|Our first stop: Brussels and Bruges|
So I literally just booked the last lot of accommodation for mine and Matt's European city trip in July/August. We would not have been able to plan this trip without discovering the genius app Airbnb! We originally started by looking at hostels, low star hotels and general B&Bs but struggled to find places to suit us and for the right price. First observations were that Amsterdam was really, really expensive all round - the hostels were dingy and not even cheap; Paris prices weren't as bad as we'd thought but places sold out quick; some hostels in all the cities we wanted to go to were bordering on the same price as nice rental apartments we had seen. Naturally we went for a bit of luxury over proper budget accommodation. Matt said he didn't actually mind, but I argued that girls need places they can photograph for Instagram! I admit I do need pretty cushions, glasses, toiletries and flower vases and free juice and waffles... Saying that though, we have stuck to our decided budget of £500 each for ten nights accommodation, our Interrail passes and Eurostar return tickets. In fact, the final figures have come in at £492 each which is amazing as I love every one of the five places we have organised to stay in.
|The Brussels apartment|
These are all booked through Airbnb. We're starting in Brussels, staying on the fourth floor of a traditional house in the centre, near to the Grand Palais and a famous fresh produce and flea market. The apartment has a beautiful balcony and I can't wait to look over the city by day and night and hopefully spot the Atomium and other landmarks. After three nights there and a day trip to Bruges, we'll head to Amsterdam to stay in another gorgeous studio apartment, this one more contemporary. While in Amsterdam I really want to hire bikes and cycle along the canal and to all the pretty parks for Dutch picnics! Of course, we will visit the museums and sights- I'd love to visit Anne Frank's house. After another three nights in total in Amsterdam we'll travel about an hour to Den Haag, or The Hague. I've heard that this city, although close to Amsterdam, is a must see as it's slightly more quirky and hip, plus it has a gorgeous-looking beach! We're staying for just one night and hoping to spend our day sunning ourselves; it will be a nice change from walking city streets in the heat. On from there, we'll travel to Lille, staying one night in a characterful little apartment and seeing things like the Palais Beau Arts and the Musee d'Art Moderne. Our final stop will be Paris - we've wanted to go for ages now and we're doing it properly, staying right by the Sacre Coeur in the midst of lively Montmartre.
|The Amsterdam studio flat|
|Lille apartment exterior|
|Pretty Amsterdam living area|
|The Montmartre apartment|
Airbnb is so easy to browse on and book accommodation. You have to sign up and verify your ID by uploading a picture of your passport or driver's license before you can request to book anywhere, but that's the most complicated it gets. Tips would be to read each listing really carefully and make sure any questions you've got are answered before you commit; you can contact each host via the app and all conversations are saved. Take time to research the area of the accommodation you're interested in as sometimes it isn't listed as specific. We used Google maps on street-view to see exactly where we might be staying. Check the safety of the area, that it's at least near everything you want to see, the public transport access.
Honestly, the app has endless, enviable places to stay all over the world. It's so fun to browse even if you're not heading off anywhere anytime soon. Also, if any of you have been to any of the places we're visiting and have any hotspot recommendations, please let me know in the comments!
Happy holiday hunting!