Friday, December 6, 2013

COUNTING THE COST: A Place to Stay

Are you looking for a place to stay?


When you're going to a foreign country for any amount of time the hardest thing is trying to find a place to stay. The length of your stay will determine the amount of stress that you have so let's get right into this. 

I'm going to divide this into length of time, budget, and size of family. These are averages based on Granada since most people are looking to go there. Since they are one of the most expensive you can't go wrong in your budgeting if you're a little high on this number.


CHEAPEST ($0+)


Friend's let you curl up wherever!
Staying with your friends is of course the cheapest option. If you are one person or two and you have a friend where you want to go, ask them if you can crash for a night or two. That's not asking a lot. However, if you need a week or more consider staying on your own for two reasons:

1) If you're coming for a short time whether you are a family, two or one. Staying on your own will give you the opportunity to be on your own schedule rather than someone else's. You'll have the space to sprawl out and walk around in whatever you feel comfortable in. This is especially true for mixed gendered groups.

2) Remember too that your friends who are living or staying in the country for any amount of time are living on a tight budget and to put you up isn't as effortless as if they were in their own country working. Most of the need-greaters we know are self supported and can only work in their country of residency. You might consider giving them a little something to offset the cost of your stay. Since, you're going to be doing a lot of touristy things with them, consider giving them a break by staying somewhere with pool that they can come and enjoy with you ;-).

If you recognize my 'friend's' place leave me a note in the comments section below ;-)

3) This one I probably should have mentioned first. If you want to keep your friends as friends don't overstay your welcome. There's a biblical reference in there, and I'd love for someone to mention it in the comments below ;-)


AVERAGE ($50-$500/mo)



Renting a room from a family or apartment can save you a bit of cash and give you some breathing room. This is one of the best options for people traveling alone or for couples who don't know anyone in town. The price will depend a lot on the rooms, neighborhood, part of town and length of stay.

Expect to pay more for a furnished apartment that is close to the center of town. Any appliances count as 'furnishings' by the way. Closets, washing machines, dryers, air-conditioning units and microwaves are not standard in any home so if you happen to get any one of these, consider yourself privileged. Most furnished apartments are designed to be 'appealing' to foreigners so don't expect your place to look like that of the local brothers. 

If you are planning to stay for awhile and you want to get the best price you're going to want to look for an unfurnished apartment. That means no appliances as well. Don't be worried about getting what you need. Once you tell the brothers and sisters that you want to live here you can be sure they will be eager to help you get the best price on your furnishings so that you'll stay as long as possible. In Granada, there are people coming and going often enough that you might make it in time for a 'moving' sale and get most of what you need from a brother or sister leaving.

*Note for people looking for an apartment: these come with contracts. Don't be scared, they will be in Spanish but that doesn't mean you can't sign it. Find someone to either go along with you or a recommended lawyer to look over the document for anything that might be suspicious.



An average room for rent is going to be in the house of a family. The bonus to this is: the price (no contract needed), you're going to get lots of Spanish practice, meals (price may or may not be included) and someone to help you figure out how to use a lavadera and pila. There's a steep learning curve on the last three, so take advantage of your time with the family, you'll learn a lot about the people in your territory through them. 



*Note for the single and independent sisters: You may feel a little bit restricted living with a family. They usually treat you, literally like family and feel it is their duty to 'look after' you. Don't be offended. It's a part of their culture.



EXPENSIVE

Casa Consulado, Granada, Nicaragua

This option is for the people who are not looking to save money or anything, they want to have a nice vacation in Nicaragua or they require the comforts of home in order to endure the arduous preaching days. I want to make it clear I'm not judging you. What you can afford and what you need have nothing to do with what someone else's budget and circumstances may be. For example, you're elderly and you  know that you need to be close to the center of town with working air-conditioning and taxi service close or at least passing by regularly. It's more expensive but it might be what you need physically. On the other hand you could be a family of five with teen boys and girls and need a place with a lot of rooms and pool to cool off in, to save yourselves some money on going to the lake or beach. There are options for you too.

My suggestion if this is you would be to look online to see what the asking price is and then contact someone locally to arrange it for you. That way you won't have to pay the expensive online advertised price. 

I probably should have mentioned this before. Regardless of what you see online or what you are told EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE. You don't have to take the first asking price or even the second.  

Happy house hunting everyone! 

If you have anymore general questions or more to add leave it in the comments below so we can all benefit and I'll do my best to respond.

S:-)

2 comments:

  1. Just want to mention, refrigerators and stoves are also considered "furnishings" in some areas and many houses just don't come with them since they aren't technically necessities.
    Also, it is so important to ask the local brothers about the areas you are considering living in. They can tell you if it's not safe for you or too far away, or they might know of a better place (cheaper, nicer, etc)

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  2. Don't know if this is the one you were thinking of ..but always a good principle :)
    Proverbs 25:17 Rarely set foot in your neighbor’s house,
    So that he does not get tired of you and hate you.

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