Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know

Written by
author-photo Chris Cerra
Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know
Table of Contents

4 Tips to Help Find Your Next Stay

When you can go anywhere, anytime, picking a place becomes a challenge. All your location freedom can make shortlisting places and picking a winner a real burden. Today we’re going to cover some top tips to help you make the process quicker & easier, so you can spend more time enjoying your current location and less time worrying about the next.

These tips are for digital nomads, traveling remote workers, aspiring ex-pats, and everything in between. If you want tips for finding long-stay accommodation, you’re in the right place!

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to leverage hosts and property managers to your benefit, how to use accommodation listing images as a measure of trust, and how to use your date flexibility to unlock killer savings!

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the accommodation on local Facebook groups or using big platforms like Airbnb or Agoda. These top tips apply regardless. So you can safely add them to your accommodation search toolkit!

I’ve personally scoured through tens of thousands of accommodation listings, from Airbnbs to hotels and from house sits to hostels. You name it, I’ve probably spent countless hours looking at it. Why? My mission is to source the best accommodation deals for digital nomads and share them all with the RemoteBase newsletter.

You can join thousands of remote workers and digital nomads getting the free newsletter here.

So, what top tips do I have for you? Let’s jump in.

Date flexibility

Being flexible with dates might sound obvious, and you’re probably already being flexible around the time of year or the general booking window (e.g., checking the differences between September & October vs. October & November).

But it pays (literally) to go more granular than this. So next time you’re searching, even with a date window in mind, experiment with the check-in / check-out dates. Move them one or two days each way to see if there’s an optimal rate or if there’s a permutation that unlocks a special discount.

It’s incredible (and counter-intuitive), but ADDING a night or two can dramatically impact the price in your favor. Check out this example where staying four weeks costs less than three weeks!

Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know

BONUS TIP: Pay close attention to any limitations of your visa, and be sure not to book dates that exceed your visa limitations, as this could raise concerns and lead to further questions at borders.

If you’ve got Visa questions, get in touch with Citizen Remote today.

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Price negotiation

It doesn’t matter if you’re booking with a big hotel brand or an individual host. The accommodation game is, at its core, a business.

Remember your long stay booking has benefits for the accommodation provider. If they have four-weekend bookings a month, that’s four times they need to ‘turn over’ the property (clean the place, check for damage, replace the bedding, etc.). A month-long booking cuts those costs by 75%! Plus, It’s guaranteed revenue. What if only two weekends get booked?

There’s a ‘softer’ benefit for them, too. Weekend bookings are more likely to be frivolous vacationers (read: wreckless party animals), whereas you’re there to live. You’re going to treat the place like home.

Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know

Here’s the tip: Do not be afraid to engage in a little bartering with a host or property manager. Contact them, outline the benefits of your long-stay booking, and ask if they have a ‘best price’ or if a discount is available.

Property turn-over costs are a good way to frame the benefits of private accommodation (like Airbnb hosts), but if you’re contacting hotels, consider you won’t need breakfast or your bed made every day. Propose room clearing once a week, and see what they say!

Again, because accommodation is a business, most of the time, the business logic shines through, and they’ll make you a reduced rate offer.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Need help with your visa application?
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Be an Image Detective

A picture speaks a thousand words. Unfortunately, there are some hosts & property managers out there who’ll try to spin you a fairytale story with their images.

I’ve seen tables and beds moved from room to room, artwork moved around, and my personal favorite: 4 chairs crammed around a table very clearly made to seat two people (at best!)

All attempts to make a place look bigger or just simply more inviting.

These kinds of things are so easy to miss, especially when you’ve spent 2-3 hours looking over what feels like a million places trying to pick a winner.

Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know

The top tip: Inspect listing images carefully. Look for any repeating furniture. Try to build a floor plan in your mind. If you can’t, you can always contact the host and ask for more photos. The way they respond to your request in itself will be telling.

Admittedly it’s hard to keep this front of mind, so pick a winner like you usually would and THEN make this check.

And if you’re a host out there reading this: consider including a floor plan!

Transport Considerations

We’ve all been there after hours of searching, filtering, and investigating. You find it. The perfect place. It’s got incredible views in all directions, has a good level of privacy, and it’s even available at an amazing price.

Wow, I can afford to stay in a place like this. That’s amazing…

But there’s a catch coming… You have to get there.

For accommodation like this, where the prices are so good it makes your heart skip a beat, it’s common for the locations to be just out of reach.

Maybe they’re completely inaccessible unless you have a car, or you need to follow a convoluted network of public transport systems to get there.

Of course, you can take a taxi, but that’s probably expensive and not practical for your entire stay.

Let’s set the scene, you’ve just arrived in a country where you don’t speak the language after hours of traveling. Throw in a fictional flight delay, and somehow the prospect of a four-hour trip with six connections to reach the accommodation makes the train station bench seem like a very reasonable place to have a ‘quick nap’…

Flashback to when you booked the place… paying a bit more and staying somewhere central seems like a better option now, right?

Well, maybe not. All the time, I see people sacrificing what they really want to avoid scenarios like this.

But you don’t have to.

Accommodation Search Tips Every Digital Nomad Needs to Know

Here’s a tip: Leverage your host’s connections.

Remember, properties like this are run like businesses. The host or property manager will have local knowledge – or, better, local connections – to help you secure great rates on rentals (cars or scooters) or taxi services.

Don’t leave a beautiful destination at arm’s reach like this. Go after it!

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Chris Cerra founder of RemoteBase

Global citizen & world wanderer Chris Cerra has been living a digital nomad life since early 2018 and ranked as a Top 50 Remote Enabler in 2022. Chris is also the Creator (and Chief Deal Finder!) at the RemoteBase accommodation newsletter - Where he curates & shares the best long-stay accommodation deals with thousands of nomads and remote workers.

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