We are traveling abroad for a full year, but we don’t intend to cover the entire globe in that time (how could you actually get to know a place when you’re constantly on the go?)
For this reason, we've limited our trip to Europe and will focus primarily on western Europe.
Our search started out with a list of cities and countries that were just intriguing to us for one reason or another. Either we knew someone who had visited and raved about it, we came across a travel show about it (hello, House Hunters International), or we’ve been brainwashed by pop culture to think it’s cool. Any destination ideas were fair game initially.
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We then went straight to Airbnb to see if it was even remotely possible (read: affordable) for us to visit each location on our list. The cool thing about the site’s search feature is that you can zoom in or zoom out to as necessary and then click “Search in map” with it set to all of western Europe (Huzzah!). I’m not sure if we’re the only ones with such broad search criteria but the site allowing that definitely came in handy.
Our initial search criteria…
Home Type - Entire Place. The other filter options are “Private Room” and “Shared Room” but we honestly prefer having the entire place to ourselves so we don’t have to subject anyone else to our quirky personalities ;)
Dates - we intend to stay at each destination for at least a month so we entered a 1-month time frame 6+ months away, since we plan to move in ~July 2019.
WiFi - we are modern human beings and require the basics in modern convenience, what can we say?
Washing machine - while we intend to pack a lot of quick-dry clothing, we don’t we want to sign up for washing every single item we own in a tiny European bathroom sink. Washing machine required ☑, dryer optional.
Kitchen - we enjoy cooking fairly frequently, which will help keep our food budget in check
Host language - English. It’d be kinda hard to resolve any kind of issue otherwise, right? Yes, we are “horrible Americans” and only know one language… although we could probably order a beer/coffee and find out where the bathroom is in French. We will make a legit effort to learn the local language at each destination, but an English-speaking host would just be convenient.
Price - We would absolutely love to rent this Beach Front Spacious Apartment with Balcony & Sea View in Barcelona, but $22,000 USD/month is a weeeee bit outside our price range (not to mention we don’t need four beds). Under $2,000/month is much closer to reality. We would like to spend even less than that if possible (which we’ve found that it is) but also want to stay really cool places on this adventure. We’ve worked hard in our respective careers to get where we are today...might as well stay in the nicest places we can, right?
Well….apparently the count of search results displayed on the page caps out at 300 because it says “Show 300+ Homes” when we’ve applied all of our search criteria. “There is hope!”
Nice to haves:
2 bedrooms would be ideal so that as many of our family members and friends as possible can visit us and be comfortable. This is hard(er) to find but we’ve come across several listings that fit the bill.
Near a major international airport - This is not a filter on the Airbnb website, but rather one where you would have to look at each listing and/or the map. We plan to have an Airbnb rental as a “temporary home base” and travel to other cities and countries during that time. If we’re living in one country for 3 months, that doesn’t mean we’re going to ONLY be in that country during that time. Since European countries are closer to the equivalent of a state in the US, flying from Germany to, say, Switzerland is closer than you might think. (Munich to Zurich is only a 50 minute flight!)
Next, we previewed each listing by clicking through the thumbnail photos to see if we even remotely liked the place. We’ve grown accustomed to finding the things hosts will try to ‘hide’ by not showing it in photos (Do the kitchen and bathroom share a sink? I can’t even...). We’ve become quite adept at finding the nicest place for our budget dollars.
Luckily, Airbnb also has a Wish list feature which allows you to save listings you are interested in so you can come back and check them out later. And so, the “European Adventure” wish list was born! You can even share wish lists with other users so I clicked “share,” entered Eddie’s email address, and now we’re off to the races “collaborating” (had to throw in a buzzword) on housing for our dream adventure!
That brings us to our shortlist*! Drum roll please….
*We’re almost certain this list will change at least a little, but these are our current faves.
We know what you’re thinking….traveling for 1 year and staying in each location for more than a month means you won’t actually get to stay in 12 countries (yeah, yeah, we can math too).
This is our short list and we will narrow it down further depending upon budget and actual travel dates as our trip gets closer.
There’s another thing we will have to keep in mind when we pick where we want to be living when...the weather. Packing clothes for a full year and four seasons is a whole different ball game. We would like to avoid sub-40 degrees and 80+ degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 26 degrees Celsius, respectively). We both prefer weather comfortable enough to explore the town without getting too hot or too cold. This should make packing significantly easier. Call us “fair weather” travelers if you’d like… we’ll probably agree.
Ever wondered how much you can pack in a 50-liter hiking pack? Check back soon for a “What’s in our bag?” post.
-Eddie & Megan
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