Finally, a travel post! I know, when it comes to my travels, my Instagram (@lush_angel) is more updated than my blog. My bad! But I promise, I’ll slowly share my travel diaries again here. First on my list is my UK trip. I just realized that all my UK and Europe posts do not have photos in it anymore since I linked them all in my Multiply account (which is now gone). So, allow me to start all over again and let us all go through my adventures together, shall we? 😉 Let me start with London, the only place I’ll never get tired of going back to. Why? Well, I’ll reserve my answer in my city tour post. For now, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on where to stay in London.
I’ve always been asked for suggestions where to stay in London. Not that I’m an expert. But for the few times I’ve been there, I’ve never stayed in a hotel. Don’t get me wrong, staying in a hotel is always my preference when traveling. It’s comfortable and tourist friendly (most of the time), with 24 hours housekeeping and breakfast. Hotels aren’t always expensive too. Most of the time, you can find one that can fit your budget. But when in London, everything can get a little too expensive when you’re in Central London, the innermost part of the city. When you look at London’s tube or underground, that would be in Zone 1. If you’re within that area, hotels can be really expensive, especially when you do not book months ahead. Of course, you can always get accommodations outside Zone 1, I just find it too far and that would also mean higher tube fares. The farther you go, the more you spend on your train rides, especially if you’re a tourist and you’ll mostly stay at the center during the day. If I’m on a budget though, I won’t mind staying in Zone 2. But if I’m after the convenience, Zone 1 it is.
I was with my family during my last trip to London. A week before our trip, we still didn’t have a place to stay. Obviously, when I checked the hotels in Central London, prices were already quite steep considering our last minute booking. Since we were 4, we had to get 2 rooms if we would stay in a hotel. The going rate at that time was about PHP 10,000 – PHP 15,000 per room, per night. I found it too expensive especially because we were staying for more than two weeks! This was when I decided to try Airbnb.
Honestly, I was scared to try it at first. Well, for first timers, who wouldn’t? You’ll sleep in a house/ flat of a stranger. But I was left with no choice at that time. I was looking into a number of flats, but to my dismay, some were already booked and others have picky owners. For those who are not familiar with Airbnb, users mostly rely on feedbacks given by their former guests or hosts. Since it was my first time, I didn’t have any feedbacks yet as a guest. I understand the hosts, of course. They’re letting strangers stay in their property so they need to know at least a little something about their guests, right? Anyway, thankfully a very kind host accepted my offer. It was located within Central London. The price of the entire apartment, which could fit the 4 of us, was the same as getting one hotel room. Jackpot!
Who wouldn’t fall in love with this neighborhood?! It looks and feels very secure!
Different underground and bus stations, restaurants, a grocery, and a park were all near our place. Thanks to Google Maps I didn’t have a hard time looking for these places. More than uploading photos on Facebook and Instagram, I need my data to bring me to places. I remember the first time I went to London, I used to get lost almost everyday! Well, not anymore since we now have unlimited data- even while traveling abroad. Although I somehow love getting lost from time to time because I get to discover new places, I also want to make the most out of my time as a tourist. Google Maps and Waze help me save a lot of time, which allows me to see and do more things!
(You can try out Smart Surf Abroad, which is only PHP 550 of unlimited internet per day. It’s hassle-free since there’s no need to register and Smart automatically connects to their partner network. There’s also no bill shock because of the new network lock feature that does not allow roaming usage on non-partner roaming networks. Thus, no unwanted data charges – just the PHP 550/day. For more details, visit http://smart.com.ph/postpaidsurfabroad)
Here are some photos inside the apartment.
It was neat and tidy. The owner even prepared a bottle of wine for us. He also left a note on how to operate the television, internet, and laundry. He even said we could use anything inside his house, including the condiments in his kitchen. He was such an amazing host!
Our two-week stay in this flat was perfect! Staying in an apartment made me feel I was actually living in London again. (I worked in London for a couple of months when I was still part of the financial industry.) I guess this is one of the reasons why I now love staying in an apartment than in a hotel. It makes me feel at “home”. It gives me a taste of how it feels like living in the place.
the neighborhood at night
After this unforgettable experience, this wouldn’t be my first and last Airbnb stay, for sure! And for those who will be booking soon, you might want to grab this latest promo from Smart: All Smart subscribers can enjoy PHP 2,500 discount for a minimum spend of PHP 8,000 booking worldwide. Visit www.smart.com.ph/airbnb to learn more.
So, when in London, I suggest looking for an apartment first. It’s more economical, especially if you’re more than 2 pax. Plus, you’ll somehow feel like a Londoner. Haha! Well, this is from my personal experience. 😉