By now, most people by now have heard of Airbnb. The business has taken the world by storm, with properties in 191+ countries. In short, you can book to stay at someone else’s house. This may be just a room, a shared space (like a fold-out couch), or it could be an entire apartment or house all to yourself. You can even rent out fancy villas or castles!
The system is safe and secure—you pay Airbnb for your stay, and Airbnb in turn pays the people who host you. It’s simple, easy, and fast. And best of all, it can be seriously affordable!
This has changed the travel industry the world over. Business travelers will still probably stay in hotels. But Airbnb has opened up a whole new world for regular people, traveling for fun. People who don’t want to splash out for an expensive hotel room, but they still want to privacy and security of their own space that hostels don’t offer.
I honestly think Airbnb is a great way for people to travel on a budget, if they don’t want to stay in hostels (which although I love them, I know not everyone does!).
In my experience, staying in an Airbnb will give you a much more local experience of an area. Instead of staying in the tourist centers and hotels, you’ll stay in a local neighborhood—maybe somewhere you wouldn’t have otherwise visited during your trip. In most cases, you’ll meet the person who owns the place, and you can get all sorts of tips that only a local could tell you.
Furthermore, most Airbnbs will give you access to a kitchen, meaning you can cook your own food. This will cut costs majorly, considering the hotel equivalent to this is room service (which doesn’t come cheap). Some Airbnbs will even have a washing machine so you can do your own laundry on the road—every long-term traveler’s absolute dream!
I’m still new to Airbnb, but have stayed in very different types of accommodations during my travels.
In Carcassonne, we stayed in our own apartment in the city center. It was a typical French apartment, and a perfect place to come home to after spending the day traveling somewhere around Southern France. It was so nice to have the privacy of our own place and the opportunity to spread out!
I also stayed in a “hostel” kind of shared room in Kansas City in the US. It was a loft apartment, but with a separate area with a bunk bed for 2 people. It even had Sleep Number mattresses! I was only staying the night when I was visiting my friend, but I know it would have been a great place to stay for longer.
For each of the Airbnbs I’ve stayed in, I stayed in neighborhoods (or villages) that I otherwise wouldn’t have visited. All my hosts have been really nice, and helpful in suggesting things to do in the area. I truly value my Airbnb experiences for that reason—they give such a local perspective when traveling.
There are problems with Airbnb, which I do recognize. Because Airbnb can charge more than usual, it can price out actual regular people from an area. People can’t afford their rent because of Airbnb in some neighborhoods. People (including travelers using Airbnb!) will need to work specifically to combat this issue. However, at its core, Airbnb does benefit someone locally: whoever is renting out the room or apartment will receive most of the money from your stay (Airbnb takes a commission for using their site). In some situations, it’s a great way for someone to earn a supplemental income. Even if it’s just a bit here and there every other weekend.
I have become a huge fan of Airbnb, and it is such a great way to both cut costs when traveling, and gain a more local experience.
Have I convinced you yet?! Sign up here and get £25 or US Dollars equivalent off your first stay!
Have you ever used Airbnb before? What are your thoughts? What has your experience been like?