Deciding Where to Stay Abroad: Your Best Accommodation Options

Amazing Rental Balcony

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Best Accommodation Options – After you make the choice to start exploring how to move to a different country, there are so many big decisions you’ll need to make. Before you can make much progress, you’ll have to decide which country you want to live in, or at least narrow it down to two or three. Then, you’ll need to figure out which region and city would be best for you. 

Still, in order to really know a place, you should visit it in person first. Online research about a location can tell you so much about a city. You’ll need to feel the breeze, smell the food wafting out of cafes, walk the streets, and interact with locals. Simply put, you should probably not move to another country without traveling there first with the express purpose of considering a new life there. 

Once you have decided on the place you want to move to, it will take time to find a long-term apartment or home. Booking accommodations in that city for a few weeks or a few months can give you plenty of time to ground yourself and find the best home available. In this article, we’ll cover how to decide on the right accommodations for your initial stay in your target locale. 

Beautiful Rental Cabin

Securing Your Initial Stay

When initially traveling to the city you want to move to in a new country, it’s best to spend at least a week in the city living like you were a local. This allows you plenty of time to get a lay of the land, learn the type of neighborhood you’re interested in, and really soak in the vibe of the place. Any shorter and you may be rushing between travel arrangements and tourist sights in the vicinity of your hotel or other accommodations. 

After obtaining your visa and heading to your new home, it’s a good idea to give yourself some breathing room. Moving between neighborhoods can be hard enough as it is, but moving between countries carries a whole new set of logistical hurdles to jump over. We recommend booking somewhere for at least one month after you move so that you give yourself enough time to find a longer-term flat that matches your search criteria. 

However, the more popular the city is, the more likely it is that the demand and supply of housing will be unequal, so you may want to book accommodations for at least two to three months instead. I was advised to get temporary housing in Berlin for three months while looking for a long-term lease on an apartment, and I’m glad I did because it took the full three months to find a place and get everything sorted before moving in. It’s probably better to cautiously plan for longer stays initially to make sure you can find your ideal new home without feeling rushed.

Furnished Rental Apartment

Your Best Options for Accommodation

You can always consider staying in a hotel for the transition period of your move abroad, but many expats stay in alternative types of accommodation while getting to know their new home. Here are some of the best options for making the most of your transition period in a foreign country.


Expats who are not afraid to spend more on luxurious accommodations during their initial stay may look to book a stay at a hotel. We recommend Agoda because it covers both major hotel chains and boutique hotels all around the world. They also offer an extensive back catalog of rentable apartment homes or even private stays. You can easily search between all these locations and even specify that you’re looking for a long stay, which could potentially lead to discounted weekly or monthly rates. Agoda partners with well-known brands in the travel industry, so you can have every aspect of your stay covered without leaving your browser window.

Shared Living & Communities

A big part of feeling comfortable in a new city is making friends and starting to build a community. Many expats crave social environments and rely on the connections they make. For people looking for these communal experiences, it may be better to book a spot in a shared living space or join a community that allows you to meet other like-minded individuals and expats. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Coliving might be the right choice for you. Coliving brings together people who want to share a living space in a fully furnished apartment, so they can help you hit the ground running in your new city!

Mid-Term Stays for 1+ Months

When you start staying in a place for one month or longer, it’s best to simplify your renting situation. Making sure that you have stability in your living situation will ensure that your time abroad is spent as fulfilling as possible. For these situations, we recommend Flatio‘s rental housing platform for digital nomads with hand-picked, mostly deposit-free, and reasonably priced accommodations in over 300 destinations around the world. What sets Flatio apart from similar platforms is that it offers lawyer-verified, legally binding lease agreements that can be used as proof of address and for visa purposes. We know firsthand how difficult it can be to find temporary accommodations that allow you to use them as proof of address, so be sure to consider renting through Flatio if you need to submit a home address as part of your visa application.

No Strings Attached: Pet Sitting

When you’re looking for a short-term stay and don’t have a lot of possessions to take with you, the best option is to stay somewhere free! If you love pets, then you should take a closer look into pet-sitting opportunities! Pet owners who want to go abroad on vacation need someone to keep an eye on their home and pets while they’re away, so this can be a fantastic opportunity to get a free place to stay for a few weeks. We recommend setting up a profile on TrustedHousesitters and browsing all of the upcoming free stays in your target city. Use this link to get 25% off your membership fees!

Shared Community Abroad

Getting Help with Your Move Abroad

Even though it’s a big step, finding accommodations for your initial travel as well as the first few months in your new city is just a small piece of the puzzle. With all the moving parts of your timeline and tons of uncertainty, you’ll want to work with folks who have been there before. At Expat Empire, we’ve got the personal experience to answer all of your questions. Check out all of our Recommended Resources and book a few coaching sessions to jumpstart your move abroad!

As the founder of Expat Empire, David McNeill is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and showing them how to do it. David started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad. He left the United States in 2014 and has since lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and Porto.