Sharing the Airbnb Love

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck (unless otherwise noted)

We chose our apartment in Quebec City for one particular reason: the above view.

From the living room, while I sit with my legs outstretched on the bright red couch, I can look up from my keyboard to the northern expanse of the city stretched below. The aroma of fresh coffee will soon woo me from under my cozy blanket, Pete and I will discuss our plans for the day over breakfast.

Dalene Working

After a morning of working, we’ll stretch our legs in the surrounding neighbourhood or drive to others. We make weak attempts at speaking French with our neighbours and decide which divine Quebecois cuisine we’ll hunt for that day. We are out of the tourist centre so attempt French once again when ordering, but our dreadful accents are a dead giveaway. We’ve been met with smiles (some laughs, especially when I accidentally throw in some Spanish), but we usually encounter enough English that we are able to get by.

Quebec CIty Side Streets
Beware of Falling Icicles
Saint Jean Neighborhood

Enroute back to the apartment, we scale up and down the streets that surround us in the uneven district of Saint-Jean. I slightly curse at the inclines but ultimately don’t mind as it alleviates some of the guilt of my inevitable gluttony. Once indoors, we peel off our snow-covered shoes and hang our down-filled coats in the front closet. I retreat to the bedroom to slip into my coziest clothes, and dive back under the blanket on that corner of the couch, alternating my gaze between the laptop screen in front of me and the vibrant city beyond my window.

This is, however temporarily, our home. In our five years of travel, we have developed an innate ability to belong anywhere and everywhere. The view out of the window and experience outside our door may change every few weeks, but that feeling of being at home doesn’t have to. Home is wherever we are together, and wherever we can feel relaxed and comfortable.

And for the ease in which we can make that happen, we have Airbnb.com to thank.

Home is wherever we are together, and wherever we can feel relaxed and comfortable. And for the ease in which we can make that happen, we have Airbnb to thank.
Some of our Airbnb stays in 2014.

Some of our Airbnb stays in 2014. Photos courtesy of Airbnb.com

In the last year, we have spent over one third of it in accommodations we found on Airbnb (most are pictured above). We love their community concept for many of the same reasons we love house-sitting – it’s far more cost effective than a hotel stay, we get all the comforts of home, and can also experience what it is like to live local in each place we visit. And while we have tried many other similar platforms across the web, Airbnb’s reach and inventory is unmatched. From just renting a room in someone’s home to full luxury apartments, there is something for everyone, everywhere, and on every trip.

We stayed in our dream apartment in Budapest for a ridiculously low price, bunked with a former rock-star in London, and now luxuriate in this cozy space in Quebec City with a dynamite view. We used Airbnb all throughout Romania, for our month in Guanajuato, Mexico, and even tried our hand at being Airbnb hosts in Ann Arbor. And, if you remember back to when we struggled with finding a place in Italy to spend a couple of weeks, Airbnb came through in the end and brought us to the tiny town of Spello in the Umbrian countryside, a place we likely otherwise would have ignored. Airbnb dictated our travels then and didn’t let us down.

Which is why we’re going to let them do it again. With YOUR help.

There is something for everyone, everywhere, and on every trip.

Tell us where to go, and win CAD$500 Airbnb credit!

That’s right guys, get your bossy pants on. We have a couple of weeks to spare in February, so you are going to decide where we will go. And you are going to make that decision using the criteria that we often base ours on: the best apartment to stay in. We’ve narrowed it down to three choices, all places that we have never visited before.

Your mission is to vote for one of these three apartments, and as you do so, you’ll be entered to win a CAD$500 Airbnb credit to be used worldwide!

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEs0C

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEs0C

In mid-February we will be setting out from Helsinki, Finland, and because Tallin, Estonia is just a ferry ride away, it is a natural option for us to move onto. The reasons we love this apartment are the rustic medieval walls and the fact that it is mere meters from the historic center.

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEsdE

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEsdE

Slovakia has long been on our list of places to visit, and this apartment in Bratislava is more than enough reason to put us over the top. It has all the amenities we need, is really gorgeous, and comes at a low price.

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEslT

Photo credit: Airbnb.com and http://ow.ly/GEslT

And finally, how is it that we’ve spent so much time in Europe but have never been to Prague? This needs to be rectified soon. This apartment would do very nicely for our time there, especially because it has everything we need and more, including a rooftop terrace and a gym!

How to win

This contest is now closed! And thank you readers, you have decided to send us to PRAGUE! 🙂

This post was produced by us, brought to you by Airbnb.com. Earn $25 off of your first stay with Airbnb by signing up here!

76 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • January 5 2015

    I vote for Tallinn! I know so little about this city, and I’m very curious to read/see more. I might include it on my 2015 eurotrip!
    Marie @ EuroTripTips recently posted..Holiday Gifts The Travel Addict In Your Life Will Actually Love

  • January 5 2015

    All of those apartments look unreal! We’ve used AirBnB thrice and by far and away the best one we stayed in was in San Telmo in Buenos Aires. It was a gorgeous space with high ceilings, hard wood, lots of windows and every amenity you need…*sigh*

    If I were you I would go for the pad in Estonia – I love that medieval wall!
    Emily recently posted..Our Toronto Resolutions

  • January 5 2015

    I desperately wanted to answer “Bert and Ernie” on the skill question. 😉

    I had to vote for Prague even though I’m interested in Estonia. Because rooftop terrace and Prague!
    Talon recently posted..Banos, the adventure capital of Ecuador

    • January 8 2015

      Haha, we wondered if some people might be tempted. 😉

  • Wynne
    January 5 2015

    Prague! Omg, this city is GORGEOUS!! It’s purported to be one of Europe’s most beautiful, and it is SO true. Take the hop-on/off bus to the Castle. Or to the top of the hill and walk back down and over the river. The HOHO bus includes a river boat ride.

    Walking the streets of Prague was amazing: every time I turned a corner, it was just one “Oh my god” after another. The architecture is so beautiful! And the main square in Old Town is full of beautiful buildings and yummy food stands.

    If you choose Prague, I can’t WAIT to see what photos Pete takes!

    • January 8 2015

      Alas, we don’t get to choose, it’s up to the votes! And it looks like it is going to be a very close race!

  • January 5 2015

    Wow all 3 places sound great, we are planning to visit each of these places as well. The apt in Tallin looks amazing. I am sure whatever place that is choosen it will be awesome.
    Rob recently posted..A Quote That Inspired Change

  • Anna | The Blonde Banana
    January 5 2015

    I love using Airbnb when I travel WAYYY more than hotels. A nice hotel can be great for certain occasions, but day to day I’d much rather save hundreds of dollars, have a local contact who can actually give me “real” advice, and enjoy the typical flexibility of check-in/check-out times that hosts offer. I also frequently host visitors to New York in my apartment and save nearly half my rent costs for travel thanks to Airbnb 🙂

  • Heather McLean
    January 5 2015

    I vote for Prague. It looks so beautiful there. A place I will travel to someday soon hopefully.

  • Diana Edelman
    January 5 2015

    Oh my god. That view. And, while I like every city on that list, how have you not been to Prague?!? GO and drink all the cheap beer and eat all the fried cheese for me. And then we can all meet in Berlin and drink more cheap beer and eat fresh pretzels. WIN.
    Diana Edelman recently posted..Hiking in Cinque Terre

  • Wow, Airbnb is finally working with bloggers! All of those apartments look pretty sweet. Prague would be my top choice as a city, though if we’re basing our vote on the coolness of the interior of the apartment, I’d go with Slovakia.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Places I want to travel in 2015

  • January 5 2015

    I would vote for Prague, since is our next destination. However, when I got my eyes on the Bratislava apto, i knew was the one I stayed last year.

    That is a very conveniente place at a decent price. So, you guys might like it for sure! After all, Prague is very close 🙂

    • January 8 2015

      How funny that you stayed in that exact one in Bratislava!

  • January 5 2015

    Bratislavia looks beautiful and I like the architecture.

  • January 5 2015

    Prague Prague and Prague
    Paul & Michelle recently posted..A Little Getaway…

  • Janine
    January 5 2015

    I have such a soft spot for Prague. It’s rare if you can get me to pick somewhere other than Prague… and I’m not going to break that streak 🙂

    The apartment is gorgeous, plus it’s Prague!

    Otherwise, my next vote would be for Bratislava. Another gorgeous place.

    I often use AirBnB when I travel overseas. I stayed in a fabulous apartment in Chateauroux, France. It was brand new. The homeowner was fabulous. I really enjoyed it.

