This is a guest post by our travel writer, Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com.
Airbnb has quickly become the leading alternative to hotel stays for travelers. With options that suit every budget, comfort level, and style, there's truly something for everyone - just about everywhere. In our own travels, we've frequently used Airbnbs - from weekend stays in Canada, Jamaica, and Japan to month-long apartment rentals in Ecuador and Thailand. We've stayed in private rooms with shared kitchen, individual flats all to ourselves, and full houses with our extended family.
Here are five reasons why an Airbnb rental can be a great idea:
1. Airbnb's heavily reliance on reviews takes the guess work out of choosing a place that suits your needs. Just browse the listing to see what people are saying and make sure there aren't any red flags. If the property description doesn't mention the noisy karaoke bar next door, there's a good chance one of the guest reviewers will!
(Both the guest and home-owner review each other after each stay. You don’t see the other person’s feedback until you’ve both submitted reviews, so there’s no pressure to leave a positive review just so the other party will do the same.)
2. Guests can communicate with potential hosts before and after making a booking. This is all done on AirBnB’s site, without exchanging any personal information or e-mail addresses until the booking is finalized.
I often ask the host a question before committing to a reservation, just to get a sense for their commitment to communication. Since we often do work while we travel, one of my most common questions is the upload and download speeds of their internet - or how easy it is to get there via public transit.
3. Perhaps the biggest advantage to Airbnb is the financial value. Compared to hotel stays that can run $100+ in most cities, it's usually pretty easy to find a cheaper option on Airbnb. The most economical stays are private rooms within someone's home, where facilities like kitchen and bathrooms may be shared with the home-owner, or with other guests (depending on the listing). Even private apartment and full house rentals can end up being cheaper than hotels, especially if you require more than one bedroom.