Travellers have been trading front-door keys since time immemorial. But now, finding a place to crash has never been easier, with AirBnb enabling people to share their homes for your holidays.
Launching from humble beginnings in 2008, it is now the largest “chain” for accommodation in the world, making a homestay option seem hip.
I have been fascinated by this new sharing economy for the last couple of years. AirBnb made it easier than ever to stay in a home, to ‘live like a local’. It encouraged us all to travel differently.
Today, some 30 million people have travelled with Airbnb, 20 million of those in the last year alone, and we have been helping out with these numbers. Since Noah was born, I decided to test out AirBnb more than ever to relax and settle a baby in a more private space. I love this travel now and while we are in Canada we are doing plenty of Airbnb stops again.
So here is a list of Pros and Cons of Using Airbnb for Family Travel
When we are in a hostel we usually get a room with a bed and we all sleep in it. That’s fine, because Noah is only 19 months old now, but the common area can sometimes be very busy and without any play space for a little fellow. With an Airbnb we can rent an apartment that suits our needs and gives Noah plenty of play space!
Most hostels have a fridge and a microwave, but an Airbnb usually has a full kitchen. It’s nice for us to have a place to make coffee, make Noah some pasta and vegetables, and start the day with a bit of a routine. Cooking at home also saves us a lot of money!
We love to meet people and learn from travellers but not everyone is keen to wave to a toddler and trade car, bus and excavator sounds with small toys at 8am. Guilt free fun as a family keeps us all happy. We don’t want to be shushing during the day or questioning our parenting inadequacies at midnight while baby wakes up with something (is it teething, should we have gone to the last place, why didn’t we drive an extra half hour and let him sleep?…). if you’re not a parent, don’t worry, the privacy bit comes in really handy when you stretch out on a sofa, read a book uninterrupted or watch what you want on TV, or be comfortable in a bed.
Living like a local
Usually Airbnb places are not in the hub of the city’s tourism. When you have an apartment elsewhere in the city you get to experience how locals live and pretend to be one. Recently in Edmonton (you will do an apartment tour very soon!), we went to the local playgrounds and Noah played with the neighbourhood kids.
Washing Machine and Dryer
Believe me, if you have kids and you like to travel light, a washing machine and dryer can become your best friend.
We’ve found an Airbnb is basically the same price as a hotel room. We always feel like we are getting a bargain, because we get so much more for our money.
If for whatever reason the place you booked is not accurately described or the Airbnb host cancels at the last minute, then you can call Airbnb and they will help you quickly find a new place. I like knowing that I have a place to call if the host doesn’t follow through on their end.
Payment is due at booking
When you book an Airbnb and the owner accepts your request you need to be able to pay the full balance right then. We like paying up front, because it means that our trip is mostly paid for before we leave. So when you find that perfect Airbnb that is open on your travel dates be ready to pay.
Choice of location can be limited
There is almost always a hotel room located where you want to stay. However, the number of Airbnbs available can be limited. Many of the highest rated places are booked two months in advance.
Live like you’re at home
It is nice to live like a local, but you can fall into a trap of buying your food, finding a local coffee shop, eating in, sleeping in. This may tick the boxes for relaxing but make sure you still get out and immerse yourself with local culture and cuisine.