I have previously written on Airbnb. Now that I have spent a total of 21 days in Airbnb rooms, I wanted to give an updated perspective on this sharing service. While this post focuses on the good I experienced, I will also touch on the negatives in another post. Here are 4 reasons why I loved having Airbnb as an option while travelling:
Let me be honest first. I didn’t always rent the cheapest room or even the most convenient one. I did my research. I made sure I read tons of reviews and read the bio of all my hosts. I have to say, it totally paid off. I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of my hosts. All of them provided me with maps and information on their favourite places to see. Some joined me for meals, some prepared meals for me, and some asked if I wanted to watch The Sopranos before going to bed. Even though I didn’t stay in any hostels for the bulk of Italy, I spent enough time with each of my hosts to get to know them a bit. It was really rewarding after long days of site seeing. Unless you are renting an entire place, put in an effort to get to know your hosts and tell them about where you are from. It makes a big difference.
I love that the reviews go both ways for travellers and hosts. Not only does it make them responsible to ensure our stay goes smoothly, it held me accountable to be clean, organized, and even encouraged me to get to know them more. I had one host in Lucca say it was a lot easier to host me last second because she saw the reviews from recent stays and saw the link to my blog in my profile. She felt like she knew me well before I showed up. I thought that was really cool!
So make sure you are considerate when filling out your profile. Be honest about who you are because most of your hosts will read it and bring up certain things before you even get to it in person.
You can tell the bs reviews from the honest ones. Sometimes, other services can have inflated reviews because people can be lazily reviewing their hostel/hotel. Airbnb is much more personal and your can easily weed out the good hosts from the bad. Don’t just stare at the stars but read the reviews. If they are a great host you should see more extensive written reviews.
Location and Price:
During the three months away I stayed with friends, I stayed in a few in hotels, some hostels, and Airbnb’s. I’ve had free accomodation. I’ve had cheap hostel beds. And I spent a little more in places that provided amazing locations. It really pays off to spend time sifting through all of the listings on Airbnb. Most of mine were booked for Italy. I booked them with my tax returns over 4-5 months in advance. While some of them were closer to $90-100 (CAD), they were worth every penny. That’s about 60 euro if you were wondering.
In Frankfurt, I was out of the rush of the city in a quieter neighbourhood for about $40 (CAD)/night. I was able to take the train which was a 5 minute walk from my door, and the train got me to the touristy centre in about 15-20 minutes. Here’s the shot of the neighbourhood from my balcony:
In Turin, I spent $30 (CAD)/night. I stayed with one of my favourite hosts, Giancarlo. While I slept in a tiny sliver of a room on a cot, his flat had the best views of Turin and it was a 5 minute walk from some amazing restaurants and museums. Here’s the view from one of his patios:
In Manarola, I was right above all the action. After a long day of hiking, I came back to an air-conditioned room, grabbed some wine, and sat on the balcony watching huge tourists groups running through to snap all their pictures. I paid closer to $95 (CAD)/night, but I had the best views in town and a big bed to myself. Can’t beat that in the sometimes expensive Cinque Terre:
Those are just a few examples. If you are willing and ABLE to sretch out your budget in order to stay out of hostels in locations like the Cinque Terre, you should be looking at Airbnb’s. You’d be paying twice as much for a hotel in a similar area (if there are any).
Yes. The honeymoon with Airbnb isn’t over yet, for me. I found Airbnb to be very user friendly and I had no problem taking extra time to really research my hosts. I love the review system and I was even more impressed with what I paid for many of the rooms I booked. Overall, Airbnb played a major role in my 3 month trip (mostly in Italy), and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again.
Next: Things to look out for when utilizing Airbnb