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 in 2013 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 for example). 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)!
Their website is super user friendly
I find their site much easier to use than VRBO, another home-sharing website. Because everything is run through AirBnb, not individual contractors, it’s all uniform from page to page. The policies do not fluctuate a ton and the layout is super user friendly. Of course, you need to make sure to read the fine print but I have never been caught unawares from a stay in an AirBnb.
I also love that you can create a travel “wish list” organized by location/trip to keep perspective AirBnbs in check. And the communication with the host is easy and it all run all through AirBnb, which really cuts down on the possibility of scams.
Read more: 2019 Charleston Road Trip Planning: Booking
Their customer service is the bomb
With everything going on with COVID, it’s no wonder the travel/tourist industry is hurting badly. We had a summer trip planned to Ireland and, for obvious reasons, had to cancel. Even though I knew we were canceling the trip for a while I couldn’t do anything because no one was doing cancellations for anything after June 15 until a few weeks ago. So I nervously waited while almost $2,000 sat out there in the universe. I decided to jump ahead and cancel our Dublin hostel from Hostelworld.com ($0 cancelation fees yay!), and then proceeded to message AirBnb & Sykes Cottage through VRBO. AirBnb got back to me immediately with a full refund, not waiver. And the hosts were so nice! I am 100% going to prioritize staying with them when we reschedule our trip. Sykes Cottage/VRBO however was another story.
First issue is that VRBO is really just a platform for you to find private people and companies with places for rent, so each entity might have wildly different rules and procedures (AirBnb is all unified). The booking we made had to be paid 100% upfront (unlike AirBnb where I can choose to pay half now/half later at no cost) and they lodgings I picked through VRBO do not allowed cancellations! None, zilch! They said they’re not even doing waivers or a credit on their site even with COVID. My ONLY option is to rebook with new dates. I am obviously frustrated with this. Why not give me a credit that I have to use on your site next time I book travel? I can’t possibly predict what my dates will be for our 2 nights in a random apartment in Ireland next year. So I emailed them back, knowing my hands were tied, I asked for a guarantee that if I *randomly* pick dates next summer and need to change once we book, can I do that without a fee. I mean it’s the least they can do.
*UPDATE: I took to Twitter pissed off and got a full refund after much annoying haggling. Never again will I book with them.
But even before coronavirus, my mom has also had a wonderful time with AirBnb’s customer service. Our host canceled a week before my sister’s graduation form Johns Hopkins University and AirBnb not only credited her but gave her 10% extra back for the hassle. Now I’m sure someone has been screwed over by AirBnb, I mean it’s impossible to be perfect but my experience the past 6 years has been wonderful
Read more: 2020 Ireland Accommodations
They have a huge variety of places
We have stayed in such a range of places on AirBnbs: cheap rooms in someone’s house, city apartments to whole houses on the mountainside! They have $10 a night options to $1,000 if you want it (I’ve never done the latter but I’m sure it’s nice). One of the reasons I like their wide variety is that I don’t want to constantly check into one boring vanilla hotel room after another. I know some people love hotels, good for them, but I would always prefer to stay somewhere cozier if I can. One holiday in Italy we actually stayed in a monastery, an AirBnb apartment, a hostel, and a fancy airport hotel – THAT was something! lol
Overall, I’ve never had a problem finding something I love & that fits our budget on AirBnb. That does not mean, however, that I always choose to stay with AirBnb; sometimes they’re not the best option for the trip I am planning. But if we are going on a trip with more than 4 people you an probably bet at least half the accommodations are through AirBnb.
Below are some blog posts I wrote for SOME of our AirBnb trips:
- Seville AirBnb Review
- Cordoba AirBnb Review
- Granada AirBnb Review
- Berlin AirBnb Review
- Munich AirBnb Review
- Black Forest AirBnb Review
- Cologne AirBnb Review
- Aachen AirBnb Review
- Monteverde AirBnb Review
- 2017 Spring Break Belgium & Amsterdam Accommodations
They offer experiences now (& online ones!)
I have never done one of AirBnb’s experiences but they look super awesome. There’s a huge range of things that go from all day private excursions, personal photography shoot, home food experiences & much, much more. I love their variety, unique nature, and ability to financially help individual artisans abroad. Some of these experiences I know I couldn’t find any other way, or they’d be so out of my price range. We haven’t done one yet but every trip I take a look to see what’s available in the area we are traveling too. This option seems like a great way to take a trip from average to unforgettable.
Here’s the referral code link again HERE if I have convinced you to try out an AirBnb in the future!