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Live Like A Local by Picking the Right Stay

Anyone who travels frequently, especially those who are consistently jumping from location to location, will tell you there are two must-dos when traveling: establish a routine and stay somewhere that feels like home. I’m a huge advocate of these two things but in this post let’s talk a little bit about the latter: finding a home away from home.

From hostels to Airbnbs, here are some of my favorite places to stay around the world.

Auckland, New Zealand: Airbnb
This Airbnb (featured above) was incredibly cozy and quaint! It says in the posting that it’s for two but we emailed the host before booking and she was more than accommodating for three. There was both a great window bed and a queen bed which was more than enough for us. It was walking distance to two Bays and driving distance (5 minutes) to the most charming little town, Browns Bay. I highly recommend eating breakfast at Armadillo which is also walking distance – make sure to ask for the fresh squeezed blood orange juice! We stayed 5 days at this Airbnb to avoid having to pack up mid-trip, but if you’re looking to do more than one day in the Rotorua/Hobbiton area just note it’s a bit of a drive to make more than once (although we managed!).

Bali (Seminyak), Indonesia: Airbnb
If you ever want to know what it’s like to be a queen, book a stay at this Airbnb. A lush, private villa with a stunning pool, outdoor soaking tubs for each room, and a personal breakfast chef, this place is truly a dream. Start your day with the banana pancakes and a glass of fresh mango juice and end it watching the sunset with a drink your hand at Ku De Ta beach club.  This Airbnb was the perfect location – just two blocks from the main shopping strip, a ten-minute stroll to the beach, and walkable to every beach club you need to visit.

Barcelona, Spain: Sun and Moon Hostel
This hostel makes the list almost solely for location. If you’re looking for a place with brand-new-amenities and more apartment style living check out Sant Jordi Sagrada Familia Hostel instead, but if you want a stay where you can easily walk to the beach, clubs, and stroll down Las Ramblas, Sun and Moon is the way to go! It’s right in the middle of the action which means more time enjoying Barcelona and less time worrying about transportation. Side note: Barcelona is definitely somewhere you need to book in advance because these hostels fill up fast!

Budapest, Hungary: Maverick Hostel
This hostel isn’t exactly obvious from the street but once you find it, it’s a gem! It’s so cozy, incredibly clean, and has some seriously modern conveniences for a hostel. The best part was by far the living space – it was like being in a private apartment! The brand new kitchen allowed us to cook some of our meals and the location was perfect to walk everywhere we wanted to go – from the Castle by the Danube River to the beautiful Széchenyi thermal baths (really, stay all day soaking, it’s worth it!).

Byron Bay, Australia: Backpackers Inn Hostel
Honestly, I could have just moved into this hostel! We had a private room and shared a bathroom during our stay. The hostel had free parking (we drove down from Gold Coast although there are buses) and a great schedule of activities from chill movie nights to group dinners at the hostel or Reggae nights out. There was an on-site pool, great hammock space, and private access to the beach. Don’t miss the sunset on the beach! If you walk down the private path to the beach (stop for the sunset) then turn right and walk up to the parking lot area, you will end up in the town. Grab dinner and drinks and make sure to check out the great shops too!

Dublin, Ireland: Traditional Bed and Breakfast
Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world, I truly cannot say enough good things about it. Whether you’re a young professional looking for a great night out or a retiree there to explore Irish culture, Dublin is the place to be! I’ve stayed in hostels, shared Airbnbs (this host was great!), and more around Dublin but I have to give my top pick to some of my favorite ladies: The Sisters of Mercy (yes, the nuns!). The Sisters of Mercy were actually founded by an Irish woman and their first convent is completely restored and running as a partial Bed and Breakfast. It’s incredibly reasonably priced (especially for Dublin) and in a fabulous location – right off Grafton Street near St. Stephen’s Green. While you do need to be in before the convent doors lock at midnight (no I’m not joking, but the bars do technically close at midnight), it’s really cozy, has great hosts, and you can trust that the money you’re paying is going to a great cause!

Dubrovnik, Croatia: Airbnb
I went to Croatia on a backpacking trip so while there are beautiful ocean-view villas complete with infinity pools available, this was a budget trip for me! This Airbnb turned out to be perfect for what we wanted. It’s a one-bedroom with a small but fully stocked kitchen area that is a stone’s throw from the walled city of Dubrovnik. Truly, it is just outside the main gate, right next to a local grocery store, and just around the corner from where the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones was filmed. Our host even met us at the bus stop and walked us the 2-minutes to the apartment. Note: while you’re in Dubrovnik, make sure you take a sunset Kayak tour! (I also stayed in Airbnbs in Split and Zadar while in Croatia.)

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain: HiTide Hostel
If falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, having your front door located five steps from the white sand, and relaxing on a rooftop terrace sounds like your kind of place then book your bed now! HiTide really has everything you have ever wanted: surf lessons, travel bookings, and it’s literally on the beach. My favorite part of this hostel was the community. There were always people going to the beach together, attending festivals as a group, and plenty of organized activities like community dinners!

Lincoln, New Hampshire, USA: The Mountain Club at Loon
This was our first stay on our big New England trip and it was absolutely amazing! Not only did we get a great deal on Groupon, but this hotel was way more than we imagined when booking. From an amazing indoor spa to outdoor pools, bike trails, and ski slopes this stay had it all! Check out our post on New Hampshire to read about some nearby activities too.

Reykjavik, Iceland: Airbnb
This apartment was smaller than the picture makes it seem but plenty of room for three people! There aren’t actually any doors to the bedrooms which worked well for our girls trip but might be a little challenging for families and/or couples traveling together. Both the location and parking for this stay were perfect. It was only a few blocks away from the grocery store, restaurants, and shops and had parking right out front (just watch the hours although if you get a ticket it’s only $12USD!). We had a great time in this place and found the full kitchen really necessary as Icelandic food is both expensive and let’s say an acquired taste… keep in mind that wherever you stay in Iceland your shower will smell like sulfur (so no the shower is not broken but yes it does smell like rotten eggs). All part of the experience!

From Iceland to Bali, finding the perfect spot to stay is essential for a great trip. As much as I love to wing it while traveling, I almost always book a place to stay before arriving at my destination. Doing this ensures that I create a comfortable home base from the beginning and eliminate any false expectations for my trip.

*Revisit this post often for new additions as I check different cities off my travel bucket list!*

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