Sunday, 8 January 2017

To (airbn)B, or not to Airbnb?

Okay, that pun didn't quite work, sorry. But give me some credit, Airbnb doesn't really rhyme with anything... Anyway, back to the point.

Ryanair has a sale on and you've realised you can bag a return flight to Krakow for £10. There's one problem though, the only hotel you can afford is a million miles out of the city centre. You give up, resigned to the fact it will all be too expensive and there are no other options right? Wrong. Give airbnb a try.

The first time I ever used Airbnb was back in September 2015 in Orlando, Florida. I aid $20 to sleep on somebodies couch... Ouch! But it was a far better alternative than the $200 minimum hotel bill I would have otherwise footed. Since then, I have used in Florence and Rome, as well as on my most recent trip to Poland. Let us get started, the pros, and the cons:

Pros:
  • Price: Not only are Airbnbs cheaper than hotels in general, they have the potential to make your whole experience cheaper. As houses/ flats, most come with a kitchen of some description. I will note though that in Europe this tends to often be limited to a hob and microwave, I have only come across a few with full ovens. This means you can buy food from a nearby supermarket and cook some nights if you want to reduce your costs even more. In addition to this, unlike lots of hotels, all of the airbnbs I have used have free wifi too.
  • Privacy:  Ok, so this one is a bit questionable, but I'll explain that in the con section. On the whole, being able to rent the whole house gives you more privacy than in a hotel because you can come and go without worrying about maids coming in or the front desk watching your every move!
  • Friendly hosts: I have never had a bad experience with a host. The level of contact really varies depending on each host. Some hosts I haven't even had to meet as they have a lock box organised, whereas others have shown me around, how to work the heating and even given me advice on things I can do in the area and the best places to eat/ drink. Most recently my fantastic host in Krakow even gave us a bottle of wine as a present as Harley had mentioned that it was a belated birthday trip! Charming!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Round-up: 2016.

Well, 2016 has been a rollercoaster of emotions hasn't it?! Asides from the catastrophic global political situation (don't get me started on this), on a personal level, much has changed in my life. In one year I went from graduating Warwick University to being accepted at my dream institution - Oxford University - and with this, I picked up my life and moved from Leamington Spa to the grand ol' city of Oxford and had to remember how to ride a bike/ how to avoid dying of frostbite while cycling around late at night. At the same time, it often felt like it was just one bad piece of news after the other - from my nan's constant battle with cancer to my mum's Parkinson's diagnosis, it has often been hard to stay optimistic but I try. 

In terms of travel, 2016 has been a crazy year too. 

To start off the year I spent a week visiting Milan, Florence and Rome for my friends 21st birthday. While I didn't rate Milan much, I absolutely loved Florence and well Rome? That's my favourite city in the 'west', I'd been before and was desperate to take Matt as it's filled with endless beauty.

Top posts: Budget for 6 nights in Italy and Florence!