Airbnb has become super popular recently and many people are now choosing to stay in Airbnbs rather than a hotel. I’ve stayed in quite a few Airbnbs over the last few years and want to share my experiences, both the good and the bad.
Is staying in an Airbnb cheaper than a hotel?
The short answer is it depends. Of course, you can get some really great deals on Airbnb. The best deal we ever got was a double en-suite room in London for £40 a night! That’s really crazy because normally you’d be looking at spending at least £80 to get a semi-decent room but this place was really modern, clean and had everything we needed so I’d say that was definitely an unbelievable deal.
Sometimes you will get lucky like that, but generally to get the best deals you need to book in advance with Airbnb. The best places will be booked up far in advance and if you’re booking last minute, you’ll have a lot less to choose from.
There are some really nice, luxurious places on Airbnb too but they often come at a higher price. On Airbnb you can rent, not only single rooms, but entire homes or apartments. This can often be more expensive than staying in a hotel so depending on what you’re looking for, Airbnb may not always be the cheaper option.
The best advice I can give on this is to shop around. Once you’ve chosen your destination, put your chosen dates into a range of websites. Try Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia.com and Trivago.com and see what deals you can find!
First time using Airbnb? Use this link and get money off your first booking!
Will my Airbnb have all the facilities I need?
Airbnb stays can vary a lot. As I mentioned before, you can rent out a room within a house/apartment that you share with others or you can get an entire apartment/home to yourself. We tend to go for entire apartment’s as it’s nice to have your own space, but we have stayed in rooms in the past.
The actual facilities you find will vary from place to place. Some of the places you find on Airbnb have incredible facilities. In Kuala Lumpur, we stayed in an incredible Airbnb called The Face Suites. We had access to an infinity pool and a sky bar on the top floor that had incredible views over the entire city. In the pool, you could swim up to the edge of the building and look out onto KL’s most famous landmarks such as the Petronas Towers and KL Tower. This was such a memorable experience.
In Bangkok, our apartment had a balcony overlooking the city. We were also in a really central location so we could look out onto lots of skyscrapers and well-known landmarks. It also had a rooftop pool which was incredible. It was such a surreal experience to swim on top of a skyscraper in the middle of a city.
However, I would say that some places you find on Airbnb can be a bit more basic and don’t always have everything you need. For example, we didn’t have a hair drier or towels in some places we have stayed on Airbnb but a hotel would always provide these things for you. It is just worth checking beforehand exactly what is provided for you, so you know what to bring.
Are the hosts nice?
When staying in Airbnbs you often get to meet new people. Whether that be other travellers who may be staying there too or the hosts themselves, everyone we have met has been super friendly.
If you get to meet the host, they will often give you tips and advice about the city as they are usually locals. Whilst in Bangkok, we stayed in a 2-bed apartment. The owner used the apartment to stay in on work days as he worked close by, however, as we visited over a weekend and a bank holiday, he actually didn’t stay over during the trip, so we had the whole place to ourselves! He did spend some time with us when we arrived and gave us some really great local tips on where to go, where to eat and how to get around. These were things we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. A great advantage of staying with locals on Airbnb is that you can meet locals who live in the area and know it well.
We also experienced this on our trip to Venice. We stayed in an apartment in Mestre, which is just outside of the main city of Venice. Upon our arrival, the host showed us into the apartment and not only gave us a map but also explained to us exactly how to get to the main part of the city and when the buses run. It was really helpful.
Is it easy to check in and out?
One thing with Airbnb that is very different to regular hotels, is that they don’t have a reception desk. As they are often apartments or homes, there is no staff so it can be a bit more difficult to check in and out and contact someone if you have any problems.
One thing that Airbnbs seem to differ on a lot is the check-in process. Some hosts really have mastered how to do this well, making it super easy for you to get into the place. Many of them have safes outside the building which contain the keys and the host will send you a message with the code so you can just enter the building on your own. This can be very convenient as you can check-in at any time and don’t have to wait around for the host.
However, not every host makes it this easy. In some Airbnbs we have stayed in, it has been a bit more difficult. Sometimes you will have to meet the host so they can show you into the apartment and give you the keys. You usually have to message them to let them know when you will be arriving. Some hosts have been poor on the communication, so we have found ourselves to be waiting around a bit for hosts to arrive in some locations. In Hong Kong, we were waiting outside the building in the heat with our huge suitcases for a good 20 mins which is not ideal.
We have tried to be really proactive with contacting the host, so messaging them when we are on our way, but sometimes you still end up waiting around a bit. However, it doesn’t really affect the trip too much and most hosts are super on it!
So is it worth it?
Overall, I have had some incredible experiences staying in Airbnbs. One of my highlights was definitely the infinity pool in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I would 100% recommend staying there. You can often find more quirky places on Airbnb that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a hotel. I’d always say to look around before booking to see what’s out there, but Airbnb is definitely an option to consider.