How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

How we saved money on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto regionHow we saved money using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

Being full-time travellers who travel slowly, we’re often trying to juggle visiting interesting (and sometimes popular) places with saving money.

We recently faced a dilemma planning our base(s) for the month of April.

 

We had a couple of scenarios.

 

1)  I thought of maybe dividing the month between Regensburg (Germany) and Verona (Italy). Looking at Airbnb we were surprised at some of the prices we saw: the average nightly stay in Regensburg came out to about $100 CAD/night (about $80 US). Verona was even more expensive, averaging $120 CAD/night (about $95 US). Overall, for a month that came to total rent of slightly over $3000 CAD (about $2350 US). That was over our budget.
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2) So then I decided to look at choosing one location for a month. I’ve mentioned this before: we usually stay somewhere a month because rates on Airbnb are usually much cheaper on a monthly basis. In most cases, you’ll actually pay approximately the same staying somewhere for a month (28 days as defined by Airbnb) as you would staying somewhere for 2 weeks on a nightly basis. This is not always the case depending on the owner or the market (in Cape Town for example there was barely a discount staying somewhere a month) but in most markets this is what we’ve found.

So I looked at monthly rates. In both Regensburg and Verona I found nice apartments within the $2300-2500 range CAD ($1800-$1950 US). Closer to our range but still expensive (by the way, an apartment in Venice is in the $5000 CAD/month range. Ouch).

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3) I researched cities within the Veneto region, less popular tourist places that are stops on the major train routes. And that’s when I first heard of Padova (or Padua, the anglicized version of the name). Padova is actually a popular spot among Italian tourists and has many highlights including: Saint Anthony’s Cathedral (a cathedral visited by millions of Catholic pilgrims every year), the Pretto della Valle (Europe’s biggest square), and the UNESCO Heritage site botanical gardens (the first botanical gardens in the world). It has a lot more sites in its old historic center. I’ll include some photos below as well as some informative links for those interested in visiting Padova.

How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region. Map.

Prices in Padova were much more in our price range and I found 2 apartments that are great value in different ways.

1) Because of an accidental double-booking in the 2nd apartment that I’ll cover (below), we spent 3 nights in this fabulous apartment. It’s one of the nicest apartments we’ve ever stayed in and Nicoletta (the host) is a warm, wonderful lady. It’s also right next to the historic center. For $106 CAD (about $85 US) it was a great value. Nicoletta might also give you a good deal on a longer term stay if you ask. 

2) The 2nd apartment is very different: situated next to the train station (3 min walk) it is not luxurious, is a bit quirky, and does not look great from the outside. But it is a great value dollar wise at $1361 CAD all-inclusive for 28 days. That’s $1065 US. It’s next to a gym (which we’ve joined for a month) and is an INCREDIBLE base to explore neighboring cities (you can get to Venice in 30 min, Verona in 40 min, and Bologna in 1 ½ hrs. We even went to Rome in 3 hours). It’s nice to get off the train and walk 3 min to the apartment. Eloisa, the host, even gave us a tour of the historic center. Plus she gave us bikes that we could use to explore the town.

 

I recommend both apartments above (but the 1st is for sure the best)

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So I went from: a) over $3,000 CAD/month that I would have paid splitting the month between Regensburg and Verona, to b) $2300-$2500 CAD if I had chosen either Regensburg or Verona as bases for a full month, to c) $1361 CAD by choosing a smaller, less-popular city nearby.

The point is that you can save money on Airbnb by: 1) booking an apartment for a month (ie 28 days min) and 2) staying away from very touristy places. 

 

You now get a $35 US credit off your first Airbnb stay if you sign up using our link.

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In the end, Padova was a great base: just the right size, well-located, and not jam-packed with tourists (and we would see a lot in Verona, Bologna, Venice and Rome).

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If the cost savings are not enough to convince you, have a look at these photos of Padova.

Palazzo del Podesta, Padua. How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

Above: Palazzo del Podesta, in the historic center      Below: just steps away is the Palazzo della Ragione

Palazzo della Ragione, Padua (Padova). How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

Palazzo della Ragione, Padua (Padova). How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

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Below: Cafee Pedrocchi, the most famous cafe in Padova.

Cafee Pedrocchi, Padua (Padova). How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

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Below: Saint Anthony’s Cathedral. Just fantastic. 

Saint Anthony’s Cathedral, Padua (Padova)

Saint Anthony’s Cathedral, Padua (Padova). How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

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Below: Prato della Valle, the largest square in Europe.

