I booked an Airbnb stay in Lisbon for my two day quick exploration of that city. It was for a spare room in someone’s apartment. The price was only $28 per night for a location in the heart of the city, and with a host who had tons if fabulous reviews. It even included breakfast. I was pretty happy with this selection when I got a response to one of my Lisbon home exchange inquiries on the site GuestToGuest, which allows members to spend points for homes. The host was a new member of GuestToGuest and eager to get started earning points. She offered me a room in her flat, which she assured me was in a good location for city sightseeing. Since this would be free, and the host seemed quite nice, I decided free > cheap and cancelled my Airbnb booking (losing only the $6 booking fee).
The home exchange stay in Lisbon exceeded my expectations. Not only was the location perfect for walking to all the popular tourist spots but it was also ideal as being just a little distance outside the central tourist area so that I could enjoy restaurants and cafes not priced for the tourists.
My host was delightful: she had already booked a few more exchanges since we had settled on my stay a few months prior, and we got along very well talking about travel, food, work, sports and more. Her nephew and cousin are living with her while they attend college in the city, and my host invited me to join them all for dinner my first night. I got to experience a little slice of Portugese home life. Everyone spoke very good english, and my host was eager to have the opportunity to practice. The second evening as I was heading out to find some port or wine to try (Portugese sweet wine is very cheap and tasty) my host invited me to instead stay in and taste her wide collection which included a few infusions she had made herself.
Lisbon is a very affordable city, and I fell in love with the beauty of the views and the adorable buildings and tile/stone streets as I walked all over. I definitely need to return to see more of Portugal.