We don’t always use AirBnb, but it is an option we usually look into before deciding on accommodations. What’s really neat about AirBnb is that it can appeal to a wide-range of travellers and fit most budgets, whether you are tight on finances, or looking for luxury.
It can feel like you’re taking a risk when booking with Airbnb, but there are ways to pick a place that is a good fit for you. I will share you two simple tips on choosing your Airbnb, some examples of our best stays AND stay tuned for a 40$US/50$CAN coupon on your first Airbnb booking!
Why Do We Use AirBNB?
- Can Beat Hotel Prices: depending on the city, AirBNBs can offer a whole apartment for less than what a hotel costs. If you’re a budget traveller, this alone makes it appealing.
- Out of the Tourist Zone: sometimes being away from the hype and tourist traps can give you a totally different perspective on the city and culture you’re staying in.
- Autonomous Living: You can cook, do laundry, walk around in your underwear to get a bowl of cereal or meet your neighbor out on the balcony!
- More Immersive Experience: You can imagine what it would be like actually living in that city with local neighbors, a local shop across the street, and local cafe beneath your apartment and a quaint neighborhood to explore. You see a more down-to-earth side of things.
Honestly, AirBNB is simply a great way to make the travel experience just a bit more memorable and authentic! But if you are smart about booking the right one.
Two Elements to Finding a Good Airbnb:
Budget-Minded: First off, be reasonable with your budget. If you’re on a shoestring budget going to Paris or London, then you will get what you pay for. In places like Brussels or Krakow, you can find incredible apartments or rooms for very reasonable prices! So keep destination in mind.
Good Host: Secondly, read the reviews! Never stay somewhere that has no reviews. Some people have had a great experience, but it’s not something I would do personally. Be sure to ask the host any questions about the location or place itself. If the host replies fairly quickly and is being very helpful, that is usually a pretty good sign, because communication with your host can be pretty critical to your stay.
That’s all there really is to it. If you want a more authentic-feeling experience that goes beyond a plush hotel or a cramped hostel room, then give AirBNB a try! With these strategies, we have been able to find some very nice Airbnb apartments.
Now and we’d like to share our top 4 experiences in 4 completely different locations! I think the experience speak for themselves.
Our Top 4 Experiences with AirBNB
Brussels, Belgium (2015)
For our honeymoon, we went to Paris and the Belgium. To save a bit on hotels, we looked into AirBNB and the place we found had the most romantic view!
Before we get into that, our host met us just outside the apartment, which wasn’t too difficult to find. He brought us up and gave us a lot of information about the area. One useful tidbit was that there was a laundromat just around the corner, and since we were nearly a week into our honeymoon, we made use of it!
The kitchen was small but quaint and functional. It has all the basics if we wanted to cook some simple meals or drink coffee. He even gave us a complimentary bottle of wine! Which was so sweet of him. The room was large and had a sitting area, it was almost like a studio. We were very excited that there was a full bath! We definitely relaxed in there during our stay. The bed was stiff, the only real downside, so we gathered many pillows and cushions to try to make ourselves more comfortable. Oh, but the VIEW!
One whole wall was a window facing the balcony, you were high enough to see beautiful sunsets over the main part of Brussels.
2. Porto, Portugal (2016)
One of our most memorable stays was with the lovely Fernanda in her super modern apartment in Porto! She wasn’t just an incredibly friendly and lively host, but also very helpful and friendly roommate! She has this apartment with a section for herself, so there is both a spare bedroom and full bath as well. The furniture and decor is all modern but still homey. The kitchen blew my husband’s mind, because one wall was entirely glass! It made the narrow kitchen feel much larger.
Fernanda made us fresh lemonade, gave us towels and of course plenty of tips about what to see or do in Porto. She was so personal and casual that this actually felt more like a couchsurfing experience than AirBNB, which made it all the more positive!
The only downside is the lack of air conditioning in the summer, but Fernanda bought a fan to help keep cool at night in the middle of a Portuguese heat wave! The location was nice as well. Not central, but literally a 3 minute walk to the metro and in 10 minutes you’re in central Porto!
3. Rome, Italy (2012)
This was from a trip with two girlfriends, years ago! The apartment is no longer available, but this was actually our very first AirBNB experience, and the reason I still do it to this day!
We found a place that, while it wasn’t central, it was literally on the same corner as a metro stop. It also had a marker place across the street where we got all our groceries from. The lady who owned the place met us just outside the metro stop and greeted us with a warm Italian hug and kiss. She wasn’t old, but she was very motherly in how she guided us up to the apartment. She couldn’t speak English, so we conversed in Spanish/Italian as she showed us around the small apartment. It has a teeny tiny balcony facing a courtyard. Let me tell you, we never felt more like ‘authentic Italians’ than when we gazed out that balcony into the lives of other ordinary Italians who were cooking, doing laundry, smoking or watching TV.
The bathroom was very nice and there was a gorgeous queen sized bed along with an interesting single bench-like bed with a hide-a-bed underneath. We ended up using all three beds and all of them were comfy!
This place was nothing short of ‘homey’ and some of my favourite memories from the trip were simply coming ‘home’ and making dinner with the girls, laughing and talking while simply enjoying life…
4. Santorini, Greece (2016)
Once again, a very different Airbnb experience. This is actually a hotel in the southern part of Santorini. The owner and workers are all so helpful and kind! They picked us up from the airport and even drove us to the port when we were leaving. They helped us find 4×4 rentals and even helped us book our tickets for the boat to Mykonos. We never felt helpless!
The rooms were very simple, but comfortable and in typical Greek fashion of white and blue. The only downside was that it was very cold at night and there are no heaters, so we had to ask for extra blankets! Our cleaner/breakfast lady was so polite as well, we gave her a well-deserved tip!
There was a very nice pool, but we opted for the beach that was 10 minute walk away. The area is very quiet since it is facing the mountains, which we had fun climbing on our last day!
We stayed for 2 nights, and even though it was on the southern part of the island, we were able to make the best out of our time there thanks to how helpful and efficient the hotel was with our needs and questions!
Read more about our stay in Santorini.
It seems like there is a never-ending debate about AirBnB and whether it’s worth using or not. It is very easy for a bad experience to spread really quick and make travellers hesitant to even try it.
Hopefully these four very positive experiences show that you can have an incredible experience with Airbnb! These four stays stood out because they weren’t just a decent place to stay, but they enhanced the trip one way or another, and are part of what made the trip memorable! Now, onto free money! Who doesn’t like free or discounted things?
Haven’t joined AirBNB yet? You can get a 40$US/50$CAN coupon off your very first stay! Just click on the coupon below and follow the steps to becoming part of the AirBNB community! Enjoy your next travel and stay on me!
Have you used Airbnb before? Did you have a good experience ? Do you have any questions about Airbnb? What kind of accommodations do you normally look for in your travels? Let me know in the comments below!