Exploring the World: Airbnb-ing Europe

globe airbnb

A huge piece of advice when traveling would be to take advantage of AirBnb.

Airbnb is a website where people can list empty rooms in their home and invite guests to stay (it’s $free.99 y’all!). In fact, listings can range from a futon on the floor in someone’s apartment, to an entire castle while the owners are away. And, it’s almost always more reasonable than renting a hotel room. I can’t think of one reason I’d choose a hotel over an airbnb now-a-days. Unless, of course, I’m left with no other choice!

AirBnb is based on a rating system similar to Uber, if you’ve ever used that. Hosts and guests get to build trust and cultivate their reputation by writing reviews about their experiences after each trip. As people stay in the homes, they write honest reviews about what they liked and didn’t like to help others make a decision on where to stay and vise-versa with hosts for guests.

A huge bonus? you get a locals perspective wherever you visit!  That part definitely came in handy whilst traveling throughout Europe! We planned our trip entirely with AirBnb (and google maps–and Anthony Bourdain) without the help of a travel agent! What a good feeling.

Here’s a list of each place we stayed. I’m going to write about them briefly and talk more in depth as I create individual posts for each place. I attached the links to each listing if you’re interested!

>> Our 1st European Airbnb <<

A Cozy Bedroom in Amsterdam 

 

It was a tad of a walk to-and-fro the fairy to downtown Amsterdam, but we really enjoyed it.  The fairy was a fun thing to experience. We did in fact share the place with the hosts, Michael and Manuela, but they were super friendly and we had no problem staying with them for a few days. They gave us one amazing tip on what to do in town which made our whole trip even dreamier! I’ll tell you more about that in a following post 🙂

amsterdam airbnb

>> Our 2nd European Airbnb <<

 A Studio Apartment in Paris 

 

We got so lucky with this place. Our original reservation was cancelled while we were in Amsterdam just days before we were to arrive. We were nervous that we wouldn’t have a place to stay–or would have to spend $200+/night for a hotel. That was not going to happen! We surfed Airbnb for a bit and stumbled upon this incredible place. It was a wonderful studio apartment with everything we needed. The bed tucked away into the wall and became a couch to give you extra space. We loved this place and its location. We got the whole place to ourselves and it was awesome!

paris airbnb

>> Our 3rd European Airbnb <<

 The Perfect Bedroom in München (Munich) 

 

We had a bedroom in an apartment building and shared the place with the host, Philipp & his roomate. We really enjoyed our stay there because the hosts were so cool. The host actually joined us for a drink at a beer garden downtown. It was a great time and the space was great. We didn’t utilize much more than just the bedroom and bathroom during this trip but that’s all we needed.

munich airbnb

>> Our 4th European Airbnb <<

A Large Bedroom & Bathroom in Wien (Vienna) 

 

This was a nice place within an apartment building. We don’t actually know if the host, Luca, stayed there or not but it was a great place with a large bedroom, good bathroom and nice kitchen. The host allowed us to use his nice espresso machine as well which was a huge bonus in my book. #winning #savingcoffeemoney#yummy

vienna airbnb

>> Our 5th European Airbnb <<

A Hostel-style Stay in Praha (Prague)  

 

I would say that this particular place was more of a hostel style compared to other places we stayed on our trip. We shared the apartment with two other rooms. There were people staying in the rooms each night we were there but we had no issues at all. Each room had a key so that you were able to lock your door when you left for the day. All-in-all it was quiet at night and was a great location for exploring town. The guy we booked with lives within the apartment building and from what I gathered he Airbnb’s a few different properties as a business.

prague airbnb

>> Our Final Stay <<

Nice Bedroom with Attached Bath in Berlin

 

This place was super nice! It was in an apartment building quite a few floors up, but well worth the hike up the stairs (no elevator–but a great workout!). The space was big and roomy and we had our own bedroom with an attached full bath and access to the kitchen. We stayed with the hosts but never actually saw them.  It was a great stay! Aesthetically the place is beautiful with its hardwood floors, fireplace and lots of skylights.

berlin airbnb

These were just the places we stayed in Europe, but we choose to take advantage of Airbnb everywhere we go. It sounds like I’m advertising for them but I’m not!  It’s just an ingenious idea that we all wish we thought of. It’s great because if you’re feeling anti-social, cool, no biggy you don’t have to interact with anyone. If you’re feeling like a night out chances are the host is down to join or atleast has some solid recommendations. We once had a host cook us a traditional Indian rice breakfast. It wasn’t necessarily my favorite meal but it was definitely a great conversation and we learned a lot about him and his wife. He was a super cool dude and we kept in touch for a while after the visit. How often do you make friends with the Bellhop at a hotel?! Let me help you…never.

 

 

<3 Amber

This entry was posted in Travel.

Exploring the World: Europe Part One

Traveling the world: Europe Part one

Traveling the world: Europe Part one

Scott graduated law school, studied, and took his bar exam.

