2 Week European Itinerary

Old Dec 13th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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I now stay in B&Bs in Florence and Rome - right near the train station - and there are more and more of these (formerly called 'pensions' I think) - families who own flats and rent out rooms but it's not like living with the family - there is a lot of privacy - kind of like a hotel but cheaper. Just Google Florence B&Bs or Rome B&Bs or use a service like airbnb.com which matches travelers with folks renting out rooms in their residences.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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Thanks again for all your help guys and gals. We're definitely taking your advice on the "less is more" approach and are probably going to focus on 2 cities, 3 at the very least and are most likely leaning towards doing this on our own.

It's also extra important for me to have this booked right b/c I do plan on proposing to my girlfriend, most likely in Paris, so this entire process is nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 08:06 AM
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That's great. You DEFINITELY don't want to propose/try for romance on a group tour surrounded most of the time by 45 old codgers / tour mates.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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DS proposed to his wife at the top of the Eiffel Tower on a rainy night!! Memorable. Good luck.
I like the Pont des Artes also.
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 03:10 PM
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I am new to this forum as well so I hope I get this right. My BFF and I just got back from 16 nights in Europe. We flew into Rome and out of Paris, via Paris connection on Air France from LAX. Highly recommend their Premium Economy by the way. Anyhow, we had 5 nights in Rome (more like 4.5 as it included out first night after long day of travel), 4 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Venice and 3 in Paris. We took one day trip to Cinque Terre out of Florence with no overnight. I would not have added or subtracted any of those nights stay per city. Paris I could stay for weeks on end, but I've been there quite a bit already. These time frames in each city were perfect as we did one or two major monuments or museums per day, and then had plenty of time to walk around and see the sights, sit in a piazza & enjoy an adult beverage or amazing meal. We took the high speed Trenitalia trains wherever available, but flew from Venice to Paris. Have a great time!
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Oh, and airbnb.com is the only way to go! We had such amazing, affordable accommodations in every city. And Venice is crazy romantic if you are thinking of proposing. Ciao!
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 03:44 PM
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Pinkysboos, that was a very sensible trip!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2014, 07:54 AM
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What I was referring to DomRep was 5 cities in 13 days. Most would say that is too much to cover. The simple and classic, 'too much in too little time'.

Picking 3 maximum as you NOW say you are planning to do does make sense. Picking 5 did not.

Pinkysboos, your time per city was quite reasonable. You may want to reconsider suggesting airbnb however. Initially when they started it was a reasonable idea. That original idea was that you rent out a room in your home or your whole home if you were away, when some event was taking place in your home city that meant all the hotels would be full etc.

However, Airbnb has become a victim of their own success. Their (and others) business has grown exponentially over the last few years and as a result, issues have arisen that is making them unwelcome in many cities.

The major media attention has focused on NYC and the legal battles going on there but more and more cities are beginning to look at the issues and ways to enforce rental laws. Paris is certainly one. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/ar...ing-stays.html

Ignoring all the pros and cons, what the traveller does not want to face is the possibility that the apartment/house they rent is an illegal rental. As such, it is the owner that is in violation of the law but the renter(you) can be told to vacate the property immediately. That leaves you on the street looking for a place to sleep and with money already gone.

Unfortunately, what was a good idea much like a B&B (which no city objects to by the way. The difference is the owner is present in the property while you are there.)has attracted people who buy up properties with the sole intention of renting them out as many nights as possible. Those owners don't care about any repercussions that may have.

So when renting any property you need to make sure that what you are renting is legally allowed to be rented to you. Airbnb does NOT screen properties for that.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2014, 12:16 PM
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Legality of apartments is an obsession with Dulcie.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2014, 01:03 PM
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the legality is an issue as it gives an idea of the security of any booking. After all if the person is criminal in one part of his life he will be criminal in others
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 08:42 AM
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The legality does indeed give you an idea of who you are renting from bilboburgler. Some people however look at things only from a selfish point of view. ie. It's cheaper to rent an apartment than pay for a decent hotel.

But from a selfish point of view they should also be considering that if they are found in an illegal rental they may well be turfed out onto the street and not only will they have to find somewhere to stay, the money they paid for the rental will be gone at least temporarily even if they can get it back after the hassle of claiming when they get home.

I have nothing against Airbnb or any other third party website making money off people willing to give it to them. I just think people should be aware of what they MAY be getting themselves into.

For those that don't care whether what they do is illegal or not, I hope they go ahead and rent and then get turfed onto the street. But for those who do not want to do something illegal, it is important for them to know the facts.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Legality issues aside--and I am not challenging that possibility one iota--my airbnb experience was outstanding. I like to consider myself an independent traveler, but still crave American conveniences like my own bedroom, my own bathroom, free-wifi, a fully stocked kitchen, laundry, cool living space but in locations within foreign cities that don't share an address with say the Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt. I found it to be a truer experience than a major hotel, yet still within my comfort zone in terms of quality and price. It is the only way I was able to travel with my friend for 2.5 weeks. Separate space!!!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 09:19 PM
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Dulcie makes the point that "from a selfish point of view, it is cheaper to rent an apartment than stay in a hotel".

