My favorite part about planning trips is looking for accommodation. Triggered by my longing desire to have my own home, I am positively ecstatic when I see the beautiful homes and interior designs of other people’s homes in Airbnb and hotels. Since I can’t have my own pad yet, might as well stay somewhere nice and be inspired.
For those who don’t know what Airbnb is, it’s a whole new way to travel. You know about Uber right? Well this is kind of like that where Airbnb as a website and app is the mediator between hosts can rent out their rooms/houses to anybody in the world. You don’t need to stay in a traditional hotel anymore and can just stay in someone’s home. Airbnb makes sure to verify listings so it is a bit safe since guests can also review the place. Now a traveler has TONS of choices to choose from which is unthinkable before.
Okay baack to choosing accommodations.
Some though may think it’s the least priority in their list. I can understand that because basically when you’re on a trip, you just sleep in the accommodation. Probably all you need is a good bed and working toilet, then you’re good to go! So if you’re that kind of traveler, maybe this post isn’t for you.
I’m talking to you guys who love the daunting task of choosing a temporary home (there are so many choices!) and the first question we ask is, do I stay in an Airbnb or hotel/hostel? I won’t delve in to hotels or hostels now (in a later post) but I will talk about the pros and cons of Airbnb.
Airbnb is awesome because we have more choices and we get a different kind of experience when going to different places. We all don’t want to be “just a tourist” so Airbnb is yes, great. I’m sure you’re hesitant if you’ve never tried it but let me break it down for you.
Also, if you do plan to sign up, use this link or click the photo to get INSTANT 34usd credit! 😀
PROS of Airbnb:
If you find a good host, he/she may even meet you at the airport and pick you up. The room will most likely be littered with personal effects and a quote here and there. It will make you feel like you have a home away from home. You can also cook up your own meal if the host has a kitchen and he/she may provide a well stocked cupboard and refrigerator.
If the host is free, he/she might even tour you around! Isn’t that neat? Not only can you get to tourist-y places, you can also go to where he/she personally recomments. Of course you get to form friendships and a real local in a totally different city.
2. Good for big groups (Think of the SAVINGS!!!)
I’ve been browsing Airbnb for months now and the homes I usually save in my wish list are good for 6-8 people. Check this beautiful listing for (6) in Lisbon Portugal where you can stay approximately 1,335php / 29usd per person a night right in the heart of the city near the Metro. You get the whole house to yourselves.
Sure you may argue that Lisbon is one of the cheaper cities. But wait till you get to London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. You can get a flat that fits 6 people for even less at 1,231php / 28usd per person a night. Airbnb is the perfect avenue for budget travelers.
Staying in Europe or anywhere in the world for that matter has never been this affordable. And if you’re even less picky than me, I’m sure you can find some place cheaper. The savings you get matched with the benefits is incomparable. You can’t get that much savings out of a hotel.
No noisy guests to annoy you. No rowdy commotion from the barmen and customers downstairs. You get the whole place/flat to yourselves (unless stated otherwise). Having this much privacy and space is a sanctuary from the environment of some hostels. You don’t want to hear snores from a loud Harry do you?
Sometimes you want to know how it feels like to live like a local and you know they don’t stay in the main districts. You want a quiet neighborhood or a really lovely place that are frequented by students but there are no hotels nearby. Airbnb homes are located in all sorts of places and you can choose these off the beaten path locations. Our apartment in Seoul was directly connected to the subway. Man talk about great location! You didn’t even have to get out of the building. So here, you’re the master of navigation.
CONS of Airbnb
1. Safety Issue
Not everyone is keen to entering strangers’ homes and you can’t verify a listing if it’s legitimate if it has no reviews. Sometimes Airbnb owners do not reveal everything about the apartment and there may be fishy neighbors or it may be located in a sketchy neighborhood. You never know! There is no security guard outside as well (most of them anyways) so how can you be sure of the safety of your items? No insurance there.
2. MINIMUM FLEXIBILITY
For example, you have a flight departing the country around 10:00PM at night but according to the rules, check-out time is at 12:00 Noon. Who ya gonna call? haha! Unless your host has other apartments for rent in the same building or no one will be staying over the next day or the city you’re in is so high tech that they have luggage terminals in subway stations (shout out to Seoul and Tokyo), then you’re screwed. Where will you store your lugggage between 12 noon and 10PM? You have no choice but to lug your luggage around.
3. less convenience (NO HOUSEKEEPING)
There won’t be a breakfast buffet or a gym or a pool unlike the hotel so if you want these premiums, you better go to a hotel. I guess some people would find cooking a meal as inconvenient that’s why I’m putting this here in the cons. If you want someone to be at your beck and call like having a house keeping, then hotels are for you. Sometimes I do know like when you’re in your honeymoon or you just don’t want to be bothered with routinary tasks then Airbnb isn’t for you. I know my mother won’t want to stay in an Airbnb just because she wants the plushest cushions and high speed wifi.
Neat freaks also beware. The place won’t clean up by itself.
Depending on your needs and if you can handle the cons, I really recommend staying in an Airbnb. Just a few things to note though before reserving a place (this also goes for hotels):
- CHECK CHECK TRIPLE CHECK REVIEWS. I suggest going with an established apartment or host just so you can address the safety issue. Read and trust most of the reviewers say because they are more or less just like you – a budget traveler.
- Book months in advance. Some places are really POPULAR and the good ones run out fast. Remember, the host usually only has 1 room so make sure you get it!
- Check location if it’s near the subway and some convenience stores. Unless you really want a remote place, this is important for you because you will be providing your own food.
- Make sure there are no hidden fees. Make sure you only pay what’s written on the Airbnb website. Prices can be deceiving because they do not include the taxes, cleaning fees so better make sure you get the best out of your budget.
airbnb homes i’ve stayed in
Here are some recommended places where I stayed in Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Tokyo (my friend stayed there). I can’t thank these hosts enough because of their kindness and hospitality. Our host in Kuala Lumpur even fetched and brought us to the airport. These people have already made Airbnb their business and I love how hands on they are.
- Steven Siew’s place at Kuala Lumpur near Petronas Tower. THERE IS A STREET FOOD PLACE NEARBY THAT HAS THE CHEAPEST AND YUMMIEST ROTI EVER! A hotel will never tell you about these kinds of places. He was so kind and answered all our inquiries and yes, brought us to the airport! His place also has a karaoke room and we had so much fun.
- Sion’s Airbnb at Seoul. This is the one connected by Subway. Great location and she is such a great host. She answers your questions within MINUTES. Love her speedy replies.
- Teruko’s Apartment in Tokyo. If you think CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS, Teruko’s apartments are your best bet for Tokyo. Japanese are known for being notoriously clean but Teruko is in a different league.
So there you have it. Have you stayed in an Airbnb? What was your experience like? If you have any more questions, do leave a comment or contact me. I was also hesitant to stay in an Airbnb before but I’m a completely changed person! If I can stay in London for cheap and with these perks, I WILL! Sign up for an Airbnb account using this link and get INSTANT 34USD credits! 🙂
I still love hostels and hotels though. Wait for my next post!