  • January 6 2015

    Definitely Prague. We fell in love with it a year ago and can’t wait to return. Winter is amazing there.
    Betsy | PassingThru recently posted..Interlude in a Romantic Paris Hotel

  • January 6 2015

    I’m voting for Prague! I also rented an AirBnB apartment there last year and I loved how affordable it was! Plus like you said, it’s nice having a place that resembles a home AND has a kitchen when you’ve been travelling around for a while. Enjoy!

  • January 6 2015

    Bratislava all the way! We’ve had a love affair with Slovakia for a couple of years.
    Laura recently posted..Stuff Yourself on a Budapest Food Tour

  • January 6 2015

    I’m ashamed to admit that I have yet to use AirBNB! I’m very lucky that this year I get to marry a guy who has a lot of travel wariness – it is going to be my MISSION in our marriage to break his idea that traveling means we need to stay in an overpriced hotel. My plan is to use AirBNB for the first time during our honeymoon (which is also why I secretly hope this voucher finds its way into my future). Have fun during your February adventure, wherever it takes you!

    • January 8 2015

      Good luck! Would be a cool story to have you win this and use it on your honeymoon. 🙂

  • January 6 2015

    A vote for Estonia here!

    I absolutely love AirBnb. It completely changed the way I travel. Fingers crossed!
    Karlie @ Miss Wanderlust recently posted..Belgrade: Serbia’s White City shines

  • Emilia
    January 6 2015

    Bratislava right on the Danube must be stunning

  • January 6 2015

    Estonia Estonia Estonia!!!!

    We have not used AirBnB yet but with plans to travel Europe we will definitely be using the site.

    The skill testing question was Bonnie and Clyde right? 🙂
    Giselleandcody recently posted..Everything we need to know we learned from Travel

  • January 6 2015

    I have been to all three of those and am OBSESSED with Estonia. It is one of the most delightfully charming places I’ve ever visited. Please go there!

    Also, as someone who has been a guest on Airbnb for 3+ years and a Superhost for 1, I obviously fully endorse this post and style of travel 😉
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Road Rules: Driving to Sicily

  • January 6 2015

    Sadly, I haven’t been to any of these places which means two things: 1) I have no suggestions and 2) I need to get out more. 🙂
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..Mug Shots: Author Daniel Baylis on Making his Great Escape

  • January 6 2015

    Can we vote for all three?! We voted for Prague but we’re going to be in Tallin for a few days at the end of the month so that’s our secondary option 😉 Can’t wait to see where you two end up!

  • Carol M
    January 6 2015

    Tallin Estonia is my pick

  • January 7 2015

    We always find ourselves checking Airbnb before any other accommodation booking site. We actually just booked with them for our trip to Cambodia next week!
    Alana recently posted..Sensationalism – Why I’m Over Traditional Media

    • January 8 2015

      Awesome! Yep, Airbnb is our first go-to as well!

  • Sara
    January 7 2015

    Definately Prague. It seems like a city with so much history, and beauty! And that space is so lovely!

  • January 7 2015

    I’m in an AirBnB right now in South Africa! It’s come to become my preferred way to travel these days.
    Kristin Addis recently posted..What to Pack for Traveling in Europe in the Winter

  • Catherine R.
    January 7 2015

    I voted for Prague because I think it looks like a great place to visit and that apartment is to die for.

  • Coolfam
    January 7 2015

    I voted for Estonia based on the beautiful apartment. The one in Czech Republic is really nice particularly because of the rooftop terrace and the apartment in Slovakia is great because it’s right in the city center plus Slovakia just won the bronze medal in the world junior hockey championships so great for them!

    • January 8 2015

      You must be a Canadian. I’m not sure if anyone else would choose a travel destination based on world juinor standings. 🙂

      • Coolfam
        January 8 2015

        Of course you are right! 🙂

  • Lucas
    January 7 2015

    I would totallly go to Ireland! Beautiful country!

  • Meghan S.
    January 7 2015

    Prague. The place looks roomy and beautiful, and if someone is snoring too loud there is a separate bed to crash in.

    • January 8 2015

      Neither of us are snorers! Lucky for that. 🙂

  • Michelle A
    January 7 2015

    Tallinn! I was there this summer and it was absolutely majestic. We were in Helsinki, too, and Tallinn has a very different vibe: very genuine, down-to-earth. Helsinki had a more industrial vibe, which was awesome too, but Tallinn is a great contrast.

