Travel Tip Tuesday: AirBnB, a better way to stay

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If your travels are primarily limited by your budget, or if you simply are bored by staying in a bumpy-ceilinged box at a chain hotel, think better, think cheaper, think hospitality, think experience-the-local-culture, think AirBnB.

The concept is simple: anyone can become an impromptu innkeeper, offering stays at their property (anything from a whole house, to an apartment, to a spare bedroom, to a couch, to a Winnebego) to registered users of the site. The property owner sets the nightly rental fee, and AirBnB makes its money by charging a negligible booking fee on each transaction.

When I first heard of the site, it sounded dangerous and seemed uncomfortable. How could I trust that the host would not hatchet me to death in the middle of the night and pawn my iPhone? And would I feel okay chilling in someone else’s house, brushing my teeth in their sink and putting my sandwich in their fridge?

I have stayed at several AirBnB locations, and I have felt safer and happier at each one than I ever have at a hotel. Unlike most corporately-owned places to stay, AirBnB users get to view hosts’ profiles, which include photos of themselves and the property as well as reviews offered by past guests. Without fail, my arrival at an AirBnB location involves no surprises, as the site provides ample insight beforehand.

And much to the BlinkPacker’s delight, the price for a night’s stay cannot be beat. I recently searched for a decently priced hotel room devoid of bedbugs in the Florida panhandle; the cheapest return in the search came in at $150 after taxes. For a third of that price, I found a comfortable, private room with its own full bathroom in a gorgeous, modern, waterfront house, where I was given full access to the kitchen, living room, wraparound deck, and private beach. Not shabby for 50 bucks.

The proprietors are always fantastic — hospitable and helpful, never intrusive or overbearing. Every time I stay with AirBnB, the hosts offer amazing recommendations for dining, nightlife, and local experiences that far outweigh the overpriced, underwhelming tourist traps I may have found on my own.

Traveling on a budget is within reach, especially as web-based travel startups like AirBnB flood the market and change the game. Next time you need a place to sleep, hop onto the interweb machines and look up your destination on AirBnB.com. And stay a better way.

Have you scored any great deals on accommodations with AirBnB? Where did you stay? And how much did it cost?

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4 thoughts on “Travel Tip Tuesday: AirBnB, a better way to stay

    • I have stayed at several AirBnB locations in America. The best tip I have is to read property reviews from people who have stayed before. It is tempting to stay at locations that are new to the site, because they are often priced lower. But I think the extra $10 is worth it to know that the host is reputable and the place matches the description. Thanks for stopping by, and I wish you the best in all of your travels. Cheers!

  1. I just stayed in three AirBnB apartments on my trip to Europe and had a great experience with each one. It was a great alternative to hotels, and I found myself wishing that we had used more of them. Our apartment in Prague was in an awesome location right in the heart of everything and it was only $60 a night! Since I went with a friend, that was $30 each. I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable doing the private room in a house, though. I’d love to hear more about your experience with that. Did your hosts just hand you a key? Did you see them often?

    • The AirBnB hosts have all been fantastic. My experience with private rooms at AirBnB locations have felt similar to standard Bed and Breakfast stays. Some of the owners are a little more chatty than others, but they all know that you are on a trip, and that you did not come to see them. Generally there is a handful of minutes at the beginning of the trip where the owner gives the key and goes over some guidelines. The only time I see the owners after that is if I am hanging out in the common areas. If I am in the room, I am always left to myself. Sometimes these locations have multiple private rooms, which means other travelers are there as well. This can be a lot of fun — a great way to meet friendly travelers with similar mindsets. I wish you all the best with your travels. Cheers!

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