What can be a great trap of 'touring' a city is just that, becoming a tourist. Eating in the restaurants that adorn the streets surrounding popular landmarks, taking excursions to look at the big buildings that are recommended in the guides, and paying far too much for the clothes that one could find along popular avenues of any metropolis are all trademarks of a typical trip, devoid of local insight.
People will collect experiences that are more of a tick on a list, rather than allowing the chance to be changed by their involvements. We further the gaps and remain strangers, instead of making the world a global village, and sharing and learning from each other.
If you’ve not yet heard of Airbnb, then prepare to be travel-enlightened. Airbnb is a simple, clever and experience-enhancing service that connects the traveller with a host, who, as the name implies, opens their house/room/guest villa to the traveller. With over one million listings worldwide they list everything from villas to castles (of which there are 600 listed on the site, for any of you who fancy a casual escape this weekend).
Airbnb curates warm and hospitable persons who offer lodging in their properties for a far more authentic travel experience than one would experience in a hotel room.
With prices suit every budget, a clean, funky and welcoming room/house/apartment can be rented in any number of locales, each bearing the individual flair of their owners, and with accompanying insider tips of the respective hosts. It is an exciting concept, and one that makes the world all the more accessible.
"Now if we know anything about Foodies, we know they like to travel. And usually, a wanderlust smitten individual is one whom also enjoys eating their way around the world, learning about the culture of a city through the food it offers."
Airbnb hosts add a mass of value to trips, whether by ensuring you don't drink bad coffee or directing to the most reasonably priced sashimi in the city.
We went and chatted to Tea and Andrew on a recent visit to New York, both Airbnb hosts who are creative, welcoming, and old hands at recommending the best spots in Brooklyn and beyond.
Andrew | Hails from San Diego | Founder of fashion label Knickerbocker | Williamsburg Wunderkind
This apartment is superbly cool. How did you end up in this, a church converted into a loft?
I actually intentionally set out to find somewhere I could use as an Airbnb space. I have some really cool people come through, whom I will often take out for a beer. Airbnb allows you to feel like a world traveller without having actually travelled the world. Financially it is such a good source of income, and I know this place is cool and gives an unreal experience here in New York.
And having stayed at the Wythe, we could say you are paying one third of the cost for the same quality and aesthetic right?
Absolutely. In addition, I will lend my advice and knowledge wherever I can. Most of my visitors are from Europe, and most engineers, other designers, photographers etc. You tend to be attracted to likeness so I can give tailored tips. With Airbnb, you have millions of rooms available in every location you could think of, because they exist in peoples' homes.
Given you are in the industry that is practically the height of all that is stylish; give us the lowdown on the best places to eat and drink the 'Burg.
I tell everyone to go watch the sunset from the rooftop of the Wythe, with a beer. No matter how many times you have done it, it takes your breath away each time.
Fette Sau is so outrageously good for BBQ. They dry rub their meats and are very intentional about the farms they supply from, so you can expect the highest quality.
You HAVE to try Peter Pan Donut & Pastry shop, which is run by Polish people, and has the most unbelievable donuts for like one dollar. The custard donut there is probably the best in the world.
To feel like a local, hit up Black Bear and Skinny Dennis, which exactly captures the Brooklyn vibe.
Insider Foodie Guide to New York:
Five Leaves (Bedford Av). Source locally wherever possible and have decent prices for some of the best brunch in New York. Think merguez sausage, scrambled eggs w/ spiced chickpeas, crushed avocado & grilled sourdough.
Washington Square Park (right next to NYU). Grab a piping hot bag of chestnut from a street vendor and go and grab a seat in Washington Square Park. Everyone goes to Central Park, for obvious reasons, but really unless you are looking at it from above then Washington Square Park is a far more central and you can do some outstanding people watching.
Skinny Dennis (Metropolitan Av). A local favourite with live music. It's a real bar, with beer for $4.
Kinfolk 90 (Wythe Av). The cafe is architecturally stunning, great coffee and it attracts the coolest people. They're always doing art shows and the like for the creative foodies out there.
When you book an Airbnb stay through Foodie you’re entitled to a $25 USD/$194 HKD discount! Visit www.airbnb.com/foodiehkif you like having more money to spend on food.