Our apartment in Paris

Eiffel TowerWe’ve settled into our home for the next few weeks: a comfortably funky 3-bedroom apartment on the top of an older building not far from the Moulin Rouge.

Travelers will tell you that if you’re planning to stay more than a few days here (and indeed in many major cities), it makes a lot more financial sense to rent a place than to stay in a hotel. Not only is it cheaper*, but access to a kitchen and (often) a washer and dryer will further reduce your costs. And this time, I knew enough to get a place with an elevator.

Another way to travel cheaper: public transport. We’re less than a block from a Metro station and the bus stop is literally across the street. Several grocers and a good boulangerie (bakery) are nearby, as well as a number of restaurants when we don’t feel like cooking.

We used the Homelidays site, now known as HomeAway, to find this place, and AirBnB to book a flat in Edinburgh.  I relied heavily on other users’ reviews, seeking out the listings that have a bunch of them. (I’ll let other people take a chance on the newbies.)

The one thing we gave up was flexibility. Most of the listings we considered had pretty strict cancellation policies, with substantial deposits (usually half the rent) and steep forfeitures if you change your mind. Fortunately, our plans were pretty well set.

*We’re paying about $140 a night for three bedrooms and two baths. Before we arrived, we spent one night at the Westin Paris Vendome using points. The room we occupied typically costs over 500 euros per night, or nearly $700. There are much cheaper hotels, obviously, but you typically pay a couple hundred bucks for a small room, so renting an apartment can really make sense.




  1. I totally agree if you are staying in one city for 4 nights or more, renting an apartment is the way to go. We also used AirBNB to book a flat in Edinburgh and it worked out great for our family of 3. It was fantastic for my 17 year-old son to have a room of his own. Many European hotels only let you have two in a regular room, thus requiring two hotel rooms. The per day rates on rented apartments also get more affordable as you stay more nights (to a point).