But if you are staying in one place for an extended period, or even for a handful of days, the experience of staying in an apartment is completely different to staying in a hotel.

The decision is not automatically a selfish one.

As an aside, how might one go about ascertaining that an apartment rental is legal, other than asking the owner?
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 04:49 AM
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As an aside, how might one go about ascertaining that an apartment rental is legal, other than asking the owner?>

Go to the tourist office for that city and see if the accommodation is listed - if so it's probably official.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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That an apartment is more comfortable than a hotel is not the issue Pinkysboos. Airbnb is now taking a booking every TWO SECONDS. I'm sure you are not naive enough to believe all those bookings are because it is more comfortable to rent an apartment or house. It's PRIMARILY because it is CHEAPER.

Nor does it make any sense to say, 'legality issues aside'. They exist and you ignore them at your own peril.

The issue as I have said is the exponential rise in this kind of rental. It is no longer someone renting a room (like a B&B which is legal) in their home while they are in residence. It is the opportunists who are buying/renting multiple properties for the sole purpose of running what amounts to an illegal hotel.

original premise of Airbnb, was an occassional rental say when a major event was going on in a city and hotels were full. Why not rent out that spare room and make a little extra cash? A reasonable idea but it has gone far beyond that. Remember, a booking every TWO SECONDS. You can find all kinds of links regarding issues with Airbnb using Google. I'm not going to go into them all here.

Regarding how to determine if it is a legal rental, that can indeed be a hassle. So what? Who's problem is that? If it's a hassle does that mean you shouldn't do it?

Airbnb sidestep the issue entirely by saying it is the responsibility of the property owner to insure that they are renting legally. They do NOT screen for legal rentals.

Most people don't know and don't care about the unintended consequences of Airbnb rentals. What they want is a cheap place to stay. You could if you want to be charitable, say they are unintentionally and unknowingly being selfish.

Consider this one factor alone. If you live in a building and have for some years and suddenly you start seeing total strangers arriving every week, how happy will you be with that? Here is one very well written article on just that.
http://mesoscope.wordpress.com/2012/...bad-neighbors/
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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That an apartment is more comfortable than a hotel is not the issue Pinkysboos. Airbnb is now taking a booking every TWO SECONDS. I'm sure you are not naive enough to believe all those bookings are because it is more comfortable to rent an apartment or house. It's PRIMARILY because it is CHEAPER.

Nor does it make any sense to say, 'legality issues aside'. They exist and you ignore them at your own peril.

The issue as I have said is the exponential rise in this kind of rental. It is no longer someone renting a room (like a B&B which is legal) in their home while they are in residence. It is the opportunists who are buying/renting multiple properties for the sole purpose of running what amounts to an illegal hotel.

original premise of Airbnb, was an occassional rental say when a major event was going on in a city and hotels were full. Why not rent out that spare room and make a little extra cash? A reasonable idea but it has gone far beyond that. Remember, a booking every TWO SECONDS. You can find all kinds of links regarding issues with Airbnb using Google. I'm not going to go into them all here.

Regarding how to determine if it is a legal rental, that can indeed be a hassle. So what? Who's problem is that? If it's a hassle does that mean you shouldn't do it?

Airbnb sidestep the issue entirely by saying it is the responsibility of the property owner to insure that they are renting legally. They do NOT screen for legal rentals.

Most people don't know and don't care about the unintended consequences of Airbnb rentals. What they want is a cheap place to stay. You could if you want to be charitable, say they are unintentionally and unknowingly being selfish.

Consider this one factor alone. If you live in a building and have for some years and suddenly you start seeing total strangers arriving every week, how happy will you be with that? Here is one very well written article on just that.
http://mesoscope.wordpress.com/2012/...bad-neighbors/
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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For once, I find myself in agreement with Dulcius. It seems to me that too much could go wrong--being totally defrauded by the person posting the apartment for rent, having the room be much less than advertised, having the place closed down by the authorities just prior to arrival. .and possibly worse.

One day all these problems might sort themselves out and this would be a legitimate option. But right now, I'm not about to take a chance.

The big advantage I see for a non-user is that the competition would tend to keep hotel tariffs in check.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I am about to visit Venice, staying for two months. Rented an apartment.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 06:44 AM
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Dwdvagamundo, I am not 100% against renting an apartment. Everything has to be put into context. For example, purpose built studio apartments built and intended for vacation rental exist in many places.

It is important to keep in mind that Airbnb and this whole issue has come about in just the SIX years since Airbnb began. Where the problem primarily exists is in cities and some major tourist areas (Hawaii for example). Properties that were NOT intended to be vacation rentals.

Renting a Gite in France or a self-catering apartment in Spain on a beach etc. has been around for many years and is no problem other than the 'normal' issues you can run into anywhere.

I think the key is whether the apartment is in a building that is residential. I would never for example rent an apartment in NYC in a residential building. But renting one in a vacation time share condo in Naples, Florida would be no problem. They are totally different kinds of properties.
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Old Apr 6th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Yes do not throw the baby out with the bath water!
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