Gorgeous 2 bedroom airbnb on the beach in Hollywood, FL, under 120 a night
The biggest costs when traveling are flight and hotel. To be honest most of the time I could afford for the flight but not the hotel. The fact is, I would find a great deal for a hotel, say for 120.-, but by the time we add the city tax (18.-), parking (20.-), wifi (15.-), I drank my "not" free bottle of water (5.-) breakfast actually wasn't included (lets not go there), my room would come out to be 178.- a night. That's JUST HOW IT WORKS. Even more, after having a baby, the deal breaker with hotels was not having space in the fridge or room to play. I say it to everyone, I love a great hotel, but airbnb (aka vacation rentals) made it possible for me to travel more, within a budget, and added comfort. I have shared apartments, rented houses, studios, you name it I have done it all, and have had some incredible experiences.
Here are some tips on finding the perfect vacation rental or airbnb:
PERFECT FOR MORE THAN 2 NIGHTS
I love the in and out ease of hotels, but vacation rentals are great because its more of a home away from home. Long term stays are best when in a vacation rental and save tons of money! Stock the fridge and you don't always have to eat 3 meals a day out.
Apartment Rental in Chicago overlooking Grant Park, 130.- a night 3 bdrms
Best part about vacation rentals, you have more options for your ideal location. You can really be in the heart of the city, by the beach, near friends, be in the excitement. I always choose my vacation rentals by location, then price.
Overlooking downtown Miami and the Ocean, we negotiated to get this stunning apartment for under 1000.- for one week / off season
Hello as a family who has a flight out at 6 pm and you have to check out of your hotel by 10 am. SHOOT ME! Almost 99% of the time we can enjoy our vacation rental until we need it. An extra bonus when you just need some sleep!
WHEN YOU ARE 3 or more
Space, did I mention comfort, separate rooms, multiple bathrooms, umm need I say more. For less than a hotel, I have all the comforts I would have when staying in a fab home away from home.
Besides sharing an apartment or house, you can split the costs with other friends. Perhaps take a nicer place instead of staying in two hotel rooms. This will save loads when traveling + just more overall comfort.
Often times the homes or apartments you are renting have parking spaces that go along with the apartments! MONEY SAVED once again!
AMAZING FOR CHILDREN
One of the greatest luxuries of staying in vacation rentals or airbnb, is many of them will have everything you need for children. You can contact the host in advance to provide a baby bed, high chair, baby bath, toys even. Not all, but many times they will be available if you ask and can really lighten the load with traveling with a little one. When traveling with kids, you really need a comfortable space to wind down and pull out some snacks from the fridge and chill a nice bottle of wine. ROOM SERVICE at home is free :-)
I love the extra attention we get in some of our vacation rentals. You really get that personal touch. Sweet notes, extra yogurts, a bottle of wine. You never know but I have had some of the sweetest surprises from my incredible hosts and they have made my stay unforgettable.
I know this is random, but I have gotten some cool decorating tips along the way. Paris & New York airbnb's are by far some of the best decorated apartments in the world. I may have stolen an idea or two :-)
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN BOOKING, VACATION RENTALS AND AIRBNB
NEVER BE THE FIRST
I never stay in a vacation rental or airbnb as the guinea pig. I read REVIEWS and based on their experiences make my decision. I know we all don't have time for bad surprises.
STAY IN A POPULATED & SAFE AREA
Always check the location of your vacation rental.
DON'T COMMUNICATE OR PAY OUTSIDE THE WEBSITES
This way you stay protected, also there is a communication trail. You can contact or call your host after you have booked.
The longer you stay the more you can negotiate the daily rate, all they can say is no :-)
READ THE DETAILS
Sometimes (rarely) there are extra fees for extra people, cancelation fees, towel fees, phone rates. Be sure to always read the fine details to avoid any problems or charges.
AIRBNB IS NOT THE ONLY SITE
airbnb.com, vrbo.com, homeaway.com, tripadvisor.com, tripping.com... just to name a few. Keep searching until you find your best fit.