The first time I used AirBnb was over two years ago. I was going to Barcelona to meet a friend and found the perfect room in a flat that was only five minutes away from La Rambla, which is the famous street with lots of artists and stalls. My friend was staying in the same area, but when he found out how much I was paying, he just couldn’t believe it!
His hotel room was nearly €70, while my fiancée and I were paying just over €30 — a bargain!
Since then I have used it several times and I just love it! It’s kind of a mix between Couchsurfing and a hostel or cheap hotel. You have the experience of staying at a home away from home — sometimes getting the whole place for yourself — and you can also book your room without worrying about the unreliability of Couchsurfing.
If you have never used Airbnb, you should seriously consider it and I’ll tell you why:
1. It’s a Home, Not a Hotel
You know when you rent a cottage in the woods and have access to all the amenities like a fully equipped kitchen, a washing machine or even a nice lounge to watch a movie? Now imagine doing that in the middle of Barcelona, for instance!
If one evening you don’t feel like going to a restaurant and fancy your own homemade food, it’s not a problem, you just buy the ingredients and cook at home! Got a bag of dirty clothes? No worries, many places have washing powder and fabric conditioner at your disposal.
As much as I like some hotels and hostels, nothing beats the feel of just being home.
2. It’s Cheap!
I recently stayed in Copenhagen for two nights in an Airbnb place before coming to Bangkok. Would you believe me if I told you my private room with breakfast was cheaper than staying in a 10-bed dorm?
I have to admit I booked last minute because many Couchsurfing requests were left unanswered or were declined. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find a room in a flat only 10 minutes away from Christiania.
It’s worth noting that sometimes it’s cheaper to rent the entire flat/house if you’re a group. So if you’re a family of four or five looking for some privacy, you might want to consider renting the whole place.
You can also make your trip even cheaper if you know you’re staying for a long time. The majority of the hosts have special deals and the prices drop considerably if you’re there for a month. You should definitely take advantage of that!
3. You Have a Glimpse Into a Local’s Life
At first I thought Airbnb would be very different from Couchsurfing with no connection between the host and the traveler — just an aseptic business transaction. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I mean, I think there is a difference, of course, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes if you use Couchsurfing, you almost feel obliged to be nice to your host, because after all, they’re letting you stay there for free.
Still, whether you rent the whole place for yourself or just a room, you can take a peek at someone else’s life and it’s brilliant. I’ve had great conversations with my hosts and sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was a paying guest or a close friend.
As I write this post I’m using Airbnb yet again; I’m in Bangkok for a couple of nights before I head to Myanmar. I have my private room with my fiancée for just 400 Baht and we have access to a co-working space and a cheap restaurant – hey, you can’t go wrong with meals for 50 Baht!
So if you’ve heard about Airbnb, but haven’t given it a chance yet, now is the time! You’ll be able to stay in the heart of the city in affordable accommodation and you might have a local willing to tell you all the secrets no traveler will ever know.
Do you have any great Airbnb experiences? Share in the comment section below.