After we decided to make the big move to Canada, the next big challenge was finding temporary accommodation to suit our needs. This is usually a challenge if you are moving to a city where you have no friends or family. Although some prefer to find a permanent accommodation before landing, we decided against this. While finding a permanent accommodation before landing and making payment might sound like a good idea, it is not reversible after you arrive whether you like it or not.
Staying in a temporary accommodation gives you the opportunity to know basic things about your city before committing to a year long rental lease or buying a home. The duration of your stay could range from a few days to 6 months. It should be fully furnished and inclusive of heating, electricity and water bills.
Results of online search for temporary accommodation will provide what i refer to as the information overload syndrome. Not knowing which accommodation to choose out of so many isn't an uncommon feeling. Here are some things to consider in order to find the perfect fit:
This is a deal breaker, a temporary accommodation without wi-fi is like going out in the snow without jacket. DON'T DO IT, it might seem like a good deal and might be way cheaper but it will cost you in the long run. The first few weeks after landing is crucial, you will need wi-fi to apply for jobs, connect with family back home and so much more.
2. Location, Location, Location
Find a temporary accommodation that is centrally located. If you would not be driving immediately after you land, this is very important. A Central location is called downtown in Canada, it is a city’s core or central district. It is usually a walking distance to public transportation, shopping and other points of interest.
3. Kitchen Facilities
If you are particular about having a home cooked meal, go for an option with kitchen facilities.
If you are planning to rent or purchase a car right after landing, you should choose an accommodation with parking facilities available. This could be either free or paid parking.
5. Cancellation Policy
As we all know, plans change sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to read the cancellation policy before making your booking. Some bookings are cheaper when booked in advance and paid upfront in full, this is usually non refundable.
Other bookings wouldn’t require payment upfront but a credit or debit card would be needed to guarantee your booking. Cancellation policies for this may range from a few days to a few weeks to the date of your check-in. Any cancellation made after this grace period would incur either a full or partial charge.
A charge made after the grace period might be refunded under some circumstances. This includes been hospitalized, flight cancellation, and when tragedy occurs in the family. You should have paperwork to back up your claim.
Most apartments in Canada have a shared common laundry, it is operated with a prepaid card or dollar coins. Hotels provide dry cleaning services but you can always look up your nearest self-service laundry popularly called laundromat if you are looking for a more affordable alternative. If you choose to rent a house, most have in-suite laundry available.
Where to find good deals
Accommodation Price Comparison Website
This is always a great place to start, you can also read reviews by previous guests and get a feel of the level of service provided. Some even give you the option to cancel your booking up to a few days before arrival. This means you have the opportunity to shop around for better deals while you have some backup. Booking.com and Expedia are my top two.
University Accommodation Website
This is my top choice for getting affordable and clean accommodation. Some universities rent out their student accommodation year-round, while others are available seasonally. Options range from single and double rooms with shared kitchen to fully self-contained apartments and townhouses. When in doubt of options available, pick up the phone and call up universities in the city your choice.
This is for you if you are looking to have the home away from home feel. Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows hosts to lease or rent out short-term lodging. You can search for lodging using a variety of filters including lodging type, dates, location, and price. You can also contact hosts to ask questions about bookings you are interested in before making a commitment. Options available for booking are shared rooms, private rooms and an entire home or apartment.
Now, as for how to find to perfect permanent accommodation? Well that’s another blog post for another time. Share, comment and subscribe.