Today Heather and I list the top 15 websites that we LOVE to use to plan our travels. If we’re paying for plane tickets (yes, it happens) we know where to go.
Train tickets? Check.
We’ve even got a ton of sites for accommodations and a great one to help budget your travels.
And of course, you need to know what to do when you get there!
If we use it, we’ve linked it and there are some great resources here to help you plan your trip from the moment the idea pops into your head to the moment you return home, exhausted, but thankful for the entire experience.
What are some of your favorite travel sites? Let us know in the comments below!
Our GoWithOh apartment in Florence, which was located right in the heart of the city.
[My accommodations in Venice, Florence, and Rome were complimentary courtesy of GoWithOh but the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. I’d recommend GoWithOh to anyone, even my own mother (in fact, I have)!]
When I travel, I’m a snob.
Not a “I want to have only the most expensive rooms and meals” type snob.
But a “I want to have as authentic and unique an experience as possible” type snob.
I want my trip to be different.
To have special touches.
To have magic.
And while traveling has a way of doing that on it’s own, I also think that the type of places you decide to stay can play a big part in what type of experience you have.
Which is why I usually eschew chain hotels for something more local.
Something with more personality.
Something that can give me a sneak peak in to the culture of an area, and provide me with a unique and interesting experience.
And one of the best ways to do that is renting apartments for a short period of time, a trend that is taking off in recent years.
Here are a few of my favorite benefits of staying in apartments.
The Benefits of Staying in an Apartment
The bedroom of our GoWithOh apartment in Florence.
Apartments provide many conveniences hotels don’t
Almost all apartments will come with a fully equipped kitchen, a huge plus, especially if you’re staying in a place for a few days.
Also, it may have a washer and dryer, which means you can easily do laundry if need be.
Apartments are bigger than hotel rooms
One of my favorite things about staying in apartments is having some room to stretch out. I hate walking in to a hotel and having my bag and all my stuff right next to me.
In an apartment, you don’t feel like you’re right on top of everything.
Apartments can be found in unique areas of a city
Most of the bigger hotels are found clustered in one spot of a city, usually the most touristed area.
Oftentimes, you can find apartments there if you’d like, but you can also find apartments in some quieter, more local, and more authentic spots of a city.
Apartment owners are a great resource for local tips
I always pick the brain of the apartment owner when we first arrive, asking them their favorite restaurants and activities.
It’s like having a built in local guide, and it’s helped us enjoy some really amazing places we would never find in a mass produced guidebook.
You can’t beat the human element, which is what traveling is all about.
Every apartment has it’s own quirks
What may be a turn off to some is a huge plus for me. You can never quite be sure what an apartment will be like until you get there, which is part of the fun.
In almost every instance, we’ve been pleasantly surprised, and the quirkiness of a place has helped make the experience more memorable.
Apartments come in all shapes and sizes
Renting an apartment really can be for anyone. Couples can easily find studios and 1 bedrooms to fit their needs.
For bigger groups, like families, apartments are an excellent choice because they allow you to all be together under one roof and are typically much cheaper than getting a couple of hotel rooms.
Sold on renting an apartment for your next trip?
Great, here is my favorite resource for renting apartments in Europe!
GoWithOh- Where I “Go” For Apartments in Europe
Our GoWithOh apartment in Rome, which was right next to the Roman Forum.
During our trip to Italy, Heather and I stayed at apartments in Venice, Florence, and Rome that we had found through GoWithOh.
GoWithOh is a European accommodation site that has over 2,800 apartments in 17 of the major cities across Europe, including London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, among others.
It was our first time using GoWithOh and we couldn’t have had a better experience.
Here are a few of the things I particularly enjoy about GoWithOh.
If you want a smaller, more affordable apartment for 2 people, they’ve got that.
If you’re looking for an apartment that can fit a whole family, they’ve got that.
Or if you want a super-chic upscale place to really spoil yourself, they’ve got that as well.
The Attention to Customer Service
What really sets GoWithOh apart is that they take special care in making sure everything goes so smoothly.
While you interact directly with the apartment owner to get the keys and check-in, there are also GoWithOh staff members (who speak a total of 13 languages) constantly ready to help.
They aren’t simply a site that has you book a place through them and then puts you out on your own.
They’ll be there every step of the way, if need be.
A High Standard of Quality
GoWithOh doesn’t allow just anyone to list their apartment.
Instead, each apartment has to go through a vetting process and meet a certain standard before it can be listed.
After this, if an apartment doesn’t receive a high enough feedback rating from people who have stayed there, it will also be pulled.
This helps ensure that you’re always getting an apartment that meets a high standard of quality.
An Easy to Use Website
I love to do a ton of research before booking a place, and so using GoWithOh is like heaven.
You can set all types of filters, from number of bedrooms to price, to narrow down your search.
You can also search by map view, my favorite function, so you know exactly what area you’ll be in.
To top it off, each apartment has TONS of pictures as well as reviews of past guests.
Next time you’re traveling, I would highly recommend taking a look at renting an apartment if you’re staying in an area for a couple of days.
Apartments make very comfortable, easy, and enjoyable home bases for exploring cities and provide a unique travel experience that can’t be matched.
If you are traveling through Europe, I can’t speak highly enough about GoWithOh.
They’ve got an amazing variety of choices, and every single GoWithOh apartment I’ve stayed in, from a 2 bedroom in northwest Venice to a 1,000 year old apartment in the heart of Florence, has been phenomenal.
The personal attention and customer service they provide is incredible, and you’ll be in good hands should you choose to use them.
Have you ever stayed in an apartment before? If so, where, and how was your experience?
To read more about traveling cheap in Italy, check out these posts: