By Dorlins Villalobos, Travel Specialist
Saving money when you travel is always a good thing. Enter Airbnb. We were introduced to this online home-sharing marketplace in early 2014 and it has changed the way we travel and see the world ever since.
So, what does home-sharing really mean? And does Airbnb offer the safety, cleanliness and quality of a 5-star hotel? Well, the answer is yes and no. Because each listing on Airbnb is owned and operated by people just like you and me, the concepts of “quality” and “standards” can have vastly different interpretations.
Here are some key points that might help you decide which one of the two options is best for you on your next trip.
1. You get to experience the city as a local
An Italian villa, retro trailer or Spanish yurt are just some of the wild and wacky places you can rent on Airbnb. These homes can be your key to exploring relatively private areas of cities and countries allowing you to greet neighbors, find the closest grocery store, what the locals love to do and much more. No matter how comfortable, you can’t get that level of authenticity in a hotel.
2. Cheaper than a hotel (sometimes)
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced accommodation, staying in an Airbnb is cheaper in most cases. The price of a hotel room often includes breakfast; however, other meals are not included, leading to the hefty added cost of eating out. Airbnb’s offer a fully functioning kitchen allowing you to cook homemade meals, which, as everyone knows, is typically a lot cheaper.
The Airbnb gives you the flexibility to split the cost with a couple friends, while still allowing each to have their own separate rooms. A hotel limits the number of guest to a room and those sharing the room lose all sense of privacy.
A surprising convenience is that many Airbnbs even have a washer and dryer, so you don’t need to spend extra for laundry and you are also able to pack much lighter!
3. Short-Term or Long-Term Stay
For business travelers visiting a city just for a day or two a hotel would be the best option. Check-in is extremely fast and easy, get the keys, go to your room, sleep, go to a meeting, leave. All you need is a nice bed and bathroom. But if you want to enjoy your vacation then staying in an Airbnb is more convenient for a long-term stay. Lets face it, staying in a hotel for a month (or even two weeks) can be awful.
No matter where you choose to travel, your options on pricing, location and accommodations are vastly widened when you consider Airbnb. Just make sure to do your research first!