Over the last 15 years or so, the way we travel has really changed. With the rise of Tripadvisor, Boutique Hotels and bespoke itineraries, we rarely settle for bog standard anymore. By booking separate stages of your trip, you can make a lot of savings (we usually book Hotels and flights separately to stagger our payments), and there are so many websites that offer something different for often less money, it’s the perfect time to try something new.
Not sure why I had not heard of this site before, but now it’s in my favourites. Like Air BnB but more edited, it attempts to bridge the gap between hotels and the feeling of home.
I must admit, it has been a while since I stayed in a hostel (it was with Chris about 8 years ago in Berlin, I think!) but there is a bit of a trend for cool, affordable places to rest your head (and why not?). From places like Generator Hostels across the world to The Dictionary Hostel in Shoreditch, they can be a great affordable alternative and some even offer private rooms and ensuites. Obviously: do your research and read reviews, HostelWorld and The Budget Traveller is a good place to start, too.
3. AIR BNB
Nothing new here but I can’t not include as it has probably changed the way most of us travel completely. The great thing about it is that there is something for almost every budget. I even know a few friends who rent out their flat in Brighton through Air BNB for a bit of extra cash when they go away. And it’s not just abroad, try it for a UK weekend minibreak – our Norfolk trip was made so much better via our gorgeous little cottage, but my tip is to try and find Superhosts for a more memorable experience.
Only available in London, Paris and Lose Angeles at the moment, however, their portfolio is exceptional and they’re all about service – they offer extra services such as airport transfers and maid service (if requested!).
Stay like a local, but with all the luxury and amenities of a Hotel/concierge. This is definitely the luxury version of bespoke stays, here you get something really different, living in THE most stylish homes whilst experiencing a city like a local. You’re welcomed in person, with a ‘concierge’ on hand 24/7 and they can help with babysitters, entertainment etc. It’s more expensive than your average apartment booking but might be cheaper than that hotel you were looking at…
Not for the introvert, you stay in local places, like locals, WITH locals. The places are vetted to give you the best hosts and the review system helps guide your decisions, we did this in Venice and had a wonderful time in a perfect location, we stayed in a lovely room with a shared bathroom (pre baby, obviously!). Not only do a lot of places prepare home cooked food, they can recommend places to visit, eat etc – a truly personal experience.
7. KID & COE
I had never heard of this until a friend came over from Sydney a few years ago and was staying with her husband and two children in an amazing flat in Marylebone. She explained how hard it was to stay in Hotels with young kids, and you don’t always want to share a room – but that this website is geared up for families, so all the places available are child friendly (and super chic).
8. SWEET INN
We haven’t used this site yet, but mainly came across it as a few Air BnBs we stayed at (Rome and Sicily) were both Sweet Inn users (and excellent), so it’s definitely worth a look. I have always wanted to go to Tel Aviv and they have a lot of apartments there, so maybe this is the year…?
A gorgeous website set-up by two travel experts who saw a gap in the market for great little places to stay all under £200 a night. Their carfeully curated site offers an edit from their trained eyes – from an eco treehouse to a cottage in the country, all are styled to perfection. To get access to their edit of the best places, it costs just £10 a year, and you can sign up here.
10. COOL STAYS
Focusing on the more quirky, interesting breaks, Cool Stays breaks down categories into boatels, treehouses etc as well as useful amenities like disabled access and dog friendly locations. It has expensive locations for groups as well as smaller places so you’ll have to do a bit of research to find your perfect stay but it’s a joy to browse.
And a little extra point to add, if you’re travelling with a little one, do look into renting a cot and equipment out there – we did this in Sicily and it made life so much easier!