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Long-term travel recommendations for Europe

Hi everyone, after the year that 2020 was and all the world has been through, my wife and I have decided to embark on year long trip throughout Europe. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to make this transition, especially when so many have suffered this past year. We really decided to make this leap due to the pandemic. It not only made us realize we should be living life to the fullest and not putting off our dreams, but also provided us the opportunity to save enough to step away from full-time work for awhile.

We don’t plan on leaving until the fall due to the pandemic and plan on doing two three-month stints throughout Europe (due to Schengen Visa rules). We would love to know what recommendations you all have for long-term destinations (1+ month at a time)!

We’ve traveled throughout Europe quite a bit and have some good ideas about which countries we want to go back to, and which new ones we’d like to see.

We’re both young, active and enjoy a mix of being in more rural areas (countryside/beaches) as well as bustling cities. Some of the countries at the top of our list include France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.

Our travel goal is to feel as if we’re a local in each area and really get a good feeling of how people live in each there. We love art, history, outdoor adventures, snowboarding/skiing, hitting beaches, food, wine, some night life, and did I mention wine?

We appreciate any insights and recommendations you all have.

Cheers,
Josh

Posted by
17765 posts

I'm a slow traveler but definitely not a stay-put traveler, so others will be better than I at suggesting places suitable for a month-long stay. (My list would be short indeed--perhaps just Barcelona and Paris in the countries you list, though possibly any place in Amsterdam could work as a suitable base for seeing that country.) I really don't think Greece, especially, is suitable for a single-base one-month trip.

Be very, very careful about your timing. You cannot spend two 3-month periods in Europe. You are allowed only 90 days (not 3 months) within any 180-day period. Both your arrival day and your departure day count, so if you leave on Day 90 (a risky plan and not one I'd recommend), you cannot return until Day 181.

Do you know what months of the year you will spend in Europe? That might affect people's recommendations because of weather.

Posted by
24559 posts

What is your plan for non-Schengen months? Will you return to Seattle, or will you go to non-Schengen parts of Europe? Maybe head south to Africa or the Middle-East? Since half of your year won't be in Schengen it is worth thinking that through....

Posted by
1535 posts

We’re both young, active and enjoy a mix of being in more rural areas
(countryside/beaches) as well as bustling cities. Some of the
countries at the top of our list include France, Spain, Portugal,
Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.

Bustling cities and rural areas can be found all over Europe so it is helpful if you can be a bit more specific. The countries you have listed are probably the most popular countries to visit (and those that suffer the most from over tourism) but what attracts you to those? What is it that you want to experience. Also, what months are planning to visit and what languages do you speak?

Posted by
4273 posts

Autumn may still be too early to travel Covid wise, but if your trip starts then, weather is going to be a big factor. Not many places in mainland Europe have consistently good beach weather after mid October and for places further north, from the end of September. It’s not beachable again in most places until April or later. The Canary Islands are more reliable weather wise in the winter.

Skiing is best January - February in most places.

What are you going to do in your non Schengen time?

Most of Europe will tick one or more of your requirements, so narrowing your requirements would be helpful before we recommend places.

Posted by
4555 posts

We have visited most of the countries in Europe and our favorites are Italy and the UK. Every country has been good.

The key to maximizing your foreign travel is research. The internet is easy to find details on places to see, lodging, etc.
I like forums like this one as well as Cruisecritic.com. Also, a good guidebook can assist. TripAdvisor is great for locating your lodging within your budget.

Posted by
4926 posts

I have no practical experience with this, at least basing for a month at a time, but lots of travel, like you. We have considered the same thing, not a years worth but spending a month or so in a spot, picking 2-3 spots per trip.

We have some cities that are favorites, like Rome, that we would stick with a large city; but we found that "mid-size" cities with good train connections appeal more to us. Sometimes large cities can get a bit too urban and gritty when you start looking for reasonable priced apartments. They may be fine for a Hotel in a prime spot; but longer term lodging, unless you can pay "hotel" prices, is going to be out a bit. I think a bit smaller town also offers easy access to markets, restaurants, and a bit more neighborhood feeling.

So for the Netherlands, maybe Leiden or Haarlem as opposed to Amsterdam. Italy, depends on the region you want to be in, but we enjoyed our small amount of time in Verona and Padua in the North, Modena looks appealing. For Spain, I could probably handle Madrid, love the city, Barcelona might be a bit pricy...but I would have to look for an option. Once you get into Southern Spain and Portugal, then there is a heavy ex-pat presence, you might find it as easy to just mix in. In Greece, they cater to longer term stays in many of the islands...the problem is picking an island. Been a while since I have been there, but Naxos, Paros, and Koufonisia all appealed. I like Santorini and really liked Mykonos, but did not seem like "long-term" stay places, mainly due to cost.

