“Watchu doin? Nothin’ chillin at the Holidae Inn” – Chingy
You got your ticket. What next? Book your stay.
Why? To get that particular budget issue out of the way. Also, to have your visa approved right away. Most importantly, duh, you don’t want to end up on the street. So quit stallin and start looking for your accommodations!
Figure Out Where You Wanna Go
If you want easy access to train stations and other tourist spots then find a place near to where you want to go. The downside of this is that these areas are usually very pricey. The good thing about Europe is their transportation is excellent. There’s always an efficient and convenient bus or train system that goes everywhere. So even if it’s not walking distance but well within your budget then go for it. Make sure to look at TripAdvisor reviews.
Prices are always cheaper if you book way before your travel date but the risk of this is that there might be unforeseen changes to your itinerary that is beyond your control. My advice is to book through www.booking.com. They will rank all the available accommodations according to location and price. The best part is you only pay when you stay, meaning you will only pay at the hotel when you get there and you can cancel the booking anytime as long as it’s one day before your arrival date. If you want a better deal with more flexibility then check out www.airbnb.com. You can stay at private rooms or even whole apartments or houses. However, you have to pay the whole amount up front plus other fees. Sometimes, it comes out more expensive. In the end, it’s up to you.
MY HOTEL REVIEWS
Hotel de Nevers, 53 rue de Malte, 11. Bastille – République, Paris
I found this hotel on booking.com and decided it was a good deal especially with the location. It was located two blocks away from Plaza de République, one of the main Metro stops in Paris. You know what they say about Paris hotels being microscopic with an elevator that only fits one person and one bag? They weren’t lying. We were lucky to get a big room on the second floor. The door was slightly in the middle of the staircase and we had a sort of ante room with a view of the elevator shaft but hey, it was spacious, clean and very comfortable. There was no air-conditioning but all we had to do was open the window a bit and in came 10º air. They had towels and toiletries and a large bathroom. For us, it was perfect.
Venezianamente Apartments, 487, Calle delle Do’ Corti Cannareggio, Venice
What is Venice if you don’t get lost. After going around in circles for an hour before finding the place, we finally found Calle delle do’ Corti. This was the best of all our hotels. It was a whole 1 bedroom fully furnished apartment beside the canal just a couple hundred meters off Guiglie Bridge. It was also a 10 minutes or so walk from the Central Station. The masterbedroom had a big bed that could fit 3 people. The living room sofa was a very comfortable pullout bed good for 2. There was even a washer/dryer plus a fully-equipped kitchen. We didn’t do any cooking but at least we could make coffee every morning. We just bought juices, water, yogurt, bread, cheese and fruits from the market across the canal and stuck everything inside the fridge. The neighborhood was very quiet and the moonlight reflecting over the canals at night was just beautiful. Best place ever.
Plus Florence Hostels, Via Santa Caterina D’ Alessandria 15, Florence
So we decided to try out a youth hostel. Oookay, not doing that again. While the place was very comfortable, spacious, great location. The busloads of high school and elementary school students staying there for their field trip was just ugh. It was like playtime everyday and night with kids yammering and running around the place. The hostel had towels, toiletries, big bunk beds and lockers in the room. It was just a couple hundred meters from the Central station and the city center. Bus stops were just a block away but despite the convenience I won’t brave the kids again. No more youth hostels for me. I hate to say it but I’m too old for this.
Opera Inn Suites B&B and Apartments, Via Paolo II 9, Vaticano Prati, Rome
With the Vatican as one of our main destinations in Rome, we looked for a place right outside the city walls. It was also a great idea because aside from being affordable and accessible, the neighborhood was also very quiet and peaceful. I could forgive the super small shower stall because the room was very comfortable. The B&B had a shared fully-equipped kitchen where we could cook and make coffee. Even though only one bus route passed by Vatican City (Bus 64), the view of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome at night was still incomparable. Great deal!
Motel One, Hamburg Alster, Germany
For a mid-range hotel with a great location, Motel One did not disappoint. Very modern, lovely design, comfortable plus free breakfast buffet in the morning. Since I wasn’t sharing with 3 other people, the cost came out more expensive. Bus stops right in front of the Hotel doors. Hamburg’s Central Station was just a few hundred meters away. Everything was well within walking distance, especially the budget grocery in the next block. The room was way up with an amazing view of the city. Best shower ever. Breathtaking sunset. Thumbs up!
B&B Hotels, Berlin – Potsdamer Platz
I have to hand it to my Auntie Cora, she is THE travel expert of looking for great deals and accommodations. While not as luxurious as Motel One, B&B Hotel in Berlin had the most amazing location – right off Potsdamer Platz (City Centre) with bus stops right outside the doorstep. We were lucky to be given a handicapped room in the first floor so the space was huge! I even asked my aunt if she was ready to see my ballet routine. There was free breakfast as well. Okay, the European equivalent of a buffet breakfast includes different kinds of bread, ham, cheese, yogurt and spreads. Nothing like a Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Buffet but hey, still hits the spot!
Motel One, Vienna Westbahnhof, Austria
We chose to stay at Motel One again because well, great hotel. The best part was, the hotel was literally outside the Westbanhof station with trains going to anywhere in Vienna. Traveling and sightseeing was no problem at all plus there were so many stores and restaurants open in the train station. Of course, free breakfast buffet again so I just swiped some crackers and nutella and yogurt to snack on for the rest of the day. This Motel One was definitely ritzier than the one in Hamburg.
Hotel Jedermann, Munich, Germany
This hotel was definitely decades old. It was traditional and get this, no air-conditioning. It was fine until the freaking heatwave came! Oh my god, I come from a tropical country but when things get hot we turn up the air. This time around well, we opened the windows, turned off the lights and took clothes off. The location was winner, just a tram ride away from the main Central Station or Bahnhof. There was also a breakfast buffet everyday and well the food was plentiful. Still the same bread, ham, egg and cheese but this time there were salads, spreads, fish salads, fish, meat stuff and a whole lot of Bavarian dishes that I couldn’t understand. I could say, it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So there you have it, my summary of all the hotels, inns and b&b’s that I stayed all throughout my Eurotrip. Hope this helps you plan yours. I definitely recommend all of them but if you want to stay somewhere within the city close to the “happening” places then I’m sure you will find something well within your budget range. No backpackers hostels here ‘cos like I said, I like my privacy and creature comforts. Good luck on your adventure!