Category Archives: NYC Getaways

a love letter to new jersey* from a new yorker**

22nd February 2015

Near Lambertville Station in Lambertville, NJ
Where:
 Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA

When: Most recently, February–but we’ve visited most seasons

With: Husband

*This love letter refers to a very specific point in New Jersey, arguably more well-known for the Pennsylvania city across the river

**I’ve actually been in New York 9.5 years, which is about 6 months short of the 10 year mark that, according to urban legend, makes you a real New Yorker, so I’m slightly jumping the gun

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5 tips for finding the best Airbnb

10th February 2015

5 tips for your next airbnb stay

Full disclosure: I’m an Airbnb addict. I’m one of those people who logs on just to see the places I could visit. I have 9 semi-organized wishlists, with over 300 possible rentals. I talk about it constantly to all of my friends.

Although Airbnb is definitely more mainstream these days, I am always surprised by the number of people who haven’t yet given it a chance. Hopefully these tips will be helpful for your next trip and maybe give you that extra push you need to try it out if you haven’t yet!

Airbnb rental in Stockholm, Sweden

Our rental in Stockholm, Sweden (lovely place, but definitely a 20 min walk to the metro, not 10!)

1. Stay at a place with 10+ reviews

Especially for newbies, I recommend filtering by number of reviews for your first few stays. Airbnb isn’t exactly juried, so it’s good to have the support of the community behind your first several picks, until you become more confident in your choosing ability. Whenever possible, I still prefer to stay at a place with ample reviews!

2. Take ratings seriously

Those little yellow stars? They matter. Each listing has an overall rating for things like “Location” and “Cleanliness”–and, in my opinion, these two are the most important. I like to think of it like when you ask your boyfriend how many beers he drank and he says 2. You know he really means 6. Same thing here, in reverse. Only 4 stars? Expect a 2. Things go downhill much more easily than uphill. Play it safe and demand 5 stars–it’s very possible!

Airbnb rental in Warwick, NY - Pioneer Farm

Our midsummer escape to a place with a pool in Warwick, NY

3. Pay attention to photos

In a similar vein, I put a lot of weight in a listing’s photos. If a host cares enough to have immaculate photos, plus they have good ratings and reviews, chances are they care about continuing upkeep in general. Some red flags? Places that don’t look lived in at all. Interestingly, I try to stay away from super sparse places, or hosts with multiple listings. Those signal a host who is doing this in bulk for money making, rather than a genuine host who cares about the place they’re putting online because they actually live there. (Plus, you might not get great tips and tricks for exploring the ‘hood if the person doesn’t even reside there!)

4. Be realistic in your searches

And I mean whatever is realistic for you! So far, I’ve done Airbnb mostly in cities where it is quite popular–like Hudson, NY, Paris, Lisbon, Stockholm, Copenhagen. It’s important to figure out the amount you’d like to spend per night prior to beginning your hunt to narrow down what is feasible. In Copenhagen and Stockholm, I filtered below $150 for an entire home, and found plenty of options in very central areas. The search function can be a little funky, so you may not find all the best fitting options if you’re not really honest with yourself. Plus, remember–one of the perks of this type of travel is more bang for your buck–so try to make sure you achieve that!

Airbnb rental in Copenhagen, Denmark

Our huge spacious apartment in a hip neighborhood in Copenhagen, Denmark

5. Don’t limit your location

I almost never research the best location to stay in prior to looking at my Airbnb options. With such an active community like this, I prefer to see what the other guests have to say about the location of the listings. One of the fun things about apartment rentals is being able to somewhat assimilate into the community, and see a different part of the city. Don’t be afraid to stay a little bit away from tourist-central if transportation is easy and the ‘hood is unique! Disclaimer: Much like the ratings call out, don’t trust the host’s estimate of the “walking distance” to major landmarks. Whenever someone says “10 minutes” they really mean at least 20. Think about the beers, man.

Airbnb rental in Lisbon, Portugal

Our homey kitchen in a huge apartment in Lisbon, Portugal

Hope that helps! Would love to hear about your travels and favorite Airbnb stays. (And if you’re so inclined, check out my wishlists here!)

(p.s. this is an entirely non-sponsored post, I’m just that obsessed)

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weekend escape: Wave Hill

20th October 2014

wave hill in new york city, the bronx, fall foliage, autumn

Where: Wave Hill in the Bronx, NY

When: October

With: Husband

Eat: bring a picnic to eat on the grounds (the cafe food was pretty good but not a must)

Sometimes the urge to get outta town can’t immediately be filled with a train ride or a plane flight, so I have a collection of “local escapes” to choose from on those days. Most of them came from reading TimeOut NY and tabbing the corners to remember… lo and behold, 9 years after moving to NYC, I haven’t done the best job at hitting all the spots. I decided this weekend to finally check one off the list.

wave hill in new york city, the bronx, fall foliage, autumn

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weekend escape: warwick, ny

28th September 2014

Where: Warwick, NY

When: August

With: Husband with friends Jen and Will

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Towards the end of last summer, I had this itch to get the hell out of Manhattan and go to a big house somewhere with a pool. That was literally my only criteria. I searched high and low on Airbnb for anything within two hours of the city that had a pool and there was…. nothing. So, I learned my lesson, and in February or something nuts like that, I booked a house with a pool for August. Luckily, we were able to recruit my freshman college roomie and her man to come along and, it turned out, she actually knew the place that I’d picked totally randomly.

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Warwick is a small town at the southern tip of Orange County, NY, just about an hour and a half drive from Manhattan. Jen actually has a bunch of family in that area, some of whom were very connected to one of our main points of entertainment… but more on that in a bit.

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weekend escape: hudson, ny

5th September 2014

Hudson River view in Hudson, NY

old home in Hudson, NY

Where: Hudson, NY

When: June

With: Husband

In June, I decided it would be fun to do a quick weekend trip upstate to Hudson, NY. I knew little about the town, as usual–I think I read about it in a New York Times article or simply found a lot of cute Airbnbs there [and there are, seriously, a ton! Plus all the hosts seem to split their time between Hudson and Brooklyn, as painters or writers or other artists… right up my alley]. And there is a ton of vintage shopping, too, which is one of my favorite ways to explore a new location.

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