Posted by
36 posts

Hi,

Congratulations on such an ambitious endeavor. First off, huge kudos to ACraven for his advice. In 2016 I spent almost four months traveling around western Europe, traveling mainly by train (occasional bus/fight). I had purchased a one way tix to London but no fight home. When I finally decided to leave, from Munich after about 115 days, through Reykjavik, I was detained, questioned and searched in Reykavik, even though I never left the airport and had only about a 55m layover. I was under the incorrect impression that one could spend 90 days (!) in ANY Schengen Area country as opposed to the entire Area.

As for your inquiry, in light of your love of history, the outdoors, food wine and art, I would suggest Southern France. I suspect you will be renting a car for a while? You won't find much better wine areas than Bordeaux. From there you could travel south and East through the Occitane visiting Toulouse, Carcassonne, Nimes, Arles, Avignon, Aix, etc. plus all of the little French towns along the Dordogne. You'll find plenty of history, Roman ruins (arenas, theatre, columns, Maison Carree, etc), plus great food and lots of southern Rhone Reds and Roses (Taval, for instance). Should you make it that far, Lyon and Burgundy/Dijon are not far away and you could spend days biking through the vineyards in and around that area. I've visited Paris about 6-7 times, but as another poster on this site said recently, "the more time I spend outside of the big cities, the more I love France."

Another option would be to start in Milan and head just west to Alba and drink some fantastic Barolo & Barbaresco. Alba is very walkable, and unless you hire a wine tour guide (as I did), you'll need a car once you get to Alba. From there, you could head East and spend time in Milan, then move onto Verona and drink some incredible Valpolicella's. Verona has a brilliant Roman Arena that is 90 years old than the Colliseum, plus other great Roman ruins and museums. From there head south through Florence and Tuscany (whether by train or car) and hit Siena, Lucca and Pisa, along with Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. The wines and food, and scenery, as well as the bike riding in Tuscany are fantastic. I suspect you could easily rent an entire villa in the heart of Tuscany and use that as a home base in which to travel around. Again, it depends on whether you are getting a car or not.

Best of luck and congrats again!

Posted by
11990 posts

First the Schengen issue. Not all EU is Schengen and not all Non-EU is not Schengen. Go to the horse’s mouth: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/ You might make your life easier by getting a long-term visa from the country that you will spend most of your time in (all of the EU will honor it). If not, then as pointed out elsewhere just move around a bit and keep track and you should be okay. One thing I would do when crossing in and out of the Schengen Zone would be to be sure to get your passport stamped. I know, they scan it, and your travels go into some computer data base, but I would feel a lot better with a stamp on my passport.

Then there is the “where” and “when”. Conventional wisdom would say since you are beginning in the Fall to start in the colder countries and work to the warmer countries as winter approaches. I don’t think that’s correct. Warm countries are best in warm weather and cold countries are best in cold weather. Who wants to go to a Croatian beach when its 50F? And there is no better place than Eastern Europe during the winter holiday season.

There are lots of websites about world festivals. Research them. Then you discover things like this: https://www.mohacsibusojaras.hu/ and https://www.rosefestivalkazanlak.com/guide-rose-festival-kazanlak-bulgaria-kazanluk-valley/ And search national holidays. Its great to be in a country during Independence Day or in the East for May Day. And don’t forget that Orthodox countries celebrate Christmas on January 7th. So, you can actually celebrate Christmas twice with a little planning. Actually this sort of thing drives a lot of my trips.

Do you have a hobby in the US? Me, I love fly fishing. Maybe you are a gym fanatic, then go to the gym. Take dance lessons in Italy or go hunting in Slovakia. Do a cooking class in each country. Many are done in the homes of locals just trying to make a few extra bucks. If you have something you can pursue while over there it can add a lot of depth to the trip and provide a way to meet and interact.

Living. Stay in AirBnb’s that are a 5 minute walk out of the tourist district. That way you will have local neighbors, local cafes, bars, grocery stores, etc.

EDIT: Lodging may become a problem "eventually". In Budapest (where I have some first hand experience), COVID has devastated the short term rental market (AirBnb). Half are gone and probably not returning for a while. As they made up half of the lodging for the city, the hotels will be busting at the seams when tourism returns to normal. As a result prices will be going up too. Property values have plummeted so repairs and renovations will be less likely, fewer tourists in the neighborhoods mean the local bars and restaurants will suffer. Its a mess. But its the cycle of life.

