Friday, February 7, 2014

Why We Love Staying at Airbnbs

There are so many reasons to love staying at an Airbnb. Here are some of the top ones for us:

1. Getting to meet locals. This is especially true when you just rent a room in someone's house. Every time we've done this, whether in the San Juan Islands, Mexico, France or now South Africa, we have met great people who are genuinely interested in getting to know us at least a little and are eager to share their best tips on where to go, what to see and how to have fun in their home town.

2. Cooking your own meals. (Aka "self-catering" in South Africa). Assuming you are a decent cook, you can enjoy the flavors of home while abroad. And when you invite your host to join you for dinner, they often reciprocate, giving you a home cooked meal in return and sharing a little more of their lives with you. In France, we traded quasi-Mexican taco salads one night for a tasty Thai curry the next. And in South Africa we made a salad one night, then chicken with mushrooms another and in exchange we got to enjoy our host's delicious fried rice and local wine selection.

3. More than a bedroom. Normally, we get access to the entire house, including the living room, TV room, deck or porch, and of course kitchen. This means we can both be home and have a little solo time, something that is really important when you are traveling with the same person for an extended period.

4. Laundry. Sometimes, although not always, you can use the host's washer to clean your filthy clothing. This is quite delightful and makes spending time together more pleasant.

5. Fair prices. Airbnb hosts seem entirely reasonable in their asking price for a room and we regularly stay in places way nicer than any similarly priced hotel, with all the perks mentioned here. Since there are often many Airbnbs in each town, we get to pick the ones that best suite our taste and budget.

6. Free (and good!) wifi Internet. Perhaps it's because they use it too, the Internet always seems faster when we stay at Airbnbs and you can see right when you're booking the room whether they have it or not. I have yet to see a place that charges separately for Internet if they have it. So fabulous when you're itinerary is up in the air or when you are doing weather-dependent sports like paragliding and need to see the latest.

7. Last-minute bookings. When you don't plan ahead, like us on this trip, being able to find an Airbnb the day before or same day you'll be arriving is so nice. For most, you can see their availability online and its such a relief to know that a real person will be welcoming you into their home that night.

8. Review from Real People. Since you must have an Airbnb account to book a stay, each reviewer has a profile and the reviews tend to be very real. Like for instance, one reviewer noted that our host made cappuccinos each morning. Although I'm not a fan of cappuccinos, I was delighted to know that there would be an espresso machine and a host who was friendly enough to make coffee for his guests each day.

9. Pets. Sometimes to get to stay in a place with pets. They always mention this in their ad, which is great if you are allergic to pets or say, afraid of dogs. It's also great if you are missing your animals back home and want to enjoy a little time with someone else's pet. Our French Airbnb host had wonderful dogs that we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with.

10. Meet other interesting travelers. Many Airbnb hosts rent more than one room and so you get to meet like-minded travelers as well. At our current spot, another paragliding couple is renting the room next door. So in addition to meeting a wonderful local, we're also getting to know people from an entirely different place (where we may someday find ourselves) who have at least one thing in common with us --a love or Airbnbs.

I could go on and on about why staying at Airbnbs is so grand, but I'll stop at ten reasons. Perhaps you can add your top reasons in the comments below.


No comments:

Post a Comment