If you’re a foreigner looking for an apartment in Delhi, it’s often much easier and cheaper to search for someone who already has an apartment here and is looking for a roommate. You can begin your search in the city’s large expat community. As some expats leave Delhi to go back to their home country, the roommates they leave behind need someone new to move in and share the rent with.
The largest online group of expats in Delhi is the Yahoo group Yuni-Net. You have to ask permission from the group’s administrators to join. But once accepted, you will find many ads posted by people looking for new roommates all over Delhi. A second smaller Yahoo group of Delhi expats is DelhiNet. Although it is much smaller than Yuni-Net, it’s still a good idea to join both groups and respond to as many ads for roommates as possible.
Most people are looking for a roommate who will stay for a longer duration. So, if you plan to be in Delhi for only a few months, make sure to say that upfront when you respond to the ad. I found a quiet peaceful apartment in Hauz Khas while I was still living in New York through an ad on Yuni-Net. I was satisfied with the apartment and the neighborhood when I came to see it and agreed to take the room right away.
It’s a good idea to stay in a hotel the first few days in Delhi and line up a couple of different apartments to go and see. Hotels.com is an easy place to find and book a hotel. You can search by price and neighborhood, and choose the right hotel by reading customer reviews. It’s a good idea to find a specific neighborhood you want to stay in before you book your hotel.
What they told me when I left for Delhi
Never drink tap water or eat any fruits or vegetables washed in it.
Be careful about where you eat. Busy restaurants are usually safe.
Negotiate the charge for an auto or a taxi ride before you get in.
Beware of fake tourist offices.
Be extra careful with your belongings; pickpockets prey on tourists.
Jonathan Camhi is a student of International Reporting at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Delhi this week.