The longer I travel, the less appealing are hostels and hotels to me. Especially hostels – while they were still fun and a novelty when I started traveling full-time in 2010, they’re now usually places that are too noisy for me to work in, to get enough sleep, and they aren’t set up for longer stays. Don’t get me wrong – I still stay in hostels, but I also run a business while I travel and often need more privacy than a hostel can give me.
Which is why I have turned more and more to apartment rentals in recent years. But I’ve always found the process of finding and booking a decent apartment complicated and tedious. AirBnB is without a doubt the most popular apartment rental website with the most available places, but I like to compare their prices with rentals on other sites like Roomorama who have fewer apartments listed but often better prices. And by the time I’ve researched in which part of town I wanted to stay, looked up apartments on all different sites and compared prices, half a day was over. But the process of booking the apartment was far from over – now I had to write the host, introduce myself, and inquire about availability. Oftentimes the apartment I wanted wasn’t available or I didn’t even get a reply and I felt like I had wasted hours.
But then I learned about MeshTrip.com.
MeshTrip is a website (and app) that congregates vacation rentals from all the popular apartment rental websites like AirBnB, Roomarama, HomeAway, WayToStay, HouseTrip etc., in one place – it basically saves you the pain of having to check available apartments on all the different vacation rental sites by putting them into one place.And the best thing? All apartments listed on MeshTrip are instantly bookable. No more inquiries, no more waiting to hear back if the apartment is available for your dates. It is basically like Expedia for vacation rentals. I was hooked right away.
When I knew I was going to spend time in Berlin this summer with a friend who also prefers staying in apartments, I immediately turned to MeshTrip.
And I was surprised about the amount of available apartments MeshTrip presented, including many apartments from rental companies I had never heard of. There was one company in particular that had some fantastic properties, and I would have never found them without MeshTrip. Or maybe I would have – after hours of research, time that I can spend in more productive ways. But especially because the vacation rental market is growing so fast, with more and more companies offering vacation rentals and private hosts offering their apartments, it is fantastic that MeshTrip saw that there was a gap in the market: a place where all available apartments for a destination are congregated in one place.
The search function is similar to any other accommodation search engine: you type in your dates and your destination, and if you are overwhelmed by the number of choices, you can filter the search by amenities you want – for example the entire apartment vs. a room, apartments that allow pets, how many bedrooms, apartments with AC or with pool, etc.
I also like that I can choose a price range for the rental which filters out options that don’t match my budget and love the map which shows me right away where the apartment is located, which is how I discarded most places that were available in Berlin (fantastic apartments, just not in a neighborhood I wanted to stay in).When I finally chose an apartment, I was ecstatic that I could simply book it instead of sending an inquiry or booking request first. MeshTrip is the only platform that offers instantly bookable rentals only, by the way. Once I had booked the apartment, the process was pretty similar to any rental website: I got an email that my booking was confirmed, and the host got in touch with me later that day to give me some further information. He also sent me text message so that I had his phone number right away, in case I didn’t find the apartment or needed anything during my stay.
The next time I wanted to book an apartment through MeshTrip I noticed that it had integrated Booking.com into their search engine – which just so happens to be my favorite hotel booking website. Initially I wasn’t sure how I felt about seeing hostels and guesthouses offered on MeshTrip, but since I tend to look up which hotels are available in the place I am visiting anyway, it saves me another step of research. And I have also found several apartments I booked in the past via Booking.com, like the one I stayed in during my second visit to Santiago de Chile, and so I guess it adds even more options.
As of now, MeshTrip offers 1.3 million rentals in 190 countries – a staggeringly higher number than just one vacation rental website.
I just used MeshTrip again this week when I realized at the very last minute that I had forgotten to book a room in Venice, a city known for its low-quality hostels and hotels at outrageous prices. After looking at the available hotel options, I was ready to cancel my trip. Instead, I turned to MeshTrip again.
I didn’t even have to look hard, right on the first page of search results was a newly-furbished room in a shared apartment that included kitchen use and free WiFi – for considerably less money than a room in one of the crappy hostels I had looked at! If you’ve ever stayed at a hostel, you know that communal kitchens can get pretty disgusting – but in an apartment with a few rooms only, you can expect it to be much cleaner. Not only was my room super comfy, the bathroom spotless and the kitchen well-equipped – my host also offered free breakfast. Without MeshTrip, I would have ended up in an overpriced hostel or guesthouse with terrible reviews.I also ended up staying in a local neighborhood instead of Venice’s tourist areas, and if you have been to Venice, you know how frustrating it can be to be limited to overpriced and mediocre tourist restaurants, no supermarkets around you, and hordes of cruise ship tourist groups traipsing through the streets from morning till the sun goes down. Instead of that, I had a giant supermarket around the corner from my apartment, café bars that serve cappuccino for €1.20 and I had an overall more authentic experience, now knowing where and how the ordinary Venetian lives. Plus, having been a host myself in the past, I know how nice it is to have an extra income and I am always happy to support the local hosts.What about you? Do you prefer apartments or hotels? Have you used MeshTrip yet?