Airbnb: A Budget Travelers Best Friend
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
It was just a little over two years ago that a coworker first introduced me to Airbnb. She took out her phone and showed me “this cool app” where I could set my preferences and find a private rental to stay in with all of the amenities I needed in once place. Prior to then I would only stay in hotels and resorts. I had tried Homeaway once and wasn’t impressed with the rental I had or the overall experience, so when my budget was tight, I would use Expedia to search for current travel deals and sometimes take a chance on the smaller hotels or B&Bs with higher reviews. Little did I know how much trying Airbnb would change the way that I traveled.
As a budget-strapped single mother, getting the most bang out of my buck is important. By staying in an Airbnb rental, I have access to an entire home (not just a tiny room), with a full kitchen to refrigerate, microwave, and make meals (perfect when traveling with my son), and sometimes multiple bedrooms. If I’m lucky, I’ll even have a yard and a pool. Considering how I personally like to avoid touristy areas whenever possible, an Airbnb rental also allows me to stay in an authentic neighborhood among other locals. Extraordinary hosts have left behind groceries or fresh fruits and vegetables for use, and sometimes even bottles of wine to welcome you to their place. And the best part is that many times, my entire stay will come up less than what some would pay for a single night at a hotel! Because of all of the above, I now prefer Airbnbs over hotels or any other accommodation website.
Yes, there are cons to staying in an Airbnb such as having to clean up after yourself and make your own bed. (I know, I know...SUUUCH an inconvenience. Who can imagine such a thing?) There have also been some negative stories reported such as hosts putting cameras in the room, or discriminating based on race or sexual orientation. In the age where social media speaks for all, there are even entire Facebook pages dedicated to people sharing their negative experiences...but if you’ve ever browsed through the reviews on TripAdvisor, you’ll see that some hotel chains have had the same exact complaints and are no cleaner or safer than a private rental. While I’ve stayed in some Airbnbs that were less than perfect, I find that pre-trip research and communication go a LONG way (get a FREE copy of A First-Timer’s Guide to a Drama-Free Airbnb Stay when you sign up for my mailing list) and am thankful that I have never had a negative experience in the past few years of using the service.
Thanks to the cost savings that Airbnb provides me when I travel, I end up with extra money to splurge on other activities, or simply just to stash away for another vacation. I also find myself taking many more completely solo trips, or trips with just my son and I. Gone are the days where the only time I could afford a trip is if me and my girls were sharing a tiny room, sleeping two to a bed, and splitting the overall room cost 4+ ways. Not to say that doing so is a bad idea, but when you can spend the same amount of money for an entire home and sleep in your own bed, the choice is a no-brainer.
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