Airbnb Accommodation In Perth And Melbourne

We went to Perth in 2015 and Melbourne recently. Initially, I had problems finding hotel rooms with two queen sized beds previously, and I had to get another room for my parents. The costs were high and seeing posts by my friends on Facebook about their Airbnb apartments made me decided to give Airbnb a try.

I was very late when I wanted to book my place in Perth and there were very few places available. Some of the places only had one bathroom(!), so I rejected those places. I found a place, but the guy happened to be representing owners instead and was running a business, and he told me that the place was not available for one of the days. He recommended another place to me and I accepted it in desperation.

It was a three bedroom house in one of the suburbs. The owner lived nearby and she walked us to the place when we arrived. The place was big and nice, but the first night we were there, I had to scrub the electric kettle as it was extremely dirty at the spout. We pushed a mattress into one of the rooms and all four of us squeezed into a room. My parents had a room to themselves.

The living room was large, and the children played games there. We had a kitchen, so we could prepare bread and other very simple meals. Having a microwave allowed us to heat up the food quickly.

We had a place to wash our clothes and having a dryer was important. We also used the outdoor area to hang the clothes to dry and it was quite fast in the summer weather. Oddly enough, the bathroom and the toilet were separated in the common area. There was another en suite bathroom.

The only problem with the house was the main entrance was on a road with no name. It had a narrow pathway to the back and sandwiched between two other houses. It was a little difficult for deliverymen to find our place. I could not remember whether there was a doorbell there, but I had to wait outside there for them to arrive.

My father, an avid traveller, said he liked the place very much. My mother was apprehensive in the beginning, as my brother told her horror stories about people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning in Airbnb houses. She soon got over it. My children loved the place! It was big and they could run around. This was their first trip so they could not compare, but we had a staycation before and the room was tiny. I think the place was decent, though it was more difficult for us to travel around and we called MaxiCabs every single time we travelled.

There were shops and restaurants some distance away, and we walked to the supermarkets to buy groceries.
Throwing trash was a little inconvenient. They only collected them on certain days and we had to remember to put the bags out.

Two years later, when it came to Melbourne, I decided to search for a place earlier. After booking the flights on dates that were cheaper to travel, we had six days left. My father said he would prefer a place in the CBD area, so I set my limits. Having at least two bathrooms was very important. I had narrowed down to about 10 places. I compared the prices, the reviews, the locations and the amenities. Some places had pools and gyms under construction, so I ruled those out.

In the end, I went for a place that had a queen sized bed and a single bed in a bedroom, so that our family could sleep together. Some concerns – 50th storey (!!! My mother was against it initially.), soft mattresses – but other than these, I liked that it was right beside the station for airport transfer. The price was also affordable, compared to the others.

When we first reached there, it was hidden from view on a private lane with no car access. We took some time to locate it. Getting the key was easy as we just took it from a convenience store. The place required card access, so it was not so convenient for us to go out to at the same time to different places.

Going to the fiftieth storey was exciting. There was a whistling sound in the corridors, possibly from the wind. I hoped I would not hear that, but once we closed the door properly, there was no sound. Our jaws dropped when we entered the place. The view was magnificent. At night, we could see the night view, including a fire show at the nearby casino.

The place was way smaller than expected, but it had everything. They managed to fit a queen sized bed into the living room. In the end, one kid slept with my husband in the living room, even though we pushed the single bed to join with the queen sized bed. I think it is also because they are older now, and need more space.

The kitchen was quite high tech. I had to figure out how to use the induction hob. We cooked eggs and noodles. We could also use the microwave oven to heat up food. Hot water ran on demand immediately.

Getting food deliveries was easy too. Deliverymen had no problems finding the place, but the intercom did not seem to work. After trying for some time, they would then call me. Apparently, the website, Eatnow, I used to order food remembered my orders in Perth two years ago! It was easy to sort out the places according to the stars.

Throwing trash was easy. There was a central refuse collection on each level. They also had a separate recycling chute. The only question I had was whether the bags and items could survive a fifty storey drop.

I guess the main problem could be adjusting to the altitude. I am not sure whether it is due to our red-eye flight where we had very little sleep, or the high altitude. My mother and I had bad headaches for the first day, and we just kept sleeping. Even on the second day, we slept till late and did not do much until lunch time. However, after that, we were fine. I guess if I could choose again, I would have factored in more days so that our trip could be even more leisurely.

If you are a new Airbnb guest, you may use my link to get S$45 in credits.

4 Ideas To Engage Your Child During Holidays

The December holiday period is here, and I have two boys who are having their school holidays. What can I do to engage the two boys, aged three and six, so that they will not drive each other crazy (usually it’s the younger one that drives the elder one crazy)? I only have two or three weeks of break before I start working again.

Make and play homemade games
I was at my parents’ place when my mother was throwing out some things. I happened to spot a few laminated A3 paper, and realised that they were some snake and ladders games created for my history students in the past when I was a beginning teacher.

