I recently decided to my expand my travel experience a bit by including the use of Airbnb accommodations, as opposed to staying at my usual choice of a local hostel. Typically, a night in an Airbnb will cost more than a dorm bed in a hostel. But with an Airbnb, you get a lot more privacy, and if you do a little research, you can also get a much more authentic local experience of your chosen destination.
To date, I had used the Airbnb network twice. The first time was when I was in Colombia last year and the second occasion was during my most recent trip to Paris. The first Airbnb property that I stayed at was a rented room with shared accommodation in an apartment. The second Airbnb place was an entire apartment that was shared with my mother, my sister and myself.
What Is Airbnb?
I’m sure most of you are asking the question “What is Airbnb???” To sum it up, Airbnb is a website that has access to a network of people who own or rent a house, an apartment, or a cottage. These people rent out rooms or entire properties to travelers through the Airbnb website. It’s an easy way for travelers to rent a room or an apartment for accommodation as opposed to staying in a hostel or hotel when they travel.
There are three typical accommodation options from which to choose. First of all, you can rent a single room in a property that is shared with other travelers. This alternative is usually, but not always, cheaper than getting an entire place. I like this option because the different rooms are typically rented out to like-minded travelers. So you may still get the same type of vibe that you get when you stay at a hostel, but you also get some privacy.
If you would like to have a place to yourself, to share with family, or maybe a group of friends you can rent an entire property. This option is excellent, especially if you plan to stay somewhere for a week or more.
The final option would be renting a room in a property of which the owner still lives there. Kind of like a Bed & Breakfast minus the breakfast. A significant advantage of having the owner there is that they may show you around, and there is always somebody there to give you advice.
You can find out what kind of atmosphere a place has by merely reading the reviews! I can’t stress how important this is to choose the best place for the best experience. You can read the reviews of a particular property on the Airbnb website.
How To Book With Airbnb.
It’s pretty easy! All you need is a credit card or a PayPal account. It’s just the same as booking a hostel or hotel online. You can go to the Airbnb website and follow the instructions. Select your destination, and preferred dates to see what is available. You will have several options to select.
How To Find That True Local Experience
Like I always say, “Read The Reviews!” Yes, it is time-consuming, but if you invest a couple of hours reading the reviews from what other customers have said about specific Airbnb properties you can learn a lot. Sift through the reports and look for comments regarding how authentic the neighborhood is, what kind of vibe to expect, and how past customers have felt overall about a particular place.
For my most recent trip to Paris, I spent two days looking at places and reading the reviews. I wanted a place that was comfortable and in a good neighborhood because I had my sister and my mother with me. Spending a day going from attraction to attraction can get hectic and tiresome, so I wanted them to have a comfortable place to come back to at the end of each day.
Out of a 100 or more properties, I finally found a review that fit the description I was wanting. This one boasted about being in a great neighborhood while offering an authentic Parisian experience.
We spent eight nights in this apartment and were delighted with the entire experience. We were able to live in comfort, see how local life was, and although we were out of the tourist zone, we were still within 20 minutes of most important sites. If I could do it over again, I would rent the same property!
Here is what we found a few blocks away from our Airbnb apartment. We would go to these shops each day, just like the locals would.
In Colombia, my Airbnb host took me to a concert with live music. Here I got to meet some local people and local musicians.
Travel Can Be Cheap – Travel Can Also Be Expensive!
Travel can indeed be expensive, especially in Europe! But with careful planning, you can manage to get by on a reasonable budget. An Airbnb property may be a more economical option for accommodation than a hostel if you are traveling with a few friends. If you are traveling alone, you can still use Airbnb to rent a room, or you may try to round up a few travel companions at a hostel to split on costs of an entire apartment. You will see that the extra effort planning is worth it when it comes time for you to enjoy the rewards that Europe has to offer its visitors!
When I rented a room in Colombia, I believe it was USD 14 per night. This place was in an apartment with a balcony that overlooked a busy tourist area. Plus I had access to a kitchen, coffee maker, and laundry machine. It was a great deal!
The second property was reasonably pricey but great value. As it was a family trip, I was not traveling on my regular backpacker budget. We paid USD 160 per night for the entire apartment between three people. This condo was in a very prestigious neighborhood where hotels cost much more. We were a 20-minute walk to a few major attractions, including The Eiffel Tower. We were also only one block away from all the neighborhood shops and a metro station that linked us to the entire city.
I have seen apartments on the Airbnb website for as little as USD 60 per night in Paris, and USD 20 per night in South America. So it may be something that you might want to check out when you go on your next trip.
I hope this post helps you out with deciding on what type of accommodation to get for your next big trip! If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below. If you’ve had a good or bad experience with Airbnb, please share it with our other readers.
It’s a big world out there, and we need to learn the best travel tips from each other! Thanks for dropping by today, and if you would like some more free travel advice check out travelcanbecheap.com.