I am going to share with you one of our favorite budget travel tips that will absolutely change the way that you travel.
I have always thought about renting an apartment during our travels, but we have generally ended up staying in hotels because of cost and convenience.
This time was different. Because of the baby, I knew that it would be easier to have accommodations with two separate rooms (so that we didn’t have to spend nap time everyday tiptoeing around.) Having a kitchen to be able to cook and warm up baby food was also a definite plus.
We discovered recently that renting an apartment for your next trip is a great way to live like a local for a week, and the internet has made it easier than ever! Renting is one of our best budget travel tips to help you enjoy your trip more and stretch your budget!
Airbnb.com is a good place to find rental apartments, but I think that their fees are exorbitant. Tripadvisor.com also has vacation rentals (but with much lower fees) or you can just do an internet search for “vacation rentals” and your destination to find local websites for rentals.
Now that we have had the experience of staying in an apartment during our travels, I don’t think that we can ever go back!
1) Living Like a Local: This, for me, has been the most important aspect of our stay in our apartment, but it is the one that is most difficult to explain. Instead of just stopping at the grocery store once or twice for snacks, we stopped there everyday just like everyone else, to get something to make for dinner. Instead of asking for directions, by the end of the week, I was giving directions to other lost souls. This difference in mindset made a huge difference in how I experienced our trip.
2) Kitchen! Having a kitchen and being able to cook is a great way to save money! Eating two meals a day that we prepare for ourselves saved us money, so that we didn’t feel guilty splurging on a nice dinner, or some gelato while out walking around in the evening. It also meant that we could experience cooking with lovely, fresh produce and seafood from the local market.
3) Cost: In many cases, renting an apartment for a week is cheaper than paying nightly for a hotel. The apartment was cheaper for us even than using my hotel employee discount!
4) A unique experience: The apartment that we rented in Nice is in a building that was built in the 1800’s. There was an ancient elevator, old stained glass windows, a beautiful marble staircase. You generally don’t get that kind of experience from a hotel. Instead of just being a place to stay, the apartment became an important part of our memories from the trip, as much as anything that we did while we were there.
Only a couple downsides – with a stay in most major hotel chains, you know what you are getting. There is a risk factor in renting an apartment from an individual. Do your research, read the reviews, ask for references and you should be fine.
Also, check in to a house is usually a little less convenient than a hotel, as you have to arrange a time to meet up with them for check in.
All in all,I consider this a small prices to pay for the experience of living like a local for a week!
What are some of your favorite budget travel tips?
PS: For anyone that is interested, here is a video clip of the ANCIENT elevator in our apartment in Nice