment living may not appeal to every traveler. Solo travelers may prefer the social atmosphere of hostels. Others may want the vacation experience of a hotel stay. Here’s five reasons to rent an apartment while traveling long term.
Reasons to rent an apartment while traveling: Space
Hotel and hostel rooms are great for sleeping, but usually that’s about it. In Paris, we had no desire to linger in our hotel room to work on our blog. It just wasn’t big enough. Apartments provide space for other activities: writing, yoga, drinking wine on your patio or balcony, or simply lounging around. We require at least a writing table big enough for the two of us, an amenity most hotels or hostels don’t provide.
Reasons to rent an apartment while traveling: Kitchen
Cooking is the only thing I love more than eating at restaurants, and I especially love cooking abroad. In Budapest, I made a paprikás with local paprika; in Belgrade we made a chopped salad with fresh produce and tangy Serbian cheese. In addition to preventing restaurant burn-out, the ability to cook and make your own meals saves money on food costs.
Reasons to rent an apartment while traveling: Privacy
As a couple traveling together for a year, the ability to close a door and be alone is crucial. We love spending time together, but feeling at home means sometimes sitting alone, drinking a glass of wine and watching Gossip Girl or some other ridiculous television, and not acknowledging the existence of other human beings. At a hotel or hostel especially, it’s difficult to escape other human beings, whether it’s your partner, or the loud tourists in the common lounge, or your hotel room neighbors who come home drunk every night at 3am.
Reasons to rent an apartment while traveling: Cost
In addition to cutting food costs with a kitchen, apartments as accommodation are typically more affordable than hotels and even some hostels. For instance, we were able to secure a monthly rate in a notoriously expensive Greek island Santorini that’s cheaper than our rent in Portland. We’ve found that owners will often negotiate a discount for a longer stay, especially in the low season.
Reasons to rent an apartment while traveling: Homemaking
If our goal is to make a home around the world wherever our toothbrushes are, then it makes sense to seek environments that feel like home. We want to create a space where we can engage in home-making activities, like sharing a meal on our patio and watching a soccer match on TV, or working on our blog or personal writing projects over morning coffee at the kitchen table.
There are plenty of travelers for whom apartment accommodations are the wrong fit. The key is finding out what kind of traveler you are and what sort of home you see yourself making around the world.
When it comes to accommodations, have you found your perfect fit while traveling?