The Big Adventure Has Officially Been Extended

The Occasional Nomads are going to England!

A month or so before we left Hawai’i, Airbnb sent us a coupon after we cancelled our Tokyo stay at their suggestion because of changes in Japanese home-sharing rules. The value of the coupon was worth the full price for our entire stay in Tokyo even though at the time we had only paid one third of the amount as a deposit. In other words, we were given an Airbnb coupon worth over $7100 – yes, that’s how much it costs to live in Tokyo for three months in a small apartment near our son’s place – to make up for the inconvenience of having to arrange another rental situation (we will actually be staying in the same apartment, but renting directly from the owner who has been checked out by our son and daughter-in-law).

How to best use that coupon became a hot topic of discussion for Brett and me. There were several rules attached to its use, most importantly that it could only be used for one Airbnb stay versus being broken up and used for several different bookings. It had an expiration date. Also, any amount that was not used could not be redeemed later – any balance remaining after applying the coupon would disappear. In order to use it to maximum effect we were basically going to have to stay for a short time in the most luxurious place ever (so not our style) or do an extended stay somewhere.

Brett and I talked about all the places we wanted to see and weren’t visiting on the Big Adventure, and where we would most like to spend an extended period of time. In the end we decided we wanted to visit England. That decision was the easy part but where to spend a long period of time in England was a bit more difficult as there’s lots we’d like to see in different parts of the country. We drew up a list of different areas, ranked them, and in the end decided on the Cotswolds District in the west. We could do walks and hikes there, the area is close to Oxford and Bath and not that far from Cornwall, and it’s close enough that we could get over to London for a few days, and to Wales as well.

YaYu stepped in at that point and asked if we would let her find the perfect Airbnb for our stay. We gave her some parameters beyond the price and dates we were interested in: the house had to have a washing machine (and hopefully a dryer) and WiFi, and we would also like to have a dishwasher and a fireplace if possible. In a short while she had compiled a list of six lovely homes that fit all our criteria. One of those went immediately to the top of the list, a converted part of an old vicarage in a small village outside Moreton-in-Marsh, in the upper part of the Cotswolds. The house had everything we wanted and then some, the location was great, the house was loaded with character, and the owner and home got great reviews.We knew last summer it was too early to even inquire about a reservation, but this past weekend I contacted the owner and was able to book the house for a three-month stay beginning in September of 2019, following our summer stay in Portland. The full price was covered by our coupon, with only a small amount left over (and lost). All we will have to do is buy our plane tickets – thank you Airbnb!

One funny thing though that I have to add: In the interim I had found another lovely house in the area and it looked like our coupon would cover three months there. However, when I plugged in our dates, the monthly price first appeared at over $66,000 dollars, and when I checked again the next day a month’s stay had climbed to $189,000!!! Not sure what was going on with that, but we certainly were not interested in buying the house, lovely as it was.

20 thoughts on “The Big Adventure Has Officially Been Extended

  1. Laurel Hill says:

    Well, that’s kind of beyond awesome! I’m envious. What a sweet deal that AirBnB situation turned out to be!

    You will be less than 100 miles from where my daughter lives. At some point, I’ll be back there if she stay much longer, and I’m really looking forward to your England visit. There is just so much to see there, and most of easily accessible via public transport. She’s a big hiker and the countryside in England is just gorgeous. Happy for you!

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    • Laura says:

      We were frankly stunned by Airbnb’s handling of the issue and their generous gift coupon. Since extended stays are billed monthly, we were frightened that the certificate would only cover the first month of our stay and we’d be stuck paying for the past two months, but when we plugged it in it covered the entire cost – yeah!

      We’re super excited about the location and the house. The big debate now is whether we will lease a car during our stay or stick to public transportation. Lots of time to decide though.

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  2. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    It’s so funny, here on the comments page there are other suggested blog posts. And one of them is “Mystery Revealed” – from last October! And before we know it, you’ll be in England! Time goes way too fast. I sure am enjoying your travels from afar!

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    • Laura says:

      You are so right that time goes by too quickly. We can’t believe that we are almost done with the France portion of our trip – just two more weeks to go and we will be in Italy. Next year’s fall seems so far away right now, but we knew we needed to book early as places there fill up fast, and were so happy the owner was willing to take our reservation.

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  3. Sheila says:

    I’ll be eagerly awaiting your post next year on your Cotswold stay. We were thinking of staying in Moreton in Marsh next July, but decided we needed to rein in travel expenses next year. We’d decided on Moreton because of the access to transportation since we didn’t plan on getting a car. We did a six day walk from B&B in the Cotswalds several years ago and loved the area. The place you’ll be renting sounds great.