    PS – I live in Ann Arbor right now, LOVE Quebec City… and what you and your husband do is the dream of my husband and I!

    • January 8 2015

      Love to hear your perspective on Helsinki and Tallin! Hope we get to make the same comparison!

      Then you and your husband should come join us! 😉

  • I am such a fan of Airbnb as well. I fell in love with this one apartment in Madrid over the summer. Great giveaway, thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂 I voted for Prague!
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..My Guide to 48 Hours in Barcelona!

  • January 7 2015

    I voted for Tallinn because I think it looks like the best apartment and I selfish would like to get a first-hand report on the city — it’s on my short list for destinations this year. However, it narrowly beat out Prague. What a great city! I was there for about 30 hours eight years ago and would love a chance to go back.
    Amy recently posted..How to Eat and Drink Your Way through Ann Arbor

  • January 7 2015

    I voted for Tallin, Estonia as I loved that medieval home, Oh! I have a liking towards anything ancient and rustic! And, thank you so much for this fantastic giveaway – Keeping my fingers crossed for the prize as it will be a great help for my accommodation travel plans in 2015!

    Happy Travels Pete and Dalene 🙂
    Arti (@artisdiary) recently posted..Ancient Temples in Pune: Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple

  • Franca
    January 8 2015

    Estonia please! The place looks lovely!
    I’d love to go myself! 🙂

    Happy and safe travels guy! 😉

  • Thalia
    January 8 2015

    I vote for Estonia – the apartment looks amazing!

  • January 8 2015

    Hey Guys! We spent 3 months in Prague last summer so its at the top of our suggestion list. Gorgeous city. Tallin too cold that time of year, Bratislava not as interesting for a longer period…

    We sure could use the credit as we’ll be mostly likely be using Airbnb for a week in Prague in April and then for a couple of months in Croatia. We’ll check out the link.

    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted..A Week-In-The-Life of BBQBoy and Spanky in Prague

  • January 9 2015

    I vote Tallinn!
    Juno recently posted..I Went to Glen Coe, And This is What Happened.

  • January 9 2015

    It’s so hard to pick! These are three beautiful apartments with different appeal. Can I also stay in all three when I visit Europe?

    Anyway, I’m picking Bratislavia, Slovakia mainly because of the view and the sofa 😛 I’m also curious about the place.

    I crashed in an airbnb-listed property in Manila last year. I’m also hoping to use most of it this year. Have a fun trip!
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Quirino Province Adventure Trip: Discovering the Undiscovered

  • Wow, okay I’m lucky enough to have visited all these places and for me it would be between Tallinn and Bratislava. They have such a lovely old town feel. I think Tallinn would win ( I voted for Tallinn!) just because it’s such a beautifully styled city, and that room looks beautiful! I couldn’t go anywhere or sit in a park without locals stopping and chatting to me, it was just so friendly. It has some ridiculously cool places to explore, and a really youthful feel despite looking so medieval. Also – beach!

    Yep, Tallinn!
    Anastasia | Gallivant Girl recently posted..Travel Trauma: Tales of Illness & Injury on the Road, Part 1

  • Liz
    January 9 2015

    Prague! I’ve been to the other two cities and while they are super lovely, I want to see you go to one I have never been to before. Prague will be amazing!

    Airbnb in Prague, would be doubly amazing 🙂

  • January 10 2015

    Prague gets my vote.

  • Angela Saver
    January 10 2015

    My vote is for Prague!

    [email protected]

  • January 10 2015

    It’s gotta be Prague, because I’ll be passing through there in February as well. If you award me the credit, I’ll be able to stay in style 😛
    Turner recently posted..Failure to Reach Pearl Harbor

  • January 11 2015

    Three excellent choices here, a tough one to pick the ultimate destination from these! I just adore Tallinn, but i had to pick Bratislava because I used to live there so I have a major soft spot for it. (Prague is lovely too but compared to Tallinn and Bratislava, it becomes a bit mainstream and boring, I reckon!). Although you can’t really go wrong with any of them!
    Amanda Kendle recently posted..10 years of Not A Ballerina in 2015 – my plans to celebrate my blog anniversary

  • arianne mae
    January 11 2015

    I vote Tallinn

  • Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog
    January 11 2015

    All three cities and apartments look like amazing options, so I’m sure you’ll have a fab time wherever you choose. I went to Prague years and years ago, when I was about 11 or 12, and loved it. Hope it’s amazing, though, wherever you end up, and looking forward to reading about it on the blog!

