Although we like to think of ourselves as regular travelers, we have actually never dipped our toe into the world of Airbnb. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the app on my phone for forever, and whenever I am planning unrealistic trips to places such as Florida, I do load it up and look at amazing 10 person homes that cost way less than a Disney hotel, but we’ve never actually pressed the ‘book’ button. For NYE, however, this all changed.
One thing I love about AirBnB that a lot of other hotel search sites don’t allow is being able to search super broadly. For example, we knew we wanted to stay on the 30th and 31st of December, but we were not too sure where – in fact, we were willing to travel to most places in the UK (aside from the very tip top of Scotland!) for our New Year’s break, and AirBnB made it easy to do that.
We also knew that we wanted a place to ourselves, rather than sharing with anyone else, so we could filter with that. Even if you want a full place to yourself, it can still work out pretty cheap. For our lovely cabin, with a full kitchen, Sky TV, a bathroom, a dishwasher and even a hot tub it was only £65 per night.
We could also both create a list of places and share them with one another. I loved this because I could click a thumbs up or thumbs down on Steven’s suggestions, and he could see my choices – this would be amazing if you were trying to plan a trip with several people.
When it came to booking, we actually chose a different place at first. Annoyingly, the money was taken from my account, but then the host told us that the place wasn’t free after all. To be fair to AirBnB, they issued a refund immediately, but annoyingly, it did take a few days to get back into my Paypal – by this point, I had already had to pay for the new place, which left me a little short. That’s not the fault of Airbnb but it’s frustrating so I wanted to mention it.
If you are working to a budget, make sure you have factored in the various fees as you may be taken by surprise. There are often fees for cleaning and admin, and they differ between various places.
I love the fact that you can read reviews on the properties and the hosts separately. This is especially useful if you are looking at a home with very few reviews, but the host does have other properties – it’s quite often as much about the people as the place.
When you’re in a hotel, you are likely to behave very differently than how you would if you were staying at a friends house, and AirBnB should be like this. Even if you are staying in a whole house on your own, as we were, it is important to remember that the place belongs to someone else and you need to treat it with respect. They are not a huge organisation with unlimited resources to replace anything you lose/break/steal, so be careful and thoughtful.
Not only does AirBnB give you the chance to rent out places that you would otherwise not experience for so much cheaper than a hotel room, there is also the opportunity to meet new people. If you are travelling alone, staying in a room in a home of someone else might be more appealing than a hostel. Most hosts are willing to give you advice on places to eat or visit in the area, and others are happy to spend time with you when you’re in the house – or leave you entirely alone if that is what you want. We’ve only stayed in one place but the couple were so friendly and impressed upon us that anything at all we needed we could just pop up from our cozy little cabin up to their house and ask for it.
We have decided that this year is the year we go on more adventures, and Airbnb is going to be at the centre of this. It’s so easy to book and really affordable, so hopefully, we can use this to travel and see a little more of the UK – and beyond!
If you fancy signing up to Airbnb, we would love it if you used our affiliate link, which will get you £25 worth of travel credit for your first trip – Yasss!
If you’ve used Airbnb before, and have any top tips, let me know in the comments!