Monday, August 23, 2010

Amsterdam, here we come! a few weeks

So, before we entered the pathetic financial situation we're in now, the Mister and I booked our flights to allow a quick trip to Amsterdam en route to the Big Sandy. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It'd give us a chance to put another European city on our list of sites seen, and give me a chance to walk around uncovered for just a few more days.

I'd been putting off booking our housing because we were on so many other trips, so that was my project for the week. Initially I figured we would stay in a hostel. That was what we were familiar with, and I thought it would be the cheapest way to stay.

Heavens, was I wrong!! The hostels were only moderately cheaper than the hotels, and none of them really stood out as bastions of cleanliness or safety.

So I turned to craigslist....and quickly turned away. We found all kinds of great listings, but if they weren't booked already, they were posted by a scammer, or by someone who would only accept a wire transfer of money. I watch Teen Mom. I saw how Farrah just got suckered out of 3k. Mama don't play that.

Luckily, I found out about a website through a craigslist post that led us to this great guest house.

Isn't it cute!?

This guesthouse is in Karen's backyard. From what I can gather, it's like a carriage house that she doesn't use, so she rents it out. Airbnb (the website linked above) is this really great place where travelers can open their homes to other wandering souls and rent out a room, a couch, a home, an apartment, etc. It was a super easy website to use, and I'm really pleased by the fact that you pay with a credit card on the site and the property manager doesn't get any money until your arrival.

We'll of course keep you posted to let you know if the guest house turns out to be everything Karen claims it to be. I'm sure it'll be great. Even if it's not up to snuff, it'll definitely be more secure than a hostel or hotel because we'll be the only people with access to the house (an especially important detail as we'll be carrying everything we own in our luggage).

In other news, now that we've found lodging, the floodgates have opened and I've booked all kinds of wonderful things for us to do on our trip.

We're going to tour the Anne Frank house (I'm so excited, it's a little wrong), as well as take part in the Heineken Experience. Thanks to TripAdvisor, we found a bike tour of the countryside (about which I could not be more excited), as well as a WWII history walking tour that was VERY highly rated.

All we'll need to worry about after we've arrived is our transportation and finding a grocery store so we can cook our own meals in Karen's guest house.

Hurry up, September 9! I'm getting bored!!

Vicariously yours,

p.s. here are a few other sites that I also used to look for self-catering places to stay:

In the end, you end up paying the same amount as a hotel, but you could end up with an entire apartment/home. Definitely the way to travel, even if it's just for a weekend.

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