I LOVE AirBnB. I literally wax poetic about it on a daily basis to anyone that will listen to me. I truly believe that the places I have stayed over the last few years have seriously made my vacations better than if I’d stayed in a hotel. I’ve used AirBnB in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and Mexico and will continue to use it in basically every country I go to for all of eternity.
I’m always surprised when people tell me that they didn’t check AirBnB before booking their vacation. I’m all for a fancy boutique hotel and a good dose of room service, but to stay traveling longer, to save a bit of money, and to feel more like a local, I ALWAYS opt for AirBnB when I can.
Here’s why I always recommend AirBnB:
It’s Usually Cheaper
If you compare a night in a hotel directly to a night in an AirBnB house or apartment, you almost always get a better price. I have stayed in two bedroom apartments or houses in great locations for less than $50 when hotels in the same area are over $100!
Last week I booked a place in Mérida (near Chichen Itza) for $12 a night. It’s a two bedroom house with a parking spot for our rental car. It has a jacuzzi. Okay, I know that’s Mexico – it’s much cheaper than say, New York City, but hotels in Mérida were still AT LEAST $30 a night. That makes the house less than half the price!
I always at least check AirBnB first when booking a vacation so I know what I will get for my money.
You Can Stay with a Local
When I traveled around Australia, I used AirBnB to save money and avoid having to stay in hostels wherever possible. For Luke and I it was usually way cheaper to stay in someone’s spare bedroom than for us to pay for two beds in a dorm room.
Using AirBnB to stay with locals is a really cool way to get to know an area and its people. We hung out with funny dogs, we talked all night over a bottle of wine (or a couple) with an Aussie and her Swedish boyfriend. We still met other travelers, especially in places that had more than one spare bedroom, so I never missed that aspect of staying in a hostel.
You Get Insider Tips
People who own AirBnB’s are nice. They are opening up their home to total strangers. Yes, for a fee, but they’re still running a make-shift B&B.
Bar that one experience in Playa del Carmen, I’ve always had amazing experiences with the people who own AirBnB places.
When we stayed in Tulum, we got so many awesome tips from the couple that owned the house. They gave us bikes, they told us where the non-touristy spots were, and they told us the best places for cheap tacos and beers. We never would have found those places if it wasn’t for their local advice.
You Can Live Like a Local
One of the main reasons I love AirBnB is because it’s constantly saving me money (basically my favorite thing ever). You can go to the grocery store and cook your own meals. That’s a massive savings when you’re on vacation. And it’s not just in some tiny little dinky kitchenette that you get in a hotel room (does anyone else HATE those?).
Besides being able to save money, you get to be in a local neighborhood instead of along a touristy hotel strip. When you come out of your AirBnB place you’re not being instantly hawked by restaurants and shops trying to get you to come in and spend your valuable vacation money.
You Get More Space For Your Moolah
Like I mentioned above, we got a two bedroom house for half the price of a one-room hotel room in Mérida. AirBnB might not always be the cheaper option when compared side-by-side with a hotel room, but I can guarantee you’ll get more space for your money. This is especially true if you’re happy to stay in more residential neighborhoods and away from the main hotel areas.
It’s Perfect for Group Trips
I love AirBnB when I’m going away with a group of friends or family. It ensures that everyone get’s their own space. You can modify the searches to find places with as many bedrooms and bathrooms as you want. As a group you’ll save so much more money than if you all separately booked hotel rooms.
You can also end up with an absolutely stunning place when you all pool your money together. It’s happened to me constantly. I’ve basically just started inviting friends on vacation with me just so I can get an epic AirBnB place (jk, sort of ).
You Can Make Money with AirBnB
If you have a spare room, another property, or a little apartment above your garage, you can sign up for AirBnB and start making money. Not only that, if you use my link to sign up, you’ll get an additional $70 when you welcome your first guest.
I know it’s a tough decision for some people to open up their home to strangers, but once you’ve experienced the kindness of other hosts first hand, the prospect seems much less daunting. If you’re looking for a way to make some extra money, this is a fun way to meet people and help your fellow travelers.
How to Pick the Best AirBnB
Now I’m not saying I’ve never had a problem using the site. When we booked into a place in Playa del Carmen a few months ago, it was a total disaster. It wasn’t anywhere near the beach, you really needed a car to get anywhere (there weren’t any sidewalks), the apartment we ended up in looked nothing like the photos and the guy we were dealing with wasn’t even the guy that we spoke to when we booked the place.
But I learned a lot through that experience.
- I learned to read the interviews and take them seriously. The reviews are everything. I also learned to ask questions to the owner before booking.
- Be sure to double check the location. There is usually a map that shows where the place is, but if you’re not sure, simply message the host and ask.
- Read the description carefully. Some places do not have wifi, some do not allow pets, some charge an additional fee for more than two people. If you’re planning a vacation with a bunch of your pals and the place specifies no parties, then it’s probably not the best place for you. Remember, the host leaves a review for you too!
Just like you would when booking a hotel, do your research and you’ll be sure to have an amazing experience.
Never used AirBnB before? Sign up with this link and you’ll get $35 off your first booking! The code doesn’t expire, so once you sign up the balance stays on your account until you book your next trip!
This is an affiliate link, so if you use the discount code to get $35 off, I’ll get a discount to use on my next trip, too. Thanks for your continued support of Eternal Expat.