Where are you staying in Europe?
In perfect world the RV would go with us to Europe and we could continue traveling wherever with our clothes, food and beds. That isn’t realistic so plan B – hostels. However, upon researching hostels it turns out that 6 people in a hostel is about the same as a hotel room. Plan C – apartments, rooms and houses via the internet.
There are websites dedicated to matching travelers with overseas landlords. People advertise their place and travelers send a note saying, “I’ll take it!” Sites like airbnb and homeaway are just a couple of ways to find reasonable accommodations without a third party. The sites have pictures, maps, prices, amenities and reviews from previous renters. It’s a pretty good deal for everyone. Unless you are trying to procure stays for over a dozen different cities.
Our plan is to move to a different European city each week. That will be around 13-16 cities. I consider myself somewhat organized in that I can plan an approach to something and logically execute it. Add an Excel spreadsheet and I am invincible. However, tracking the lodging inquiries is going to be my undoing. Once I have found a candidate I contact the owner through the site with a note along the lines of: We are interested in your European City apartment for Date 1 to Date 2 for my family of 6, if available please let me know the weekly rate.
The reply is not tracked through the site, it comes to our email. The subject can be anything and in any language. The apartment can be reffered to by name, number or address. I have to do a lot of cross referencing to figure out which city is represented. My inquiry seems clear an simple but there has yet to be any response that didn’t require more email banter – the dates will be incorrect or they will ask me “How many people?” I don’t know if it is insulting to copy and paste my original note or if there is something ambiguous about how it is worded so the original meaning has been lost in translation. It shouldn’t be so difficult.
The other element I have to track is often the apartment we are negotiating appears to be different than the one I originally inquired about. I once had a landlord respond with three different addresses.
Elizabeth: Is Blue Danube #345 available for 6 people
Landlord: Yes, Purple Finch #6 is waiting for your lovely family 550 Euros!
Elizabeth: Thank you, but we are interested in Blue Danube
Landlord: Yes, Green Hillside #27 is waiting for your lovely family 600 Euros!
Elizabeth: My original inquiry was for Blue Danube, if it is not available will the Purple Finch accommodate 6 people
Landlord: Purple Finch is not availbe, if you will tell me the number of guests I will find a lovely apartment for you!
So far we have finalized 1 transaction for Madrid. I’m fairly sure we have finalized a place in Budapest. My ambivalence is that they didn’t ask for a down payment; they said we could settle up when we arrived. This stay comes with a free airport pickup. We are to look for a person holding a “Friend” sign when we get off the plane. While I’ve never seen any of the “Hostel” franchise movies, I’m pretty sure this may be how some of them started.