Airbnb has changed travel – and we'd argue for the better. But despite its massive growth – it recently overtook Expedia for total rooms booked – not everyone is on board.
Many travelers still can't shake the negative image of staying in someone's musty, messy bedroom. Or they can't ignore the concerns about safety when staying in someone else's home.
If you've been holding out on trying Airbnb, we don't blame you. But those fears don't tell the full picture of everything Airbnb has to offer. And we're here to show you that it's not what you're expecting, and to make a case that you should give it a try.
Nervous? Start with Airbnb Plus
If you're nervous to stay in an Airbnb for the first time, or the thought of staying in someone's home weirds you out, take a scroll through the Airbnb Plus verified homes.
Plus is Airbnb's response to consumer interest for verified, quality places to stay with awesome decor and full amenities. It's the best of the best.
Plus-verified homes are personally visited by Airbnb staff and rated on a quality inspection grade to ensure top-notch quality. Airbnb staff inspect each Plus home for more than 100 must-have amenities and details guests love.
If you choose to stay in an Airbnb Plus home, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be getting exactly what you see in the Airbnb photos, communicating with a verified and trustworthy host, and staying in a well-kept home stocked with all your needs. Check this feature out at Airbnb.com and you may be shocked at how pristine these homes are.
And if you're anti-Airbnb because you don't want to stay in someone else's home, we have to break it to you: Many Airbnbs are second properties or additions and are not the primary household for the renter. The success of Airbnb has created an entire industry of home rentals on the platform. So think of them as mini-bed and breakfasts, where you don't have to actually eat breakfast with other guests!
Thrifty Tip #1: New to Airbnb? Sign up using our link and you will receive up to $55 towards your first stay (we will get $20 as well).
Savings for Groups of 2+
We could go on and on about why we love Airbnb. But the real sweet spot for Airbnb is in the price tag for groups of more than two.
If you're traveling with more than two people and would book two (or more) hotel rooms, rent a full home on Airbnb instead!
For families traveling, it's a must. Don't want your lights-out bedtime to be the same as your kids? Instead of staying in the same hotel room, get an Airbnb where you can put the kids to bed and still have space to yourselves to hang out.
Hosting a family trip, bachelor/bachelorette party, or large group vacation? The savings with an Airbnb home can be insane! You can rent an Airbnb that sleeps six to 10 people for nearly the same price as one hotel room. Plus, you can book an Airbnb home with a full kitchen and save tons on a family or group trip by buying groceries and cooking breakfast or lunch at home. Divide the Airbnb cost per person, and your lodging will be cheaper than many – if not all – of your previous vacations.
Thrifty Tip #2: Keep the savings rolling in! Read about more ways to save on Airbnb bookings.
They're Not Like Hostels … But You've Got Options
It can be easy to write Airbnb off as a homestay or couch-surfing situation. If that isn't your style, simply filter for “Entire Place” options.
But if you're looking to keep things more affordable, try out a private room! This is often a private space (like a basement, guest room, or separate space) in someone's home and offers a quiet retreat without the high price tag of a whole place to yourself. And you won't have to share the space with others like in a hostel. Many of these “private room” rentals may still have their own, private bathroom.
Speaking of Options…Check Out These Unique Stays
When it comes to options, Airbnb is king. Browse anything from high-rise pads in NYC to tiny homes in Portland to jungle bungalows in Bali. A hotel room simply can't compare to the variety and unique lodging options Airbnb offers.
If you're looking to make your next trip one for the books with a unique place to stay, you've got to go with an Airbnb. Want to go all out? Book an Airbnb Luxe and have your own itinerary planner, chef, and more. Want to try glamping (glamorous camping)? Browse the many options in hundreds of locations.
Whether your dream vacation includes a treehouse, a houseboat, or a castle, Airbnb has what you're dreaming of. Filter for “Unique Homes” for your next trip!
Thrifty Tip #3: Like the idea of unique lodging? Check out our guides to camping in Kauai, renting a camper van in Iceland, and Glamping 101!
Stay in Areas You Want to Be
Hotels far outside the city center or in bland hotel zones got you down? Save on transportation to and from the attractions in a city by staying in an Airbnb right in that area. Use the map view to browse options by neighborhood.
Because these rentals are typically homes and apartments, they're in neighborhoods. You're sleeping where locals live, eat, and work – not just where tourists or business visitors collect. Staying at an Airbnb in the thick of the action is a great way to really immerse yourself in your new destination.
Thrifty Tip #4: Before your first stay, read our other tips for booking the best Airbnb each time.
One of the major bonuses to booking with Airbnb is the local insight of your hosts.
While hotels have concierges with pamphlet stands and a printed list of all the steakhouses in a 10-mile radius, many Airbnb hosts (and Superhosts!) offer a bit more. It's not out of the ordinary to check in to your Airbnb and find a full guide to local bites, bars, and things to do during your stay. Some hosts even send a PDF guide once you've booked so you can plan your adventures based on a local's recommendations.
You'll find evidence of an awesome host in the reviews. Take note of those who are Superhosts and have great reviews regarding tips and recommendations.
You'll find evidence in the reviews that some hosts go above and beyond the call of duty. I once had a host in Dubrovnik that welcomed my family to our Airbnb with a bottle of wine and Nutella crepes. Another host in Split that, when we arrived earlier than expected, took us to his favorite restaurant for lunch while our Airbnb was cleaned.
Ask around, and you'll find others who have had similar host experiences to these. This level of hospitality and care is exactly what sets Airbnb apart.
Airbnb can be whatever you want it to be.
It can be a whole apartment, home, or villa to call your own for a day or a week. It can be a prime location with a local host to give you the best recommendations. And more often than not, it shakes out to be more affordable than other options – especially for groups.
Give Airbnb a try on your next trip – we think you'll be hooked!
This is a good article. My wife and I have found that staying at airbnb, and that our vacations are more relaxing and enjoyable.
We were just the opposite of being reserved to stay at airbnb…we were really excited and couldn’t wait until our stay.
What this post fails to mention is the negative impact of Airbnb on local housing markets and the people who live in the cities we love to visit. In Barcelona, for instance, there are locals who can’t find affordable places to rent because so many units have been turned into Airbnbs by landlords who recognize that listing those units on Airbnb brings in more money (for them) than renting them out to more permanent tenants. Barcelona certainly isn’t the only city where this is happening, and others have also introduced regulations to limit the number of Airbnb units available. If you really want to support the local economy in a heavily touristed city, stay in a locally-owned hotel or bed and breakfast rather than a global chain – this way, you won’t be preventing an actual resident of the city you’re visiting from finding a place to live.