Today we’re featuring our first European apartment in our flashpacker apartment rental series – so exciting! This interview is with Kurt Trumble from Wanderlusting. Note that Kurt only had one pic of the interior of the apartment available but his tips for finding an apartment in Croatia are fantastic!
1. Please tell us about your apartment, the location, when and how long you rented it for.
My girlfriend at the time, Dayna and I stayed in the small studio apartment in Croatia from early November 2011 till right before Christmas in December. The studio included a kitchenette, small dining nook and bedroom and bathroom. Cable TV was included, which we dutifully watched the Russian RT network on.
The location was breathtaking, having a balcony less than 100 feet from the Adriatic with an unobstructed view. We were nestled in Kastel Kambelovac, among the 7 villages that stretch along the Dalmatian coast between Split and Trogir. Both about a 25 minute bus ride away.
This is when we started to work on Wanderlusting full time. It became our passion for a time.
2. How did you find your apartment rental?
We found the apartment in Croatia through a local online listing service called Njuskalo.hr, the Croatian Craigslist. Though most all of the listings are in Croatian, using simple translation software such as Google Translate works fantastically.
This will satisfy most all your needs. Take time to search for what you really want, there are countless offers online. When you have narrowed it down, only apply to those listings that are filled out fully, include pictures and an accurate description of amenities.
3. How much did you pay and did you negotiate (price or terms)? What are your negotiating strategies when renting short-term apartments?
The cost was 120 Euro a month for the apartment and about 40 Euro a month for utilities. There was no negotiations, as the price was terrific and the owner simply sweet and accommodating.
A word of advice. Do not let on that you are American right away. There is a tendency for property owners to overcharge you since you are seen as a wealthy foreigner. We experienced this once when emailing an listing, claiming a higher price once they found out we were tourists staying in the area. For the most part this won’t be a problem.
4. Did you try any strategies for finding a rental that didn’t work e.g., you tried Airbnb but the prices were too high?
We looked through many different sites such as Airbnb, the local Couchsurfing group and other local accommodation websites. Airbnb was pricy as always (nearly triple) and the competing local accommodation sites lacked the extensive inventory of Njuskalo
5. Did you experience any unanticipated problems, either with your rental or the location?
The rental was a dream. It was tiny but we woke up with the sun shining, a view over the bay at the distant islands with the local fisherman heading out for the morning catch. A 5 minute stroll down the pier brought us to two small family run restaurants which served Cevapi and Karlovacko we frequented daily.
You could see the town square and market from our balcony.
The only unanticipated problem was the cost of transit, rather high considering. At 3 USD per person one way, frequent trips into the Split or Trogir would add up quickly.
6. Now that you’ve done your rental, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? Would you recommend where you went as a good place to spend a month?
I would consider internet access. The apartment did not have it and that became troublesome, requiring daily trips for extended hours at the local cafes to use internet.
With the high price of mobile internet with USB Wifi it is well worth finding a place in advance that has it’s own dedicated internet connection.
I would stick with Njuskalo to find the apartment. None of the other services can compare. A larger place might have been better.
These location along the coast is quaint and relaxing. I would recommend both the apartment we stayed in as well as the owner and the Kastela region.
7. What advice would you give to other travelers looking for a reasonably priced apartment in the same location?
We stayed in the Kastela string of towns stretching along the coast between Split to the south and Trogir to the north. This is a perfect trade off if you want to stay away from the the (moderate) hustle and bustle of the cities, particularly Split. The trip is only 25 to 35 minutes by bus to either city.
For a slightly higher price, you can stay in the cities themselves. There is plenty to do in Split, not as much in Trogir. Consider getting a place with its own internet. The markets in either of these cities is amazing.
Split has the ancient Diocletian’s palace as well as local ferry service to the islands of Hvar and Korcula. This alone makes it a a win over Trogir.
8. Other than the rental we’ve focused on, if you’ve done apartment rentals in other places, what were some of the best ones?
Hmm. I haven’t had any other rentals experiences over seas. I’ll have to change that.
Author Bio: Kurt Trumble has been traveling since 2009 and shares his travel experiences on Wanderlusting Travel Site. He also runs TravelWithDrupal.info – website dedicated to Drupal web development. Follow him on Twitter @wanderlustng
Want to Participate?
If you’ve done a 1 – 3 month vacation apartment rental and would like to answer the same interview questions as above, please get in touch. admin(at)30traveler.com. We’d love to include you in the series!