Sunday, September 11, 2016

Airbnb and Montenegro

I became a member of Airbnb since December 2013 and did not use their service until my trip to Boston a year later. I was skeptical about staying with strangers back then - But, Boston hotels were expensive and I needed a private room to myself. I had a tight budget and I chanced upon a friend who told me about using Airbnb as a budget alternative to hotels and she also told me about the company's robust host verification process to ensure safety of their customers. So there I downloaded the Airbnb app on my phone and made my first booking. Since then, I have used Airbnb for my trips to Taiwan, Barcelona, Sri Lanka, Montenegro, Slovenia and still using it today!

I am really impressed by Airbnb's booking through payment process - All you need to do is to enter your destination, stay dates and number of guests. Then you will be spoil with a WIDE RANGE of options to select from. Depending on your specific needs, you can also filter your options by prices, locations, privacy, amenities..etc. You can make a booking for a night, a week or month/months... Payment is made electronically. You can message the host if you have more questions. So everything is ONLINE, and all you need to do is to click a few buttons! Isn't internet amazing?

NOTE: I am not making any profit writing this, even though I wish I could. Many people have asked how I kept my travel costs low and using Airbnb is one of the reasons. I used a lot of Hostelbookers and in the past. But I really like Airbnb very much because of my pleasant experience so far. There is a small processing fee in place but I can live with that.  For first timers, you might want to read this before making your first booking! Good luck and enjoy your travels~~~

Making our booking, instantly

Julian and I arrived in Kotor Bay, Montenegro by bus from Dubrovnik – A day before heading out of Dubrovnik, we tried looking for a room in Kotor Bay on Airbnb app (yes, we only make plans the day before, super last minute). We came across Ranko’s place out in Tivat which looked like it was close to Kotor on the map. We also confirmed that there was a kitchen at her place that we could make our own food. So there we completed our booking within 20 minutes including verification and making a payment, totally hassle free! And yes, having a kitchen is a big part when Julian and I choose our travel accommodation and you will know why later! 

Our kind host in Montenegro - Ranko

Our host Ranko picked us up from the bus station at Tivat FREE OF CHARGE – We communicated through the chatting function on Airbnb app the whole morning, she guided me thoroughly to make sure I boarded the right bus and arrived safely -  She and her cousin also helped us with our luggage and also got us to the supermarket for grocery shopping. Within a few minutes of drive, we arrived at Ranko’s place and we were all set to explore a new city. WE LOVED Montenegro….

Unfortunately on the next day, I felt sick because I caught a cold from the rain in Barcelona few days back. So, I seek help again from our host Ranko to find a doctor close by. Ranko was super attentive and drove me to the nearby clinic and helped with translation and spoke to the nurses. I saw a doctor and soon recovered in two days. So you see how I met great people using Airbnb service whom I once called them stranger and was skeptical about staying with them! And special thanks to Julian who took care of me the entire time at Tivat. 

Wen’s little words: All these kind gestures that I almost thought they do not exist anymore have made the entire stay in Montenegro a pleasant one. Ranko did not ask for a tip for her extra service, she could have booked a taxi for me to the clinic instead of driving me there. She was not obliged at all to do this for me other than renting the room to me. This was all out of her kindness and I felt loved, genuinely, as human being.  

Our next nice little apartment in Montenegro

As I recovered, Julian and I decided to stay closer to the bay in Kotor so we booked another apartment right outside the fortress. That’s the beauty of not making pre-planned hotel bookings for your entire trip because you get to be very flexible with making changes along the trip! This time, our little apartment has got EVERYTHING you need to live like a real local person. Our apartment has a little kitchen that has all the utensils ready to make basic dinner, a proper bedroom, a little living room with a TV, fantastic bathroom with WASHING MACHINE (Oh my god, we can do our laundry for free!) - all to yourself! The host and his family live by the unit downstairs. We also have a little balcony where we could enjoy the view of the fortress and some old deserted factories – We were absolutely happy with our apartment… the location, the amenities, the booking process, the price.. just everything! We truly felt like we were home staying at the apartment.

The little kitchen and a bar top table at our Kotor apartment.
This is why we like having a kitchen....Wen's signature spaghetti feast. 
Our little living room. Huge, eh?
We hiked the fortress the next day and recommend anyone who is visiting Kotor to do the same! We also made our way to the Lady of the Rocks and swam a little bit in water. We also took the Blue Line (bus company) and go around the coastline by Kotor Bay - Montenegro just felt very peaceful, slow paced, quiet and relatively undiscovered in general. I definitely love the friendly people Have I said this before? We LOVED Montenegro…. 

Last but not least, lovely pictures and VIDEO brought to you from Montenegro, Kotor Bay.....

Tvrđave Kotora - Kotor Fortress and the view...OMG

Rocky stairs up the Kotor fortress of height about 1.2km. Woof.. 

Almost the top.. and other people.

The stunning view

Another stunning view - it's okay to be jealous.
Me enjoying the bird-eye view of Kotor Bay

Perast coast
The Roman Catholic Church of the Lady of the Rocks

Looking back from the boat on our way heading to the Lady of the Rock - the Perast coastline.

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