 

Sott graduation

Cake

If you know anything about law school–it’s how much of a pain in the a$$ it is to study for the bar. Given that this was a grueling time for Scott, we decided to plan a trip to Europe. Something we had always dreamed of. 🙂

We Googled “Cheapest airfare from Boston to Europe” and it gave us answers! Fly into Amsterdam (layover in Iceland) and leave from Berlin (also layover in Iceland).

Okay–done! Now what?

layover

Eurail

We traced a route from Amsterdam to Berlin and decided to stop places along the way. We read up on Eurail Passes and decided to take that route. We chose the “Select” pkg which allows travel within 4 countries. It saved us lots of money on train tickets! 

Warning: You still have to purchase your tickets from country-to-country (if you want to travel via high-speed train) but they are at a very steep discount and your request is treated with priority. It’s also a good idea to choose 1st class. We didn’t realize we signed up for it until we were there…but it was very well worth it.

Eurail1

First things first >>

Before your first trip you’ll need to validate your ticket at the ticket counter, but after that you are golden. Once you have done that, you can just hop on the train and the staff will approach you once you start moving. They check your ticket and passport and with no further questioning. 

cribbage board

Eurail Fun >>

The train rides were generally very enjoyable. We played tons of cribbage. If you don’t know how to play–learn! It’s so simple and fun. It takes some practice…but once you know all combinations of 15’s (9+6, 8+7, 10+5 etc…) you’re golden. We played with this one from Barnes and Noble, but Amazon sells it tooIt’s perfect for travel. When we weren’t playing cribbage we were eating, drinking coffee, or sleeping.

Eurail Ease & Flexibility >>

The train stations in the cities we went to were usually in the center of town which made them super easy to access via public transit. Overall, having a Eurail was very flexible, and was the perfect fit for our journey. That is especially so when traveling for a long period of time. 

We planned out the cities we wanted to visit in advance and approximately how long we’d stay, which made planning our travel a bit easier. When we got to any new destination we would immediately book our train for our next departure so that we didn’t have to worry about seats filling up and not making it on a train. The local and regional trains run just about every hour but the high-speed trains do not, which is why we booked our trips in advance. 

Traveling via Eurail seemed to be far more convenient than traveling by bus or airplane. For one, busses can’t go as fast as the high-speed trains, and as for airplanes well, you get to skip going through security and checking in an hour before your departure.

Eurail Itinerary >>

The Eurail Pass cover Europe from Portugal to Turkey, up through Sweden and to Ireland, but some of this travel requires additional fees. Lots of people think it’s not worth the Eurail pass because of the additional fees. We could have chosen to take local and regional trains from place-to-place but we decided it was worth incurring extra fees to cut down travel time. Like I mentioned earlier, we would purchase tickets at each new destination for our next trip, but having a Eurail pass significantly cut the cost of those tickets. If you are on a tight budget for your trip and don’t want to incur fees like this, than traveling via local and regional trains is for you!

To sum things up, a Eurail itinerary is easy to organize and there are lots of options for travel.

This was our Journey >>

Boston->Iceland ->Amsterdam->Paris->Munich -> Vienna->Prague-> Berlin->Iceland->Boston!

exploring europe our journey

Eurail Fees >>

As I mentioned, there can be additional fees and fares if you choose to go with the high-speed travel option. These fares are broken down in depth on the Eurail website (we chose the “Select” pkg). Each country’s fees are different. One of our trip we decided to take an overnight train because it was ultimately cheaper than renting a hotel room or airbnb. Why not spend your time wisely right? Eurail has a reservation guide which gives a wonderful breakdown of when you’ll need a reservation, how to book them, and how to avoid them. 

 

Was the Eurail Worth it? >>

Fo sho!

It’s an incredible way to experience Europe. When you fly you have to spend lots of time in airports and in the air, but when you travel via train you are able to see the beauty as you pass it by, and maybe even plan another trip out of it! We saw so many places along the way that we’d love to visit next time….whenever that may be.

What a legit travel meal! This was our unexpected breakfast while we were traveling through France.

Traveling via train really allowed us to stay present and enjoy the journey as a whole. We weren’t looking ahead to where we’d be next, ya know…kinda like waiting for Friday every week. It wasn’t like that. We loved spending time together on the trains, meeting people, enjoying the scenery, taking cat naps (why aren’t they dog naps?), and most of all playing cribbage & drinking coffee. It was well worth the bucks to us.

Travel Tip >>

If you don’t want to carry around a map, and won’t have access to 4g on your phone (but still have a phone) here is what we did before we left in the mornings:

We would take pictures of places we wanted to go via google maps. Google maps will still pick up on where you are with a location dot, but we couldn’t actually use our phones throughout Europe so we took screenshots of directions. To take a screenshot just press the power and the home button at the same time. This was a huge lifesaver!


 

   Signature <3 Amber

This entry was posted in Travel.