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Staying at a hotel is often a luxury that not every student who has decided to study abroad can afford. Moreover, not every university has halls of residence and apartments at its disposal to accommodate foreigners. And the only way out in this case is to rent an apartment or a room in the country where you study.
In fact, everything is not as bad as it might seem at first glance. Staying at a university hall of residence could be cheaper, but the option of renting private housing is much more profitable than staying at a hotel. We have selected several effective ways how to search for affordable and comfortable housing abroad, which you can read about below.

Services for housing search abroad

SourceOfferGeographyFeatures
Airbnb2,000,000191 countriesAn online-site for short-term private housing rent search all over the world
CouchSurfing7,000,000(Organisations)246 countriesIt is one of the biggest hotel chains allowing to find free housing and new impressions abroad
Roomorama80,000200 countriesAn online service allowing to rent city apartments, rooms and even small private houses for several days
Homeaway1,000,000190 countriesAn online-site allowing to rent a room, apartments or an exotic country house for a price of a hotel room
HostelsclubOver 26,000(Hostels around the world)170 countriesA service offers hostels, cheap hotels of B&B's type search
HostelworldOver 33,000(Hostels around the world)170 countriesA site of cheap hostels search all over the world which if some difficulties with living or checking-in arise, return you money and additionally pay you 50 USD
CraigslistOver 4,000,000180 countriesA site of free announcements where you can successfully find a housing option, some furniture and even a car

Effective ways to find apartments abroad

  • Use of housing and accommodation search and booking systems
  • You can refer to specialized sites, there are many of them on the Internet. At such resources you can find advertisements about small rooms, apartments and even whole houses renting. It is important to understand that the rent price suggested at different sites may be different. Therefore, even when you come across an interesting proposal, it is worth checking the availability of similar offers at other sites.
    It's interesting that some services offer discount coupons for using their services. For example, the online site Airbnb gives 25 USD which can be used for the next housing booking. The main advantage of such services is the opportunity to find the most interesting housing options that reflect local colour which can not be found in boring hotel rooms.
  • Search among hostels
  • Accommodation at a hostel may seem to be a good idea if a university applicant stays at a new city only for a couple of days (or for a week) for taking entrance exams at the university. You can find suitable and appropriate offers with the help of hotel reservation systems or special services like hostelworld. A hostel is not always a typical hall of residence with concrete walls and the sense of an ordinary apartment shared by many people. Among hostels there are quite decent places, beautiful historical buildings with convenient location and the availability of separate rooms and even amenities. The question is only in price.
  • Search for housing with the help of hospitality sites
  • Couchsurfing allows travelers to save on living in a new country, to get acquainted with new people, to exchange customs and traditions. Hospitality websites broaden our horizons, giving ordinary people the opportunity to get free shelter for a few days and spend a good time with their new friends. All you need to do is to register on one of these services, fill in your profile there, upload a good photo and tell something about yourself. The main point is to be open-minded and friendly, and then it will not take a lot of time for invitations from other couchsurfers to come.

    What should be taken into account when you look for an apartment?

    Before you book and pay for the selected room or apartment, it is worth considering a few points:
  • Surcharge
  • A website of housing reservation does not always show the full cost of apartments rent, so when a client meets with his/her landlord he/she can expect a real "surprise" in the form of a tax charged to the tenant’s account. In order not to find yourself in such a situation, you should contact the apartment owner in advance and clarify all the details before the agreement is signed.
  • Feedback from other users
  • If the apartment is found on one of the special sites, it is logical that there are reviews of other users who have already met with this landlord. The description and photos on the service pages can highlight and even exaggerate the advantages of accommodation, but in real life it often turns out to be much more common. That is why you should read the reviews of other users carefully. If there are many reviews and all of them are favorable, in this case you can without any fear and doubt rent the selected apartment.
  • Additional services
  • Before the agreement is signed, you should check again whether the additional service (daily cleaning, access to the Internet, breakfasts, towels and linen change, toiletries) is included in the total cost of apartment rent. Perhaps, you will have to pay for these services additionally, and it will be possible to find more profitable offers on the site for the same price.
  • Favorable location
  • An apartment for a suitable price can be located far from the city center, so you still have to spend money on public transport. Is not it easier to rent accommodation situated closer to the center (usually the price is by 5 USD-10 more expensive) from the very beginning, so as not to waste your time and suffer from nerves getting from the outskirts of the city?
  • Payment Methods
  • To rent apartments using specialized services you need a credit card and not a debit one. Otherwise, you can lose the reservation just one week before the planned check-in.
  • The presence of a security deposit
  • On many apartment reservation services you can find a similar item that obliges the client to have a certain amount of money on the credit card served as a deposit in case the property of the apartment owner is damaged. This money is simply frozen on the tenant’s account, and after the agreement breaks down and a client leaves an apartment it is again available to the card holder.

    How not to fall into the trap of scammers?

    Apartment rent has always been one of the most profitable forms of business. There are many fans of easy money in this sphere who know how to get money from a client. Therefore, it is important to know several rules that will help you to protect yourself from scammers’ activities:
  • Signing an official agreement
  • There are some cases when fraudsters rented an apartment for a couple of days, and during this period they found people who wanted to rent a house on a long-term basis. They signed a contract with them (not legally valid), asked for prepayment and went forever. A contract must be signed and verified only by a notary or a lawyer, and the document must carry a blue or red seal.
  • Checking the form of the landlord
  • When you book accommodation with the help of booking services, it is necessary to scan thoroughly an apartment owner questionnaire, and also to contact him/her to clarify the amount of payment, the check-in date and other details. If the ad makes you doubt, you should ask your landlord to provide you with additional photos of the apartment.
  • Apartment rent payment with the help of trusted sites
  • Payment should be made only through the site of booking service even if an apartment owner asks you to send money to his personal account. It is better to pay a commission to the site, rather than lose money from your bank card.
  • Data privacy
  • You should not report the details of your payment card (card number, CVV-code, pin-code) and other information to third parties.
    If you want to rent accommodation abroad on a long-term basis, you should be ready to pay the amount of several months installments, which is quite a lot. As for apartment rent for a short period of time (from 3 days to 2 weeks), in this case it is also necessary to have a starting deposit which will guarantee the solvency and tenant’s careful attitude to the property of the host party.

    Lease contract templates

    ContractLanguageLink
    Sample 1EnglishDownload
    Sample 2EnglishDownload
    Sample 3EnglishDownload