  • Prague holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my boyfriend and I rekindled our relationship about 7 years ago so I think it’s so perfect for couples. This city has an amazing way of bringing people together and I think it’s the most romantic city in the world to kick back and enjoy life together especially since you two work so hard. You and Pete would love it!
    Cristina ✈ (@travelingjourno) recently posted..Tasting Provence: A Local Food Tour in Nice

  • January 12 2015

    Love that you are letting your readers vote where you go! I did it once too, but it was back when I had, like, twelve readers. I need to try it again! (PS: I voted for Prague, because rooftop deck! Duh.)
    Alex recently posted..Photo of the Week 187: Orlando

  • January 13 2015

    I hope my vote is going tu push Tallin forward ;)…
    Benoit(novomonde) recently posted..Trek à Torres del Paine : Mode d’emploi

  • BarbaraLH
    January 14 2015

    Hey, I voted and then shared on FB and pinned — but it didn’t increase my entries…does someone have to respond to the posting for it to increase?

    • January 14 2015

      Hmmm Barbara, I’m not sure why it didn’t show you that, although just looking on the backend of the system it seems to be working fine…

  • BarbaraLH
    January 14 2015

    I voted for Estonia — because it is on my own list of TO GO TO and I like the apartment but obviously you couldn’t do badly with any of these choices. I’d like to go back to Prague — my family was there in 1991 (yes, that long ago). My daughter and I were pen-pals with a Czech mother-daughter pair and we went to visit (and stretched the trip with my husband to Hungary/Budapest as well as to Vienna). Great trip…but Prague has changed so much since then (was just a couple of years after the Velvet Revolution) that I’d like to experience it as it is now.

  • Lisa
    January 14 2015

    love this contest !
    I have never tried Airbnb, yet I view the accommodations on Instagram. Lots of really wonderful places ! So, I’ve entered, liked, follow you on IG. I selected Prague, as I’ve always wanted to go there. It’s one of the places in Europe I haven’t gotten to either. So IF I never get there, I can live vicariously through you !

  • January 14 2015

    I was going to vote for Prague because it’s one of my favorite places in the world and definitely a good place to explore slowly, but that apartment in Tallin looks too charming. I love Airbnb, too; we use their properties all the time.
    Jenna recently posted..An active holiday on the Big Island of Hawaii

  • Pam Dvorak
    January 15 2015

    I vote for Prague!!!!! I would love to visit my ancestry !!! Looks gorgeous !!!!

  • Terri
    January 15 2015

    Prague- no question.
    At the end of your day after sightseeing what better way to put you feet up and enjoy the beautiful views on the rooftop!!

  • LaRue
    January 15 2015

    I vote for Prague. I would love to go there myself!

  • Kimberly
    January 15 2015

    Prague was my immediate reaction, but having not traveled much, I think because that is what is familiar. I’d pick Tallin, Estonia – love that stone wall behind the bed and what a cute town! The convenience is just a plus.

  • January 18 2015

    Coincidence! I just found this today, and I wrote an eastern Europe-themed post on my blog, which is not directly travel related. In light of my post today (and my overall feeling), I said Tallinn–I haven’t been *there*, but I’ve been to Riga (Latvia). I learned so much more about myself, culture, and the human spirit by traveling to a country that earned its independence through a last-gasp war, non-peacefully… as did all of the Baltics. Those people have drive, in a good way. 🙂

  • Sooo, I want to change my vote to Tallinn! This place is magical and after only being here for 24 hours, we are smitten! TALLINN! TALLINN!

  • verydeep1
    January 19 2015

    prague, czech republic .It looks cool and neat…
    I have been searching on airbnb..for a place to stay in halifax nova scotia.for the end of jan. for 1 month or more..I am so hoping on this win.What a help it will be.

  • jo from faraway
    January 19 2015

    i had the goof fortune to spend a day in Tallin back in June 1997. It left me wanting to come back and spend more time especially to get to know the local folks and their way of life. Enjoy!

  • Based on apartment alone, I would vote the one in Tallin, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. Looking forward to the results!

  • Cristo
    January 21 2015

    Tallinn and Prague, both awesome = why choose, visit both!

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