So, you've decided to travel together and you're thinking about living with other people. Living with people has it's ups and downs when you’re on the road as a couple.
We are no strangers to shared accommodation having lived in London for many years. In fact, we both met as neighbours in shared accommodation! Here's our list of pros and cons when you travel as a couple and share hotels, hostels, and Airbnb's with other people.
The biggest reason to choose living with people over living in your own space, is the amount of money you save. When we started out travelling 2 years ago, we were on a budget and decided living with people was necessary. However, this is entirely dependant on which country you are staying in. A simple room in a great location in Barcelona was the same price as our 2-bed 'luxury' apartment in Taiwan.
Splitting bills, food shops, rent and even getting lifts together can save you an unbelievable amount of money. That’s more money stocked up for your adventures!
As most couples will know, it’s easy to become slightly antisocial at times! The simplicity and comfort of being with each other especially on those hangover days or those weekends after an incredibly stressful week. Living with people encourages you to get your ass up and mingle! It really is the simplest, easiest, and most natural way to make friends abroad. People who chose to live together tend to enjoy learning about other people and enjoy spending time together. (That’s if the people you’re living with are like-minded and enjoy socialising!)
As a tourist, it’s pretty easy to stick out like a sore thumb. It takes us a few nights out and a “putting yourself out there” attitude to begin learning the ins and the outs of your area. Even with heaps of research it’s hard to know where to go and where is or isn’t a tourist trap. Living with people does all that hard work for you! It’s still amazing to discover things for yourself, but there is nothing compared to insider knowledge. The people you may live with could be locals or even other travellers. Either way you can spend your precious travelling time exploring what is highly recommended, and more often than not, it won’t just be the two of you!
From our experience of living with people, there is never a dull moment. People generally want to be around other people. That means having a drink together after work, going to the local bar on the weekend. Watching bad TV and sharing experiences. Living with somebody is honestly the best way of getting to know them. Over time, you know their habits, their views on subjects, their music taste, good or bad!
Depending on what kind of person you are, this is one of the biggest cons of living in shared accommodation. Either way, you have to sacrifice some hygiene. Shared spaces get messy, quick and arguments may happen. People just have different ways of living and it’s whether you’re the kind of person who can adapt. We have lived in so many shared spaces experiencing the amazing, the bad and the damn right wrong! We are pretty clean people but also tolerant, so if you can get a group of people that get on and are open with each other, you’re on the right track. But as a couple you tend to think alike, and there’s nothing like having your own space to mess up or clean up when you like. We prefer trying to get a place with our own bathroom. It keeps the privacy and lowers the stress!
Living with people can means there's no getting away. Sometimes you just want to spend some downtime together, have a date night or Netflix and chill. If you're living with a lot of people, this can mean disruptions, people coming in and out of rooms, limited access to the kitchen or bathroom and even people gatecrashing your romantic evening! For us it was sometimes as simple as trying to get some work done but getting people knocking on our door constantly wanting to play!
You can’t control everyone’s behaviour. We both work from home which can makes things a little difficult when sharing with people. Everyone has their own routine and different days off in the week which can mean it can be too difficult to work from home. In the past this has forced us to work from cafes and work spaces more than we usually would. We like to have a balance of both so we don't spend too much money on coffee and food. In the end this has even meant we are saving hardly anything in comparison to getting our own place. This could be the same for people with different work schedules and your housemates wanting to party in the week instead of the weekend.
Living in shared accommodation as a couple can work extremely well if you get along well with everyone and they have similar schedules. It all dependants on how many people you chose to live with and how much time you'll actually be spending together. Wherever we have stayed, it's important to understand that people have different ways of thinking and being tolerant can go a long way. It has always been one of the easiest ways for us to save money and make friends in a new country.
"It is far better to be alone than in bad company" - George Washington
Our advice to couples would be to live with a smaller number of people and look for places with their own bathroom. We personally still love living by ourselves in short term lets, but we are always open to living with people initially to make living abroad easier and more valuable to us.
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