When my love for traveling first developed, I was young and naive. I was unaware of the actual cost of traveling. In my mind, everyone’s family could afford to take yearly cruises like mine. Now that I have grown up and experienced the joy of adulthood and financing my own travels, I have a much better grasp on just how expensive… or inexpensive traveling can be.
When planning to travel there are 3 major expenses that you will incur: Transportation, Accommodations, Food. In this blog, I will focus on accommodations. Finding a place to stay for some may seem like a daunting task. Not only can the price tags be scary, but when traveling to a foreign country it can be harder to verify the safety and cleanliness of the place your booking.
Thankfully I have never had a horrible experience at an accommodation, but I have learned how to utilize Airbnb to book fabulous places for a fraction of the cost. I was introduced to Airbnb by my lovely cousin Keiko. I was a bit apprehensive at first. I mean you really want ME to sleep in some random person’s apartment? There was no way in hell I’d agree to that. But I slowly warmed up to the idea through hearing other travelers experiences.
Through my trial and errors, I have been able to compile a list of tips to help you find to safest, cleanest, and most convenient accommodation.
To begin with, ALWAYS compare the prices of highly ranked AirBnb’s to comparable hotels. I personally see no point in staying in an AirBnb (without maid) when I can stay at a hotel (with maid) for the same price. There are occasions where the price difference is negligible, so I’ll opt for a hotel.
Once it has been established that the Airbnb’s are a better price, it is not time to filter in what you want. How close do you want to be to the main attractions? How many bedrooms and beds are needed? Are you seeking and entire home, private room, or shared room? Do you require reliable wifi?
Once all of this has been decided upon, now it time for the fun stuff…. reading reviews. I am adamant about only staying in AirBnb’s that have been reviewed at least 3 times. (3 is the bare minimum, I usually prefer 5-10). I read every single detail in each review to get a better gauge of the host and how accurate the listing is to the actual place.
I specifically check for things like a kitchenette set, since I like to save money by cooking breakfast, or complaints about bugs/cleanliness. All of my friends know I have 2 NON NEGIOTABLES when finding a place to stay and that it: 1. clean bed/sheets 2. clean bathroom. If those two requirements are not met I will not book it.
The last thing I compare is the location vs price. Remember that the further away something is the more money you’ll spend in transportation. Some times you may find the perfect place but it is 30 minutes away from the city center. Do you really want to spend and hour a day traveling too and from the attractions?
Once all my ducks are in order and I’m ready to book, the last thing I do is take one more good luck at the photos the host has uploaded. The more photos the better. I look for how modern the appliances and decorations are. The more modern the appliances the less likely it is you’ll encounter a machine breaking or malfunctioning.
I hope these small tips will help you take the leap into utilizing AirBnb on your travels. I know for a fact AirBnb has saved me well over $3,000 in savings on my past vacations. I see those saved dollars as more adventures on vacation and who wouldn’t want that?
Have any other tips you’d like to add? Please comment below.