As my family has traveled more and more, we’ve come to prefer staying in an apartment or home rather than a hotel for anything longer than a few days. The reasons? We get more of a sense of place. We experience a neighborhood, rather than a commercial tourist area. We can walk to the corner store down the street and pick up French bread in New Orleans. Greet the laundrette attendant by name in Paris. Frequent our favorite coffee shop in San Francisco. It’s a completely different experience.

The view from our rented apartment in New Orleans
The view from our rented apartment in New Orleans

It’s also fun to me to get a mixed bag in the places we stay. We’ve stayed in 6th-floor apartments in Paris that, while cramped, provided the perfect backdrop for a month-long family getaway. I’ve also stayed in a room in an apartment with a dirty tub. Not every experience is idyllic, but they sure make for good stories!

Last year, we stayed in an apartment in New Orleans through AirBnB, and had the best experience. The apartment was well furnished with modern kitchen and bath. The host even left local beer and snacks in the fridge for us! We loved it so much, we wanted to stay longer. But unlucky for us: they were booked. That’s the problem with a good spot! You’ve got to reserve far in advance!

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I encourage you to search for accommodations in the city you plan to visit to see what’s available. Often you can find a place for the same or less than a hotel, and you’ll have the added benefit of having a kitchen you can cook in and save money.