Have you ever finished a trip wishing you could stay longer? You’re not the only one! A growing number of travelers swear by the concept of slow travel – not just staying a few days and trying to tick off as many must-see sites as possible, but instead taking time to soak in a new environment.
Long-term hotels are popping up all over Europe to cater for this new class of visitor, as well as expats and exchange students. In fact, in Amsterdam alone three long-term hotels have popped up in recent years (Zoku, Hotel Jansen and the Student Hotel), and design-led hostel chains like Generator are also offering longer-stay apartments. If you thought living in a hotel was only possible for rock stars, think again!
Many people are also looking to experience a city like a local by renting a furnished apartment, and this, too, has become a lot easier to do from abroad. With various local governments cracking down on sites like Airbnb, there are some new sites listing only mid- and long-term rental apartments, acting as a middle man between renters and landlords. Many students/interns are choosing this option to save themselves the stress of arriving in a city with nowhere to live, spending those precious first few days traipsing from apartment to apartment, and desperately trying to convince the potential landlords that, despite language barriers, they’re the right choice as a tenant.
As far as cutting down on fuss goes, we particularly love Spotahome; firstly because seven of their 15 European cities are also SANDEMANs cities (hurrah!), but also because they don’t ask would-be renters to rely on pictures (we’ve fallen for that one too many times!). Instead, they have an unbiased HD video shot by their own crew, and if your online booking is approved (which is as easy as booking a hotel), they’ll deduct payment the first month’s payment and transfer it to the landlord only 24h after your arrival. Ensuring you arrived to the property safely and without problems. Easy peasy, and also extremely handy for students looking for accommodation in busy cities like Barcelona, London and Paris, where we know from experience the search can take a long time.
It’s also worth checking out if the city you’re going to be residing in requires you to register when you arrive. While some countries (like Germany) will still consider you a tourist if you’re only staying four months or less, not formally requiring you to go through the registration process, do be aware that without that registration document, you probably won’t be able to do things like get a phone contract, join a gym, open a bank account, or – if you’re planning to go it alone finding somewhere to live, instead of using one of these mid-long term rental sites – sublet an apartment