Why I Choose Airbnb

By Kate Riley February 12, 2018

I travel a lot, and in the past two years, I’ve changed my preference on where I like to stay. Ordinarily, I’d look for a hotel room, but now the first site I always check out is Airbnb. I do some research on where I’m going, then pick a neighborhood somewhere central where it feels like I’m living like a local for a few days.

My first experience in Paris in 2016 was so positive I’ve been renting from Airbnb ever since. I still rent hotel rooms from time to time for the amenities like a pool or fitness center, but if the trip is more than a few days, you can be sure I’ll be staying in an Airbnb along the way for the following reasons.

1. Kitchen = Save Money on Meals

I’m all about saving my pennies as much as possible when I travel and little things add up. I like that with an Airbnb apartment, I get a kitchen for mini meal prep. One of my most favorite things to do when I arrive at a destination is to go shopping in the local grocery store. It’s there that I select breakfast or lunch items to enjoy during my stay, and carry with me when I’m out and about exploring the area.

Just last week in Bergen, my traveling companion and I strolled the aisles of the local market, picking out our coffee, produce, bacon, eggs, etc. for our 3 day stay, bagging it up and bringing it back to our apartment to cook together.

my airbnb in Bergen, Norway

2 . More Space

Hotels often feel cramped and impersonal and budget hotel rooms are notoriously small in Europe. Several of the hotels I’ve stayed in while traveling barely have enough room to move around the bed and the teeny tiniest bathrooms you can imagine. For often the same (or less) cost, I get a lot more room to move around in by renting an apartment on Airbnb.

Two weeks ago, I checked out of this awesome Airbnb apartment in Oslo. We had a fully equipped kitchen and adjacent dining room where I could sit and leisurely work while I enjoyed morning coffee. The owners had decorated the apartment with thoughtful touches. The bedrooms and bathrooms were far more spacious than a hotel, and it had an amazing rooftop view of the city. It was sooo much more relaxing!

my airbnb in oslo

3. Washer/Dryer Access

Having a washer and dryer in an apartment is the biggest perk ever when renting an Airbnb home or apartment. When I’m able to do laundry midway through the trip, it means I can pack super light, washing clothes halfway through the trip and wearing them again once they’re freshly washed. This means I can get away with carry on luggage since I’m wearing outfits twice!

my airbnb in aix-en-provence

4. Community Feel & Personal Touches

Another huge perk of a carefully researched Airbnb is the feeling that for just those few days, you get to be a resident of the community. With keys to an apartment, I feel more like a local while I’m staying in town and because of that, the travel experience is greatly enhanced. While in Paris, my travel buddy and I had a great apartment in Le Marais (see below). We spent days exploring the neighborhood and rode bicycles all around to get a feel for the arrondissement. It was so nice to return to the same apartment in the afternoon after a day of sightseeing to recharge before heading back out for a dinner and an evening stroll.

Also, I love to examine what choices the owner has made for the decorative details. Linen, velvet, or cotton drapes? Woven or chenille sofa or sectional? What kind of art is on display? What cute or quirky dishes are in the kitchen cabinets? I always appreciate the personal touches, the thoughtful linens and decorative accents chosen to make the stay more comfortable and enjoyable.

my airbnb in paris

5. Insider Tips from Locals

One thing I like to do is inquire from the host about where to dine, what to see, streets to explore, and little tucked away places you’d never find in tourist guides. Most often, the owner has taken the time to put together a guidebook for you which is a thoughtful touch and often leads to some of the best discoveries, again enhancing the trip more than just surfing for places to dine on my smartphone.

my airbnb in austin

I like how you can read honest reviews on the Airbnb site about the house or apartment, and the app is great for having on your phone so you can communicate with the host/owner when necessary.

Other articles you may enjoy:

Countries where Airbnb is more economical than a hotel.

The most popular Airbnb in every US State.

The most popular Airbnb in every European country.

 

If you sign up with my Airbnb link, you get $40 off your first trip you book!

 

 

Have you tried Airbnb yet? What’s your experience?

