5 reasons to choose AirBnB over hotels
Trip planning is one of my favourite things to do, just generally, and recently I’ve been turning to AirBnB more than ever. Although I love thinking about and planning trips to everywhere and anywhere, my most hated task is that of finding and booking accommodation, whether it’s for work or for personal travel. I usually head straight to TripAdvisor to skim through all of the reviews, only to find that pretty much all my hotel options have a huge mix of people who absolutely loved it and those who hated it. I find that hotel ratings on review sites are more often than not skewed as the only people who will realistically take the time to write about their stay are inevitably going to find themselves at one end or the other of the opinion spectrum.
I first came across AirBnB a few years ago, and I have to admit it did take me quite a while to brace myself to take the plunge and book accommodation through the site, despite recommendations from friends. After using it for the first time in Munich in December 2015, I’ve never looked back! Since then I’ve also stayed in AirBnB accommodation in Bordeaux, Amsterdam, Toronto and Dartmouth for both work and personal travel without any issues, and I have another stay coming up in LA at the end of the month. The best thing about AirBnB for me is the fact that everyone who uses it is specifically asked to review their stay afterwards and the reviews are two-way – the stay is reviewed by both the guest and the host. This means the reviews tend to be more accurate as there are fewer extremes involved. Additionally, hosts are likely to put a lot of effort into making your stay as enjoyable as possible as they know they are almost guaranteed to be reviewed and a poor review could seriously damage their earning potential from their property!
Here are the top reasons I would recommend choosing AirBnB instead of a hotel for your next stay abroad:
- Cheaper rates. Generally I would say you get significantly more bang for your buck using AirBnB, particularly in terms of space. As you’re typically staying in someone’s apartment/house you’re not having to fork out for all those extras in hotels, such as the swimming pool you don’t have time to use, spa you can’t afford to use and a restaurant that serves mediocre local food at best.
- An authentic local experience. This is your best chance at seeing how the locals really live and getting away from the overpriced tourist hotspots. You’ll also often be able to stay in a primarily residential area away from the crowds so you’ve a much better chance of getting a good night’s sleep, as well as being able to check out local supermarkets, restaurants, bars, bakeries etc.
- Self-catering. I know that a lot of people don’t want to have to do any cooking when they’re on holiday but I find that having self-catering facilities makes a huge difference to me when I travel. It can significantly cut down on your food budget during your trip (particularly for breakfast and lunch) and also gives you the freedom to choose to stay in to eat if you want, as well as encouraging you to go further afield to find the good restaurants. I also find that I get fed up of eating out after a while because restaurant food feels very rich when you’re eating it for weeks on end.
- Properties with character. Each AirBnB I’ve stayed in has been completely different – as I’m often staying in big, corporate chain hotels when I travel for work I find it hugely refreshing to stay somewhere a bit out of the ordinary and somewhat more scenic. In Bordeaux, my boyfriend and I stayed in an apartment set one street back from the river on a cobbled street which was accessible only via a stone spiral staircase.
- Meet the friendly locals. Often you’ll find that the owners of the property will either greet you when you arrive and/or live nearby. They will always contact you through the AirBnB website before your stay and I’d highly recommend asking for recommendations if there are certain things you’re interested in doing in the area. A lot of the hosts will also leave their own guides to the area/recommendations out for guests in the apartment. In Dartmouth our host even gave us a lift to an evening event we were going to when we couldn’t get a taxi!
Of course, there are still occasions when I’m happy to stay in a hotel and would probably choose the hotel over an AirBnB. For example, an all-inclusive hotel might be more appropriate for a lazy, luxury holiday and you can read about why I’d recommend that here.
I’d highly recommend choosing an AirBnB if you’re looking to save some money on accommodation and are feeling slightly more adventurous. Do you use AirBnB? If you have any additional AirBnB tips for travellers, feel free to leave a comment below!