My first AirBnb experience was during my trip to Melbourne a few years back. I shared a two bedroom apartment unit in the city with the friendly female host. The apartment was in a convenient location, very clean, and the best thing of all, I paid AU$55 per night for a single occupancy in the room. Where else can I stay in a city location in Melbourne for that kind of price?
When I was planning my family trip to Europe, I realised that staying in good locations in Europe don’t come cheap. So I decided to go through AirBnB to find suitable accommodations, and I’m so glad that I did.
My way of searching an AirBnb accommodation in each city goes in this order: Location, reviews, photos. Read the reviews THOROUGHLY. I made the biggest mistake in booking an AirBnB accommodation in Singapore just by looking at the location, photographs, and first few reviews. Turns out that the real unit is nothing like the photograph, and it was very dirty and old. When I checked back on the listing and read more reviews, turns out that the host owns a few apartments in the same building, and you could get the nicer units when they are vacant (although still completely different from the photographs shown), but during peak season you will most likely be stuck with that rundown unit.
With AirBnB, you can find accommodations in good location at a cheaper price than 3-5 star hotels in the same location. There is no way that we could afford staying in a hotel around the Champs-Élysées in Paris, or had the experience of staying in a snow chalet overlooking Mount Eiger in Grindelwald, but we did all of those, thanks to AirBnB. A lot of the properties are nicely decorated and fitted with furnitures that make you feel like home.
Since there were the four of us in the trip, it made sense if we booked the whole apartment for ourselves. We met the hosts in a convenient location in the respective cities once we arrived, they helped us find the apartment and get settled, explained how things work in the unit, gave us the key and we said goodbye. Upon leaving, we left the key inside the apartment and locked the doors from outside. The procedures are very simple and they don’t have to disrupt your schedule to explore the city. AirBnB is also a good choice when travelling solo, because most hosts will have a solo rate and you could share the unit with another traveller or the host in the other room. With this type of arrangement, you need to make sure that the host and the rules suits your travelling personality. If you are someone who prefers to go “home” from a whole day of exploring to have a quiet good night sleep, it will not be a good idea to have a host who allows partying or social events inside the unit.
The good thing about staying in AirBnB in Europe is that they provide facilities that you will definitely need, such as washer & dryer, kitchen with equipments and WiFi. Laundry facilities is crucial when you’re travelling to different countries/cities on a train, because at some point you will need to wash your clothes. Kitchen is optional for me because I prefer to eat out when travelling, but it was nice to have a stove to boil some water for my instant noodles or hot beverages. Wifi is definitely needed because mobile phone data is precious in Europe.
There are some things that you be aware of when booking your accommodation in Europe. European apartments are tinier than most Australian or Indonesian apartments, that I know of. So even though they do provide enough beds for your number of guests, you should also gauge the size of the unit from the photographs, the reviews, or simply ask the host. If your family consist of tall humans like mine, it was quite claustrophobic to be in a tiny two bedroom Paris loft-style apartment, which has the size of a studio apartment in Melbourne!
When choosing your location, be aware of the surroundings. We chose an apartment right across the street from the Fire Station in Amsterdam that we did not know before. Even though it was a lovely location and a nice unit near Anne Frank House, it was still unpleasant when the Fire Brigade sound their siren, especially at night time. Some locations might be a little noisier when they are located close to the nightclubs or cafes that open till late.
Be aware of the condition of the staircases. I don’t really get tired or too out-of-breath from climbing the stairs, as long as they have decent wideness and steepness. So when I read that some of the accommodations I was booking have stairs that concern some people, it didn’t bother me. As it turns out, they are very narrow and steep, they made me feel like I was climbing a mountain enclosed with walls, and bear in mind we had our luggages too. It was a first-time experience, so I laughed it off. But on my next holiday, I will definitely ask about the stairs.
Since most AirBnB accommodations are located in residential area, and not hotel areas, there’s a chance that you might stay in less touristy but equally beautiful areas. My AirBnB in Rome was located in Trastevere, it was walking distance to Piazza Navona, but the apartment area itself is the highlight of my trip in Rome. Hosts will happily share the hidden gems around the area or the city, which is another reason to love AirBnB. You will get to experience certain things that you won’t get when staying in a hotel and relying on their concierge and travel guide books.
The most important thing is to read the reviews thoroughly and ask a lot of questions based on your needs (bringing an older person, bringing a baby or toddler, being claustrophobic, etc). But based on my experiences when staying in AirBnB in Europe, I highly recommend it for travellers, and I hope that my tips could be useful in searching for the right AirBnB for yourself!
This post is not sponsored by AirBnB, I wrote it based on my personal experiences, and thought that they might be useful for you.
