Until my last trip, I was unspoiled to the Airbnb community. I was a diehard hotel/motel gal and saw no reason to change that. My sister convinced me to give Airbnbs a try and I’m glad she did. If you haven’t joined the community, here are five great reasons you should!
Live Like a Local
This is perhaps the best reason to forsake the local Hilton. Airbnbs are private homes and while you may not be in the dead center of tourist central, you will often be in the mix with everyday folks. While staying at an Airbnb in Paris, we were in the heart of an awesome little neighborhood where the French lived and worked, within walking distances of cafes, restaurants and markets. The first meal we had, lunch in a cozy café down the street, was not only delicious but everything was in French, including our server who spoke no English. This was the real, everyday Paris and it was incredible.
Options, Options, Options
When you stay in a hotel, you get a room with a bed (or two) and (generally) connecting bathroom. If you want to splash out more coin, you can upgrade to a suite where you get a sitting room. Using an Airbnb you can choose from a studio apartment, a 3 bedroom flat, a yurt or even a castle, depending on your location. In my first Airbnb experience, I got to stay in an Art Deco apartment in Paris, a contemporary apartment in Nice, and a 2 bedroom flat in London — all different and all wonderful.
What you lack in a concierge and room service, you gain in a full kitchen, living space, closets and laundry facilities. In Paris, Nice, and London, we had kitchens with refrigerators, appliances and pantries (including a nice little welcome basket from our Paris hostess); living rooms with plenty of seating and tvs; closets to hang our clothing and store our suitcases; and a washer/dryer in each location. I can’t express how valuable to be able to wash clothing after you’re already in for the evening versus taking time from your sightseeing to visit a laundromat or pay an additional fee to have the hotel launder for you.
An additional amenity all its own, with an Airbnb you aren’t confined to one room (unless you choose a studio apartment, of course.) After a busy day of expeditions, if you need some quiet time to reflect or write in your journal, you can retreat to a bedroom and shut the door, or stay in the living room while your travel companion is in the bedroom. This works well if you’re traveling with an early riser and you’re a night owl, or vice versa, keeping your trip nice and smooth.
More Bang for Your Buck (or Pound or Euro)
We all know accommodations can be expensive, especially if you’re staying more than a few days. Airbnbs can be a great deal, particularly if you can find weekly or monthly deals. If you’re traveling in a group, an Airbnb can be a great deal — even being cheaper than the cost of multiple hotel rooms or an upgraded suite. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather use that extra money for a castle tour, a great meal or souvenirs!