No one really talks about the cons of renting an apartment while abroad; however, there is much talk about integrating yourself into the culture you are visiting and getting the ‘real feeling’ of the city you’re in. Which is definitely true. You feel more like a local stepping out of your 5th floor walk-up than you do rolling out of a 4-star hotel. I absolutely love to rent apartments when I travel; there are just so many types of choose from, and where else will you get to stay on an actual frickin’ houseboat or a castle (yes, a castle!)? But, there are also some drawbacks, and if you’re the type who wants to be taken care of on your vacation, apartments are definitely not for you.
You Have to Cook:
Obviously there is no restaurant on site (unless your apartment is over one!) and there will be some semblance of a kitchen to be used. Which is great if you love to go to the market and pick out your fresh veggies and meats and breads. But….is horrible if you just want to sit down in a restaurant and order and be on your way. Not into cooking on vacation? You can still easily rent an apartment and eat out at local restaurants.
It’s not a hotel. It’s a humble abode where people actually have lived in. Paris apartments are literally Paris apartments – with lights that turn off in the hallways when not in use, teeny tiny staircases and trash cans inside a quaint, but slightly smelly courtyard, or around the corner. Unless you’re renting a house with a pool or hot tub or tennis courts in Provence, you’re not going to be getting the amenities that hotels offer.
There’s Usually a Huge Deposit:
I haven’t stayed in an apartment yet where there is no giant deposit that must be paid at the time of booking or upon arrival. Yes, you get it all back if you don’t trash the place, but making sure you have enough cash for the cash-only options (which seem to be nearly all) can be a real pain in the ass.
You Have to Clean:
Yep. The drawback to apartment rentals is that you actually have to do the regular chores you are trying to escape from. While some places offer cleaners (and even ready-made meals), the services are often extra and aren’t always available. Cleaning up after yourself while you’re 5 margaritas deep in vacation-mode can be a real buzzkill, so if you’re not into a little choring, stick to a hotel.
Apartments have neighbours. You’re attached to everyone and can hear the toilet flush upstairs. That means the same goes to you, so you have to be mindful of your neighbours around you. While I hope you’re not that asshole partying until 4am and refusing to turn down their music in a hotel, you still get a little bit more leeway with noise in a hotel than opposed to an apartment. A lot of places have strict rules about noise past a certain hour plus garbage policies or recycling that YOU are accountable for.