There were three legs to our trip to Italy: Venice, Florence, and Rome. In Venice, Bill and I ended up staying at a janky hotel (Hotel Canada. Do not stay there.) that was basically a hostel at the price of a hotel in a great location. I would have been content if we had intentionally signed up for a hostel instead of shelling out something like $200 a night, but such is what happened. At one point Bill got electrocuted (There was only one source of electrical outlets between our bedroom and private detached bathroom down the hall – and it was in the totally unventilated bathroom with “European shower.”), and at no point did we have any sense of security for our things. There was only one set of skeleton keys for our room, and we had to leave it with the host at the lobby downstairs. There were no checks or balances built in to verify who was dropping off keys or picking up keys, and this was compounded by the undependable presence of any representative at the desk.
This all brings me back to AirBnB, that SF venture that just pulled in a ridiculous $1 billion valuation. I’ve used it. Multiple times. For New York, for Michigan, and now for two cities in Italy. I love it. I’m so glad Edith introduced me to the service. AirBnB saved our Italy trip!
In both situations, the locations for our rooms beat that of any affordable hotels in either city. “Casa Billi” in Florence was in walking distance of the Duomo and right next door to two convenience stores. “Your room in Rome” was about a five-minute walk from the train station and gave us an excuse to explore the Asian sector of Rome. Since we were essentially renting out rooms in apartments that once were Italian families’ homes, we had to use at least three keys to get to our rooms. Do you know how comforting that is when you’re traveling? (Never mind the fact that Bill accidentally broke one of our keys in Florence.) Knowing that your rollaway – with its copies of passports and travel docs, its vials of medication, its phone chargers and iPads – was all at least three keyholes away was extremely reassuring.
Let me be clear. The value should be obvious, but the price is cheap. If you want to get super fancy with a four-dollar sign price tag on AirBnB, you can, but if you are like us, simply wanting security, comfort, and a good location for your first international trip as a couple, you can achieve those goals with AirBnB.
Florence: Casa Billi double private bathroom
“Can’t emphasize enough how great of a location Casa Billi is. Walking distance from the train station and the Duomo, next door to a convenience store, and the Double Room with Private Bath is big and cozy. It was the perfect place for our first stay in Florence, and we would absolutely stay here again. Highly recommended!” –Mayka
Rome: your room in Rome -RD
“Salvatore’s Room in Rome is so cozy! It’s in a great location, walking distance from the train stop (This really came in handy for heading off to the airport. FYI, the Rome airport is shut down between midnight and 5 am, so plan accordingly!) and the acquarium! It’s a very secure building with multiple key-locked entries, but the real stars are for the decorations. Themed with red poppies, it’s such a cute room. Would definitely stay here again and recommend it to friends.” –Mayka