Be an American (I am assuming you are). Don’t try to “blend in” just be what you are and enjoy. Others will enjoy that as well.

Posted by
63 posts

John Adams: Could you tell us more about what happened to you after you overstayed the Schengen limit?

Were you fined? Detained for how long? But you were able to catch your connecting flight?

Amazed that no one said anything at the Munich airport.

My understanding is that housing is at a premium in Amsterdam--students often have trouble finding housing. The city is packed, and I've never been able to find much affordable from AirBnB, as opposed to Paris, say, which has a tremendous range or prices and places (legal or not, I get that).

Posted by
4169 posts

Our travel goal is to feel as if we’re a local in each area and really get a good feeling of how people live in each there.

Why? Living like a local is quite boring, it involves going to work, returning home and having dinner or perhaps hitting the gym on the way home, a bit of grocery shopping, crashing out on the sofa and watching TV, Netflix etc, perhaps go out to the pub or a restaurant on the weekend after having completed a number of household chores.

When I travel abroad I don't want to live like a local, I want to live like a tourist and do all the touristy stuff, that's why you've travelled there in the first place isn't it? Would anyone come to London and choose to spend an hour or so in Sainsbury's or would they feel it's better spent in the British Museum?

I just don't get this "living like a local" thing, it's as if there's something distasteful about being a tourist. You're going to be doing all the tourist stuff anyway so why pretend you're anything but?

Posted by
4926 posts

Amazed that no one said anything at the Munich airport.

The flight from Munich to Iceland would have been equivalent to a domestic flight (Intra-Schengen, even though Iceland is not EU), so in Munich, his passport may have been looked at, but only in security for ID, not immigration status.

Posted by
2051 posts

Why? Living like a local is quite boring,

How amusing your response is. So very true. Ordinary life is ordinary.

I guess we all suffer from "FOMO" - fear of missing out - we all want the experience of living in a place as a native.

What people want, when they "live like a local" (IMHO), is to be somewhat at home in the neighborhood. Of course, without good command of a language, this is really not possible. You will always be the "long-term resident who can't say anything grammatically correct".

What I would like to do is stay in an extended way so that I can be a tourist without spending huge money. Living in a long-term apartment, cooking at home, maybe meeting some people in a bar. Then traveling inexpensively to see other places.

Posted by
1975 posts

Our travel goal is to feel as if we’re a local in each area and really get a good feeling of how people live in each there.

Good idea! As RS always says "live like a temporary local". I can understand this notion, you want stay away from the likes of Benidorm and the Costa del Sol and perhaps go an entire day without hearing any English? If that is the case, in Spain we have many places where you can enjoy this kind of slow more sustainable travel. In Spain, we locals can be tourists too, we have quite a vibrant domestic tourism ecosystem in our country.

Perhaps try relaxing on the Costa de la Luz, or hiking the mighty Pyrenees, camping in the interior of Catalonia, exploring the Ribera del Duero wine region, or roadtripping across the arid badlands of Aragon. These are all places popular with local tourists and not so much with those holidaymakers north of the Alps.

Here is an excellent resource for tourism in Spain for locals (in Spanish):
https://elviajero.elpais.com/

Posted by
36 posts

Hi,

"Bobby from Mars" has requested that I provide a bit more detail about my incident at the Reykjavik airport.

I keep a journal when I travel and pulled it out of storage to double check. It was actually the last week of June, 2015 that the incident happened, not 2016, as I wrote in my original post. The entirety of what I wrote regarding that incident was "got detained 20M at Reykjavik layover and was told the 90 day rule applies to all European continent, not just one country."

When I left Munich earlier that day, there was no mention whatsoever of an issue with the length of my stay or my passport. My memory is that I de-boarded at Reykjavik and my flight back to the States was just a gate or two away. I had maybe a five minute bathroom break, if any, before I got in line for the flight stateside. I stood in line carrying my only piece of luggage: a standard gym bag that hung down to my waist from a shoulder strap. It had a zippered compartment on the top, and one smaller zippered compartment on each end.

