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.
Continuing from the previous article, Airbnb Shared Stays, this article will cover the rental options that are for travelers looking to stay somewhere private without having to share the room or amenities. (If you missed the Part 1: Shared Stays, you can check it out here.
If you’re still not wanting to interact with strangers during your stay, then there is the option to rent the entire place to yourself. These can be homes or apartments where the family will be out of town and has their neighbor or a friend renting it out while they’re gone. I’ve even seen postings of summer/vacation homes that won’t be used so the owner is renting it out.
What’s great about these is that it often feels like a home away from home, you have your own kitchen, bathroom, laundry service, living room, and a yard (if it’s a home). You’re not worried about inconveniencing anyone, you can save money by buying groceries and cooking your own meals, and some homes can have great amenities like a hot tub, private beach, library, or office.
This is the type of Airbnb my wife and I enjoy the most. During a trip to Bear Lake, Idaho we rented out a woman’s second home and spent the week with family watching tv after a day at the lake, having dinner, and playing games. It was a wonderful and relaxing stay.
To be fair they can sometimes reach hotel levels in pricing, though longer stays can often be cheaper then staying per night and you can find many good deals as homeowners don’t often have the same operating costs as hotels. Even at the same price you’re getting access to much more convenience and privacy in an home or apartment, and depending on the special features it can be a much better quality stay then a hotel or even some resorts.
If your looking for the most privacy and the comforts of home while spending no more than you would at a hotel, then an entire place on Airbnb is for you.
Now there might be some who don’t like the idea of staying in someone else’s home, using their furniture or sitting on their couch, or simply need something longer term. If this is the case then you should look at…
Airbnb Exclusive Rentals
No this isn’t some unheard of membership program that gives you access to VIP rentals, this is a more subtle difference then the other types of stays in that these are units, apartments, and homes that are reserved exclusively for renting out to guests using Airbnb.
It could be a small scale inn that listed some rooms on Airbnb, it could be a mother-in-law flat or guest home that someone is renting out, might be a second home someone has moved out of but kept to make some money with Airbnb, or it could be an entrepreneur who would rather rent his condos out to Airbnb then a long-term tenant with a lease. Whatever the case these are places that are only used by guests.
This is the type of place my wife and I have used the most often when traveling abroad for months at a time. Instead of hassling with an apartment complex to get a lease, we simply book an Airbnb for less than thirty days and basically get a furnished apartment. In Cozumel, Mexico we stayed in the top half of a duplex that had its own kitchen, bathroom, and living space with furniture picked out to meet a specific theme like a hotel. We didn’t have to worry about only being able to use the top two drawers of the dresser, all the drawers were ours. The furniture and decorations weren’t someone’s prized possessions or well-used items, they were fairly-new, matching items like you’d find in a hotel.
These places are great for people who want to have their own space and not worry about using someone else’s things. Like I said before it’s not some special listing or part of some membership so it’ll take some digging to find them, but if you’re looking for a comfortable long term stay then this is definitely the way to go.
Admittedly the downside to these types of place is that they are operated like a business with little interaction with the host/owner, oftentimes we found ourselves meeting with a property manger to obtain keys and ask questions. So, if you’re looking for something more friendly and cozy that gives you the chance to meet people and make friends then you’d be better off with one of the other options.
Airbnb can be a great option for those traveling on a budget, looking for something more comfortable than a hotel, or looking to meet locals and form connections. You may have heard horror stories, but honestly with the right amount of research, good communication with the host, and some common sense Airbnb can be an excellent way to make traveling more affordable and give you some great experiences.
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.