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    • Laura says:

      The houses that YaYu found were scattered all over the place, but I had joked with her that I wanted a place near Chipping Camden and Stow-in-the Wold and low and behold, Moreton-in-Marsh is that! She really did a good job finding suitable places for us to stay.

      We would not be traveling further beyond next summer except for the coupon – we knew we had to continue. Our son really wants us to stop and settle somewhere though, but for now we have no idea where so we might as well keep going for a few more months.

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  4. M'Shell says:

    Oh, I am so excited for you!! We took a few side trip from London to Bath and absolutely loved it. We did a bus tour of the Cotswolds and feel in love! So many quaint places and everything just looks picture perfect! I think you have to be a master gardener to own a home there because all of the gardens are so lovely!

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    • Laura says:

      We had originally planned to visit Bath as part of the Big Adventure, but money and time got in the way and we told ourselves, “we can just go later.” So, now we’re pinching ourselves that we’ll get to stay in the area for three months. Were pretty sure the weather will get rougher as we move into October and November (which is why we wanted a fireplace), but there’s just so much in the area to see. Besides Bath I’m especially looking forward to visiting Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum. I also want to do an Inspector Morris/Lewis tour there (I have watched both series three times).

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  5. anexactinglife says:

    That is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I look forward to hearing about that part of your trip because it will give me lots of ideas for where to stay/go in that area in the future – with the research already done 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      I have your “Bath Time” post bookmarked – it gives me lots of ideas of things to see and do there.

      You are so right that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are still pinching ourselves that we’re going to get to visit the area, and also see London and other places. My ancestors all come from England, so I will be doing some research and can hopefully visit the area they come from (with my luck though they’re all from Yorkshire).

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  6. Vivian says:

    Wow. Looking forward to that trip. I have always wanted to return to England. Have been watching “Nick Nowles: Original Home Restoration” in England. Looks fascinating and you will have plenty of time to explore. Good choice.

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    • Laura says:

      Brett has been to England, to Portsmouth, but he is equally as excited about the area where we’ll be staying. We both want to get in some good walks before the weather gets too bad and we have to stay inside more. I’m going to look up that show you mention when we get back to the U.S. We’re also going to check out the Rick Steves shows about Bath, Oxford and the Cotswolds, and see if we can find any other shows about the area.

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    • Laura says:

      We were frankly flabbergasted by Airbnb’s generosity (they also gave us a $100 coupon for any experience – we are planning to use it for a pizza class while we’re in Florence) – this really is the opportunity of a lifetime for us.

      We’re having a wonderful time here in Strasbourg – we could happily stay longer.But, we’re looking forward to seeing Bordeaux next. I have to admit I’m not looking forward to packing the suitcase up again and hauling it over to the station. It’s one of the reasons I think the trip to England will be so nice – we will be able to “settle in” for those three months.

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  7. Bob Lowry/Satisfying Retirement says:

    You have picked THE place to base your England stay. Only the Lakes District farther north rivals the Cotswolds in beauty and interesting sites. We fell in love with Bath. The Roman ruins are just amazing. The cute little English towns (hamlets, really) will grab you and never let go.

    Enjoy!

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    • Laura says:

      I had seen pictures of the Cotswold area, but really had not realized how close it was to all the places we wanted to see (Bath being #1 on our list, with Oxford close behind). The place we’re staying is in one of those little hamlets – we are thinking of leasing a small car while we’re there – Moreton-in-Marsh is a good transportation hub but we’ll be about five miles outside of it. We have lots of time though between now and then to figure it all out. BTW, the Lakes District was second on our list of areas to stay.

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  8. JJ says:

    Airbnb should have you appear in a commercial! I wonder if anyone else has traveled for such a long period of time staying only in Airbnbs?

    England is great! I’ve only been there a couple of times and not for very long either time, but it’s nice because there is no language barrier and I feel comfortable there. I can’t really explain why. I’ve never tried to drive when I’ve been there because driving on the other side of the road seems terrifying! Have you or Brett ever done that?

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    • Laura says:

      We are mere beginners with Airbnb compared to the Senior Nomads, who were and are our inspiration. They have been traveling for nearly five years, staying exclusively in Airbnb rentals all over the world (over 200 of them).

      We drove for years on the opposite side of the road when we lived in Japan. In fact, we were there long enough that when we watched American films everyone in those was driving on the wrong side! The secret is to remember to always keep the wheel at the center of the road. Once you start thinking that way it’s easy to make the switch. We’ll be driving on the opposite side again when we’re in New Zealand, and get used to it again for a longer term in Japan. What’s actually more difficult is remembering to stand or walk on the left side in Japan on sidewalks, escalators, stairs, etc. That takes me a while, and I often found myself blocking the right side when that’s for people who want to move more quickly.

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