We have never done apartment living when vacationing before. We normally stay in hotels, B&B’s, campgrounds or small guest-houses and hadn’t considered renting an apartment for a week at a time.
London is one expensive town and renting an apartment for the duration of time you are there will help save a lot of money. We cooked our own food, did our laundry and had a comfortable place to drink some beer and wine at night rather than spending all our time in expensive restaurants and bars.
It is a great way to stay in a downtown area at an affordable price.
Located a mere 800 metres from the Old Town tube station in the Islington area we had a 2 bedroom apartment all to ourselves for 8 whole days courtesy of Oh-London, an apartment and hostel rental booking agency.
Rick wasn’t arriving until a couple of days before the beginning of the Festival of Slow, so Sherry, Dave and I took advantage of having the two separate bedrooms to ourselves.
We were pretty excited to see that we were right across the street from Jamie Oliver’s production office and one of his non-profit restaurants was just around the corner. We made a mental note to go there for dinner later in the week and indeed we did!
For the most part though, we took advantage of the eat-in kitchen and made dinner at home a couple of nights. The best way to save money when travelling is to avoid eating out and we ate like kings for peanuts in our cozy apartment.
Having bought an Oyster Card for the duration of our time in London, we had unlimited access to the tube and spent our days sightseeing. We didn’t have to worry about any commute or hopping on a train to get from one attraction to another. Thanks to Globetrotting Girls for letting us know about purchasing an Oyster Card.
We had an amazing night out when we met up with some of London’s top travel writers, bloggers, tour companies and pr agencies when we joined in on a TBU meet up at ….
We almost didn’t’ make it thought because we had difficulties figuring out the European Laundry in our apartment and had our clothes stuck inside after the drying cycle ended.
The door was locked and it took us literally hours of working on it to open the door. We drained water from it, started cycles over again, put it on a spin cycle only and tried drying our clothes again but only for 10 minutes at a time. Nothing worked. Then suddenly after another try, it magically popped open and we made it out just in time for the latter half of our meet up.
I’m glad we did because we met some amazing people!
Wanting to book your own apartment stay in London? Visit Oh-London for more details.
Check out these tips that we got from Oh London on how to choose.
1. What sort of bunch are you dealing with? Don’t be afraid to ask the most basic questions, like how long have they been in business, and whether you’ll be able to call them in your native language. Have a look as well on travel forums to see what other people are saying about the company.
2. Before you even think about handing over your credit card details, do a quick check. A secure site will have certain seals of approval, such as those issued by VeriSign and Thawte. The browser’s status bar (at the foot of the screen) should also change when you’re at the booking stage to show you a closed padlock icon.
3. There’s nothing worse than finding the flat of your dreams, going to the hassle of entering credit card details, only to be met with a message that says “sorry, we’ll need to check availability and get back to you”. Look for companies offering instant confirmations and save yourself the wait.
4. Wading through small print may not sound like fun, but one thing you should pay attention to are any ‘hidden’ charges. These could be in the form of booking fees or surcharges for having the temerity to use your credit card. Some firms charge and some don’t – if yours does, they should at least make this clear at every stage of the booking process.
5. Keep an eye out for previous guests’ reviews of the accommodation. Such insights can make all the difference in whether you choose apartment A or B. (Make sure they’re bona fide, though. Check if the apartment’s rating is actually backed up by the reviews, or whether the company might have given itself an undeserved pat on the back.)