Special Offer: Get $34 AirBnB credit for your next travel. Happy Travels!
Planning a trip to places you’ve never been before could be very challenging. Looking back at how I planned my Europe trip, there are certain things that I wish I knew back then. But that’s the beauty of travelling, not only will you able to gain the experience in exploring new places, you also gain knowledge that might be useful in the future.
Europe trip was the hardest holiday that I’ve ever planned. Unlike the time when I went to U.S.A, Turkey, New Zealand or China, my holiday in Europe was totally dependent on public transports and maps without local people to guide us for most of the time. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time during our trip in Europe, and I hope that anyone who have spent money and time to visit Europe would feel the same.
Just before I leave for my trip, I’d like to share with you how I set up my Fauxdori. As you know from my previous planner posts, I have always used ring planners from Kikki.K and Filofax. When I saw the Fauxdoris created by Cakepaperie, I became interested in trying out dori-style planners as they seem to be more flexible and lightweight, which is perfect for travelling! Let’s have a look at how I set it up. I have always wanted a polkadot planner, I am so glad when I saw this in Cakepaperie’s shop. The pink tassle is an additional purchase, but I really like the colour contrast. The parisian notebook is by Rifle Paper Co, and the mint blue pen is from Kikki.K. It’s impossible to find original Midori Travellers’ Notebook here in Canberra, and I hate to have to wait for days each time I need a new notebook because I have to buy them online. So I bought a set of Moleskine Cahier pastel journals and have them cut into Midori size at Officeworks. Moleskine journals are thicker than Midori, however the paper is thinner. Therefore your writings will show through at the back pages. I don’t really mind as I’m going to use journalling cards and postcards. Since this fauxdori doesn’t come with a pen loop, I had to add one on my own. I bought a Leuchtturm pen loop in blue to match my mint blue Kikki.K pen. The side pocket is also an additional stick-on pocket from Midori which I bought from Notemaker. The second half of my Fauxdori is a Travel Journal booklet that I designed and print on my own. I also added a folded pockets for my journalling kits and stamps. Inside the Travel Journal, I have Itinerary pages which consists of boxes for flights/transportation (shaped like boarding passes) and accommodation itinerary (shaped like luggages tags). There are also travel checklist pages, but I had forgotten to take pictures! The next section is Bucket List, where I can put all the things I want to do, see, eat or drink in each country/city/place. Unfortunately I haven’t written much. The zip pocket is where I keep all the washi tapes, stickers, sticky tapes and other planner goodies I’ll need for my journalling. Stationery makes me so happy <3 I hope you like my set up! If you’d like to see my other planner set up, check out My Kikki K Personal Planner Setup
During the Labour Day weekend, my family and I went for a weekend getaway in Wollongong. We have never been to Wollongong, and we just wanted to find out what it’s like, since it’s only 2 hours and 40 minutes from Canberra. Also, I kinda miss being at the beach. The beach is very beautiful, I especially like the lighthouse side of the beach. We were lucky to have the sun out during both days we were there.
See more photos after the jump!
We are hearing from Amanda Thomas from NZ about her beautiful journey to Kyoto, Japan. Follow Amanda’s instagram account for snapshots about the things that she loves (cats, books, nature, coffee & her husband).
1. Tell us about your trip to Kyoto, Japan.
My husband and I went to Japan, just for a holiday. It’s always been one of the places we’ve wanted to go to most. We visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, but Kyoto was our favourite.
2. What do you like about Kyoto?
We loved the history and the scenery and the amazing food. We had so many amazing experiences in Kyoto including feeding monkeys, seeing real life Geisha, going on a rickshaw ride through a bamboo forest, visiting temples and eating delicious tofu based meals.
3. Tell us one best experience/moment you had there.
I loved the day when we fed the monkeys. We hiked to the top of a huge hill and once we got there we could see the whole of Kyoto. Not only was the view stunning but there were monkeys everywhere and it was just a surreal experience. Definitely hard to walk away!
4. Five places/activities/eats recommended by you.
1. Visit the monkey park called Iwatayama
2. Go for a rickshaw ride through the bamboo forest
3. Explore all the hidden streets and alleyways around the Yasaka Pagoda area – lots of amazing food and knick knacks to be found
4. Visit the Golden Pavillion and take part in a tea ceremony. We also lit prayer candles at the alter and thew coins for good luck!
5. Take a walk through the bamboo paths of Fushimi Inari Shrine
5. Where would you like to go next?
Next we’d like to have a relaxing island holiday where we snorkel, sleep, read books and enjoy sunshine and outdoors!
All images are courtesy of Amanda Thomas.
Thanks Amanda for sharing your journey with us! Love travelling? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a little story about the best trip you’ve had in your life.