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Traveling Sistahs Slow Travel & Short-Term Housing Safety Tips

Traveling Sistahs Slow Travel & Short-Term Housing Safety Tips

Sistahs @ Sistah Safety

Welcome Sistahs!

Our readers often send us their safety stories (honestly, some of them are horror stories) that prompt us to address the topic.  In some cases, like the exchange below, they share what went right.  This is a real exchange between someone living in a popular tourist destination and someone looking for short-term housing options.  As always, we have removed identifying information to protect their anonymity. It is worth mentioning that the long-time resident is not involved in real estate sales, rentals, or relocation. 



Seeking Housing Options
Hello xxx, do you assist with residential viewings? If so, what is your fee for viewing space for advertisement confirmation? Thanks
Long Time Resident
Hola Amiga!
I do assist with that. It's 200 pesos for the viewing and if a taxi is needed, the taxi back and forth.

Seeking Housing Options
Okay, great. I'm looking at a location for our next trip for a three-month stay. The gentleman's name is xxx at 555-555-5555.
Long Time Resident
You can send me the address or put him in touch with me via WhatsApp so that we can arrange the day and time.
Where is it?
Seeking Housing Options
Okay, not sure where it is located, I believe within the city. What is your WhatsApp number? Also, here is the FB link. https://m.facebook.com/marketplace/item/xxxx
2 habitaciones 1 baño - Departamento
$700
Long Time Resident
I would ask him for an address first.  If I'm not familiar with the town, I can send it to a few people to advise on safety first.
Seeking Housing Options
Okay
The address is xxx in front of the hospital
Sorry, I just spoke with him again. I will keep looking. I made a mistake with his daily, weekly, and monthly fees. This property is really out of my price range. Thanks for letting me know you provide this service.
Long Time Resident
Ok, I will cancel today's appointment with him.  He was at 24,500 for three months. What is your budget? Pesos of course
Seeking Housing Options
5000 - 5500 per month. I have been able to find some, but of course, unfurnished.
Long Time Resident
That is about right, especially if you are within walking distance to anywhere.
Seeking Housing Options
Okay, thanks. So the further away the cheaper it will be?
Long Time Resident
It is cheaper if you go further, but you have to consider transportation costs, which will bring you right back to where you started often enough.
Seeking Housing Options
Yeah, you are right. I'll keep looking. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this with me and start the process of connecting with Omar. I really appreciate it. Back to the drawing board!
Long Time Resident
9:31 AM
Hola Good morning!
I just wanted to advise you that the guy from yesterday (xxxx) reached out and said that he could do 6800 pesos a month. I did tell him that was still out of your budget but that I would pass on the information.
Seeking Housing Options
Thank you for letting me know. That is $400, right?
Long Time Resident
That is correct.
Seeking Housing Options
I can handle it but always have lived this life of getting it cheaper, but I'm trying to change that mindset. To live a life of abundance. Can you check it out for me to ensure it is worth it? For this trip, it will be me and my daughter. I got to make sure she is comfortable.
I am fine with simple, minimal living just long as it is safe, full kitchen, and adequate accommodation for us.
Long Time Resident
Got it; I will check it out by tomorrow.
Seeking Housing Options
Okay thank you.

_____________________________________________________________________


This is a real exchange submitted to us, and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk about safety measures you should consider when looking for short-term housing.  In recent years sistahs have started to embrace slow travel as their #1 choice for exploration, spending anywhere from one to six months at a time in a given location. Short-term housing brings unique challenges and safety concerns that differ from hostel or hotel stays.

The conversation we just witnessed highlights some crucial aspects to consider when searching for the perfect place to call home for a few months.

HOUSING SAFELY

First and foremost, safety should always be a top priority. When exploring new destinations for an extended stay, thoroughly research the neighborhoods and areas you're considering.  The real question is, how do you thoroughly research a neighborhood, especially if it isn’t a neighborhood often referenced by travelers? If you are on a budget, this is where the deals are, but this also poses the greatest risk.

