Thought I’d break up my honeymoon posts a bit to talk about where exactly we stay on all these excursions of ours. If you haven’t noticed already, Eric and I LOVE to travel. One of the ways we’re able to travel so often is through Airbnb. If we are not staying with a friend, we are renting an apartment/cabin/home through this awesome app.
No, I’m not getting anything from Airbnb to write this post, I just really love the app. We generally stay in an airbnb for four reasons: 1. It’s usually one third to one half of the cost of a hotel, 2. We can get closer to the sights we’ll be seeing than we could in a hotel, 3. We get a more realistic view of what life is like in the area we are visiting, 4. They usually include a kitchen so we don’t have to eat every meal out.
Over the last three years, we’ve stayed in Airbnbs from the Outer Banks to Los Angeles, and internationally, including Peru, and our recent honeymoon to Europe. Since we’ve racked up so many trips through the app, I thought it would be useful to share some of the things we’ve learned. We’ve had some really, really great experiences, along with some pretty awful ones. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when booking:
Skip the private rooms
Eric and I have tried this all for the sake of a deal. Don’t do it. It’s awkward. You feel like you can’t come in late, talk in a normal tone, or be out in the common areas. If you’re like me and want to spread your luggage out all over when you get to where you’re staying, stick to renting the entire place. There are some exceptions to this though. For instance, if you are traveling solo or on business, and will primarily be out of the house all day. It’s not a great idea if you are traveling with a friend or significant other.
Ask for pictures of the entire apartment
For our honeymoon, I let Eric book the entire trip since I was busy wedding planning. He of course books a rental with only one picture of the apartment, and it is only showing the tiniest little sliver of a room. What was I thinking. We arrive to the apartment on the day of our trip, and of course there is just a pull-out couch with no sheets, a camp stove for a kitchen, and no shower. Needless to say, if there’s not a picture of something in the house, there’s probably a reason for it. Ask them to send some current pictures of the place before you book if you are concerned about anything!
Check the bathroom situation
This has really only been an issue for our international rentals, but a lot of the bathrooms don’t have doors. Our apartment in Paris had a thin sliding door that really did nothing more than shield the eyes, while an apartment we stayed at in Cusco just had the toilet right out there in the open. If you’re traveling with someone you wouldn’t feel comfortable pottying in front of, double check with the host with the bathroom is like. Side note: are people abroad really just using the bathroom in front of each other all the time?
Get all the entrance information before heading on your trip
A lot of the hosts will tell you to get in touch with them when you arrive to the city. Usually this works out great. Not such a good idea though when you arrive and can’t get ahold of the host, or are traveling internationally and don’t have phone service. Find out all the information you’ll need beforehand, such as where the keys can be found, building codes, and the quickest way to get in touch with your host.
Use your host as a resource
If you are staying with an experienced host, they will probably already have a list of places you should check out inside the airbnb. Even so, be sure to ask them for tips on their favorite restaurants and bars, how local transportation works, and the best days/times to visit tourist attractions.
Here's a few of our favorite Airbnb's
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1349525 | Great location in the hip canal district, close to many markets and restaurants, clean, cool modern style, gorgeous bonsai garden in the courtyard.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/784780 | Modern cabin with room for up to 6 people, hot tub, secluded, but only a ~15 minute drive to downtown Asheville.
Sacred Valley, Peru
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1030483 | Our favorite! Beautiful guest house on the most amazing property nestled in the Sacred Valley. Overlook the Andes, beautiful gardens, a pool, and chickens roaming the property. Property dog (!!). Traditional breakfast is cooked for you daily. Nicest host who has a wealth of knowledge about good restaurants to eat at and traveling tips.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3797602 | Gorgeous old flat that's been completely renovated with beautiful modern furniture. Great central location to the river and restaurants.