When I got to the front of the line, I gave my passport and ticket to a male agent in a uniform. I assumed he worked for the airline. At any rate, he saw from my passport that I had landed in London in early March and asked me standard questions of where I'd been, etc. I explained to him my travel through England, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Chech., Germany, etc. and he said I had overstayed the 90 day limit. I said I thought it was 90 days per country (yes, I was ignorant of the law. I had done some research before I left the States, saw the 90 day limit, and either interpreted it incorrectly or had forgotten about it). He asked me to step out of line and two other uniformed men (I assumed customs?) arrived and took me to a small room just off to the side.

They had me take off my sport jacket and shoes and "wanded" me thoroughly. They spoke English. They put my gym bag on a small table and asked me open it, which I did. I unzipped all 3 compartments and assisted them in taking everything out of the bag. They asked me the same questions the other agent had, and I gave them the exact same responses. I was 100% cooperative and 100% honest. I was more embarrassed than anything. I even took out the journal and showed them the dates upon which I had moved from city to city (I note the date and city I am in whenever I make an entry). They were polite, professional and courteous at all times and I once again plead ignorance. The entire incident lasted 20 minutes. I was never scolded, threatened or fined, and I never once felt like I was going to get locked up in "a Turkish [Icelandic] prison." I was able to make the connecting flight.

I have always assumed that they checked some master list and found that I was not on any type of "do not fly list" or something like that. I also assume that because I had a ticket back to the States in my hand that they did not want to be bothered with me.

At any rate, I've flown back to the EU at least 3 times since then and never had any other problems. I've never stayed more than 3-4 weeks, though.

Hope that helps.

Posted by
4926 posts

"John Adams"

Your lucky. My assumption is they figured you really did not know better, and to detain you would be more work and effort than just letting you go. Basically, you were harmless.

It maybe helped that Iceland had no "skin in the game", you were passing through, they are not EU, so no harm.

Had your flight been directly from Germany to the US, or through London, you would be telling a very different story. A number of people have experienced at the minimum a fine, somewhere around 1000 euro, and in extreme cases denial of re-entry to the Schengen zone of up to 10 years.

An edit: Hesitated to add this...but this is also a case where not only your demeanor, but let's face it, your looks, race, nationality, age, destination, etc...also play a role. Not disparaging anyone, just stating reality.

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks very much, John. Say hello to cousin Sam for me, will you?

Munich still seems strange. Maybe they just missed it or didn't care? They certainly saw you were booked through to the US, no?

But, I'm hearing more and more that North Americans can and do get more lenient treatment, at CDG, for example, or in local French prefectures--must figure you're not a drug or sex trafficker and such. Got enough to worry about.

I've had agents see that I'm American in places and act disgusted that they even wasted their energy on me.

I've heard of Americans living in France with no visa for 20 years! No one ever bothers them.

But then again, on a month-long trip in Paris, I flew to Amsterdam for three nights. I couldn't self-check-in on my return flight to Paris. Oh, you need to go way down the other end of the terminal to another counter.

The woman there asks when my flight back to the US is. I said, don't you know? You have my info with this same airline right on your screen, don't you? So I told her. Oh, OK, no problem.

I was annoyed--and it was the same airline, the airline, not airport agents, treating me like I was wanted by Interpol or something.

Disclaimer: This is no way to be construed as solicitation of aid in performing anything illegal anywhere in the world.

Posted by
1535 posts

First the Schengen issue. Not all EU is Schengen and not all Non-EU is
not Schengen. Go to the horse’s mouth:
https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/

That is a private website that, while usually pretty correct, should not be trusted when it comes to important things such as visa rules. Go the official source instead: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/security/20190612STO54307/schengen-a-guide-to-the-european-border-free-zone

And there is no better place than Eastern Europe during the winter
holiday season.

De gustibus non est disputandum, but actually there is… :-)

And don’t forget that Orthodox countries celebrate Christmas on
January 7th.

Some do, not all. Might be a good thing to look up before if you plan to celebrate Christmas a 2nd time.

It maybe helped that Iceland had no "skin in the game", you were
passing through, they are not EU, so no harm.

They very much do, Iceland is a Schengen member so the border guards are responsible for guarding the external Schengen border. But sometimes you might be lucky. Do not count on it though! You will most likely not be detained, the policy with overstayers seems to be to get them out of Schengen as quick as possible, but you might be fined or be banned from returning for a couple of years.

The woman there asks when my flight back to the US is. I said, don't
you know? You have my info with this same airline right on your
screen, don't you? So I told her. Oh, OK, no problem. I was
annoyed--and it was the same airline, the airline, not airport agents,
treating me like I was wanted by Interpol or something.

