Some people are able to find a place to move in right away before they even have arrived. I do not. I need to see an apartment in person before deciding to live there even if it is just for the first month.
All hotels in and around Palo Alto are quite expensive. That is why I was really happy when my husband found out about a possibility to stay in a guest room at Stanford University. It is a nice room at the beautiful Bechtel International Center with two single beds, a separate bathroom just across the floor for exclusive use of the guest room, TV, telephone and a fridge. We stayed in that room for the five nights. It was very good to have some time to look at apartments and stay right in the center on campus.
Near the guest room is the bookstore with a little café inside. It is a good place to have breakfast and wifi. There are some places to eat lunch too. For dinner you can go to University Avenue, the main street of Palo Alto. On campus there is a free shuttles called “Marguerite”. It stops at Tresidder Memorial Union, a little further down the street from the I-Center, and takes you to Palo Alto Cal Train Station, which is right at the beginning of University Avenue in Palo Alto.
We booked the room well in advance for five nights and tried later to prolong the stay. However, someone else already booked the room. If you think about staying there for your first nights try to book it well in advance.
More information about the Guest room at the Bechtel International Center at Stanford University: http://icenter.stanford.edu/reservations/guest_room.html
If you have a little time after you arrived, the Bechtel International Center (i-center in short) is the place to get to know people or take some classes, which are offered by spouses for spouses. You can meet a lot of friendly people at the famous Friday morning coffee, which takes place every Friday from 10 am to noon. It is the perfect place to get tips to set up your new home. Make sure to ask for a handbook for international families, a guide on shopping in the Stanford area and a bicycle map if you like to ride a bike. All this is very helpful information.
Linda from Germany blogging from Menlo Park