Renting an apartment to stay in can be a great way to save money while you visit New York City. Not only can apartments more easily accommodate larger groups; you can often prepare simple meals in the apartment and do laundry in the building, yielding even greater savings. Short-term apartment rentals also offer visitors the chance to get an idea of what it's really like to live in New York City -- away from the concierge and crowds of hotels.
New York City Short Term Apartment Rental Services
1. Understand What You're GettingHosted apartments may or may not include breakfast, and you also might have a bathroom you share with the host. Many hosts are interested in meeting visitors and share great tips and insight with their guests -- others are most interested in the financial gains of hosting. Know the condition and amenities available in whatever property you rent. It's important to request references and recent photos.
2. Ask About Pets, Children and SmokingIf you have pets or children traveling with you, check with the agency to ensure that you get appropriate accommodations. With most apartments, young children are not a problem, but they may be in hosted accommodations. Apartments tend to be non-smoking, but ask to be sure. If you're a smoker ask about appropriate properties. Many Manhattan apartment buildings accommodate pets, but again, clarify when you reserve (& be aware you will probably be asked for a security deposit.)
3. Book Ahead for the Best ChoicesWhile there are frequently apartments available on short notice, you'll have the most options for location and amenities the further out you reserve your accommodations.
4. Know the Cancellation and Payment PoliciesCancellation policies vary widely, so be sure that you understand the policy and charges associated with canceling your reservation or changing the dates of your visit. Even if you reserve with a credit card, payment for your accommodations may be required in cash or Traveler's checks -- clarify when you reserve. Some services charge a cleaning fee when you leave, and others include the cleaning fee in the cost of the apartment.
5. Get Details in AdvanceUnlike a hotel where there is always someone at the front desk, you might have a shorter window of opportunity to get the keys to your apartment. Be sure to confirm where/when you'll be picking up the keys, and bring along contact information in the event that your flight is delayed or your plans change.
6. Maid ServiceShort term apartment rentals rarely include daily maid service, though you can often pay extra if this is essential to you. This means you'll need to make your own bed and you might need to reuse the towels provided for several days before they are replaced. Ask when booking to find out the specific policy.
7. Apartments Might Need to Be JuggledFrom Tracy Gregorowicz at TRP Properties: "A hotel has hundreds of rooms in the event that a room number needs to be changed or client needs to be moved. Approximately 25% of the time the original apartment number which is booked needs to be changed within a building. Approximately 10% of the time a client needs to be relocated to another building. Often long term clients extend and the short term bookings are the ones which need to be juggled."
8. Save Money With Self-CateringYou can save quite a bit of money by staying in an apartment -- particularly if you choose to have breakfast or lunch in your apartment. This is a great chance to check out some of New York City's fantastic supermarkets and gourmet stores and save money at the same time.
9. Be CourteousKeep in mind that you'll often be staying in apartment buildings where many people live full-time. Try your best to keep walkways clear if you're waiting in the lobby and don't crowd yourself into elevators with all your luggage when they are full of tenants. Also, keep in mind that folks have to go to work in the morning, so keep your voices down in hallways and other common areas.