I don't know when that trip was, but it might just have been confusion. Since most people travelling between Paris and Amsterdam would just take the high speed train, she might have assumed that you had a connecting flight to the US and when the dates didn't match wanted to check that they were correct.

Posted by
11891 posts

“Two three-month stints”. I will assume this means 90 days (and no more) in the Schengen zone and 90 days (or more?) in Europe but outside the Schengen zone. And then come back home?

The countries of interest you have named are all within the Schengen zone. Can you name what you countries you might consider for the rest of the time? Or are you looking for suggestions?

We have done one-month stays in two European cities, Venice and London, and really enjoyed both.

In Venice, by the third week, the vegetable vendor at the Rialto market recognized us and became a little more friendly. Same with the woman who made my husband’s morning cappuccino at the busy little bar across the street from our apartment. And the gentleman at the public pool where my husband swam 3X a week wished him a “buon domenico” when he went to swim on a Sunday.

In London, there was no one who indicated recognition, apart from the concierge at the apartment we rented. But it is a much larger, more impersonal place, and my husband had his morning coffee in our apartment rather than at a bar.

We are retired and could do something like you propose, but will not because we would miss our families too much, especially our grandchildren. This year without seeing them has been hard enough.

But I can use my imagination and picture what we would do were that not the case. I would start by identifying my goals for the time in the Schengen zone. Since you are skiers (as were we before we became so old), you might want to be in the Alps (French, Italian, Swiss, or Austrian) in January or February. And if interested in festivals, maybe December someplace with winter celebrations and Christmas markets.

You did say you wanted to start in the fall, presumably 2021. That could be October or November. If we were doing this, we would start with November and spend that month in Japan, an easy flight from Seattle, and it is such a lovely time there. But you said Europe, so maybe start in Italy in October or November? Our month in Venice was October and the weather was perfect. But perhaps you would prefer Rome, or Sicily, or moving around. Or you could log one of your non-Schengen months here.

December? I would choose Denmark, because I have been to Copenhagen at that time and really enjoyed it. Also stayed in Norway and it is great in winter if you enjoy the outdoors, but the days are really short. Another possibility would be Alsace or some other place in France or Germany if Christmas markets are on your list.

January in the Alps. Chamonix might be a good base, as there is good skiing but also a large enough town that there are cultural offerings, and good transportations connection. February, more skiing or ???

By now it will be time to leave Schengen. We would choose the UK for springtime, a country filled with history (including ours), outdoor adventure possibilities (good walking there), friendly people you can talk to, and more.

Posted by
24559 posts

I'll just remind that the Schengen time doesn't need to be all in a bunch. You can mix it up, as long as you are sure to count arrival and departure partial days against the 90 - any time at all between midnight and midnight. You need to count backwards each day and ask if within the last 180 days as many as 90 have been in the Schengen zone.

Posted by
63 posts

Confusion in Amsterdam: There were plenty of people on that hop back to Paris, so unless I was the only American . . . No, people fly within Europe all the time. So maybe just a brain flatulation.

"But sometimes you might be lucky. Do not count on it though! You will most likely not be detained, the policy with overstayers seems to be to get them out of Schengen as quick as possible, but you might be fined or be banned from returning for a couple of years."

Good advice.

I wonder if there's ever a case when someone checks your passport not at an airport, and they say, hey, you have leave immediately.

But, what damage does one supposedly do by staying over the 90-day limit? Do you somehow suck resources out of the zone by your presence?

Seems arbitrary. Or maybe someone can enlighten on the reasoning of the 90 days.

Posted by
17765 posts

I suspect the limit is at least partially due to fear that people will stay for extended periods and do under-the-table work.

The rule affects me every year (I'm retired), but there are lots of interesting places outside the Schengen Zone

Posted by
4926 posts

I wonder if there's ever a case when someone checks your passport not at an airport, and they say, hey, you have leave immediately.

Yes, it happens. If you are involved in any activity that involves the Police (accident, victim of theft, security check) they likely will try to determine your legal status.

But, what damage does one supposedly do by staying over the 90-day limit? Do you somehow suck resources out of the zone by your presence?

What would happen in the US or any Country if people were allowed to show up and no enforceable requirement to leave? Does it suck up resources? You may rationalize that you do not, but many would try to work, use healthcare, etc. Though you did not ask, or imply, to enforce a policy by being lenient on the "good" people and cracking down on the "bad" people allows for a healthy amount of discrimination in determining each.

Posted by
1561 posts

Why? Living like a local is quite boring,

Yep. Follow my day: Get up at 0530, run, smoothie, work from 0800-1800, which includes teaching and coaching, come back home and prep for the next day, watch a little TV, and then in bed by 2200. Pretty exciting, huh?

