Friday, 17 January 2014

Traveling Abroad - A Note About Airbnb

Quite a few people have been curious about where my husband and I stayed during our 6 1/2 week long Euro trip this summer. He was planning the flights and train trips between each destination, a BIG task since we visited over twenty cities! So I was in charge of the accommodation. We assumed we would be staying in hostels and I started picking out ones we liked through a site called hostelworld. After picking out, but yet to book, hostels for about 1/3 of the locations, my husband bumped in to a site called Airbnb. Airbnb is an online service that allows people to rent out their apartments, condos, rooms, entire homes, boathouses, and I've seen some campers, cabins and boats.

The Airbnb site is easy to use, informative, interactive, visual and has a sense of security. The secure feeling comes from the Trust and Verification Process which requires you to: belong to more than one social media, scan in your passport and another piece of ID, and have information about yourself confirming your identity - making others feel at ease.

Airbnb kitchen in Gothenburg, Sweden.
We booked a total of 13 places with Airbnb and each stay was between 2-3 nights. Not knowing what the experience would be like before hand, we were very pleased with how it turned out. Almost every place we visited was exactly like the pictures and descriptions on the Airbnb website. The people were all very friendly, some being fellow travelers themselves. Some places were a bit more like bachelor pads, others you appreciated the special additions by the host.

Airbnb stairwell in Vienna, Austria.
The key things we liked about the Airbnb service were the prices and the secure feeling of the interactive website. Also contributing to the community aspect and secureness are the reviews and ratings. Shortly after you stay at a persons place you are expected to leave a review, along with ratings, for other travelers to review before they book. A plus side for the owners of said places? They get to review their guests! Very helpful for the next host.

Airbnb front entrance in Stockholm, Sweden. 
A downside to this way of traveling would be the research and time it takes to book ahead. Reviewing apartments and picking your favorite depending on location, price and amenities. This can be a big task, especially in large cities since there are so many apartments available. But if you like to plan ahead, are good with directions and feel comfortable in others homes, we would definitely recommend Airbnb for your accommodations.

Happy Travels!