Airbnb has been a travel lifesaver for us! For instance, we’ve been to a handful of tiny towns for a surf contest that only offer one or two hotel options within dozens of miles. Or (more commonly), when we visit a tourist-popular city (think: Paris, Sydney, Tokyo), all of the decent hotels are all ridiculously out of our price range. We used Airbnb in every country we’ve visited so far: up and down Australia’s east coast, before/after our campervan reservation in New Zealand, in villas while in Bali Indonesia, in the heart of Tokyo and out in Japan’s countryside, down the Atlantic coast of France and in the center of Paris, as well as for our quick trip to Spain. I’ll be honest — some Airbnb accommodations have been better than others. We’ve stayed in a fabulous penthouse, but we’ve also seen cockroaches. I’ll break down the good, the bad and the ugly, and ultimately, why I highly recommend using Airbnb!
Winter time in Santa Cruz, California supplies some of the most beautiful (and crisp!) days with blue skies and low temperatures. West Cliff Drive is a top spot for locals and tourists alike, for obvious reasons. The six-mile round trip sidewalk (spanning from the Dream Inn to Natural Bridges) provides some of the best views of the Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Municipal Wharf. Along the way, you will see the world famous point break surf spot Steamer Lane, the state beach and butterfly grove Natural Bridges, and a dozen more hidden coves and beaches.
Paris has been one of my favorite cities since I first visited when I was eleven years old. This was my fourth time to the City of Love and Shaun’s very first. We spent 5 nights in the heart of the city in an adorable Airbnb in Le Marais — a cozy quartier in the 4th arrondissement, popular for shopping and dining along the network of cobblestone lanes with a classic Parisian feeling. We were lucky enough to experience Paris in both rain and sunshine, each equally romantic and charming.
Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest ancient temple, dating back to 645 AD. It’s stunning, dramatic and a major attraction for international and Japanese tourists alike. The pedestrian-only lanes leading up to the temple are as packed as a sold out concert with hundreds of pop-up shops with the best gift/souvenir shopping in all of Tokyo. Inside the temple courtyard, you can get your “Omikuji” for a donation of 100¥ (equivalent of $1 USD), which literally translates to a “fortune-telling paper.” Sensō-ji is iconic and one of our favorite spots in Tokyo — well worth the cover photo of the Lonely Planet Tokyo Pocket book guide!
Pintxos! Pintxos! Pintxos! The Basque word for Spanish “tapas”, pintxos are the cultural heart of San Sebastian, Spain. They are also my current culinary obsession. Pintxos are small plates served in-between meals (or in bulk to substitute as a meal), all day everyday, usually for as cheap as 2€ – 5€ and typically enjoyed with a glass of wine for equally as cheap. Enjoying the daily pintxo with a local Spanish red wine was definitely the highlight of visiting San Sebastian.