One of the primary reasons that I’ve never been to Europe before now is because of money. I teach high school English (which is not making anyone wealthy) and I’m still paying on pesky student loans from college. So, like many people, I’ve always assumed that I couldn’t really afford a luxurious European vacation. And depending on how you see “luxury” I was right–expensive hotels and restaurants are definitely out of my price range for the most part. But what I failed to realize, (and what you have probably failed to realize too) is that travel doesn’t have to be expensive to be luxurious. I’m staying in Paris in June (their most expensive time of the year) for $50 a night.
I’ll repeat that for those who weren’t listening: Paris for $50 a night!!
You might ask how I worked such magic. Well, first of all, I’m not staying in a hotel. This is a decision that I made not for the expense, but for the experience. The price just turned out to be the icing on the cake. I found an Airbnb studio apartment (meaning its all mine for the week, with a small kitchen and bathroom–no sharing with anyone else) for $50 a night after fees. This blew me away. I had no idea that something so cool could be so affordable.
Now, my apartment isn’t in the center of the city–it’s in the Montparnasse district. But it has a nice view of the Eiffel tower from the window, and it’s just a couple of blocks from the metro stop, so that is perfect for me. I’m excited to share photos once I’m there in just 2 short months.
A lot of people are afraid of Airbnb because they either get weirded out by the idea of staying with strangers, or they are afraid they can’t trust the people renting out their places. The latter concern is unnecessary, because Airbnb lets you see reviews of all the other people who have stayed in that room or apartment. The more good reviews, the better.
As far as staying with strangers is concerned, I personally think people should get over it. While I’m staying in the Paris apartment solo, I’m staying for 2 nights in Verona in a room in the owner’s house while she is there, and I’m even spending a few nights in Nice in a hostel with roomates (I’ll talk about hostels in a later post).
The fact is, one of the most beautiful parts of traveling is getting to know people from other cultures, and there is no better way to get to know them than living in close proximity for a few days.
But if you’re still squeamish about the prospect of sharing your space, Airbnb has lots of whole houses and apartments for rent, where you can have all of the privacy you crave–and some are even as low-priced as the one I found in Paris for $50 a night. So what are you waiting for? Get to Airbnb and start planning your getaway!