20+ Things To Check Before Booking A Hotel Or Rental For Vacation
In one of my more recent posts, I briefly discussed my experience staying at an AirBnB in San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you don't already know, Air BnB is a website where you can "Rent unique accommodations from local hosts in 190+ countries." The types of accommodations on the site vary depending on the listing shown. Each place that I have rented has been a private room where the host was still in the house during my stay. This is my 3rd time using AirBnB, and I've used the 'Private Room' option each time. There are always other options available, but the way post-grad my budget is set up................I try to go for the more affordable option. :)
A recap of our AirBnB stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico:
So upon our arrival we headed straight to the beach, meaning we changed in the airport bathroom. Yes, we were eager, ok?! Anyway, I'd been messaging our host about a meeting time while we were out and about. After leaving the beach and driving around old San Juan, we finally found a parking spot on the very narrow cobblestoned streets. Once again, I was texting the host and describing my outfit so that he would be able to recognize me right away. Meanwhile, I look over and I can tell that Ivonna is internally freaking out. Why? Because she's never done this(AirBnB) before. I assure her that its fine and that we aren't going to get murdered by this guy that we've never met. He(the host) notices us right away, so we greet each other and he walks us up to the third floor of the apartment building. We go inside and the apartment is SO cute with an adorable black cat to go along(we were informed prior)! We're impressed so far. He shows us our room and tells us to sit our bags down so that he can give us an introduction to the city. We do just that and walk back into the dining room where he is seated with a map & glass of wine for each of us. I'm thinking, "Ok...I could get used to this". He then proceeds to pin point and write notes on the map to all of the coolest places to go and best places to eat in the city. He even hits us with a bit of an Old San Juan History Lesson. We get to know each other more, he makes us a few of his specialty cocktails, and then we separate for the night because we each have our own plans. A pretty great introduction, right? And thankfully, the rest of our stay went smoothly and without any problems. His wife and kid were there the following nights, but we hardly saw them and it wasn't an issue at all. We had our own keys and went about as we pleased. For the remainder of our stay, we found ourselves saying "I could definitely live here". The location, hosts, and apartment itself were all ideal.
Here are the 5 reasons I prefer AirBnB to Hotels
More often than not, I've booked with AirBnB because of the affordable prices - "post grad budget", right? Sharing a home as opposed to renting an entire home definitely makes a difference in the price. I've also found that rooms are much more affordable outside of the US where the costs of living are lower overall. I've seen places in Cancun and Thailand that were beautiful, yet dirt cheap. You'll also find it reasonable to split a large home with a large group for a pretty good price. Cheaper prices aren't always absolute, because in US cities that happen to be more expensive, a decent airbnb can cost you more than a standard hotel. It's best to do some research to compare prices. 2.
The types of rooms you can stay in at a hotel are usually very standard and limited. Air B&B offers so many options - Apartments, Studios, Mansions, Treehouses, Castles, boathouses, etc. You can choose a shared room, a private room, or an entire apartment/house. The list is endless. Even when I'm not booking, I enjoy searching through the various homes of people around the world. As someone who visits places and imagines of what people's homes looks like on the inside, it's so fun to see the interior decor.
Great For Longer Trips
While I've never stayed in an AirBnB for longer than a week, I can see the benefits that come along with having a kitchen to cook in and a place where you can do laundry for free, which will save you loads of money. Many places have options for people to rent months at a time, which is great for anyone doing long term travel. I think we can all agree that the comfort of a home will always outweigh that of a hotel.
One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting the people that have lived in that area and know it well. They can give you the best tips and some great insight to their way of life, just like our host in San Juan. Airbnb's motto is 'LIVE THERE' - experience a place like you live there. You get the chance to stay in areas which may have no hotels at all, which gives you a different perspective of the city.
Its an adventure
Now, this may scare a lot of people. For me, it's so exciting. You honestly never know what you're going to get until you arrive. You don't know what your host will be like or if the accommodation will even live up to your standards. On the other hand, a hotel stay is pretty standard. Although this is comforting, I enjoy the surprises that come along with staying in an Air BnB. You could end up making life-long friends with the host or simply having a unique experience. And that's what adventures are all about, right?
Although hotels will always be a great and convenient option, it can be nice to switch it up from time to time. At this point in my life cleaning services, hotel breakfasts, concierge services, and spa services that hotels offer don't matter much to me. Staying in an AirBnb is quite a different experience, but its can be a great option depending on what you're looking for. If you do end up checking out the rentals on their site, be sure to look at the reviews, location, and the full description to ensure that you know exactly what you're getting.
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This is not a sponsored post - All opinions are my own.