Facebook Expats Pages
We’ve all heard of AirBNB, right? But have you considered using the expats pages on Facebook to find holiday accommodation and local tips? For every major city in Europe, Asia and Africa there are expat groups that you can join. Here you can post questions and find cheap holiday accommodations, information about restaurants and breweries, and tours by small local operators that are much cheaper than the usual operators. Here are a few of the groups I personally used:
Great for local knowledge of current festivals events, restaurant reviews and you can ask any question you have about Prague. It’s one of my favourite cities because it has so much to do, the public transport system makes it easy to get to all the sights, and you can easily find good accommodation here. Get out of the city and visit Cesky Krumlov and Kutna Hora. The castles and churches in the outlying areas are breathtaking, although the roads are a little narrow in Czech. (Prague Expats on FB)
Awesome for accommodation, reviews and great deals. Not including train tickets I recently managed to spend 16 days in Berlin for 450 euros, and because I was in a fully functional flat, I mostly made my own meals and wine is 2 euro a bottle. Berlin isn’t an expensive city, two days on the Hop on Hop off bus was 25 euros, an extra 10 for the river cruise, but I splash out every once in a while to visit a high end restaurant with the money I’ve saved on accommodation. (Berlin Expats on FB)
I found out about the Copenhagen Street Food Market from this group, and it was the highlight of my trip! A huge factory with dozens and dozens of vendors selling delicious food from container sized kiosks. It also has bars, a huge indoor fireplace and plenty of places to sit down and feast on street food from around the world.
The group recently showcased a Bollywood festival that was held there, and once again, ask those questions you have about your destination from people who live there.
Denmark also has GoMore, which is like AirBNB for cars, where you hire a car from a person at a much cheaper rate than the big companies, and it includes insurance so you have peace of mind. (Copenhagen Expats on FB)
Barcelona Expats (the small one)
This is one of my favorites because it posts about language classes, showcases local tours, you can ask a question, and I always look here first for accommodation deals. Johann Brandt always posts great deals on tours he guides himself, or I see at the moment he has a sommelier wine tasting event coming up I would love to go to. On the larger group there are many other small tours or reviews and info. (Barcelona Expats on FB)
This is another one that I wouldn’t use for accommodation, but I found a driver who would tour me around Golden Triangle and take me to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is, for a fraction of the big tour operators prices. If you are traveling as a group or a couple this is OK, and I was fine but unless you’re adventurous and fearless this is not for the fainthearted. They do try to take you to all their friends that sell carpets and ivory and jewelry, it’s all part of the experience. I found homestays in most places, but in these groups you can also find Ashrams who host guests for a small fee. You will only be fed vegetarian food, it’s buffalo milk and cheese, it’s a cheap adventure. (Delhi Expats on FB)
Always has lovely pictures of street food vendors, sunsets and things to do. Phuket accommodation is so cheap anyway, being a solo female traveler I would probably steer clear of finding somewhere to stay on here, but love the suggestions and travel tips and on the spot updates. I found a cheap Phang Nga tour when I was there, and went out to James Bond Island and a floating village market. (Phuket Expats on FB)
Even if it’s just inspiration you’re after, these groups are great to watch a destination that you would like to visit for the months leading up to your trip, find out info in advance, use the knowledge of other English speakers who live in these cities, and perhaps even find a great deal. When researching this article I saw there was a great Amsterdam one that I’ve asked to join…. Haven’t been yet and can’t wait to go.