Yesterday my mission was to find accommodation in Moscow for 4 nights. It is easier said than done because Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world. So where did I start and did I manage to find something that suited my budget and my liking?
Normally when I look for accommodation I go to Hostelworld.com and Hostelbookers.com. They are my favourite sites not only because we are hostel owners and have our property listed there but mainly because I get personal reviews from other travellers and I can see prices,photos and other valuable information. I have always been a great supporter of the Hostel community and prefer staying in a hostel over a hotel.
For Moscow we decided to book something close to Red Square. You save a lot of money and time when you are close to the main attractions. Luckily I have been to Moscow before so I have some idea of where the main attractions and Metro`s are.
What exactly am I looking for and what are my preferences without compromising on quality?
- Price (If you are travelling on a budget then price is very important)
- Location (The closer you are to the centre of a city, the better, especially in a huge city like Moscow)
- Cleanliness (Extremely important and this is one aspect that I will not negotiate on)
- Safety (Booking into a shady part of the city is not wise. I am also looking for lockers or some place secure where I can store valuables)
- This might surprise you but I am actually looking for places that is not fun (travel reviews). If a hostel is rated as a lot of fun, then you can be assured you are not going to get any sleep. I want to sleep especially after a 48 hour flight.
- Travel reviews. This is very important because travellers take the time to write up reviews for other travellers. You can find reviews in Hostelworld,Hostelbookers and Tripadvisor. They are very helpful.
- A kitchen. We want to cook. Eating out in restaurants are too expensive. We normally buy food from the supermarket and cook. That way you save a lot of money and it is fun cooking together.
Moscow has many hostels listed and I started my search with price priority. I also had an additional requirement: PayPal. We don`t have a credit card and that makes payment very difficult.Hostelworld recently added PayPal as a method of payment and that helps a lot. Not all hostels accept Paypal.
I was tearing my hair out! If I found a hostel with a kitchen, they didn`t accept PayPal and vice-verca. If the price was right, then the dormi (sharing with other travellers) was too big. I don`t want to sleep in a 16-bedroom dorm. It was time to compromise…
Then I did another search on the Internet and I found AirBnb.I actually know them because we have our property listed there as well but I have never used them. To my surprise I found accommodation in central Moscow for very good prices without compromising on anything. So where is the catch you might ask?
People on AirBnb rent out rooms in their houses. You pay a price per night, week or month and have all the facilities that the owners are using. Some people might find this weird but we have done it before and it is actually a lot of fun. You don`t have to share with too many people, you have privacy and you get to meet new people. Sometimes you can even form lasting friendships. People renting out rooms in their houses are travellers by heart and the are just as eager to meet people from other countries.
AirBnb also has traveller reviews, you can pay with Paypal and you can personally contact the owners and ask questions. I emailed the couple last night and they responded this morning. They don`t speak a lot of English but I will ask hubby to contact them in Russian. I am so excited! I finally found a place where I feel I would like to stay!
What to you think of this type of accommodation? Is it crazy, dangerous or a good idea? I would love to hear your thoughts.