A friend of mine once told me that I look at flights like most girls look at clothes: “ooh, that looks nice, I’m going to get it.” 

It’s a funny analogy, but I can’t really disagree. The thought process behind my decision to go to Australia a few years ago went something like this: “I want to visit all 7 continents and I haven’t been to Oceana yet. Hmm…Cairns sounds good.”

When we first got married my husband asked me what countries I had left on my bucket list to visit. I started listing all of the countries in South America I hadn’t yet visited – Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.

When I began to do the same thing with Europe, he stopped me. “So pretty much every country in the world is on your list, right?” Guilty as charged :). 

So anyway, we spent this glorious time in Cairns exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

It was absolutely breathtaking.

We went snorkeling, and for miles all around we could see nothing but coral under the water. The variety was stunning – elk coral, brain coral, leaf coral, pillar coral, table coral, gold coral…you get the idea.

And the fish! So incredible. 

One of my favorite memories from the trip was of snorkeling right through a school of massive fish. It was cool until they started swimming right toward me – then it got a little unnerving. 

Pictures, of course, never do a thing of such magnitude justice. I’ve included some below, but really you should just make the effort to go and see it for yourself. 

This trip also stands out as being the first time I traveled with Airbnb.

Once I tried it, it was easy to see the appeal!

We stayed in a full apartment walking distance from…everything. The location was perfect, and it was so nice to have a full kitchen we could come home and cook in. 

At the end of the day, we ended up spending about half as much as we would have for a regular hotel, and getting about twice as much space (including a kitchen, which most hotels don’t have). Because we were able to cook a lot of our own meals, we also saved on food costs. 

Airbnb for the win!