7 reasons why Airbnb is my favourite accommodation option

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(Last updated on: 05/04/2020)

I love Airbnb. It just works for me. It worked for me when I was a student and I wanted a cheap place to stay. It worked for me when I wanted a weekend away with my girlfriends. It works for me when I travel with my husband and children.

I just love Airbnb!

I know, I know, nothing is perfect. But for my travels I’ve found that Airbnb accommodations typically work best. Here are the reasons why I love Airbnb and why you might love it too!

(p.s.- thinking of trying Airbnb for the first time? Scroll to the end of the post for a discount code saving you up to £30 off of your first stay!)

7 reasons why I love Airbnb

airbnb

#1 Airbnb allows for flexible sleeping arrangements

There are many different Airbnbs available ranging from studio lets to houses with multiple bedrooms. This allows you to select an option which is most appropriate for you and your needs. Whether you are looking for a large house for a hen party or for a trip with extended family or a smaller accommodation with multiple beds in the same room, you can probably find something to suit your needs on Airbnb.

Now that Isla is a toddler and I have FINALLY managed to get her out of my bed and into her own, we need somewhere that she can sleep without being disturbed- a tired toddler is no fun at all!

So for us, it is important that we find accommodation with more than one bedroom. This way we can put the toddler to bed and we can stay up and enjoy a glass of wine, watch a movie or just have some adult time!

When we arrive at our accommodation we first check that Isla’s room is as ‘baby proof’ as possible, moving items or furniture if we need to. We then make up her bed using an inflatable bed guard like this one and set up her grow clock (aka miracle clock-just read the reviews on Amazon!) to make sure that she doesn’t get up too early. We then explain to Isla that this is her room and her bed and we are good to go!

#2 Airbnb allows for flexible eating

For some people, scheduled meal times in a hotel work well. I admit, it is nice to have your food brought to you and not to have to wash up. However, after several bad experiences whilst travelling in Sri Lanka when Isla became over hungry and over tired due to meal times being too late for her, we have tried our best to avoid these.

Instead, we usually opt to cook ourselves in our Airbnb accommodation. Yes, there is a little more work involved, BUT it does save tantrums as well as money- win, win in my book!

Staying in an Airbnb allows us to eat our meals when we are ready. If Isla isn’t hungry we can heat it up again later and food doesn’t go to waste. We can also store snacks in the fridge and cupboards easily.

We always travel with a couple of small snack boxes that are the perfect travel size, like these ones, and then we can refill this with goodies before we leave our Airbnb each day.

Staying in an Airbnb can also make it a lot easier if you are formula feeding or sterilising bottles/dummies etc. In Sri Lanka we carried a bucket around and packets of sterilising tablets, along with a travel kettle for boiling water, which wasn’t particularly convenient! Having our own place makes this much easier to manage!

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Read also: My Love-Hate Relationship with Mount Kilimanjaro

#3 Airbnb allows us to have an authentic experience

You will never get a true picture of the destination that you are travelling in from a stay in a hotel, particularly if you are staying in an international chain. I’ve stayed in a lot of Hiltons and Radissons, for example, and if I just woke there I would genuinely have no idea what country I was in most of the time. Heck, during my jet lagged and overworked Cabin Crew days this did actually happen sometimes!

Airbnb accommodations will often (not always), give you a much better taste of what it is really like to live in the destination that you are travelling in. Think homestay in India or apartment in New York City. These are the places that real people live, they are not only holiday lets.

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#4 Airbnb enables us to mingle with the locals (sometimes)

Staying in an Airbnb accommodation allows for us to be integrated with the local community a bit more. Although we typically opt for an entire place, as opposed to a room in someone’s house, we are usually located in a residential area. This allows us to speak with the locals and get to understand a bit more about life in the destination than we would from the window of our Hilton Hotel room.

When we were travelling in South Africa, for example, we got chatting to one of the neighbours. It just so happened to be bin collection day and we saw a young lady walking the street searching through each bin that had been put out for collection! This seemed odd behaviour to us and was not something that we have ever seen at home in the UK.

