Have you ever thought of renting a castle, a houseboat at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, or a cute, inexpensive apartment in your favorite city?
If so, airbnb might be the community you’re looking for.
- What is airbnb?
“Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone…Airbnb helps make sharing easy, enjoyable, and safe. We verify personal profiles and listings, maintain a smart messaging system so hosts and guests can communicate with certainty, and manage a trusted platform to collect and transfer payments.”–Airbnb website
In order to save money, I decided to try airbnb for the first time during my upcoming trip to Europe. I shall be staying in 4 different locations, in Athens, London and two in Madrid.
I haven’t had much luck with inexpensive hotels in Europe–check out my last experience with a youth hostel in Amsterdam. Besides, most of the hotels I find are not in a convenient location, and lack space. It’s nice to have a small kitchen to make coffee, and cook meals, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
When I first discovered the airbnb website, I spent quite a few hours reading the reviews, just like Amazon reviews for books, and looking at photos of various studio apartments in Athens, London and Madrid. What shocked me more than anything, was the low price/night to rent an apartment that looks nice, is centrally located, and has great reviews. Of course, I have not experienced any of these places yet, but I shall be sure to let you know when I’m in Europe in April, May and June, for my TESOL Certificate in London, and volunteering for Vaughan Town in Spain.
I was fortunate to find the perfect location for one night in Madrid, with excellent reviews for only $37.00. ( I shall update you on my experience in May, 2015.) Another bonus with airbnb, is the relationship with the local owner of the apartment. As you can see from some of the reviews, some hosts go out of their way to greet you when you arrive, and to point out local restaurants and cafes, as well as museums to visit close by.
- How do you book a room with airbnb?
Here’s how airbnb works. You type in the city you’re interested in, your dates, and then check the box for an entire home or apartment, a private room, or a shared room. Just for fun, I punched in some dates from March 17th-18th in Madrid, and here’s one that came up. The example below is simply to show you what you will find on the airbnb website. The price, $27/night, 36 photos, a map to the right with location, the 77 reviews which you can read, and have them translated into English, if they are in a foreign language, and then you can request to book the place if it’s what you’re looking for.
“Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.” —Airbnb website
Stay on a houseboat at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris for only $129/night. This place has 127 4.5 ****+1/2 star reviews out of 5. I haven’t stayed on this, but this would appeal to me more than staying in a hotel in Paris.
Here’s another inexpensive place I found in the Latin Quarter of Paris, not that I’m staying there. Only $41/night in the Latin Quarter of Paris
So I look forward to sharing my own experiences with airbnb.
Do you have a story to share about your own airbnb experience? Please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m happy to share it on my blog, and link back to your site.
If you missed my post on how “I Discovered a Way to Pay Less on Airfares,” please check it out.