Europe is full of history and charm, the Italian capital, Rome, ‘The Eternal City’ oozes history around every corner but sadly traveling in Europe is not cheap and the most famous sites have become so packed with tourists!
Rome is no exception, especially in Summer, prices and crowds rise, so to try and escape the tourist traps and save money this was the perfect opportunity to try a vacation rental.
Trying to find an authentic accommodation experience in Rome
We booked an apartment through Flipkey, there was a huge choice and some really stunning apartments, I actually found it a little addictive looking at all the amazing places and imagining how it would be if I lived in Rome!
Anyway, coming back down to earth, it was easy to filter by budget, facilities required and area and you can also check reviews. The only annoying thing was that twice I found the perfect apartment, booked it and paid through Paypal only to have my booking declined and payment returned and having to start my search all over again!
Inside the Colosseum - a must visit when in Rome!
Never mind, eventually we found the perfect place. As we only had a long weekend to explore Rome, location was really important because we didn’t want to waste precious time getting to and from our accommodation and all the sights.
There were some amazing looking apartments in the historic center of Rome and in the trendy, charismatic area of Trastevere, but they were a bit out of our price range. So we went for an apartment only a few minutes walk from the metro and so close to the Vatican City that you could see the walls from our balcony! This is the Flipkey apartment that we choose.
On our balcony in Rome with the Vatican walls behind me
Our Rome Apartment
With the directions and meeting instructions from our hosts it wasn’t too difficult to find our apartment. There was someone at the property on time ready to meet us and show us around. We soon settled in and loved having our own space and all the comforts of home.
The main bedroom in our Rome apartment
The apartment had one main bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom and a spacious living room with nice wooden beams. The living room also had a double bed that could be pulled down from the wall to sleep 2 more people. The whole apartment had all the furniture and amenities that we needed, even an Italian espresso machine!
How cute is the espresso machine in our Rome apartment!
I was really impressed as they even included some basic groceries like tea, coffee, sugar, pasta and tomato sauce so we could settle in and cook some food straight away. They even had maps, umbrellas, guidebooks, a hair dryer, everything you could need or think was all provided in the apartment.
The kitchen in our Rome apartment
I liked the Roman character of the apartment; the wooden beams, the balcony and the local area. I loved the atmosphere in the evenings when the locals all came out to sit, enjoy gelato and chat, many with their dogs just around the corner from our apartment. Hanging out here gave us a taste of local life that we probably wouldn’t have got if we had stayed in a big hotel.
I liked chilling out in the living room in our Rome apartment
The apartment cost us €265 (about $290) for 2 people for 3 nights (we paid a €75 deposit through Paypal before and paid the rest on arrival ) which is a bit more than we would have paid for a hostel but we got so much more space and comfort. If you were traveling as a bigger group then it would have been even more cost effective as the apartment could sleep 5 people, plus you can cook at the apartment and save money on eating out.
I loved having the space and comforts of home, especially when you travel so much and don’t really have a permanent address, it feels so good to play house, even if just for a little bit! I'd definitely rent an apartment again soon.
So should you look at vacation rental for your next trip?
More space and all the comforts and facilities of home (and save money by cooking your own meals)
Feel at home! Explore a more authentic neighbourhood and get a deeper insight to the destination than staying in a hotel
Price wise, there are apartment rentals for all budgets. An apartment rental is often cheaper than a hotel but usually more expensive than a bed in a hostel dorm.
There is beauty everywhere in Rome - even in the flowery window baskets
An apartment rental won’t have a 24 hour reception so you need to arrange to meet the owner at a set time and place to handover the keys and an apartment is not as easy to find as a hotel – so make sure you get good directions from the host.
Also, there is no one to ask if you need assistance like there is in a hotel or hostel. This didn’t bother me as I would rather be independent anyway (although the host did provide a handbook with information about the local area and said they we can contact him anytime if we needed anything)
Unlike in a hostel or hotel there are no other tourists around to make friends with so you might be a bit lonely and miss that social scene if you are traveling alone. Apartment rentals are great for a group of friends to all stay together and feel at home.
By the way, It's a good idea to pay through the proper channels. With my vacation rental the host was not yet set up on Flipkey's payment system so I paid €75 deposit through paypal and then the rest on arrival. I had no problems, I had a wonderful stay and everything went smoothly. But in hindsight this may have been a little risky. To avoid scams Flipkey verifies the owners and offers payment protection for all bookings done through their site so I would definitely advise that you do this to avoid any problems!
To see more about what I got up to in Rome check out My Perfect Weekend in Rome.
By the way: Flipkey sponsored my stay here but all views and opinions are my own.
Have you stayed in a vacation rental on your travels? How did you rate the experience?
Hi, I’m Anna, I'm a dreamer, nomad and travel addict from England. I left the UK in Dec 2012 and have been traveling around India, South East Asia, Australia and Europe independently and on a budget ever since. Now I want to show you how to make travel your lifestyle too. Want to know more ...