My friends have been urging me to join them in Boracay for Labor Day, but I’ve decided to skip the mad “laboracay” crowd to fly to an exotic destination instead which has always been on top of my personal bucket list.

Turkey — a destination where you can find: the historical land of the Ottoman empire; the mythological city of Troy; several biblical landmarks like Ephesus and Antioch; a unique country sitting on two continents: Asia and Europe.

I’ll be flying to Istanbul with a friend for a holiday (May 1 to May 8, 2015) aboard Emirates, but up until now, I still haven’t firmed up my itinerary and accommodations yet. I’ve been looking at Airbnb, but I still couldn’t decide which specific abode to book—there are just so many good apartment options and yet there are also a lot of factors I need to consider.

After searching all the viable properties in the city, finally, there’s one apartment my friend and I really, really like. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Galata, the apartment is owned by a person named Doruk and he lets guests rent his space for about Php7,000/night (Galata, Asseo Urban Residence). This is a place I can possibly rent and live in. Just look at this beauty! 

airbnb istanbul apartment 11

Singling out a particular apartment can be taxing to some, but I actually enjoy the whole process of “flat hunting.”

Here are FIVE ESSENTIAL FACTORS that I consider before booking an accommodation:

1. PRICE – Since I’m traveling on a budget, the rate-per-night is something that is most crucial to me. I usually ask myself first: “how much am I willing to spend on this trip for my accommodation?” vis-à-vis “what are the advantages/disadvantages I will get from booking this room at this price?” At around Php7,000/night, the Galata residence’s rate is an average price for a comfy-yet-stylish place in the heart of Istanbul.

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2. LOCATION  – Depends on your lifestyle and preferences, you need to choose a location where you are most comfortable. Will it be near the train stations, stretch of restaurants or malls, tourist spots, or do you prefer just a quiet place outside the city? Personally, I’ve always wanted a room-with-a-view and always in a bustling neighborhood. Whenever I dream about Turkey and my upcoming trip, I’ve always pictured the picturesque Galata Tower in my mind while walking in its rustic yet romantic streets. This is one of the tourism promo ads I previously saw which made me fall in love with Turkey even more:

Photo source: Aikakausmedia

 Check out what I will possibly get from booking Doruk’s place on Airbnb:

airbnb istanbul apartment 3

airbnb istanbul apartment 4
Look at that Galata Tower view – very similar to the tourism ad! I can already imagine myself walking in that little street…

3. OTHER FEATURES – Aside from the bed, it’s also important to look at the other areas in the flat and see if it has everything you need in an accommodation. E.g. shower heater, bidet, television set, air-con, etc. What I love about Doruk’s flat is that it’s clean and stylish. Love the living room and the toilet too — I can live here, forever!   

airbnb istanbul apartment 9
airbnb istanbul apartment 10
Shower area
Dining Area
Dining Area

4. MATCH YOUR PERSONALITY – Since Airbnb gives you the power to choose which rooms/apartments to rent, then it’s essential that you match the space you will be getting with your personality. Are you traditional or modern? Are you artsy or very formal? Do you prefer wide spaces or cozy ones? The power is really in your hands! I prefer something artsy yet still with a luxurious feel (so wall paintings are plus points!); a place where I can hang out and just be. This seems perfect… 

One of the cute little nooks in Doruk's apartment.

5. OWNER’S REPUTATION – I know a lot of you are scared whether you can trust an apartment on Airbnb versus just getting a reputable hotel. It helps to read reviews from previous guests. Good thing, they are all found in the same listing/owner’s page. I can see from Doruk’s page, everyone seems to be delighted to have stayed in his place. He has been replying to each comment too, which tells a lot about his responsiveness to guests’ feedback.

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owner's reputation 1

owner's reputation 2Now that I’ve already ticked everything in my check list, I can’t wait to visit Doruk’s place. Next on my list is to work on our trip’s itinerary. Istanbul, here we come! Can’t wait…


HASHTAGS: #WhereToNext #Airbnb #AirbnbPH

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About Author Paolo Avis

Living abroad for more than half a decade now, Paolo works in Singapore as a sales and marketing manager for a luxury travel publication. His creative urges can’t always be contained, hence photography, video documentaries, and blogging are his go-to forms of artistic release. Since he didn’t get to pursue TV production after getting a degree in Communication, Paolo now turns to Random Republika as an outlet to keep himself updated and to share his thoughts on what’s happening in showbiz and beyond. Follow his other stories via Instagram (@bigbluefish).

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