See my previous AirBnb post HERE.
Most of our trips include at least one night in an AirBnb. It is a relatively newish type of of travel accommodations (I heard about them while eavesdropping on a group of Americans on a train in Italy in 2013 #truestory). AirBnbs are essentially short term home stays, you can pick to stay in a room in someone’s house or get the place to yourself. I was initially attracted to them because when I first heard about them I was in the process of planning a 2-week trip through Italy over the Christmas season for my then-boyfriend-now-husband and we didn’t have the money to drop on hotels. At first I was going to try CouchSurfing but, because it’s free, you don’t seem to have many protections if things go sideways (i.e. your stuff gets stolen by your host). So instead, I booked us an AirBnb in Naples. It was a room in someone’s apartment, a local college student, and we have never looked back!
I know some people just love their fluffy hotel towels, and I am not telling you not to do that, but I do think it’s good to be an informed traveler and know the things that are out there. Too many people get stuck in a travel rut: doing the same kind of trip over and over again without really loving it but never changing it. If you’ve ever wanted to shake things up give AirBnb a try!
I’m going to totally milk this blog post & drop my referral code link HERE if you want to try out AirBnb (once we can travel again of course)!
I love saving money, my waistline, & savoring local flavors. cooking at “home” a few times during vacation helps me do all three. To start off with, eating out every dang moment of every day on vacation would make me feel sluggish and I’d probably gain the “vacation 15.” I also don’t want to go to a restaurant only to try to order something plain or “low calorie.” So I plan my splurges wisely. An easy way to start is to eat breakfast in the AirBnb most mornings; this allows for a leisurely morning & lowers the cost dramatically without having to do much cooking.
Will & I also love, love, love going into groceries stores around the world. It’s so much fun and allows you to see food differently. I never go in with a meal list, but I will spend time looking at the aisles for new foods and fun snacks I never had before. For a two week trip we might do a grocery haul once or twice and that’s it. My go-to easy AirBnb meals usually emphasize roasting whatever delicious vegetables are in season, pan frying new cuts of meat & adding in easy pasta or rice or fresh bakery bread. It may be not be a “traditional” meal from where ever we are in the world but it’s easy, has new flavors, and cheaper than another night out.
Read more: Jaco tacos & other food reviews
In my opinion, any trip hitting two weeks or more needs laundry! I do my best to wear things twice but there hits a point when sink washing isn’t cutting it anymore. If I am prioritizing a washer, I usually make it at the week/week and a half point; otherwise it’s pointless. *Note to those unfamiliar with laundry around the world: it can get complicated! Europe has wayyy more dials than we do, so just google what’s a good “basic” wash setting. Their washers are also a lot smaller than ours in the US so you’ll do more loads and they rarely have dryers so be ready to hang dry everything.
Read more: Laundry Day Adventure
Sofa & Other Real Furniture
This may sound stupid but always hated that when in a hotel room you had to “hang out” on the bed or an uncomfortable chair. I love that when we choose apartment-style AirBnbs we get a little sofa, a table, and other homey touches. It makes me feel less like a tourist and more like a traveler. It’s also helpful when traveling with family to have places to sit that are not your bed. Having even another room that is not a bedroom to spread out makes traveling with a group much more manageable. I try to stay in an apartment-style AirBnb for at least 2 nights to really feel comfortable there; otherwise a quick in-and-out hotel is easier.
Read more: Travel Tips: Traveling with Family
Interacting with Real People
AirBnbs are located in “real” neighborhoods, not the glitzy touristy main road. I personally love waking up in a new place, walking out of my apartment and melting into the rhythm of a foreign city. I love popping into the bar down the street where I don’t know the customs, listening to the buzz of foreign languages, and falling asleep to the noise of everyday life. For some that may be the opposite of a vacation but it’s perfect for us.
Many times our AirBnb owners will also leave their personal recommendations or previous tenants will write stories of things they discovered. I love feeling part of this invisible global community of explorers and travelers. And this goes even further when you stay in someone’s place with them (this might be too far for many Americans to stomach lol). In Sarasota once the couple there let us cook dinner in their kitchen and invited us on the porch for a glass of wine. Or eating breakfast with young college couple in Naples, chit chatting about what they love about their city.
Read more: Travel Tips: Staying in a Monastery vs a Hostel
I have never stepped into an AirBnb and lamented it looked just like that other place we stayed. They have always been so different, some down right odd but I think that’s the fun of it. Like that time in Munich our host left her laundry out to dry, underwear included, or house in Costa Rica for our honeymoon that had floor to ceiling windows and made us feel blissfully alone in the jungle. Each place is unique and had its own stories. I would never give that up for stark hotel rooms, beautiful but artificial.
Here’s the referral code link again HERE if I have convinced you to try out an AirBnb in the future!
P.S. I don’t hate hotels & we stay in our fair share of them while traveling, I just find that many Americans do not even think of other options while traveling.