Prato della Valle, Padua (Padova). The largest square in Europe
Prato della Valle, Padua (Padova). How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

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Below: Saint Anthony’s from the Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Botanical Gardens, Padova (Padua), Italy

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Below: Views of  the basilica of Santa Giustina (yet another church in this small town).

basilica of Santa Giustina, Padua, Padova. How we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using Padua (Padova) as a base in the Veneto region

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Padova information

Tourist office: Padova has a tourist information office at the train station which we’ve found very useful. They also have one in the middle of the historic center, close to the Palazzo della Ragione. Their website.

Getting around in Padova: Padova has one tram line which passes right by the train station (every 10 minutes) and will take you to all the main sites in the historic center. There’s a booth to buy tickets for trams and buses right where you step out of the train station.

Map of Padova: HERE.

Detailed Tourist Information: Wikitravel has a detailed page on Padova.

Accommodation. Besides apartments, Padova has a few reasonably priced hotels in the center: Hotel Mignon and Hotel Casa Del Pellegrino are both excellent for a short visit.

 

Related: Highlights of a trip to Venice, Italy. And why proposing on a gondola is not a good idea…

 

 

Have you been to Padova?

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How we saved Big Bucks using Padua as a base in the Veneto region
How we saved Big Bucks using Padua as a base in the Veneto region

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44 Comments

  1. Great video and loved the music too, great choice! We have been thinking about investing in a GoPro so will be interesting to see how you get on. We have not used Airbnb but does seem a great way to cut costs and and will certainly look into it in the future, thanks for the information.

    1. Hi Paul/Carole – so far love it. Have to get used to the different accessories. But the video quality great as is the width of the lens. Also pretty easy to use (so far)

  2. Looks like you’re having a whole lot of fun with the new toy 🙂 . The video looks great and the song does fit! The first place looks awesome. You lucked out. I am having mixed feelings about AirBnB again.. A love hate relationship that l will write about at some point. It does work well for you as it saves a crap load of money renting for the month versus daily, l would definitely do the same in your case. The city is quite beautiful..we might be making our way there come July when we visit his mom in Rome. We are letting her pick a week itinerary of places she want to go..no suggestions from us, so l will be curious to see if it includes that. Starting point Bologna only requirement 🙂 .

    1. Bologna is great! And you’ve got Verona, Ravenna, Venice, Florence, Siena, Cortona…so many beautiful places in the area.
      Look forward to reading your thoughts on Airbnb. We sometimes had issues last year (our first year using it) but have gotten better – part of that is just getting better at choosing apartments, arranging meeting points, etc. Have had 2 no-so-great experiences where we didn’t like an apartment, but 95% of the time it’s been nothing but good.

  3. now there’s a song in “kiss Me Kate”

    I’ve come to wife it wealthily in Padua!

    Or something along those lines! Glad you found a place, great rate!

    1. That first one is the equivalent of a 5 star hotel, no kidding. And the host was one of the nicest people we’ve met. Would recommend to anyone.

  4. Good call staying away from the BIG tourist hotspots. We try to do it every now and then but you gotta have good transport links or you’re a bit stuffed. It looks like Padova was a good base for the region. We haven’t been to Italy for years but, looking at your photos, it seems like we should make the effort to re-visit.

    1. There’s some beautiful places around: we visited Venice, Verona and Bologna. But in the end we’re glad to have stayed in Padova because there are SO many tourists in those other places (plus the cost).

  5. You’re talking to the converted here Frank. We love Airbnb and are prepared to stay out of town for a cheaper rate. You saved a heap and Padua looks great. I’ve heard the name but knew nothing more.

    1. Thanks Jan, I know you are good travelling on a budget 🙂 It’s been a great base, have seen a lot in the area.

  6. Frank staying in Padova has paid off, not only financialy but it is such a charming city. My grandparents were from the North of Italy so it is a region very close to my heart. Your Gopro video is good and the Mambo Italiano song is very catchy It will stay in my head for ages now. I have not tried airbnb yet, but might give it a go on my trip to Paris and Amsterdam in October. Interesting to learn more about the Shengen zome since I don’t really know much about it. Thanks for a great post Frank.

  7. Phenomenal pictures as always Frank and great tips on using Airbnb to score some amazing monthly rental deals. We’ve been looking at ways to travel for extended periods of time and didn’t realize it was this easy. And staying at each location monthly allows you to take it easy, see more, and take in the sights and sounds at a comfortable pace. These apartment deals you’re finding are incredible – even cheaper than a month’s rent in the suburbs of Seattle!

    1. As I mentioned to someone else, we’ve stayed every night of the year in an Airbnb apartment. It’s made the way we travel so much easier, I don’t now how we would have done it 10 years ago.

  8. Love the video – perfect song! Padua looks and sounds like a great place to base yourselves to explore the area. We were just in Venice for 4 nights but as it was our first time there, we wanted to stay right in Venice. Would like to see Padua eventually.

