If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

Finding Accommodation on a J1

#TaxTipsUSA #TravelTipsUSA

Going to the US on a J1 visa? Here are some tips for finding accommodation for the summer

If you’re going to the US on a J1 visayou may be lucky enough to have pre-arranged accommodation at a resort or camp.

If not, you’ll have to find somewhere to live for the summer when you get there!


When you arrive

Your visa service provider might be able to help you find accommodation before you leave your home country. Otherwise, you’ll need to organize accommodation for the summer when you get there.

Once you know where you’re going, it’s a good idea to book a week minimum in a hostel or hotel so you have a place to stay while you go apartment hunting.

The average US tax back we get for J1 students is $800


Where to find a hostel:



  • Always read the reviews
  • Research the location (close to work, safe area?) 
  • Research the facilities (free Wi-Fi, computers, laundry, kitchen) 
  • Cheaper isn’t always better!
  • Is there free breakfast?
  • Is there a reasonable checkout time?
  • Is there a bar or common area?
  • See if they have a FB page/Twitter profile for visitor feedback


Hospitality exchanges

If you’re really stuck for cash, or you want to take a short trip before settling down and getting a job for the summer, you could try a hospitality exchange for a while, like Couchsurfing.com or Global Freeloaders. With this option, you can stay in a local's accommodation for free!

To be safe, make sure you check the reviews before you book and that the owner profile has been filled out properly along with a picture. Verification also helps; people on couchsurfing.com can be verified with a credit card, mailing address or by other travellers so you know they’re legit.


Short-term rentals

Another option on a short-term basis are rentals like those on Airbnb or Roomorama. These are more expensive, but will still probably be cheaper than a hotel, and if you have a friend you can split the cost.

Many hosts can also give their guests great local advice on what to see and where to eat in the area. You may also get access to a kitchen, so you can save money by eating in.

The average US tax back we get for J1 students is $800


Summer accommodation

When you arrive in the US, you should start your search for a summer rental. Sharing with a few friends is a good idea, but don’t try squeezing as many bodies as possible into one flat; it’s illegal to overcrowd apartments in the US and you’ll find it very uncomfortable!


You normally have 2 options:

 1.  Student on-campus accommodation

 2.  Off-campus apartments


1.  On campus


Many universities in the US open up their campuses to students in the summer where you can stay in an apartment or a frat house. Once you know where you want to go in the US, you should search local university websites for summer accommodation.

Benefits include:

  • Cheaper, especially frat houses and sororities
  • Close to public transport
  • On-site catering facilities
  • Furniture usually supplied
  • Bills included


 2.  Off-campus

An alternative to staying in a university apartment is to find an off-campus apartment!

Benefits include:

  • Less noisy/rowdy than student accommodation
  • Freedom of choice
  • Competitive rental prices
  • More flexible options
  • Full access to kitchen facilities 


Where to look



Watch out for scams!

  • Don’t transfer or pay any money upfront for accommodation if you’re not 100% sure that it’s legitimate.
  • Always see the place before you hand over any money
  • Don’t sign a lease for longer than you intend to stay
  • Research the neighbourhood to make sure it’s safe and has good public transport
  • Share with friends to save money
  • Don’t overcrowd your accommodation
  • Ask your visa service provider for advice


Begin researching before you go, so you know what you’ll need to save and what areas you might like to live in!

If you're on a budget, then check out these 10 free things to do while you're in the US!

About The Author

Ciara Kennedy - Digital Content Writer @ Taxback.com

Ciara is our Digital Content Writer at Taxback.com. Since graduating in Journalism and Visual media, Ciara has worked in online marketing in Ireland and Australia and loves writing in all its forms.

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