 

13 comments

  1. I adore Airbnb. We first tried it in 2014 for a family wedding where we rented an entire house in Austin. Since then, I’ve rented an apartment in NYC, multiple places in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and then, more recently, in Strasbourg, France. The reviews are fantastic and help so much in choosing a spot, and the thoughtful tips and inclusions in our rentals have made our experiences fantastic. Our place in Strasbourg was so picturesque that people were stopping across the river and taking photos. It was magical to open the big windows, sit on the ledge, hear the water and the church bells chiming. I’m with you – I’m sticking to Airbnb!

  2. AirBnB has been involved with a lot of shady goings on and contributes to high rent prices, as well as reducing available living space for people who actually live in the city you’re visiting. There’s been a lot of controversy over the fact that landlords can basically buy out a building or leave their spaces unavailable because you make a lot more money from AirBnB versus traditional renting, plus they get to avoid hospitality taxes and other fees hotels have to pay to operate legally. There’s also almost no protection for homeowners on AirBnB, and there’s been several cases of homeowners being in the hook for major repairs from shoddy visitors. I really suggest doing a good google and deciding if this is a company you really want to support. (I stopped using Uber for similar scandals). There’s also a really good piece on “Adam Ruins Everything” about some of these issues…

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment Amber. I haven’t read anything about what you’re referring to, I do know that some cities have greatly restricted Airbnb rentals for the reasons you stated. If you visit their site you’ll see they have a massive legal team, so it appears there are protections in place. Of course, bad things can happen and there are shady people everywhere so those situations can take the spotlight in the media. As for me, I have had very positive experiences renting directly from owners as I wrote about, so I will continue to use the service.

  3. I booked an airbnb while I was house hunting in a town I’d never been before. Mine had a kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, living room and even an outdoor space to relax in. I got all that for $60 Canadian dollars per night. It was a lovely, clean spacious apartment. I’d certainly be willing to do this again.

  4. I have yet to use Airbnb but have used VRBO in FL, NM and CA with amazing results. The stays in NM and CA were for family reunions as unfortunately my siblings and I are all spread out. It was such a wonderful experience being able to be under one roof, dining together and such, instead of separate hotel rooms and restaurants.

  5. I have been loving Airbnb for he past few years– last summer we traveled to London and Paris. In London we got a 3 story apartment that was so spacious and lovely, then for Paris we ended up in a hotel and I was SHOCKED at the minuscule room and bathroom! I’m currently researching Airbnb’s for our week in Iceland this summer. It can be intimidating to step outside of a hotel in a foreign country, but it’s so much better. :)

    • Yes, the difference in space alone makes it worth it! Glad you’ve had a positive experience Stephanie!

  6. Yessss! I’ve loved Airbnb. My husband has been more hesitant with concerns for security for his photography equipment but a few detailed inquiries and veryyy thorough research of neighborhoods etc has yielded very positive results. Our last Airbnb stay in Utah to hike Zion was lovely and glimpses to meet the owner’s dog made us feel more at home than a hotel while missing our own pups. Also, laundry was key for hiking gear and eating breakfast & coffee at “home” made morning efficient!

  7. I had a horrible AirBnB experience – if I use that service again, I will only book a property that isn’t the owner’s primary residence. I don’t want to stay where someone else is living day to day. Our Pasadena AirBnB was so sketchy – the pics did NOT look like the house, and the “owner” met us to show us around, and then walked out back to stay in the camper that was parked 4′ from the house. It was so creepy! We sat down for but 5 minutes before my two friends and I were calling a hotel for the night. Unfortunately we were so shocked we did not take pics (AirBnB wanted “proof”), and we had to fight to get only some $$ back. Also, it was sketchy b/c the address AirBnB gave us was not the same one the home owner gave us; we pointed that out to AirBnB, but they didn’t think it was noteworthy.

    And yes – I live in San Diego and these sites are totally messing up the rent prices and popular neighborhoods in our area (I see “bring back our neighborhood” signs everywhere). Plus, these owners collecting income damn well better be paying income tax on their earnings, and I doubt that is regulated in any way.

    • Wow that does sound like an awful experience Karen, I’m so sorry you went through that!!! I hope that listing has been swiftly removed! Would love to know!

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