How to find temporary accommodation in Vancouver

If you are landing in Vancouver as a new immigrant then you are probably looking for a temporary accommodation until you get familiar with different areas of the city and decide on a permanent place to live.

This post is about how I went about finding a temporary accommodation and what I would advise to others who are planning to land in Vancouver.

The two factors in deciding a temporary place to live in Vancouver were:

1. Proximity to Downtown – I wanted to live as close to Downtown Vancouver as possible. The reason being that most government offices are in Downtown so it’s convenient to get all the paperwork done if you are also living in Downtown. Plus Downtown Van is beautiful and I wanted to give myself and my family a great experience of moving to a new place. Granted it’s quite expensive to live there so you have to look at your budget.

2. Close to public transport – Relying to taxis can be very expensive when you are trying to save every penny. So my priority was to get a place within walking distance of the skytrain so that we could go anywhere using public transport

Keeping these two things in mind, I started looking for an short-term accommodation while I was in Dubai. I used two main resources for this purpose. Craigslist, and Airbnb. There are a number of temporary accommodation postings on Craigslist but you have to be present in Vancouver to deal with the sellers and the all the transactions are cash based so it was not easy to book a place through craigslist. After realizing that I focused only on Airbnb. The great thing about Airbnb is that it allows you to book a place using your credit card so you can be assured that the place will be reserved for you when you land. Also Airbnb is much cheaper than hotels and other commercial places as it is real people renting out their personal properties.

So I started looking for apartments in Downtown Van, more specifically Yaletown area, but it turned out that it was above my budget. I either had to compromise on the quality of apartment or spend a fortune in order live in Downtown upon landing. None of them were viable options for me. So I decided to look at areas around Downtown, while still being close to transit. After a brief search I found a nice apartment in Mount Pleasant area, which is right next to Downtown and the apartment was only 10 minutes walk from skytrain. Luckily the owner of the apartment let me rent it for a month and just like that I had reserved an apartment in Vancouver for one month from my landing date.

It turned out to be a good decision and great experience. We really enjoyed our stay at Mount Pleasant. It was a central location and all the points of interest were within a few minutes drive. I was able to stay within my budget and enjoy the city. Mission accomplished.

So my advise to those who are planning to immigrate to Vancouver and looking for temporary accommodation is this:

1. Decide how much you are willing to spend on temporary accommodation and how long you need it for. It takes at least 6-8 weeks to find a permanent place and get possession of it so keep that in mind.

2. Decide how will you move in the city. Taxis are always expensive. Most people use public transport. Plus weather is nice in Vancouver all year long so it’s very walk-able. Alternatively you can rent a car which would give you more freedom to go anywhere anytime but also cost a lot. However it is still cheaper than using taxis all the time.

3. Do the research on internet on which areas you can target based on your budget. You don’t have to live in Vancouver. You can decide to live in other cities in Metro Vancouver such as Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, or Surrey. There is public transport in all these cities though they are a bit far from Vancouver downtown.

4. If you know a friend who is already there he can find a temporary place for you through Craigslist or other local listings and reserve it for you. You can then pay him when you land. Otherwise I recommend Airbnb. I had great experience with Airbnb and I am a big fan of it. The thing with Airbnb is that the hosts have to maintain a reputation so they have to make sure the place is well kept and you are well taken care of. Plus you can check existing reviews of the host and go for the one with best reviews.

So that’s it from my side on finding temporary accommodation in Vancouver.

If you have any questions please feel free to use the comments section.