If you have not heard of AirBnB, where have you been? Just kidding. It is a website where one can rent a room or house from the owner or manager instead of staying at a hotel. I find that it is a good alternative to staying in hotels because, most of the time, I can find a cheaper place to stay through AirBnB. But how do you know which one to choose from the thousands of options?
Choosing one is never easy. But we can narrow it down.
The first one (and I believe the most important one) is budget. How much of your travel budget are you willing to spend on accommodations? How far will your budget get you? You can set your search filter to whatever fits your budget on AirBnB. I usually compare my choices to the price of hotels during my stay. I want to make sure that I am getting the most out of my money.
Do you want an entire place/apartment? Or is a private room enough for your needs? Yes! Renting just a private room is the cheaper option. But will you be comfortable. My husband and I usually our set our search for “entire place” because we want to be comfortable where we’re staying. We do not want awkward encounters on the way to the restroom late at night for example. But there are private rooms out there that have their own bathrooms to use.
Are you set on a specific location? Do you want those amazing views from your balcony? Then, I suggest using the map tool on their website. Let’s be honest though. Just like hotels, those views come with higher prices. Do you want to be in the center of it all? Do you want access to the nearest train station? Do you want to experience the city like a local? These are the questions to consider when you are considering the location of your rental. When we were deciding on our Paris AirBnB, I originally wanted to have a view of the Eiffel Tower. But like I said earlier, views come with the higher prices. So, we settled on an apartment that does not have a view of the Eiffel Tower. But you can cross the street anytime and be in front of the tower. It was also about two blocks away from the nearest metro station. There were restaurants and a supermarket right by the apartment building. it was a good compromise.
Do you have quite the number of luggage? You’ll want an elevator for you 6th floor rental. Do you like to cook on vacation? You’ll want a full kitchen than just a kitchenette. Do you need to do a load of laundry? Do you upload pictures or blog on your vacation? Do you need to bring your own shampoo or conditioner? Amenities make the deal sweeter. You would not want to carry your 50-pound luggage all the way to your 6th floor rental. As for me, I don’t really cook on vacation. But I would at least want a fridge, a microwave and some dinnerware. I like to have cold water so I buy bottled water and place it on the fridge. Sometimes, I have tea so I will need some way to heat up water. We always end up with a full kitchen though. Wireless internet is important to me and my husband. We do have some internet coverage that comes free with our provider. But it’s not fast enough for our needs.
It is also important to contact your host even before booking if you have some questions. If your flight arrives earlier than the check-in time, will you be able to leave your luggage like we do at hotels? How do you get into the apartment? Sometimes, the host or a welcome party will meet you at certain times. Other times, they will have a lock box outside the door and give you the code before your arrival. Your host is a good point of contact. They can give you directions and even suggestions like where a good restaurant is.
Lastly, read the reviews and look at the photos. It will tell you a good deal about a place. If you see one negative review out of like one-hundred, it could be an isolated incident. Read them before you book. If there is a concern, send a message to the host if the issue was resolved or how it was resolved.
AirBnB is a wonderful website. It gave us more options for our vacations. It helped us make our vacations more affordable and completely our own.
Are you traveling as a couple? Read our tips to make it less stressful!