After weeks of research, we recently booked our apartment rental in Paris! There are so many options, I thought this process would be a breeze. And, if I had wanted to spend a bit more, it would have been.
Unfortunately, I kept thinking about all the wine and cheese I could buy with that money instead! A tiny budget meant lots of studios with futons (not real beds). I mean, I don't require a super long, bright pink bed, but a futon just wouldn't do. Being in my late twenties has made me more snobby about my sleeping arrangements!
I combed through Airbnb, HomeAway and Trip Advisor. Many people seem to have good luck with Airbnb, but I found most of the apartments had kind of dark, sketchy photos. This Trip Advisor rental in a former bakery was tempting, but I didn't love the location. We wanted to be in the 9, 10 or 11th arrondissement, based almost entirely on this old Gourmet article.*
Eventually, in desperation, I took a peak at VRBO. I hadn't looked there earlier because I didn't think they did international bookings. But they do! And they had the most affordable, pretty, real-live-bed apartments. And lots of reviews! Those sway me so much (even though I never leave them, so it's sort of hypocritical, I guess).
I'll definitely share how it works out after we return!
*Much of our trip planning is based on this old Paris issue of Gourmet. I'm mentioning this only because when planning a vacation, we usually latch on to no more than two or three magazines/articles/books total and call it day. It's too easy to get overwhelmed otherwise! Usually one of the other planning tools is the NY Times 36 hours article, too. Just thought I'd share that little tip :)