…That is the question.
We are in the heyday of the sharing economy, people, and it doesn’t get much better than this (or does it?!)! From drivers and home cooks to dogsitting services and wifi sharing, we seem to be sharing and offering ourselves like never before. Ok, that’s a lie. The sharing economy makes me think of how communities used to function in the days of yore: neighbours helping neighbours with whatever they could, whether it was a cup of sugar or a shoulder to cry on. Sidebar: start a site offering a shoulder to cry on. Of course, we now charge a (sometimes) very reasonable fee for what we’re offering, but hey, everyone’s gotta make a living somehow!
Of all the sharing economy greats, my favourite (as a travel addict) is Airbnb. I first tested the waters in 2012, when I first came to hear of these cool accommodations being offered up a fraction of the cost of a hotel. The city was Barcelona, and I rented two separate places to stay in: one in the Born neighbourhood, and one right off La Rambla. Both came with some minor drawbacks (can anyone say fourth floor walkup for the win?!) but both experiences were complete game changers. I have since stayed at eight Airbnb rentals in four countries and I am here to answer the ultimate question: To Airbnb or not to Airbnb? Answer? To Airbnb!
What is Airbnb?
In case you haven’t heard, Airbnb is a site where ordinary people like you and me put up a spare bedroom or entire space up for rent for a usually very reasonable price. At times, yes, the prices do get a bit steep, but if you’re going to be staying in a castle fit for you and 15 of your closest friends in France’s famed Loire Valley, 2973$CAN is a bargain!
Castle in Fondettes, France. Château plein de charme dans un parc boisé de 5 ha avec piscine chauffée, tennis, pigeonnier et chapelle, et 5 cabanes dans les arbres à 1 h de Paris en TGV.Proche des châteaux de la Loire. 50 personnes max. Idéal pour mariage, fêtes de famille. … View all listings in Fondettes
That’s Airbnb’s biggest draw, in my humble opinion. You can rent the likes of a castle, a tipi, an Airstream trailer, a treehouse, a boat, and an igloo among other really cool and funky properties. What’s not to like?
Why do I love Airbnb? Let me count the ways!
Mingle with locals
Ever wanted to experience a city through the eyes of a local but didn’t have the time to put down roots? Airbnb’s got you covered with private room rentals and rating system for hosts so that you can choose to stay with one of their highest rated ones called Superhosts. Some will offer to cook you meals, others will be helpful with recommendations, and yet others will invite you out for a fun night out with friends. Wouldn’t you want to party with people who know the best places to go?
A Balinese homestay with all the comforts and insider info you can possibly want can be yours for a cool 30$/night! (yes, for real)
Bed & Breakfast in Jalan Raya Sakah, Indonesia. Welcoming you to stay in our private home compound few minutes drive to the center of Ubud. It is your perfect place to get peace of mind and tranquility, yet be close enough to all major sites in Ubud area. This is an authentic home-stay experie… View all listings in Jalan Raya Sakah
I think we can all agree that travelling can be an expensive hobby. Although hostels have been leading the pack in budget accommodations for a while (fun fact: the world’s first youth hostel was set up in Altena Castle in Germany all the way back in 1912), the sun is rising on Airbnb. No, we haven’t forgotten the nearly-3000$ French chateau from the listing above, but Airbnb listings tend to run high on value. I’ve rented an apartment on Via della Vigna Nuova, a street intersecting Florence’s posh Via de’ Tornabuoni, for 144$/night split between 3 people. That my friends, is what I call a deal. It may not be a bunk bed in a gymnasium of drunken Eurotrippers for 13$/night, but the additional 35$/night is a bargain for the peace and quiet of a night well slept without the need for padlocking your belongings.
A stay in a Moroccan kasbah for 45$/night. Just saying.
Other in Ouarzazate, Morocco. Located inside the historic Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, World Heritage of UNESCO, our guest house is an authentic Berber Kasbah completely renovated in compliance with traditionnals technicals of construction and materials Located inside the historic… View all listings in Ouarzazate
And circling back to square one, my ultimate favourite part of Airbnb are the crazy, quirky, funky, and whimsical places to stay all around our beautiful globe. Tipis and Airstream trailers not your thing? What about glamping? It’s been gaining momentum over the last few years for nature lovers who also happen to love the comforts of a bed that doesn’t roll up. Airbnb has been offering glamping accommodations and beyond since its early days, so you can imagine their catalogue of really unique places to hunker down on your next trip. But back to those tipis and Airstreams because really, where else can you find these types of places to spend the night in?
Float on cloud 9 above the Topanga Canyon for 156$/night.
Other in Topanga, United States. Go to sleep to the sounds of Nature while safely ‘floating’ off the ground in the therapeutic Floating Bed protected by mosquito netting and adjustable privacy cover. Relax poolside or soak in Jacuzzi enjoying spectacular sunset mountain views! … View all listings in Topanga
Or stargaze in the Chilean countryside for 258$/night.
Igloo in Paiguano, Chile. Elqui Domos is a very unique lodging offer, it is one of the 7 astronomic hotels worldwide, and the only one in the South Hemisphere. Come enjoy the magic skies of Elqui Valley. We noticed that shapes and philosophy of geodesic buildings, domes… View all listings in Paiguano
(Can you tell I’m a fan?)
All that wanderlust-inducing accommodation shopping has got my feet itchy… How are you guys doing? With a tagline like “Belong Everywhere” Airbnb is the key to having a local experience that won’t break the bank and has the potential to cause Instagram-envy wherever you go!
This is not a sponsored post (for real). I just really (really) like Airbnb.
Want more? Check out my “Unique Stays” wishlist on Airbnb!