Saturday: Prep for the next week. Sunday: R&R.

Then, climb that hill again... Groundhog day style.

Posted by
719 posts

Just my two cents but I'm not sure a month is a good amount of time. First, as many pointed out, you aren't going to live like a local unless you have a job, or at least own someplace where you'll need to worry about maintenance, etc. I suppose you could rent somewhere and a somewhat decent sense of 'local' life but I think it would take way, way more than a month. On the other hand, a month would be too long if you get itching to see other places. I always though I'd like to do a month (or two) in one place but now I know I'd always be thinking - place X and place Y are so close yet not day-tripable and get frustrated.

I think there are a few places where you could "base" yourself for a month if the rent was cheap enough you didn't mind paying for some nights twice and then do 'short' trips from the base for a few days. Rome comes to mind. For example, the Amalfi Coast is really too far for a good day trip, but if you got up early and didn't mind getting back very late you could do two nights down there and get almost four days which is good for that area. Same for Tuscany. And of course Rome has so much you would be kept busy the rest of the time. London would work for that as well, probably Paris as well ('short' trips to Alsace, Loire, Normandy, Lyon, etc. could be done with 1-3 nights away). Of course this only works if you have unlimited money or a monthly rental is substantially cheaper than by the week or the night. I've been on trips (for just a week or a bit more) where the proprietor of the patisserie, cafe, market, whatever knew me after a while - enough to say hello, etc. but make no mistake, they didn't think I was a local.

Posted by
11990 posts

you aren't going to live like a local unless you have a job, or at least own someplace where you'll need to worry about maintenance, etc.

You know this criticism of people making a statement of wanting to live like a local is sort of bizarre to me. Its like taking pride in some sort of semantic trap. Find a better term for it and maybe people will use it. But I think, if you wanted to, you would understand the intent of the comment. Lets call it Live Like a Whompus Tourism. Better?

Yes, get an apartment in a residential neighborhood. Say good morning to your neighbors, shop local, eat local, sit on the curb if that's your thing. You definitely WILL get something out of it that is different than riding the HOHO bus or in the free walking tour. And what you will get out of it is much more impactful and informative for some people than all the RS tours in the world.

Prior to COVID I lived like a Whompus a couple of times a year. I enjoy it. Made friends that I have kept for years....

Posted by
1535 posts

Confusion in Amsterdam: There were plenty of people on that hop back
to Paris, so unless I was the only American . . . No, people fly
within Europe all the time. So maybe just a brain flatulation.

And how many of those had a connecting flight in Amsterdam or Paris? Yes, people fly within Europe all the time, I've done several times myself. But I would never consider flying from Paris to Amsterdam since the train takes the same time (probably faster if you have to wait for checked in luggage) and is both cheaper and more comfortable.

I wonder if there's ever a case when someone checks your passport not
at an airport, and they say, hey, you have leave immediately.

Yes, sometimes there are internal passport checks. If you are caught overstaying in one of those you will be detained and sent home on the next flight.

Posted by
1561 posts

isabel, excellent points. I would get bored living somewhere for a month unless it was within a day trip of certain areas.

Lola and John Adams. Best names on this board.

Posted by
3409 posts

I'm thinking that "getting an Airbnb" has become the phrase used for renting an apartment, kind of like kleenex is used for tissue or coke is used for soda or xerox is used for copy. But Airbnb is not the only source for finding an apartment to rent.

You can also find them using other big platforms like VRBO and Booking.com. And there are resources for specific locations that others may be able to suggest or that you might be able to find just by Googling something like "short term apartment rentals in" wherever.

As for living like a local, I agree that renting an apartment and staying in one place for an extended time will give you a taste of that. But keep in mind how you interact with strangers at home or how you meet people now. It will likely be the same wherever you stay.

Participating in activities of interest, familiar or new, might lead to learning more about life where you are. Something else that tells you about where you are is watching local TV. Blasphemy for some, I know.

Posted by
11990 posts

BigMikeWestByGodVirginia, my routine the last dozen years has been to check into a short term rental in Budapest, spend a week catching up with the friends I've made there over the years; then, Budapest being a Wizzair hub, I hop a plane someplace else fir a week or ten days. Usually ends up being two some place elses, then "home" to Budapest before back to the states. Now that I am retired, being there is a lot more interesting, and cheaper, than being home and as soon as COVID passes the intent is for the trips to get longer.