Air BnB is a great way for travellers to save money, enjoy homestyle comforts, and have an authentic experience wherever they may go.
From weekend getwayays to internaitonal journies, Air BnB is available in over 181,000 cities in 191 countries, and has over 150 million users!
While this app is clearly popular, and for good reason, it is still relatively new to the travel industry and has had some flank for political reasons as well as some potential scams.
I am here to tell you why you should give Air BnB a try, and how to use the app safely and confidently!
Here are my top three reasons to use Air BnB on your next set of travels, and how to utilize the many features of the app to find an accommodation to best suit your needs.
Air BnB accommodations can be 50% cheaper than hotel rooms, and even a bit cheaper than hostels in some countries. While prices vary based on location, it is always nice to have the option.
Aside from the money you save from booking, you can also save on transportation by choosing an Air BnB within walking distance of city hubs, attractions, and grocery stores.
If you’re really on a money crunch, try booking one with access to a full kitchen so that you have the option to dine-in!
Some Air BnBs even offer conveniences such as light breakfast or complimentary coffee.
Depending on whether you choose to stay in a “Private Room” or “Entire Apartment/Home” Air BnBs tend to have a more “homey” vibe than hotels.
Hosts tend to put a lot of love and personalization into their space and while some may prefer the sleek look of a hotel room, it is always nice to have a soft, inviting space to come home to at the end of a long day of sight-seeing and exploring.
These spaces can also cater to groups larger than a standard double-bed hotel room, so if you are travelling with friends or family you can come back to your Air BnB to relax together rather than in seperate accommodations.
Another great source of comfort is knowing that via the Air BnB app you have one-on-one contact with the Host in case of any needs or emergencies.
Air BnB typically provides a very ‘local’ experience.
By reading a bit about the Host when choosing a space, you can easily find a space owned by a local in your chosen destination which provides you with an authentic experience.
For example, when I traveled to Norway I used almost exclusively Air BnB. I stayed in a university area, a quiet neighborhood, and in the city. This gave me a well-rounded idea of how locals live and use their space.
Many Hosts also choose to leave some sort of a guidebook. This can include popular local spots, Host favorites, transportation information, and safety tips. Invaluable tips curated for your specific location.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SEARCH
Utilize the Air BnB search engine
- Enter your destination
This can be as broad as a city (Chicago, Illinois), or as specific as a neighborhood (Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois.)
Note: You will not be able to see the exact address until booking (for safety reasons), so ALWAYS view the map provided to ensure that the Air BnB is in the general desired location to save on transportation.
2. Choose dates & guests
Select the dates you will be checking in – checking out, and the amount of guests.
Note: Air BnB does count couches as sleeping spaces so make sure to check in the
‘About this space’ to see specifically what types of sleeping spaces are provided.
3. Choose any additional filters that are important to you
You can toggle the ‘price range,’ select whether you prefer an ‘entire place’ or ‘private room,’ choose amenities, and facilities.
Note: This is how you truly CUSTOMIZE your stay! If you want to stay in a cabin with a hot tub and a deck – you can select that. If you are traveling internationally and
need access to wifi – you can select that. You can even find a space with a washer & dryer for long-term travel. This can save you money, and add comfort to your stay.
Research your Host
- Click on the photo of the Host and read their description
This gives you a hint of their personality, history, and experience.
Note: Air BnB has been literally life-saving for locals living in hot-spot neighborhoods that need to pay rent and keep their homes. However, a major critique of the Air BnB app is that some “Hosts” are actually independant realtors, realty companies, etc. that are taking advantage of the community and buying up affordable housing. To avoid being a part of this issue, make sure your Host is a local individual or family that is using a previously owned space to make a little extra income. This is usually mentioned in the listing.
- Read reviews
DO NOT SKIP THIS. The space can be beautiful, have tons of amenities, but a bad Host can compromise your comfort and safety. Be sure to read reviews and take them seriously! There are plenty of listings in every city so do not settle for a two-star rating.
- Contact your Host
ALWAYS reach out to your Host after booking to ensure that they are responsive and friendly.
Note: This is a VERY important step. If your Host is unresponsive prior to the trip, they may be unresponsive during check-in or emergencies which can affect your safety!
In 2019, the travel industry is constantly changing and hospitality is no exception.
While hotels are always a classic option, Air BnB and other apps/websites provide a more customizable, budget friendly way to explore!
I hope that this article has answered some questions and encourages travelers to try something new.
Please feel free to email or comment with any further questions!