By Benjamin Baker
One of the biggest costs with travel is lodging, finding a place to stay can become very expensive and the more convenient places that are near desired destinations, airports, bus terminals, places to eat and other considerations are often the most expensive. Finding a place that’s affordable can often mean being somewhere that’s a hassle to travel from or possibly be located in sketchy areas, and the quality of the rooms tend to suffer as the price goes down.
Fortunately, Airbnb is a great alternative for those who have enough money to travel and have a wonderful time, but not quite enough to justify a stay at a pricy hotel or resort.
Airbnb is part of the sharing economy, meaning home and property owners will rent out their rooms, apartments, and units to travelers for a much more reasonable price. Because these places are often located in residential areas they have a wider range of where they can be located making it easier to find something close to where you want to be.
To give an idea of what staying at an Airbnb is like we’ll go over the different options and include some experiences my wife and I have had staying at similar places.
Airbnb units can be broken down into two types; shared and private rentals. This article will go over the shared rentals.
Think of shared rooms as hostels, large rooms with multiple beds or even bunkbeds for guests to stay in. They have common bathrooms, kitchens and other facilities depending on the place. Sometimes you’ll find a room rented out of somebody’s home that has multiple beds for multiple people like a bed and breakfast/hostel hybrid or it can be a standalone unit everyone is meant to share.
These types of rentals tend to be cheapest as the host is getting a good deal on renting the same room multiple times so it equals a good discount for you as the guest. It does however come with a lack of privacy and could present awkward situations depending on the customs, cultures, and habits of your fellow bunk mates. For instance, some may not have any issues with undressing in front of others, some might be rude and obnoxious, and others might have no shame with a little romp under the covers when they think everyone else is sleeping.
Admittedly my wife and I have never tried a shared room so this is all based on stories from those who have. Its worth noting that many people don’t mind shared rooms and have had great experiences meeting other travelers who prove to be polite, conscientious, and respectful. If you have enough friends and family along for the experience you could mitigate strangers all together.
If you’re looking for a cheap way to travel with the chance to get to know people, shared rooms may be for you.
But if the idea of sleeping amongst strangers doesn’t work for you then you could always go with…
There are a lot of private rooms on Airbnb that give you your own space. To meet Airbnb standards these rooms are often required to have a lock that can be operated from the inside, meaning you can turn the key and sleep soundly knowing no one will get in unless you permit them. Private rooms can be a spare guestroom a family is renting out of their home, college students renting out an unused room they couldn’t fill, or dorm mates hoping to get a few bucks while their room mate is out of town for a couple of weeks.
My wife and I stayed in one while traveling in Paris, France and it was a great experience. A group of young adults sharing an apartment where renting out the bedroom of a room mate who was visiting family for several weeks. It was a little weird staying in what was obviously someone’s bedroom, with their books, posters, and stuff on the shelves, but it was clean with fresh sheets bought exclusively for us.
Like in shared rooms there’s a common kitchen, bathroom, and other facilities to share with the hosts. But honestly after getting to know the people that lived there it wasn’t a big deal to come out and have breakfast or say hi as we left. It was really nice getting recommendations on places to eat and things to do from locals who live there and knew the area.
These rooms are a little more expensive than a shared room but are still significantly cheaper than your average hotel. If you’re looking for a little privacy while still getting to meet locals, then private rooms are the way to go.
The next article will cover the rooms that are a little more private with the owners/host not staying in the place while you’re there. These rentals are perfect for those looking for a little more privacy without having to worry about sharing the fridge with others.
Author: Benjamin Baker
After serving abroad in a religious capacity for two years Ben has felt the pull to travel and explore ever since. This desire was further fueled by his wife Maddie and the two have traveled to many places over the last few years. Ben’s hope is that by sharing his knowledge and experiences obtained while traveling that others can improve their lives and the lives of others through travel. Check out additional articles written by Benjamin.