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van gogh bedroom airbnbNo surprise: A real-life re-creation of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting of his bedroom, which was listed for $10 a night on Airbnb, sold out for the first month within hours of its promotion.

The Art Institute of Chicago commissioned the creation of the one-room rental — modeled precisely after the trio of paintings the Dutch artist made in the late 1880s — to help promote its new exhibit “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms.” One of the bedroom scenes is in the Art Institute’s permanent collection, and the other two are on loan for an exhibit that runs through May 10. It’s the first time that all three paintings are on exhibit together in North America.

The tiny rental room is located in a historic building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. “This room will make you feel like you’re living in a painting,” the Airbnb listing says. “It’s decorated in a Post-Impressionist style, reminiscent of Southern France and times gone by.”

Airbnb will accept bookings for March stays during the last week of February. Monitor the Art Institute’s Facebook page or Twitter feed to find out exactly when the rooms will open up. (We assume they’ll book speedily too.)

For those who couldn’t land a night in the twin bed with the thin red blanket, the Art Institute exhibit includes a life-size replica of the room, where you can listen to period music and snap selfies.

And if Chicago isn’t on your travel itinerary for now through May, you can have a similar experience at the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture park in Hamilton, New Jersey. Not only can you go into a room modeled after the bedroom, but you can also step inside three-dimensional replicas of other famous paintings, including Pierre Auguste Renoir’s 19th-century “The Luncheon of the Boating Party” and Edouard Manet’s “Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe.”

Chicago Travel Guide
5 Reasons Airbnb Is Better Than a Hotel

— written by Elissa Leibowitz Poma

Suffering from the Monday doldrums? For everyone out there facing the beginning of another work week, here’s a little jolt of wanderlust to brighten up your morning. Each Monday, we offer a photo of a spectacular place to spark ideas for your future travels.

This week’s shot captures evening at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago, Illinois. This Millennium Park institution is affectionately nicknamed “the Bean.”

cloud gate bean millennium park chicago

Our Favorite Windy City Hotels

Send us your best travel shot! E-mail your most beautiful or captivating travel photo to feedback@independenttraveler.com. (Please put Monday Inspiration in the subject line.)

Photos: The Best 9 Cities to See Cool Public Art

— written by Sarah Schlichter

biking indianapolisBe you leisure or business traveler, you’ve probably been here: in a new city with a day to see it.

The best way to do it? Get on a bicycle.

The Dutch, Germans and Chinese might shrug at America’s urban bicycling “revolution,” but an increasing number of U.S. cities are introducing bike share programs, carving bike-only lanes from roads and generally promoting two-wheeled transportation. There’s even a political action committee, Bikes Belong, that supports bike-friendly candidates.

I’ll steer clear from politics, but will say this: There is no more efficient, invigorating way to see a city in a day.

At a recent Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) conference in Indianapolis, I cycled the city’s $60-odd million Cultural Trail, a 7.5-mile route that took our group on a leisurely tour past museums, canals, monuments, restaurants and purpose-built art installations. Having your own bike/pedestrian lane is something of a confidence booster. I got a better feel for Indy, a compact, accessible city (if not the stuff of bucket list day dreams), in five hours than I did in the other five days I was there. It was also good to get the heart pumping after so many SunKing IPAs.

Bike Tours and Trips

The city doesn’t yet have an automated bike share program, something found in Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Miami. This approach, however, generally places an emphasis on returning bikes to hubs within an allotted time period (or paying a surcharge). Mapping out a full-day route vis-a-vis bike hubs does require some planning. An app makes it easier.

Renting a bike for the day or a half day takes out some of the stress.

However you roll, be aware of the road rules and the reputation. The cohabitation of cars and bikes is a relatively new phenomenon in U.S. cities, and bike lanes aren’t a constant. You will have to share the road with wary drivers, and rules for cyclists vary by city. “I didn’t know” might not convince a police officer from handing out a citation.

Disclaimers aside, tell us: What’s the best city you’ve ever cycled in?

– written by Dan Askin