The neighbour explained to us that people would travel into the city (Cape Town) from the nearby townships early in the morning to look for valuable items or edible food products that may have been placed in household rubbish.

This is just one small example of how much you can learn about the local way of life and the local area, just by staying in an Airbnb!

Read also: How we can afford family travel so often (and how you could too)

#5 Airbnb gives us the space we need

Airbnb places are great at giving you extra space. Whether you want to set up your own BBQ outside, need a place to work, have a swimming pool to yourself or have a bit more space for your toddler to run around, Airbnb is great.

This is something that is really important to us now that we have an overactive toddler. I can’t even begin to imagine how claustrophobic it would feel if we were all crammed in one room!

#6 Airbnb saves us money

For most of us, money is an important factor when deciding on our holiday accommodation.

It feels like I’ve forever been on a tight budget, from paying off my debts to having to pay for the kids too. The only time I have been able to stay in luxury hotels is when I have travelled on business.

Airbnb is a great option if you are looking for value for money. We have stayed slightly outside of the city and hired a car to save money on many occasions. Renting an apartment or villa can also work out far cheaper than the equivalent of hotel rooms for all the family!

Not only do you save money ion the cost of the accommodation itself, but there are other benefits too. Like, for example, being able to cook for yourself at home instead of having to spend money going out.

Airbnb has saved me loads of money over the years!

#7 Airbnb provides a unique experience

If you’re looking for a unique accommodation option then Airbnb is the place to go!

From houseboats in India to treehouses in Scandinavia to Yurts in Mongolia, there are some fantastic Airbnb places to rent. Did you know that you can actually rent a WHOLE ISLAND on Airbnb? Incredible!

In this day and age, tourist are more and more often seeking something a little bit different. We want to get off the beaten path. We want to experiment with different types of tourism. We want to stay in cool, new places. Whilst it’s not the only platform offering unique accommodation experiences, Airbnb is a great place to start!

My favourite airbnb accommodations

So if I haven’t already sold Airbnb to you (I’m actually not on commission, these are all genuine recommendations!), then I will now! Here are some of my favourite Airbnb experiences….

(by the way- I’m not really one for taking photos of the places that I stay, so these were the best images that I could come up with…don’t judge me!)

#1 Costa Rica, Samara

Airbnb

My number one spot has to go to the incredible villa that we stayed in in Costa Rica.

After more than 8 hours of driving, we were greeted with a pitch black, extremely steep, mountain side road. We thought we were lost. But no. We followed the road to the top of the hill where we were greeted by two fantastic American hosts. We had a huge villa all to ourselves with out own private pool and BBQ area overlooking the jungle and distant ocean.

The villa was a little difficult to access up the steep road and was a few minutes drive away from the beach, Samara, but it was 100% worth it! It was literally like a little piece of heaven. I remember spending one evening sipping a glass of red wine whilst watching lightning bolts in the distance; it was just magical!

Read also: Why doing a degree might make you a better person

#2 Spain, Frigiliana

Airbnb

When we travelled through Spain in 2015 I wanted to step off the beaten path, and we did absolutely that when we stayed in a quaint Airbnb built in the side of a mountain in Frigiliana!

Not far from the action of Marbella and the nearby coastal resorts, Frigiliana is a picturesque traditional Spanish village.

This photo was taken from our garden, which had the most amazing views. Inside, the apartment was literally built into the side of the mountain, with the bathroom sink made within the rock!

Walking up to the apartment each day was also great training for our climb up Mount Toubkal that we had scheduled for a couple of weeks later!

#3 South Africa, Gansbaai

Airbnb

We ended our travels around South Africa in style by staying in an ultra cool Airbnb place in Gansbaai, a couple of hours East of Cape Town.

Hubby was going out cage shark diving, which wasn’t viable for a 20 month old baby and a pregnant lady; so we booked a place where we could relax in style for a couple of days.