    1. Totally understand Patricia, it was what we did our first time in Venice as well. Did you enjoy it? We went back for a day trip and I forgot what a maze it is getting from the train station to Saint Marc’s Square. Always beautiful though…
      But for the next time, there’s lots of things to see in the region. We actually ran out of time…

  9. Hi Frank,
    I’m also just starting to make videos with a GoPro. I used the GoPro Studio to put together my first two videos and found it fairly easy to figure out. Have you tried it?

    1. Hey thanks Rhonda! I’ll try that.

      The problem I have with Premier Elements is with fundamental stuff like speeding parts of the video up or eliminating the audio on the video. I’ve never felt as much of an f*ing idiot as I do with PE, even when I follow the guide or watch tutorial videos online I can’t seem to get the same options.

  10. Padua is a great choice for a base in northern Italy! More neat stuff close by – Swiss-influenced Bassano del Grappa, the walled city of Castelfranco Veneto, and Palladio’s Villa di Maser, which has its own on-site winery.

    As for a video editing program, Windows Live Movie Maker is free and fairly simple. You can’t do a lot with it and saving often is a necessity, but again – free.

    1. Thank you Polly, I’ll look into it. I remember now on an old computer that I used to have it and actually used it a few times.

      Thanks for mentioning the other towns nearby. There’s also Chioggia (which they call a mini-Venice) and then there are the very nearby spa towns of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme. Lots to see in the area unfortunately there’s never enough time…

    1. No, unless someone signs up to Airbnb using my link in which case I make a commission. But nobody has so far.

      But they should pay me, right? The fact is that every night of 2016 (so far) we’ve stayed in Airbnb apartments. No hotel stays. And a lot of other full-time travellers do the same, along with ‘regular’ travellers who increasingly use it for vacation. So if I write about money-saving tips or specific apartments on Airbnb it’s because I know there’s a segment of the travel market that’s really interested in that kind of information.

  11. Hey, cute video, nice one for a first go! We’ve just bought our first GoPro too (dodgy video also coming shortly) and are also a bit clueless about editing, so if you find out any good tips, I’d love to hear them! Never heard of Padova before, but it looks like the ideal longer term base, and if it’s popular with Italians for holidays it must be good, right! Looking forward to your thoughts on Verona too.

    1. HA! I thought of you Heather when passing by Juliet’s House and seeing all the tourists rubbing the statue’s tit. Honestly, what a pile of shit. Gives you a great perspective of the thought process of the average traveller. Anyway, Verona is for another post. But I was telling Lissette about your post as we were standing there under the balcony looking at the signage in front of the museum.

      Yes, I’ll be using Go Pro mostly for towers and hiking. I didn’t have an attachment for the bike so there I was biking through town, holding the camera in one hand 🙂 I’ve asked a few people about editing programs, if I get a good answer I’ll let you know.

      1. Just as well we’re all not average travellers hey 😉 I heard you have a thing about towers, at least if you have a GoPro Lissette can enjoy her vino in peace in the squares below and watch it all on video once you’re done, two birds, one stone and all that! 😉 Good biking skills by the way!

        1. Exactly! She stopped climbing towers about 6 months ago. Drinking vino while the men are climbing towers? Sounds like you’re in the same sisterhood 🙂

  12. Beautiful photos!
    How do you like Italy in general?
    Soon I’ll be around Milan and in Venice 🙂
    If you’re there in mid May, let me know 🙂

    1. Hi Tom! We’re leaving in 2 days for Croatia unfortunately. Has been a good time in Northern Italy though. Italy’s a funny place, many things I like, some that I don’t which I’ve written about before. But so many incredible cities and so much history, quite amazing.

      1. In General, I love Italy – it’s a bit chaotic, vibrant, a bit loud but still full of rich history and beautiful architecture. What places are you going to visit in Croatia? I know that it’s one of your favorite countries.

        1. You’ve described Italy very well – I actually wrote a post on the things we didn’t like about Italy. It still drives us crazy sometimes. But we always end up coming back, as you say, because of the history and architecture. There are so many beautiful cities in Italy and we were blown away on this trip seeing Verona, Bologna, Rome (and re-visiting Venice).

  13. Enjoyed the bike ride through town. Now I”m gonna have that song stuck in my head, which is fine 😉 Love reading about how you guys make your plans.

  14. Great job on your first goPro video. We’ve never had the opportunity to stay for a whole month on AirBnb…we usually stay one week and move onto someplace else. We stopped in Padova once and had dinner…great town.

    1. A 2nd person that’s been to Padova – surprising! Thanks Corinne, I wanted to do lots of things with that video but ended up changing my plans – was just too complicated.

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