One of the first questions that William and I get is
- Where do you stay when you travel?
We elect to stay with the people and not in large hotels. We love using Airbnb! Here we can stay, play, discover, find unique homes, experiences and local guides for our trips.
In Trinidad we found a lovely home close to the beach and the owners were scuba instructors. Along with our stay they provided all our snorkeling and beach equipment along with where to find the best coral. You won’t get this by staying in a big hotel.
In Greece we found a Pacific Yurt rental. With our passion for yurt life where better could we stay? But the best part of that stay was meeting Diane – a really fantastic woman, a woman with a big heart and a kindred adventurous spirit.
In Italy we met Gianluigi. He set a standard for all our airbnb stays. He was a perfect host, often missing his train to work just to spend time with us telling us how to get around the city and where the best places to visit were. We checked into Gianluigi’s airbnb room early when we first arrived and he stored our backpacks for us. When we arrived back to our room that evening he had placed our packs in our room and it was here that we began our custom of photographing our packs at each of our stays.
Now I know some of you might look at this picture and think how could sleeping on a bed made of pallets be a good place to stay. I admit that it isn’t a 5 star hotel but this will remain one of favorite places. It had everything we needed, lots of privacy, comfortable bed, private bathroom, air-conditioning (rare in Europe), convenient location, English speaking host, and a 5 star rating. Plus we met fellow travelers here and have made a lifetime friend.
After finding out that we use Airbnb the second question we get is
2. Aren’t you concerned about sharing a home with other people?
Not at all! We read all the reviews about the airbnb location and their host. We often prefer to have the whole apartment to ourselves but if the best reviews are on a shared space rental we do not hesitate to select that as our residence in a city. Regardless if the space is shared or the rental is a whole apartment you are guaranteed to meet the owners and have as much or as little interaction as you desire.
Another major question we get is:
3. How can you carry everything you need in those small backpacks?
When we pack, we pack for five to seven days regardless of how long we will be gone. Just like at home, we plan on washing our clothes at least once a week. We select high tech clothing that will dry quickly. That way even if we need to hand wash an item it will dry overnight and be ready for us to pack up the next day. Packing light allows us a much greater freedom when traveling. We don’t have to lug heavy luggage up stairways or aboard a fast train. A small pack also limits how much you can carry and we have found that you really don’t need as much as you think when you travel.
4. How do you decide what all you will do when you arrive in a city?
The first thing that we do for any trip is lots of research. We watch travel videos and read travel blogs and books so that we have a good idea of what the major attractions are. Lonely Planet and Rick Steves are two of our favorite sites. Sometimes we schedule tours and sometimes we decide that we can do it on our own. On our travels we met a couple who were very experienced at travel and they told us that their first stop in any city was to look at the postcards. That would certainly show you what was important and keep you from missing something you might not have known about.
You may have questions yourself and I would love to answer them for you. Just leave a comment and I will make sure to find the answer as best as I can.
The biggest compliment I received about our trip to Europe was when Mike Zink, a friend and former co-worker asked if I could help him and his wife plan a similar trip to Europe this year.