I’m very excited to announce that I’m a Roomorama Ambassador for 2015 and will be staying with them during my travels throughout Europe over the next couple of months! Over the past few years, I’ve noticed myself choosing to stay in apartments rather than hotels, especially if I’m traveling for more than a few days. I’m not a fan of hotel prices in Europe (who is?!), especially in big cities where I’m looking for a central location and something a bit nicer than a hostel or your basic 2-star hotel.
My favorite part about renting an apartment while abroad? Living like a local! Roomorama is all about the living like a local experience and is founded on the principle that there is more to travel than visiting a checklist of tourist attractions. My first stay in a Roomorama apartment while in Amsterdam was the perfect example of this.
Located in the trendy 9 Streets District, along the gorgeous canals, we quickly learned that this is where the locals come to eat, drink, and shop! After booking this apartment last month, I had emailed the host my arrival time and he replied with a detailed list of directions to the apartment which we found quite easily. Our friendly host, David, welcomed us into the apartment we’d be staying in for the next two days and told us everything we needed to know about the local area and how to get around Amsterdam. After living in Amsterdam for over 30 years, he knew the city quite well and gave us a local’s perspective. I loved his recommendation of buying a hop on/off canal boat pass rather than paying 10+ euros for a one-hour canal cruise, not to mention his fabulous suggestions for restaurants that cater to the locals rather than tourists so the prices are great and so is the quality!
With one en-suite bedroom and two double beds in the living room, our apartment could comfortably sleep 6 people. Although we didn’t have enough time to take full advantage of our dining room, kitchen and amenities such as a washing machine, it sure beat staying in a cramped, overpriced hotel room! This way, you can save money by cooking a few meals and if you’ve been traveling for awhile, that washer will really come in handy. Unless you’d rather spend your first afternoon in Amsterdam in a laundromat! No thanks
The only downside to this apartment? The lighting! Which is why I have so very few photos of the apartment! All of my photos turned out so dark and grainy that I eventually just gave up (fellow bloggers will understand my pain!) and decided to take pictures of the neighborhood instead which was certainly one of the highlights of staying in this apartment. In terms of local attractions, we were about a 10 minute walk from the Anne Frank house, and about 20 steps from the canals! Not bad.
A few days before visiting Amsterdam, I was checking the weather forecast almost obsessively, praying that the rain would hold off. Rain and even hail was what they were predicting during our stay so I started researching every museum that we could possibly visit. Of course, the sun shined almost the entire time and those plans flew out the window. Instead, we walked. And walked. Oh, and toured the canals by boat and then walked some more. That’s my #1 recommendation for Amsterdam. Just take a walk. Incredibly clever, I know. But there are just so many canals to photograph, so many bridges to cross, and so, SO many adorable cafes and independent shops to visit. I could easily spend a week just walking around this incredibly quaint and vibrant city.
One main tip (and perhaps more useful!) that I’ll give you is if you want to visit the Anne Frank House, book tickets online in advance. And I’m talking about MONTHS in advance. If not, plan to spend two hours or more in line. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of this beforehand so we didn’t get the chance to visit but that’s only another reason to return! Not that I needed a reason as I’ll definitely be returning soon. You can see a lot of Amsterdam in just two days but I’d give yourself at least four!
As I mentioned in the title, there’s a very special giveaway I want to share with you guys! Roomorama has teamed up with Cathay Pacific to give away a return flight to Tokyo and 3-nights accommodation. You can read more about how to enter here. The contest ends April 12th so don’t waste any time… Good luck!
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Do you prefer staying in hotels or apartment rentals? I’d love to know in the comments below. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be traveling with Roomorama to London, Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona! While I’m in these cities, I’ll be taking over their Instagram so feel free to follow along.