Just like the cautious approach our sistah took, reaching out to local contacts or friends who know the area can provide valuable insights into safety and security.  Seeking Housing Options did a few things right here.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  1. First, she contacted someone not in the real estate industry (we asked).  While people in the industry are very knowledgeable, getting an unbiased opinion is always a question.  Reaching out to someone who is not trying to sell you something is your best opportunity to get an untarnished view and know you are getting the best deal.
  2. Second, Seeking Housing Options made it clear she was willing to pay for the service. This is crucial.  Often enough, travelers seeking advice on options and action disregard the time and energy it takes for someone to vet options for you - all under the umbrella of “friendship”.  That is the fastest way to lose friends and allies in a place you are unfamiliar with.  Allow the party on the other side to decline payment, but the offer should be made. That will make it more likely your “friend” keeps a discerning eye out for you.
  3. Third, Long-Time Resident mentioned transportation. One essential aspect of ensuring safety is to opt for locations with good transportation links and proximity to essential amenities. As we saw in the conversation, moving further away from the city center might save some pesos on rent, but it's essential to factor in transportation costs and accessibility. Striking the right balance between budget and convenience can lead to a more enjoyable experience.

            COMMUNICATION MATTERS

            Another critical factor is communication with the landlord or property owner. It's admirable how Seeking Housing Options politely declined the initial offer that was out of her budget. Long Time Resident, being familiar with the landscape, stayed in communication with the landlord and received a better offer.  Don't be afraid to negotiate or inquire about the possibility of getting a better deal. Sometimes, a little communication can lead to surprising discounts or more favorable terms. A little more money in your pocket allows you to invest in a safety toolkit that can offer peace of mind in unfamiliar surroundings.

            BUDGET MATTERS

            When you've found a potential place that aligns with your budget, ensure it meets your specific needs. A full kitchen and adequate accommodation are essential for comfortable living during an extended stay. Inquire about the property's safety features and whether it's in a secure building or neighborhood. The truth is most property owners will assure you that their property is safe so you have to consider what makes you feel safe and ask those specific questions.  For example, how many lights are there on the street? Is it a neighborhood where families, young adults, or travelers live?  Is there a neighborhood What’s App Group.  Can you join the Group? How close is the nearest hospital? Is there a bus service or taxi service regularly available?  Can you find the address on Google Maps and use the Earth feature to “tour” the neighborhood virtually?

            Remember, slow travel is all about immersing yourself in new cultures and experiences while having the comforts of a temporary home. Staying in short-term housing allows you to develop a deeper connection with the local community and truly live like a local.

            Embracing slow travel can be a transformative and fulfilling experience. Finding the right short-term housing that ticks all the boxes of safety, comfort, and budget will set the stage for a memorable and rewarding journey.

            YOUR SAFETY TOOLKIT

            And finally, as always, no matter where you are staying, don’t forget your safety toolkit:

              • Personal Alarm: Invest in a personal alarm device that emits a loud sound to attract attention in case of emergencies. 
              • Travel-Sized Pepper Spray: Keep a small and easily accessible canister of pepper spray, designed for travelers, in your bag or pocket.  
              • Portable Safe: Consider using a portable travel safe to secure your valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and electronics.  
              • Smart Doorbell Camera: If you are staying in an Airbnb or rented accommodation, a portable smart doorbell camera can enhance security by allowing you to see and communicate with visitors at your door.
              • Emergency Whistle: Carry a high-pitched emergency whistle,  to attract attention or signal for help in remote or risky situations.
              • RFID-Blocking Wallet or Passport Holder: Protect your credit cards and passport from electronic theft with RFID-blocking wallets or passport holders, available from various brands like the one here.
              • First Aid Kit: Always carry a compact first aid kit containing essential medical supplies to address minor injuries or medical issues during your journey.
              • Offline Maps and Emergency Numbers: Ensure you have offline maps of the area and emergency contact numbers saved on your phone, so you can navigate safely and reach out for help if needed.
              • A Check-In System:  Particularly if you are traveling solo, you should have someone you check in with regularly, even if it is just a text message that you are still in the city/town.  That should know where you are staying and have the contact information of the manager or owner of the place where you are staying. Time is always of the essence and medical emergencies do happen.  
              • Traverler’s Insurance: The importance of traveler’s insurance can not be overstated.  While you can purchase traveler’s insurance with your plane ticket, you want to check if that insurance will cover you for your entire stay, especially if you intend on staying more than a month.  In addition, there are countries that traveler’s insurance do not cover, you want to make sure your location is covered.  

            While these products can enhance your safety, it's equally important to stay aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts, and avoid risky situations whenever possible. 

            So, to all the wanderlust sistahs out there, happy travels, and may your adventures be filled with enriching experiences and unforgettable memories! Stay safe and have fun exploring the world at your own pace.


            Remember, the world is waiting for you, and Sistah Safety is your trusted companion.

            Safe Travels, Sistahs.

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            The Sistahs at Sistah Safety