Fall is finally moving in and for many, including my love and myself, that means holiday travel plans are in motion!
(Above: Our latest booking! Do you know where this gorgeous scene is?)
Arranging travel can be a pretty daunting task, especially when it comes to working out the finances, but there are great ways to explore without totally draining your bank account. So, I want to share some tips and brag on one of my not-so-secret, secrets to finding an awesome and affordable place to stay while away on your adventures – Airbnb.
(Airbnb rental we stayed in on Lake Tahoe)
Airbnb is a website where you can find, host and rent unique spaces all around the world. It’s kind of like couch surfing on steroids. You can find everything from shared rooms in someone’s house to entire homes, apartments, houseboats and even extreme camping sites.
We’ve been on both sides of the Airbnb equation, both as hosts and travelers. We’ve found there are two key elements to finding the right place for you: Safety (do your research!) and Communication.
Communication: Once you find a place, or places, you’re interested in, send the host a message. Ask questions. Even if you don’t have any, and their page is full of information, just get the conversation rolling. After a few exchanges, you will know if it feels right and whether or not it’s going to be a good fit for your travel needs.
Communicating with your host also gives you a chance to take advantage of their knowledge of the area. Who knows their city better than those actually living in it? Your host can fill you in on all of the best eats, sights, shopping, transportation – the list just goes on and on.
(Our Airbnb Flat in Kensington, London)
I also urge you to read the reviews! Take advantage of the wisdom and legwork other travelers have already done for you. I promise you, everything you need to know will be right there in those reviews.
Safety: If you’ve reached out to a host and you’re not getting what you want out of it, whether it be a lagging response time (red flag) or they won’t share details, just move on to the next place. If they’re making you do all of the work from the start, they’re no good. Remember, they are your “hosts.” They should be excited and welcoming.
(London flat – all three stories! Super cute!)
If you choose to go the Airbnb route, always, always, always make sure someone knows where you are and how to contact you. You should really do this any time you’re traveling, but given that there’s no front desk for anyone to call should they need to find you, it’s best to be sure to pass that information along to someone, anyone.
It should also go without saying, but there’s always safety in numbers. One of the cool things about Airbnb’s listings is that they come in all shapes and sizes (and prices). So, if you really want to make it an epic trip, get a group of friends or family together and split the cost of a super rad place, say a luxury apartment in Paris or NYC! That’s what we do on family trips. We’ve done this both overseas and in the States. No more hotels for us!
(Do as the locals do! A Parisian dinner in our Airbnb, Paris apartment.)
So why do I recommend Airbnb? Well, we’ve learned you just get more out of the whole travel experience. It gives you a chance to live as a local, not to mention save a ton of money! Our most recent rental, for example, was an entire 1,500 square foot cottage in a beautiful and safe neighborhood that had a fully stocked kitchen, king sized beds, spa-like bathrooms, fireplaces and city views for under $60 per night – in a MAJOR city! Now, that’s a relaxing vacation! I think my bank account definitely agrees😉