[Content disclosure: This post was sponsored by Booking.com and we have reviewed it as travelers on a budget.]
Nothing makes us rethink living in NYC more than the months of June, July, and August. Living on an island and not being able to go to a beautiful beach (Yes, Coney Island, we’re giving you the stank eye right now) continuously gets under our skin. New Yorkers, how are we okay with this? We know you’re wiping your sweat away on that 110 degree subway platform.
When the humidity of the East Coast gets to its full roar, most people leave for the weekend. You escape to Fire Island, or the Hamptons, or the crowded Dream Hotel pool. For us, we actually leave. As in, after this final summer in NYC, we’re moving to Los Angeles.
There are many reasons as to why we’re making the move, but at the forefront was this feeling that we’re simply ready for a change. After five years, we feel like we’ve done New York and we’ve done the East Coast, but what we haven’t done yet is the West. Moving to Los Angeles opens up our travel-ometer to a new part of the world – a world where people don’t have to ride the L train during the evening commute, and/or don’t have to wait 20 minutes in line in Midtown during a lunch break. Moving to LA now puts us approximately two steps away from Mexico, where we’re totally fine with the sun blazing, as long as we can cool off in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean (We’re still glaring at you, Coney Island).
We’re no strangers to winging our travel experiences. We’ve changed our flights last minute in Panama because we didn’t have a Yellow Fever Vaccine to leave Ecuador while trying to go to Costa Rica (it was just as complicated as it sounds); We’ve made countless last-minute decisions to reroute huge trips like staying in Marseille for four days because hostels were too expensive in the Cote d’Azur – or how about three weeks ago when we decided, while in the Madrid Atocha train station, that we would rather spend more time in Barcelona, so we immediately changed plans and took the next train out?
Clearly when we travel, our only real plan is to not make plans. When travel feels like a checklist, it’s not travel anymore; it’s work, and nobody likes the feeling of work.
However, in order for this plan to not plan travel mentality to work, we’ve accumulated a list of travel resources to keep ourselves organized and well, stable, despite having constant cold feet. This is what we have to tell you after our Booking.com review.
Booking.com is everywhere. Of course you’ve heard of them. They’re the Travel Gods of dropping it all and going, and their new mobile app Booking Now is proof of that. With a name like Shut Up and Go, it makes sense of us to want to try them out when thinking of our next spur of the moment to Mexico once we’re settled in LA.
We were always under the impression that staying in hostels was the only option for accommodation during our travels because the word “hotel” had this looming connotation of being expensive, and too bougie for budget-minded 20somethings, but after surfing the Booking.com apps for less than 10 minutes, we were convinced otherwise. The thing is, when you’re not traveling solo, you can often find better options in private rooms as opposed to bunking in a dorm with nine other strangers. We learned this the hard way when we went out partying in West Hollywood and returned to our hostel dorm having to tip-toe around at 4AM to get ready for bed while having to suppress our uncontrollable laughter from our night out. When we put both of our $25 bed prices together, $50 didn’t seem worth it if we could find a cheaper price in a hotel, with a private room, like big grown ups.
We started with the Booking.com app, not to be confused with the Booking Now app, which is mostly for the real-deal last last minute adventures.
When you first open the app, there’s an immediate option to save 45% with an account so yes, we shamelessly signed ourselves up. We browsed what accommodations in Cancun would look like for the week of July 24th-July 28th. Of course, we sorted with the filter “Prices Low to High” first, #cheapos. The app couldn’t be more straightforward, we found a hotel in Cancun called Mansion Giahn Bed and Breakfast for $144 for all four nights. If you’re as money conscious as we are, your first reaction is to break this down by four, and then divide by two. When we realized that we’d both only be spending $18 each for our own room and a homemade breakfast in Cancun, it was an automatic happy dance booty drop. The app shows you the important deets all on the same page, like amenities offered (you know we all need that free WiFi and AC), as well as the check-in and check-out times. All the hassle saved will ensure that you’re spending as much time on vacation actually enjoying yourself instead of fighting with the hotel’s front desk because your room is on the fourth floor and there’s no elevator, or you’re sweating buckets at night because when you arrived they broke the news that there’s no AC.
The next thing on our trip planning to-do list was checking out how we’d be able to book a last minute trip to Mexico City or DF after Cancun. Booking Now was our go-to tool for the occasion. The “now” implies that you’re using the app on the spot because you can only see Today and Tomorrow booking options, think of it as an instant concierge. You type in your destination, budget, your needs, and a list of the most relevant options with a % of how much of a match they are to you will populate.
We tapped right until we found the perfect diggs for our DF adventure: The Wine Bed and Breakfast. Keepin’ it real, the “Wine” part caught our eyes, that and it was $29 a night for our own room, cheaper than a lot of hostel dorms for 8-10 people. The app broke down the important information in a way that you could take a screenshot on your phone and know exactly where you’re staying and what to expect. Most importantly, there are icons with “call property,” “customer service,” and “property info,” in case you need to make a last minute change to your booking. It’s comforting to know that we can plan to have a cozy place to retreat to at the end of a long day of adventure by tapping a few buttons on an app within seconds.
Booking stress out of the way, we’re all set for a potential Mexican vacay via Los Angeles. Goodbye smelly, sweaty NYC subways. Hola sunblock, sangria, and salsa lessons beachside.
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Wing Everything, except your accommodation.