Have you been planning a trip and were shocked by the high hotel prices or the need to book multiple rooms for your family? Where you not able to find a nice hotel in the charming old town that you want to explore? Maybe it’s time to try out airbnb, the online provider that connects hosts who have an extra room or apartment to rent and guests who are looking for a home away from home! Read why and when you should check out airbnb on your next trip!
Despite being a frequent traveler and member of countless hotel rewards programs, I recently booked my first airbnb stay. Let me share why I did and why it might make sense for you as well!
1. Hotel Prices are crazy! Is that what you thought when you did a hotel search recently? Prices from New York or San Francisco to London or Paris and Singapore or Sydney are through the roof and can but a stop to your plans of visiting, if they blow your budget! In many cases the demand has gone up through economic or tourist growth and the building of new hotels (or apartments) hasn’t kept up. It takes years from the idea for a new hotel or residential building to opening doors, leaving you stuck with higher-than-usual prices in the meantime. And in cities like Manila, a few families control most industries, limiting competition, leading to hotel prices much higher than in Bangkok or other regional capitals!
Airbnb got its start in that environment: rents for many residents were going up, up, up and tenants or owners were looking for a way to pay the rent or mortgage. And visitors were glad to find an alternative to hotels they could afford. Airbnb connected hosts and guests by allowing the two to connect and taking the risk out of staying with a “stranger”.
In many destinations, you can find a nice apartment at a much lower price in the same neighborhood as hotels – or opt for a much larger place for the same price! You can save on average 49% by renting a room or 21% by renting a whole apartment, based on a Digital Trends Study!
2. More space for families and groups! The latter option was what drove me to make my first airbnb booking: We were traveling as a group of 3 and even though we are family, we wanted to have two rooms in Melbourne, Australia. Hotel prices were high and I found a two-bedroom apartment for the price of one hotel room, giving us a 50% saving without giving up anything we wanted! In addition to the two bedrooms, we had a large living room, dining room and kitchen, giving us plenty of space to hang out or have breakfast on our own! We even had a washer/dryer to take care of laundry needs without paying a ransom to the hotel service!
3. Live like a local! And staying with an airbnb host adds a different quality to traveling: Instead of checking into a hotel, surrounded by tourists in white socks & sandals or convention-goers with their badges, you live among locals. Our hosts provided us with tips for their favorite restaurants, bars and things to do, hand-written maps on places to see and answered our questions, better than any hotel concierge could do! We felt more like a exploring a new home-town than being an outsider visiting. We picked up groceries at the convenience store on the street and went to coffee shops and restaurants not in the guidebooks. In many cities in Europe, you’ll find few hotels in the charming old towns – yet you will find apartments for rent on the little cobblestone alleys you want to explore!
There are also a few things you are giving up with airbnb, which is why you won’t find a lot of travel bloggers writing about it:
1. Business Travelers: Many companies prohibit the use of airbnb, mostly due to liability issues or quality concerns of this unknown offering. I think it will take a few years for airbnb to become a proven service provider to overcome these concerns and allow business travelers to choose it as an option.
2. Elite Perks: If you are an elite member at the large hotel chains, you won’t get the VIP treatment with room upgrades, free drinks or breakfast – sorry, everybody is a VIP at airbnb and you’ll have to buy your own drinks and food! You also don’t collect points for future hotel stays. So, if your company is paying for your hotels and the points are used for your next vacation, you are missing out. For a leisure traveler, I’d suggest that the airbnb savings more than make up for the discount you get from points!
3. Services: If your enjoyment of a trip depends on the bellboy carrying your luggage, ordering a late night snack from room service or housekeeping changing sheets and towels every day, airbnb is not for you! It’s like staying with friends or family – you have to make your own bed, buy your own snacks or, on a longer stay, even bring out the trash (I know, the horror!).
While I’m perfectly fine without those services most of the time, for special occasions, celebrations or romantic getaways, I do enjoy being pampered and would probably not pick an airbnb!
So, airbnb will work for some people and not for others: If you are a business traveler, a rewards point and perks fan or need luxury services, you are better of booking a hotel for your next trip.
If you are looking to save some money, enjoy time with family or friends at a home-away-from-home or live like a local in a foreign city, airbnb is a great alternative to booking a hotel!from saving money to enjoying time with family and friends to staying like a local, there are plenty of reasons to check out airbnb.
You can sign up for airbnb and start exploring by clicking here. By signing up through this link, you get a credit of $35 towards your first booking (of at least $75). I also get a credit of $35 – thank you for using my link and supporting this blog. If you don’t think that’s appropriate, feel free to sign up without the link, find a great place on airbnb and enjoy your next trip just the same!