Call me crazy, but after staying at a few Airbnbs, I am really starting to dislike hotels! I will probably lose a few friends in the hotel business, but I hope they will understand! Now, I know there is always a time and place that makes sense to stay at a hotel. If work is paying for it, perfect! But for me, if this is a place to literally hold my stuff and give me a bed to sleep in while travelling, why pay so much if I never get to enjoy it!? For my husband’s training in San Diego, we stayed at a Hard Rock. Cool? Yes, but no. Yes we have nice beds, a cool pool, and amazing restaurants to eat at, but without a $200/day food budget on someone else’s dime, it sucks. I don’t need to or like to eat every meal out. One, it’s too expensive, and two, I’m probably going to eat way more than I should. Try an even nicer hotel, like the Cosmopolitan in Vegas. The mini fridge was FULL of expensive mini bar items on sensors. If you take anything out, you instantly get charged, so don’t even try to put your own food in there! Leftovers from a fancy dinner? Good luck keeping it cold OR reheating for lunch the next day. Got laundry? Well it will cost you about $6 per pair of socks, $10 per t-shirt…do the math. Dumb.
So for someone travelling like us, I would highly recommend staying at an Airbnb whenever possible. I get hotels. They have their place. If you need to be close to the action in a city, chances are a hotel is your best bet, especially in Vegas, but if you want to really get to know an area, LIVE there. Airbnb’s tagline is “Don’t go there. Live there.” It really is true. When you stay at someone’s home, you get the option to truly feel at home, with laundry, full kitchen, a comfy bedroom and free parking.
Here is some advice for using Airbnb from our experience so far. But first, use my referral code and get $35 off your first adventure! https://www.airbnb.com/c/aprilr871?s=39
- Customize your experience – When you are looking for a place, use the filters to really get as specific as you would like. Obviously, the more search filters you use, the more limited your options will get, but the filters are great for getting in your price range and making sure you have the amenities you need. You can even stay in an igloo if you want!
- Go with your gut – Our first place was a home run. It was close to my husband’s family, it was the right price (if you stay for a month you get more of a discount!), the reviews were great, and everything looked nice in the photos. My gut told me this was the perfect place, and we were 100% satisfied with our first experience.
- Reviews and pictures – Always make sure there are a few good reviews and pictures. So, we made a mistake on our 2nd place in Austin. It was not terrible, but my gut told me it wasn’t going to be the best. For $29/night, beautiful pool, and a gym, I knew it was too good to be true BUT there were just a few photos of the place and no reviews. When we arrived, the place was a mess, there was only 1 pillow for the 2 of us, and there was no toilet paper. A few days later, the guy who was renting it out was sleeping on the couch. What!? We ended up making it work, we were way under budget for the month, but lesson learned and great blog material!
- Communication – Before booking, make sure you chat with the host through the Airbnb messenger for a bit to make sure you are getting what you want. Ask a lot of questions, and if they don’t communicate well don’t bother.
- Location, location! – Be sure to check the map of where the place is. You won’t get an exact address before you book, but you will see the radius of the location. Make sure it is close to where you want to be. If you type in a major city, the listings could be an hour out of the city at times!
Stay tuned! I will be blogging about my advice for Airbnb hosts soon!