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Home Exchange, Hostel, or Apartment Rental for an Extended Stay in London

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May 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM
  #1
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Home Exchange, Hostel, or Apartment Rental for an Extended Stay in London

Hi All,
I'll be traveling to London and Europe for about six months. This is very expensive and I don't have tons of money, so I thought about doing a home exchange in London, probably the most expensive city I'll be going to. I've never done a home exchange before. Any advice? Is it worth it? My other option is to rent an apartment for about three weeks in or near London. I've never done this either. Any recommended websites for reliable, safe, clean apartment rentals? What about hostels? I haven't stayed in a hostel for over a decade, when I was young and didn't really care where I slept. My previous experience with hostels was that they were gross, uncomfortable, and not very safe. I'm an experienced traveler, but I have only stayed in hotels, and I have never traveled for this amount of time. Any advice or suggestions or recommended apartments, places to stay, whatever you can think of to save me some $$ would be most welcome and appreciated.
Thanks!
peri
peripateticgirl is offline  
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May 16th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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You can get hostels like that, but there are some good ones too.

Try looking here for a wide range of options:

http://www.gumtree.com
http://www.studios92.com

These have flat-shares, hostels, budget hotels, etc. Also consider Craigslist.

For a home exchange, obviously the main concern is that you'd actually have to find someone who was in London and wanted your house at a convenient time. And most likely, this person might not live exactly in the most convenient area.

I'd suggest Priceline for a short-term stay, but it sounds like that might be overly expensive for three weeks.
WillTravel is offline  
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May 16th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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Well, it looks like you will have a lot of fun!
Try biggest rental site in Europe:
www.holiday-rentals.co.uk
and for home exchange I would suggest Craig's List:
http://london.craigslist.org/

good luck!
travel_tomato is offline  
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May 16th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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Hey,
Thanks travel tomato and WillTravel. These are great websites with affordable rates. The places look nice and clean.
peri
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May 16th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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I had friends who had a house exchage in London (near suburbs). They used intervac and had no problems.
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May 16th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Try the YHA hostels in London - http://www.yha.org.uk. They may not be fancy, but they are clean and well-kept, and you can save some money by doing your own cooking.

Lee Ann
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May 16th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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hi peripateticgirl

House exchanges are great, my daughter and son-in-law did one in Paris for an entire summer about 4 years ago.

If you stay longer than 6 months you may need a special visa issued by the British Counsel/Embassy here in the U.S.

nanabee is offline  
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May 16th, 2007, 05:28 PM
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you probably need to plan at least the basics of your itinerary before starting to look for long-term accomodations. Where are you from? The States?

Outside of the UK, you will be limited to 90 days in the schengen zone.
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May 16th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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hi janisj
Just curious: what is the Schengen Zone?
nanabee is offline  
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May 16th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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I'm from the states. I'll be in the UK for maybe six weeks, but because of the exchange rate, it can be hideously expensive. I'll be in other countries: Poland, Czech Reoublic, Ireland, Belguim (maybe), so my six months will be traveling around. My dates are still flexible, but it will probably be February or March through August 2008. Any advice or suggestions for the other countries? I've not been to any of them.

Thanks all for the great suggestions and advice! I'm a little overwhelmed planning this.

peri
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May 16th, 2007, 09:12 PM
  #11
 
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The schengen countries are
Austria, Belguim, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweeden

from what you say it looks like the only one you plan on visiting is Belguim. So you'll probably be OK - but just in case, you can't stay more than 90 days total out of your 6 months in any/all of those countries.
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May 16th, 2007, 09:16 PM
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I would stay 3 - 4 weeks each place, very reasonable with private accomodations...

So pick your places and go.

I use a company in London, for my stays in Italy and Prague. I'll look up the site, and post again. I am never disappointed with my appartments - they run about 30 -70 a night depending on length of stay, and are always in the best and prime areas. Sometimes, decor is modest, but all else is absolutely top notch.

Through vrbo (vacation rental by owner) I have been disappointed in Budapest accomodations. Great and beautiful apartment but basically in the ghetto.... Outside building and envrions were awful to the n'th degree. Interior hall and stair to apartment was equally bad. The apartment itself was an absolute gleaming jewel, well appointed, beautul architecture and design, decor, space,etc.... Somehow, over the short period I was there, I could not come to terms with the dichotomy of the place.

In Prague, modest but historic charm, great location, great charm, great interior courtyard/ blue collar gathering space, right below castle, nestled in the district of embassy's --- very safe..... have stayed there at the Donkey's Cradle, 2 times now, for over a month each time.

I've had good (Prague and Italy) and bad (Budapest) for short/long term stays, generally at about 900$ US per month, or less. thru an agency - good; through the owner directly - not so good.....

hope this helps some....
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May 17th, 2007, 06:14 PM
  #13
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Hi 4everywhere,
If you could tell me what company you use, I would really appreciate it! Thanks,
peri
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