CONTRIBUTED BY MRS. B.
While traveling in Europe we have found that it is often cheaper staying in an apartment instead of a hotel! For our trip to Wiesbaden for basketball tournaments I priced a few places before deciding to try out an apartment. I checked billeting at Wiesbaden but it was $160/night (for the first person)! That’s crazy! Hotels in the area were running around €100+/night! I decided that we would give the apartment idea a try. I was able to get a 2 bedroom apartment for 4 of us for 4 nights for €220! That was way cheaper than staying in a hotel or in billeting!
I used several sites to look for the apartment rentals. The two that I hear about most often are Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb, our apartment was on both sites but I contact ed them via the VRBO site. I will tell you there are several types of rentals: apartments, whole house, shared, and private room so make sure you know that when your looking at booking. Shared & private room mean you’ll be sharing some areas with other people.
After doing some research I decided on an apartment in Mainz. I choose Mainz for several reasons. There were many more listings in this area and it is only 15 minutes from Wiesbaden.
I chose the apartment because it had great prices, great location, and free Wi-Fi because, let’s admit it…that matters to Americans, LOL! That being said we’ve never done a stay like this before so it was all new to us! After we contacted them, they sent us a contract to sign reserving the dates. There was info in there about being able to wire them bank payment, but I’ve been told that’s a big no-no for apartment rentals. However when I contacted them to ask about payment they just told us to bring it with us when we arrived, that worked for us!
The apartment was easy to find with the GPS and had on-street parking available right in front of it. We were greeted warmly by the owners when we arrived. What I did not realize before we got there was that this is a ’shared’ apartment rental. Meaning that we stayed on the top floor of the house and they live in the bottom half of the house. It’s quite common here in Europe but for us American’s is something we have to get used to.
You enter into a common entry way and off to the right is the door into their house, just past the door is the stairs up to the rental apartment. The great thing about that was that if we needed anything we just had to go down and knock on their door and ask.
The upstairs apartment was cute and well furnished. It had a kitchen with a small fridge, toaster, and microwave, a dining room table and chairs.
There was also a desk area. There were brochures for pizza places, directions to local places, Wi-Fi log in, and keys here. You can also see the balcony out to the right.
The bathroom was very modern with a huge tub and multi jetted shower. There were TONS of towels and she even provide mored 2 days into the stay. I had seen some reviews at other apartments complain about not enough towels, but that is not the case here! As you can see from our dirty towel pile (sorry I took the pic as we were leaving) and the shelf on the left, there are plenty, even for a family of 4!
The bedroom off the kitchen had a double bed, which Bea and I shared. There was also a TV and access to the balcony. The TV was pretty much worthless because all the channels were in German but we did watch some Olympics despite it being in German. There was also a DVD player. We didn’t need the TV because Wi-Fi was included and it was screaming fast! 40 mb for those who know what that means. After the Internet we’ve had so far here in Germany, it was like a breath of fresh air, and was so hard to leave behind!
The other bedroom of the hall had a king sized bed, Mr. B & Bub stayed in there. There was also so TV in there as well.
The hallway, kitchen & first bedroom to the left, bathroom straight ahead, and 2nd bedroom not pictured in lower right hand corner. Shoe rack your shoes and a hanging basket with house sho es to use.
I do have to say that it was kinda weird because they lived downstairs, I felt like we had to be quiet to not bother them. I’m sure that was not the case but again we’re not used to situations like these. That being said the owners were amazing! They are worth the stay in themselves! They let us use the washer & dryer to wash the team’s uniforms for the boys. Mr. B went down and started them and she put them in the dryer and let us know when they were done. They also recommended a pizza place, helped Mr. B call in and order it and get this….the gentleman rode with Bill to show him where the place was to pick up the pizza!! Those are things that we wouldn’t have experienced if they hadn’t lived downstairs.
When we left we just had to tidy up by washing our dishes and stripping the beds of the sheets. Super easy!
We had a great first time experience staying in an apartment instead of a hotel! It’s left me open to looking for apartments for the rest of our travels, which helps with broadening our horizons and helping our travel budget go further. If your hesitant to try it my advice it to just go for it. Worst case is that you don’t like it and you don’t have to do it again. We’ve stayed at some pretty crummy hotels before so this was a positive experience for us.
Have you ever stayed at an apartment during your travels? How was the experience?
Take a look at how Michelle saved money on in Slovenia and Croatia with Airbnb in this article.