I still vividly remember my first ever Airbnb experience. We were on our road trip in the US and decided to stay in three different cities in 8 days. It was also my first big road trip ever! Airbnb accommodation is what we chose for all three locations, and at the time, the main reason was the practicality of it, as well as meeting someone who is a local.
Since then, I’ve used many more Airbnb opportunities, and the list of my reasons to go with Airbnb has grown wider and deeper.
And while it’s always possible to run into a not-so-great Airbnb experience, I’ll still often make it my first choice to stay at a new place.
Important to emphasize – I’ve yet to encounter a negative Airbnb experience, and I’m incredibly grateful for it. So let’s dive in…
As always, I love hearing your thoughts! Let me know if you have more reasons to go with Airbnb accommodation or even if you disagree with any of mine. Let’s chat in the comments and on Twitter!
An opportunity to be with a local
First things first: I’m not saying hotels or hostels are bad by any means. There are SO many brilliant things about them, and an abundance of reasons to choose them – which I often do.
However, there is a thing where Airbnb leads the way against practically any other accommodation type: someone who knows your destination to its core, and they are at your arm’s length. It’s what makes Airbnb unique. Airbnb hosts may become something you remember a city by, and lead you to experiences you otherwise would have possibly missed.
Airbnb hosts know – and are willing to share – a lot of off-the-beaten-path locations, secrets that are only known to locals, or simply details that you’d have otherwise overlooked. You get to see the city through their eyes, and you are given an opportunity to be a local for a while.
They are sharing a piece of their home with you, and with it comes so much more.
Try finding that in a hotel!
For me, the big lightbulb ‘oh-my-I-would-have-missed-this’ moment happened when we were staying in Las Vegas during a government shutdown in 2013. We wanted to drive to Grand Canyon, but we were unlucky – this seemed impossible due to all access points being closed.
However, our host was incredible, and has found a route for us to drive to the part of Grand Canyon called Skywalk, fully owned by Hualapai tribe and thus not affected by the government shutdown. Amazing, right?!
You ‘become’ a local, and it feels like home
The first point I want to make here is the fact that you get to have your ‘own place’ when being in a strange, new, unknown city. I always found that Airbnb accommodation removes the alienating feeling that hotels may cause.
You get to see what it’s like to stroll from ‘your’ apartment and cook your food as if you were really living there and not just visiting. Quite cool, isn’t it?
There is another side of it I love that isn’t quite as positive, but still incredibly important. As I’m sure you know already, traveling is an empowering, badass way of getting to know yourself and find elements of your personality that you never knew existed.
However, traveling can destroy you.
I know I’m being dramatical now, but I got your attention, right? Yes, traveling can wear you out, make you homesick, tired, ill or anxious. No matter what spectacular place you may be at, you sometimes just want to curl up in a ball under a warm blanket and sleep for a few days.
I’m not alone in this, right?
Airbnb is someone’s home, and by default, this means warmth that you may be missing when in a hotel. This comes in handy on the bad days, but it also helps to make the good days stay good.
Ultimately, having a home-like stay on a trip usually helps have a more relaxed and immersive experience in a location. It allows for a deeper connection with a place – and that’s what I’m all about!
It is easier to stay healthy
Building on the previous point, being able to cook your own food is an incredible perk. You can’t do it in hotels, and you very often can’t do it in hostels either.
Now, don’t get me wrong and think that I’m crazy about cooking while I’m on vacation; very often, I’d rather just be pampered and cooked for.
However, I found that constant eating out while traveling can lead me to make low-quality meal decisions, harm my budget (more on that in a minute) and simply cause an overall imbalance of my body and mind.
Staying in an Airbnb allows you to take a step back and actually plan your meals out. You can either cook them, or plan, buy and store your snacks, or simply make sure there’s always fresh fruit and vegetables around.
I found that, no matter how long my trip is, making sure I get my three wholesome meals a day helps a lot to avoid that imbalance and reduce any potential anxiety – and an Airbnb environment helps with this a lot!
It’s kind to your budget
Now, I’m not stating this as the definite fact. How Airbnb price compares to hotels heavily varies between cities.
So while you will score about half the price of a hotel when Airbnbing in Paris or London, you will pay about twice the price of a hotel for an Airbnb in Barcelona. Check out this insightful resource on Airbnb vs hotel comparison by Busbud.
However, the point I wanted to make here is not just the bottom line. It’s also everything you get for that price that would cost you extra in a hotel – or would be completely unavailable.
For example, your Airbnb host may have a bicycle you can use for free. Or a parking space. Or offer you free breakfast. Or let you use their washing machine. Anything you’d otherwise pay for in a hotel – and Airbnb gives you for free – adds towards a great experience and some extra money for more travel awesomeness.
What are your thoughts? What are your favorite reasons to opt in for Airbnb over a hotel? Let me know in the comments!
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