Local Venetian life is like an exclusive club you can only inherit or purchase your way into like Elton John. But, I’ve found a bit of a shortcut that doesn’t cost you over €4000 per square meter nor the longterm commitment.
I was lucky enough to win an apartment rental through GowithOh (you might remember) and chose Venice as well as Paris to experience living like a local. Venice, a place I had fallen in love with in 2010 while studying art history, offered the nicest apartment truest to the photos and as quaint & perfectly located as I imagined it would be.
Upon (our unfortunately late) arrival our apartment manager, a very chic Italian woman from Padova, had waited for us to arrive in the hot sun at vaporetto stop Ca’ Rezzonico. Despite our late arrival she was very forgiving after learning how far we had come and why we looked so haggard.
The air conditioned apartment fitted with white and blue tiles was a miracle to our jet lagged eyes. Church bells rang in the distance and I knew I was home…or at least home away from home.
Immediately after a cool shower to wash off the dizzying effects of spending over 16 hours in the air, I headed to the local grocery store for the essentials: wine, cured meats, wine, cheese, wine and San Pellegrino. Relaxing with our view of the canal and the quiet of the Dorsoduro area, just far enough away from hoards of tourists, allowed us to recuperate.
With only three nights in Venice we came to know this apartment as ours. A place to be ourselves. Take shade from the hot Adriatic sun. Soak our aching feet with a glass of Veneto wine in our hand. Sleep.
As my first GowithOh rental it was a perfect experience. I could go on and on about it and if you want to see how convenient of a stay it was watch the video below.
To help you decide if GowithOh is for you here are 5 ways my GowithOh apartment helped me save money during my trip to Venice, known as a pricey Italian city.
1. GowithOh Apartments can be 1/4 the price of a hotel
Hotels are becoming an unnecessary expense in today’s travel market. You now have websites like GowithOh or AirBnB offering event more comfort, more space, kitchens, and perfect locations for a whole lot less than your average hotel.
The first time I visited Venice I stayed in a hotel for a few days then moved to a better priced monastery . The hotel ran two of us about $700 Canadian for 3 nights. However, my GowithOh apartment was a total of $540 Canadian for 4 people in two separate bedrooms for 3 nights. This equals about $45 per person per night!
2. Living Like a Local in Venice & Touring Markets
With your kitchen you can tour markets and get a glimpse of local life. Normally I tour the food markets with camera in hand but this time around it was with a handy dandy rolling basket provided at my apartment.
It was nice to wake up to a banana and milk after a pasta dinner from the previous night. You won’t have to go out for 3 square meals a day enabling you to pay a lot less for breakfast and lunch allowing you to splurge on dinner and gelato.
You can also drink for a lot less. Grocery stores in Venice provide a wide selection of wine from €2 – €20 and for 3 large bottles of well known beers for only € 3. Believe me when I say that coming home to an ice cold beer after battling the crowds is a sip of heaven.
3. Mingle with Your Neighbours
While we were in Venice the Fifa Cup was on and we could hear our neighbours on the edge of their seats. Italian curse words and hoots would shoot out the open windows and fly into our apartment. The energy was infectious.
Venetians can be a little leery of you at first but after a few days people in our apartment were warming to us. It also pays to be quieter and follow the building rules which are being polite and considerate.
4. You Might Need Back Up
When you book a hotel you’re pretty much stuck with them. If you’re unhappy with your hotel you can’t change your hotel because you may have exceeded their cancelation policy by the time you arrive. You could have even prepaid for the entire hotel stay before you get there. If you’re unsatisfied with your room the hotel might change it for you but even this could include an upgrade fee.
On the other hand, with GowithOh if you don’t like your apartment they’ll do the best they can to change it for you. For example, our apartment in Paris (long story coming soon) had a bad leak in the bathroom which meant we had to leave with 2 nights of our trip left! GowithOh offered us a nice apartment in Montmartre. It was nice for us to have that option. I could always rely on my GowithOh contact to get in touch with the apartment property owner when I couldn’t and resolve any issues that came up.
5. Spacious Privacy
In a European hotel you will normally get a smaller room than what you’re used to in North America. You’ll run into other guests, wait for housekeeping to clean your room when you need in and sometimes in Italy WIFI is only available within the lobby. GowithOh provides a checklist as you search for your apartment so you can find one with both WIFI, a washing machine (no expensive laundry fees!) and a bright patio for you to read/write/keep in touch with your life back home if you so choose.
GowithOh provided me with complimentary stays. Prices are accurate for what I would have had to pay. As always opinions are my own and I would recommend my Venetian apartment to anyone looking for a comfortable and unique stay on a budget. I’d certainly stay there again!
Click here to see more of my Venice apartment.