AIRBNB: One of the Best Alternatives to Hotels
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Have you been curious about Airbnb, but nervous about the quality of the stay? Do you have questions about how the payment is handled? Are you looking for a review to know if it is the right choice for you?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have come to the right place. I was in your shoes, with those same questions, and have all of the answers right here for you.
I will also fill you in on how to stay with Airbnb for FREE.
I heard of Airbnb about 2 years ago (later than most, I know!). I admit I was nervous at first. Staying in other people's houses always makes me uncomfortable. Staying in people's houses who I didn't even know was unthinkable. But when it is the difference between hundreds of dollars, I'm willing to compromise and be uncomfortable.
In this particular instance, hotels and resorts were booked for a hundred miles. With temperatures well below 0 (in Fahrenheit) we weren't about to to sleep in our vehicle. People said we were out of luck, but I knew there was a way. So I went for it.
Thank you, Airbnb.
We booked 2 days before we left. An impromptu fishing vacation that nobody said we would be able to do!
So what exactly is Airbnb?
It is a hospitality website that allows you to do 2 things:
A) Rent out your own house for some cash.
B) Rent someone else's house for potentially the best stay of your life.
Does that mean you are living with the renters? No, not unless you want to. You have multiple options. Including renting:
- A single room - Cheapest Option
- An entire house
- House with land privileges
- City apartments/Condos
All over the world including:
- 65,000 Cities
- 191 Countries
- 1,400 Castles
That leaves a lot of opportunity for high quality accommodations at incredible prices.
What does it cost?
Price varies, but it is heavily influenced by local markets and available amenities. The two most expensive houses above include land availability with private views of an incredible landscape. The houses are high quality and they have been featured in numerous magazines/websites.
The prices are dictated by the host (plus extra fees and taxes as applicable). The fees generally range between 6 - 12%. This covers the cost of cleaning and Airbnb taking care of the administrative work.
For the record, I found my Montana locations to be well worth the price they are asking. Most include a huge house that can sleep between 4 and 10 people, hot tub, land etc.. usually between the $150 - $350. Split that up multiple ways and it is incredibly reasonable.
However if it is just you, you can easily find a room for $20 - $30. Traveling the world for $20 a night? Not bad.
Are they clean?
Absolutely. Hosts are required to provide a clean space. You can check just how clean they are by going through the reviews.
How do you check in?
It can vary. Most of the time, you meet with the renter during an agreed upon time frame - usually within a timespan set by the home owner. At this point they will give you the keys and discuss any concerns. However, if it is a condo at a resort, you can usually check in anytime at the front desk. This has its many advantages.
How do you pay?
Airbnb (as with most house renting services), handles the entire financial situation, which is extremely nice for both parties. This way you don't have to haul around a load of cash, worry about getting ripped off, or deal with claims. Assuring that both parties fulfill their obligations is one of the greatest perks of going through a hospitality service.
Once a reservation is made, which may or may not require pre-approval from the host, your credit card will be immediately charged. However, they will not receive your money until 24 hours after you check-in.
In addition, both you and the host have a period where you can file claims and complaints. There are varying cancellation policies as well, if it is important to you, shop around for a flexible period. Otherwise, don't be afraid to contact the host. Airbnb makes it incredibly easy to do so.
What are the fees?
As mentioned above, they are 6-12%. Additional charges can be added by the host; however, you will know the total cost of staying before you have to commit.
Can I trust the renter?
Since Airbnb is the third party handling all of the finances, you don't have to worry about your money being handled incorrectly. As for the quality of the place you are staying at?
I recommend checking out reviews and contacting the owner directly.
The only time this may not work is if its a new listing. However, that is OK. If something ends up being that bad, you can talk directly to Airbnb and potentially get your money back. So you do have some protection.
What is the cancellation policy?
This is dependent on the host. There are many different levels of cancellation, ranging from strict to flexible, with multiple levels in between. Flexible allows you to cancel 24 hours before with a full refund while strict requires notification 60 days before. For more details on the cancellation policies you can go here.
Additional questions regarding Airbnb can also be found at their website help page: https://www.airbnb.com/help
We were ultimately renting a condo from a lady at a very nice resort. The resort, itself, was entirely booked, but she was a permanent renter. Therefore, she was renting her permanent unit to us through Airbnb. A bit confusing? Yes, but it worked.
The condo featured a full kitchen, two bathrooms and all of the conveniences of a resort.. for less than what a hotel would have cost us. I was thrilled!
The best part? There are millions of residencies for rent at millions of different locations.. and they are all available at your fingertips. From Europe to Asia to the US.. you can find an awesome opportunity that will fit your needs.
Take a look at Airbnb for a productive and affordable planning and travel experience.
However, the best feature is probably the fact that we can utilize acres of property to hike, swim and fish... an all inclusive, our style (outdoor lovers).
All of this for what I would like to consider, a very, very reasonable price.
Here is a breakdown of some of our trips:
- A condo in Winnipeg: Last minute booking. Very nice accommodations: one bedroom, two bathrooms right on the lake part of the resort (which included all of the resort features). We checked in at the desk. Two nights were roughly $200. If it wasn't for Airbnb, we wouldn't have had a place to stay.
- A house in Winnipeg Beach (another fishing trip): 3 Bedrooms, two bath home near the lake. Costed us roughly 330 for 3 nights but was split between 5 people. With taxes and fee's it came to $66 a person for all three nights total.
- Montana 3 bedroom 2 bath, hot tub, fireplace and land. Unbelievable views. This one is a little more pricey at $220 a night.
- Many, many more to come.
One final perk is using Airbnb to build up credits to travel FOR FREE. You can use them as an affiliate and gain $20 per new customer. If they rent out a house, you get $75. If you make a business booking, you get $40 towards the stay. Incredibly cheap luxury.
If you are interested in staying at Airbnb or using their affiliate program, sign up here.
Have you ever stayed with Airbnb or any house rental service for that matter? Let me know!