I took them home, and played with my children. It was about a time travelling piece where they get to learn about the trading and travelling history of ancient China and India.
india travels and trade

I had included information about how difficult it was for traders to travel in the jungles in ancient India as there were fierce tribes, and when they reached such boxes, the players would miss a turn or go down a snake. If there were new trade markets opening, the players would get to go again or go up a ladder.
china travels and trade

My children had a lot of fun playing, especially El. He was so excited about the games he asked to play both ancient India and China games a couple of time. He even said he wanted to create his own game. He wanted to do Malaysia at first. Then I suggested Southeast Asia, as that was also part of the former history syllabus. In the end, he wanted to do Thailand.

I discussed some quick facts with him, and then he decided he needed more information. I said I would take him to the library and he wanted to go there the next day.

playing board game

This would be a great way to make use of the holidays as it is the time I really have time with my children, and they would have other things to do in the school term. Making such historical games requires research, and there is the fun element.

Go on a holiday
We were planning a holiday to Australia, and El was really keen to visit the Australia Zoo, managed by the Irwin family. It would be our first overseas holiday ever since he was born, so we felt that going to Brisbane would be a pretty long flight (at least 7 hours) and the air fare was way more expensive than going to Perth. After attending a financial literacy course, El agreed to go to Perth instead since we would save more money.

Since both children like animals and El especially likes nature, we would be going to places such as farm, nature park and zoo. It would be great to expose them to Australian wildlife and other farm animals. I just hope the weather would be fine and not too hot.

They like dinosaurs too, and I googled Dinosaur Perth, and found a great website that collates all the sightings of dinosaurs in Perth. The Perth Museum looks like a great place to start looking! Unfortunately, we have missed a November exhibition, and going to miss something dino-related in January. There is also a theme park, which we may explore if we have the time, although our schedule looks pretty packed.

Looks like we can try the Kings Park. There are some dinosaurs there.

I am also going to pack lots of paper so that they can do some drawing if they are bored. El also asked me to bring along the snake and ladders game, which is very light.

It would be fun to plan holidays together with your children if they are old enough. Read up websites to find out how to save money, and where the best places to go to. As we only made our decision to go there really late, and I was too busy to book accommodation, they were nearly full. I decided to try my luck with airbnb, and it mentioned that only 6% of all the listings were available for my date. It is a house in a suburb, so I hope it will not be too inconvenient for us.

Take up holiday classes
The boys had just taken up taekwondo classes (to protect himself from Gar, who is quite aggressive at times, though both boys are learning it together).
taekwondo

They seem to have so much fun from the class, and they get to expend their energy. They have not received their white belts yet, so they even went to do their own by cutting a piece of paper!

He likes drawing and going for short term art lessons would be more interesting to him. Gar wants to go for art classes too, but he is too young to complete all the drawing and painting. However, he gets so upset that he would even lie when he sees all the paintings belonged to his brother, so going for holiday lessons would be great for him too, just so that he would have his own artwork.

The paintings might have required a lot of guidance from the teachers, but their satisfaction at the end of it is great. They make great décor too.

El requested to go for a science cookery class at the local Community Club, so I signed up a class for him. This will allow him to have fun, and at the same time, hopefully learn something new.

Since he is going to primary school next year, and is pretty weak in the Chinese language, he will go for something more academic in focus. He has a few lessons to attend. I had signed him up for some fun day trips, with immersion in Chinese, but he told me he was still conversing with the other kids in English, so that was not too useful. He had lots of fun though, but I think it may be too tiring to go out the whole day. I am glad he still comes out of the class smiling.

I guess it depends on what your child’s strengths and interests are. Find holiday classes that are suitable for them, and that keeps them occupied. If they have weaknesses in any academic area, it may also be a time to help them catch up. It’s your call (and your children’s).

Make videos
El took his brother’s rabbit project and used it as a prop. He wanted to stage a puppet show or something, then decided he wanted to record it. He then started doing his own videos and called it the Rabbit Show. He had his own commentary, and he also recorded his brother singing about a rabbit. I think the quality is really bad, but hey, even Steven Spielberg has to start somewhere. My secret wish is he can do something like the Hobby Kids, where Gar loves to watch. For now, I just let him use my iPhone to record.

rabbit show
He had been thinking about this a long time. He wants to make his Minecraft commentary videos, but after I read up on how to record iPad games, I think it is far easier to hook up the iPad to the TV via HDMI cable, and then use a video cam to video the TV. The other option is to buy a newer version of the iPad, but I do not see the need to spend that money when the current one is in good condition.

The rest of the time during the holidays, we will probably go to various places of local attractions that are free. If possible, I may just bring the older one to watch a movie. We usually watch at home, because you never know when the younger one gets really scared. I’ve also brought them to a playground recently.
playground

Only less than a month left before I have to go back to work!

This post is part of a blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page in December on Surviving the holidays. Check out other blogs too.
surviving the holidays

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