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 <<
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 🙂
>> Our 2nd European Airbnb <<
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!
>> Our 3rd European Airbnb <<
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.
>> Our 4th European Airbnb <<
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
>> Our 5th European Airbnb <<
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.
>> Our Final Stay <<
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.
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.