As I was about to embark on my first trip to Europe, my dad was the one who discovered Airbnb and boy, it sure did change my life! He asked me how I felt about staying in someone’s home while I was visiting Leeds. I was a little apprehensive at first but I figured that if my dad was the one encouraging it, then he must have done his research.
Upon looking into the home sharing economy, I realized that this would be a great opportunity to make new friends and get a more authentic feel for the places I would visit. I knew my dad wouldn’t put me in an unsafe situation, so I began to feel more at ease with the idea.
My trip to Leeds was nearly two weeks and I stayed in a traditional hotel for the first couple of days before checking into the rental with my host. I communicated my plans with my host and she offered to pick me up from the awesome Village Hotel upon my checking out. That gesture alone was already winning me over. After she picked me up, she took me to settle in at her house and continued to give me quick tour of her house and advice on where to eat, explore, shop, etc. During my stay, I didn’t see much of her as our schedules were completely opposite. However, we did have a movie night together and she cooked me dinner which was fun and also contributed to helping me reduce costs! 🙂
I know many people who chose to keep their interactions with their hosts to a minimum, and that’s fine too! This particular example was my first experience and Personally, I feel as though small conversations and bringing a souvenir from my home state are my ways of showing appreciation.
While Airbnb does offer rentals of an entire place, I am glad that I experienced staying with someone. Not only did I gain a lifetime friend, but it made my first overseas experience a little easier. As my trip ended, I had developed a bond with her while also learning lots of local insider info about the town and thus began my love for Airbnb.
If you’re not sold on ditching the hotels, below are my top reasons why I will never go back to the hotel life.
- Save Money- I am pretty frugal so I like to do lots of research in order to find out how I can save the most money, while still enjoying my time. I’ve come to find that usually renting through Airbnb is less expensive in the long run. Typically the hosts will leave some items for continental breakfast whether you’re renting a room or an entire place. If you rent a room, you’ll have to see if they will allow you to use their kitchen. If you’re renting an entire place, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Eating out is one of my favorite things to do in a new city, but it can get very expensive, very fast. So, I usually buy some breakfast items and ingredients for quick lunches or dinners as to limit myself to only eating out once a day. This has saved me over $250 on a 4 day trip!
- Great Locations – Hotels are usually in areas that are heavily populated with tourists. This isn’t a necessarily a bad thing, but in order to really learn about a city, I think it’s vital to go where the locals are. It’s great to experience their residential areas and live like they do. You can find a place from a high-rise condo downtown to a 5-bedroom house in the suburbs. It’s entirely up to you how you want to experience the city.
- So. Many. Options. – Airbnb has so many filters to help you find the right place for you. You can choose neighborhoods, a room, an entire house, number of beds, whether they allow pets, rental policy strictness, the choices are endless! Most of the time, these filters don’t increase the price as they would at a hotel. Oh, you want two beds? That’s an extra $50 per night. Sometimes you can also set your own check-in and check-out time if you communicate in advance with the host. That means you don’t have to rush to check-out! How awesome! This is a great feature because you can really focus on creating an experience for yourself while saving money. Otherwise, you’re just staying at another hotel.
- Comfort – There’s truly no place like home. Renting through Airbnb eases the homesickness you might feel if you’re away for a while. You feel more relaxed than at a hotel and it makes having breakfast in your pj’s a lot easier. You can pay anywhere from $150-$200 per night at a hotel for a room with two beds (if you’re lucky) which isn’t quite feasible for larger families. This would mean renting multiple rooms and resulting in a hefty bill. With Airbnb, you can often find 3 or 4-bedroom homes with multiple beds to fit a large family. There isn’t usually extra cost unless the host sets a maximum amount of people allowed. I’ve seen some hosts have space for 6 but allow up to 10 (on a sofa or pull-out bed) for an additional $5. In the long run, $20 for an extra person is way better than having to rent an extra room at $150-$200 per night.
- Make New Friends – When I travel, it is very important for me to meet new people. It helps me with the overall impression and experience of the place I’m visiting. With Airbnb, the hosts are usually fantastic and very willing to help however they can. Since you might be communicating frequently, you build a rapport and can usually remain friends after you’ve left. If you end up renting a room, you’ll more than likely be in a house full of travellers like yourself, so it’s easy to connect. My brother went to Canada for the Women’s World Cup and stayed in a house owned by a millennial couple who rented out all their rooms. My brother was able to make friends from all over the world and still keeps in touch with all of them, including the hosts.
- Free Wifi! – Most hotel chains are getting pretty stingy with their wifi. While not all homes provided wifi, Airbnb has a great feature to let you filter and find those that do provide wifi. This is just another way to help you reduce costs so that you can spend it on that tour you weren’t sure about because you didn’t know if you could afford it.
Be sure to consider Airbnb for your next trip! Make sure to read reviews on about your hosts before booking to ensure a top-notch experience.