[Travel Advice] Where to Stay (AirBnb?)

Random Observation/Comment #508: I wish I just knew people in every major place I wanted to travel to so I could crash on their couch, hang out at a local pub/coffee shop, and get introduced to the local customs. I’d get the underground culture and also see an old friend.

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People always ask me, “Where do you stay when you travel?”  For me, its’ changed depending on the company, location, and time of my life.  Here are some common accommodation choices based on your age and desired type of vacation:

  • Budget and Young. You’re probably going to be backpacking through Europe and staying at youth hostels or couchsurfing with random people. Good on ya! I think I’m too old for that already.  If you do couch surf, it is crucial to get to know your host and make sure they have good reviews. I personally loved couchsurfing when I was backpacking through Europe and found no issues through those 10 major cities.
  • Beach/Resort destinations. No matter the age, I think everyone who goes to beachy/Caribbean island areas want a nice hotel with a great view and included spa. It will cost extra money, but you’ll probably find great vacation packages. If you’re going to do this, I would recommend just taking a cruise.
  • 30’s and just want a vacation. If you’re at that age where you work hard and play hard, sometimes you don’t want to plan that much. It’s usually easier to just get a hotel room and have someone make your bed.
  • Work travel. If you travel a lot on someone else’s dime, it’s most likely that you’re staying at a hotel and getting points on your credit card. Don’t forget to save those receipts!
  • Old people travel. No offense to old people, but the amenities at a hotel are certainly better than ones in homes. Locations may also be more convenient for transportation or travel.  Time shares may also be a good option since I find most old people have time shares for some reason.
  • Couples traveling to New England states. I think the sweet thing to do is get a bed and breakfast run by someone who could be your grandmother or aunty that spoils you greatly. Especially in New Hampshire skiing areas, I’ve found these rustic looking places to be really romantic. I’ve also gotten some great deals through Groupon/LivingSocial.
  • Adventurous travel and groups.  This is where I think Airbnb really shines. I’m sure it overlaps with the other niches in some ways, but those who are web saavy and look for slightly cheaper prices than hotels will use Airbnb and connect with a local.  Almost 80% of my travels, I’ve stayed at an Airbnb place and had a wonderful time. I’ve found that when people own their place and trust you enough to leave keys with you, it says a lot about overall good will. They’ve also usually given me great local advice on places to eat and hang out for night life.

For those who are trying to understand the demographic and why we use it:

  • Slightly cheaper prices. Especially for a long term stay, I think the prices are much better. There are usually hidden costs with paying for cleaning and taxes afterwards, but overall I think it’s worth it.
  • Better locations. Except for those beach resorts, I’ve found better locations for Airbnb than the regular hotels. Since there are hostings everywhere, I think you can probably find one next to a hotel too.
  • Excited hosts. Hosts are usually really cool people. They’re sometimes representing the people who own the apartment to take care of the Airbnb necessary Identifications, but they also sometimes just have an extra place they can rent out for a great price.
  • Local advice. The hosts will not give you some hotel touristy answer. More often than not, I’ve gotten some excellent recommendations.
  • Much better for big groups. I personally think splitting a big place is much better than getting 3-4 separate rooms.
  • Kitchen. This should have been number 1, but I love it when I have a kitchen and I can cook with some local groceries.
  • Excellent customer service. For places that haven’t worked out, I’ve gotten at least 50% refund on the trip. It took some stern emails and a review as a loyal patron of the site, but I get points back for any places that don’t show what they advertise (which is the least of what I can say for some hotels – cough, Kathmandu).

~See Lemons Love AirBnB