The spacious apartment comprised of the bottom floor of a huge holiday home (which was empty). It had its own private splash pool and steps down to the beach. The beach was secluded and peaceful, which I absolutely loved. It was perfect!

#4 India, Kerala

Airbnb

OK, so I have a slight confession to make…. this wasn’t technically an Airbnb. BUT it is now!

I stayed in this amazing house boat back in 2009 (excuse the terrible photo, I’d only just upgraded from a disposable camera *hands hide face*). I found this on a random website when planning my travels around India but have since seen that you can stay in a similar accommodation through Airbnb.

Houseboats are popular in Kerala and, to many people, are a right of passage when travelling through India! They are a bit costly, but staying in one is an amazing experience!

#5 Canada, Kamloops

Airbnb

Isn’t it cool when you get somewhere and it’s completely not what you expected? But in a good way!? Well, this was one of those experiences!

We booked a place in Kamloops because it was on our route through Canada and was reasonably priced. A new Airbnb place, there were no reviews, so it was a bit of a risk…. but it was a risk that paid off!

This place was super quirky and really unique. It was basically a set from a Country and Western film…. or so it felt. It was (sadly) empty, but there was a bar and a whole street of buildings (front only), which looked really cool. We stayed in a small building that seemed to form part of the ‘film set’.

Outside there was a huge grass area for baby Isla to play on, a giant trampoline, a swimming pool and several other quirky features, like this huge chair!

Isla had a great time playing here, which is why it makes the list of my favourite Airbnb accommodations!

#6 Canada, Vancouver

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When travelling in Canada I accidentally booked us accommodation that was nowhere near where we wanted to be.

This beautiful, scenic house was where we would stay for four days. I thought that it was on the outskirts of Vancouver and that we could travel into the city to do some sightseeing. Little did I realise that it was actually a six hour journey away from the city centre, which included two ferry crossings! (I had a four month old baby- I can blame the sleepless nights, right?)

Nonetheless, it was lovely. We stayed in the forest where we picked fruit from the trees and went out on our own private lake in a canoe. We went on hikes hunting for bears and relaxed over the warm fire in the evening. It was peaceful and perfect. If only my toddler wasn’t so jet lagged and waking us up at 4am each day….

#7 Costa Rica, Monteverdi

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This is baby Isla on the balcony of our Airbnb accommodation in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

We really liked this place because it was high up in the cloud forest and was surrounded by spectacular flora and fauna. Just minutes before I took this photograph a huge colourful butterfly had landed on the side of Isla’s car seat. A couple of hours after I took this photo we saw our first sloth hanging in a tree just a few feet from our front door. It was this moment that inspired us to purchase ‘Slothy’ aka Isla’s favourite soft toy… which then became a new travel souvenirs collection of soft toys from each destination she visits!

#8 Turkey, Fethiye

Airbnb

The last Airbnb accommodation to make the list is this tent that we stayed in in Turkey. This was our first ‘clamping’ experience and we really enjoyed staying here. The price was much lower than any of the hotels around and was excellent value for money. It was, however, a bit hot without air conditioning in August!

Are you ready for your Airbnb experience?

So, that sums up why I love Airbnb. At almost 2500 words, I must REALLY love it, right? haha

It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, whether you are travelling solo or as a large group, whether you want an adults-only experience or something that’s great for kids. Whether you are looking to mingle with the locals or to get away from it all entirely, whether you want a standard apartment or an unusual accommodation, whether you are on a tight budget or have a wad full of cash, there is an Airbnb option out there that will suit you!

If you are thinking about booking your first Airbnb accommodation (or trip, they do trips too, you know!), then you can use this link to save up to £30 off of your first booking.

If you want to learn more about the Airbnb business model and the pros and cons of using Airbnb, take a look at my post- Airbnb explained: What is it, how does it work and is it safe?. You can also learn more about the wider sharing economy in this post- What is the sharing economy and how is it changing the tourism industry?

airbnb family travel

What are your Airbnb experiences/views? Drop your comments below!

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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