There’s a website called Airbnb which gives you alternatives to staying in hotels when you’re traveling. “Bnb” comes from “Bed and Breakfast”, which in many countries refers to the practice of lending a part of your home out for travelers and giving them breakfast while they stay. In parts of Europe, they’re called “pensions” (different from what “pension” means in Japanese). The Airbnb site has rooms in homes, and it also has whole homes available for rent. You don’t have to sign up to browse the site, but if you want to try to reserve a place, you’ll need to become a member.
My father and I stayed in one of these houses while we were traveling in Portland, Oregon, and our experience was very positive. We found a very roomy (even by U.S. standards) studio apartment that sleeps 4, had a nice view (or would have, had the sun come out more often), a furnished kitchen for cooking, and even coffee beans in the freezer, for only $425 for the whole week.
There’s also a site called VRBO (vacation rentals by owners), which I hear is similar to AirBNB, but I’ve never used it.
I discovered the other day that there is also a site called Airpnp. It’s like Airbnb but for toilets. Look on the map and find a place to use the bathroom. I thought it was a joke, but it looks real, albeit spotty. I saw plenty of places to pee in Antwerp, but not a whole lot of other places. Maybe it’s a Belgian thing.
In Japan, we don’t really need such a site; you can usually find clean public restrooms in any station, shop, park and building. This isn’t always true in other countries. So maybe Airpnp is a good idea. Especially if you go to Belgium?