I must share some exciting news! It’s not exactly blog-related, but it’s still exciting (to me at least) because for the first time ever, I’m going to Europe! It’s been in the talks for a few months now, and it was never entirely confirmed, but over the past couple of days, the plans slowly began to take a more solid shape and now it’s definitely a reality! Europe has always been a dream of mine, and it had always been my goal to study abroad in college. But unfortunately, that never happened because I personally couldn’t afford it and was reluctant to ask my parents to shell out so much money in addition to the college tuition they were already paying for me. So yes, if you were to ask me whether I have any regrets from my college years or not, the honest answer would be a big YES, because it still kills me today that I never got the chance to fulfill one of my biggest dreams.
But now I’m able to slightly mollify my internal pain from that regret, because I’ll soon be able to widen my horizons and take in the cultures of Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. Believe me when I say that it was ridiculously difficult to choose which countries I would be visiting this time around, because my list of must-go places in Europe is (unsurprisingly) very long. Off the top of my head, there’s Amsterdam, Prague, Milan, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, London, Madrid, Florence, Mykonos, Monaco, Vienna, Warsaw, Geneva, Stockholm, Nice, Normandy, Dublin, Wales, Glasgow, Brussels….. the list goes on! But since I don’t have endless wealth and green bills sitting in my bank account, I had to painfully narrow my choices down to fit my budget. As for what cities I finally decided on…. well, that is a surprise to be revealed later!
But in the meantime, here’s something I can definitely share to my fellow budget travelers. If hotels are too pricey for you, or if you just want to get a better sense of the city, try Airbnb. If you haven’t come across this wonderful amazing website, it’s a beautiful place on the Internet where you can rent entire homes or private rooms from city locals! I’ve used it before on my trips to NYC, and it’s been nothing but awesome, so of course I’m using Airbnb again (in combination with hotels) for my Europe trip to buffer out accommodation costs. Here are a few helpful pointers:
- Start the conversation: Message the hosts BEFORE you request to book! Sometimes the room/apartment you’re looking at is actually unavailable for the dates you want even though the calendar may say it’s available. It’s also just more considerate to let the hosts know a little about you before they approve your request.
- Look at a map: Get a general idea of where you want to hit up, in terms of location, so you can use the map on Airbnb to narrow down the rental possibilities. This is a good way to avoid getting overwhelmed by the hundreds (even thousands) of housing options. You can also use the filter to narrow down your choices. You also don’t want to skip looking at the map and consequently end up staying at a place 30min away from all the attractions you want to see when there are so many other closer options.
- Read everything: There shouldn’t be any “hidden fees” involved, but some hosts do charge a cleaning fee and/or security deposit fee, but these will be stated in the listing so read carefully. You’ll also want to read through feedback/reviews, because we all know that there are times when things look better in photographs than in real life.
- Start smartly: If you currently don’t have an Airbnb account, sign up now HERE and get $25 travel credit for your next trip! I’ve had such a wonderful experience using Airbnb for my travels and I sincerely hope you’ll find the same usefulness and comfort in Airbnb for your next adventure.
And now, moving on to the look of the day – I’ve always had a penchant for olive green and I’ve been looking for the perfect olive green blouse for the longest time. Now I finally have it, and it’s from (where else?) Express. I love the collarless feature, as it offers a softer look with the convertible sleeves. Just like in this post, I dabbled a bit in playing with contrasts by layering a sharp Halogen blazer vest over the shirt.
Until next time!
Photos by Herman