So, now that you know how to get the BEST deal on your flights – let’s talk about where I like to stay to save money!
How to travel on a budget: Picking where to stay while traveling depends all on what type of experiencing you are expecting. Wherever you go there most likely will be a variety of different types of places to stay. There are the drool-worthy 5 star resorts, the convenient hotel chains, and my favorite (and usually most affordable option) Airbnb or comparable site.
I always want to get the most bang for my buck in all aspects of life, but hey – that’s why I am able to travel so much and travel so often. Airbnb has been my go-to source for lodging whenever I travel. As you know, when I travel I really want to experience life there – I want to eat what they eat and see what they see. What better way to do that than actually stay in their homes’? For me it is easiest to really connect with a place when I stay in an Airbnb. Most of the time you are renting out people’s homes or a room in someone’s home. This might sound weird to some of you. The idea seemed a bit risky to me at the beginning (I am very cautious about safety while traveling), but the more I researched about it the more intriguing it sounded. It really gives us the experience we desire while traveling.
Airbnb is set up to easily search for the perfect place for you. You can type in where you want to go and your specifications (2 bedrooms, AC, pet friendly, etc.) and it quickly pulls up listings that fit your criteria. It even has a nifty map showing you where each listing is located – so you can easily only choose to view the beachfront listings or listing right beside the concert park. It’s a breeze!
When you find a listing you fancy, give it a click! The listing will pull up – you will be able to see who listed it, photos of the home, and depending on how thorough the host is writing their listing you could have information like how far the beach is, how close public transportation is, best way to get from the airport to the Airbnb, etc. Best of all, each listing has reviews from other travelers just like you. Reviews are a great way to scope out the home you might be staying in. Most reviewers go in to detail about any problems they may have encountered and how the Airbnb host resolved it, they pretty much always talk about the cleanliness, and the interactions with the hosts.
Things I look for in a great Airbnb listing
1. Host Interaction – I always make sure that the reviews and the host both state that the hosts will be available when needed. You want to be sure you can get ahold of the host if ANY kink in your plans come up like postponed flights, problems with AC, etc. We, personally, try to steer away from listings that have too much contact with the hosts. We aren’t really comfortable with coffee every morning at the same table and dinner every night together. Not that we’re anti-social, we just like our time together especially while traveling. We love to get the insight from hosts on where to eat, what to do, places to avoid, etc. but we aren’t really looking for a nightly PJ party about our day.
2. Location, Location, Location – You always need to be aware of where you are located. Are you close to transit or is taxi/uber common in the area? Do you need to rent a car? Or would you rather walk? We always prefer to walk and if need be we will catch a cab or uber. When I am searching for a great location I always make sure there is a store, or even a gas station, nearby. You never know when you will get the munchies for a midnight snack or realize you’ve spent a little too much eating out and want to snag a gas station hot dog for dinner. Stores nearby are essential when you are staying in places where bottled water is the only drinkable water. We didn’t realize this in Nicaragua, so being walking distance to a store was life-saving for us. That was meant to be overly dramatic, but I guess it’s totally true! :) I always aim for the listing that is just right outside of the target area because typically it is cheaper and not right in the center of all the action. But you better believe I check all those listings and compare them!
3. Price – Do you really want to stay in that luxury condo Airbnb for $350 a night? Go right ahead! But in my mind – why stay in someone else’s home for that much money? You could book at the Hilton for that price and that includes free breakfast and room cleaning! :) Airbnb is a great tool to save you money and give you a great experience. You wouldn’t believe the places you can stay – Greece on a budget? Yep. Actually, there are a ton of listings under $50 a night in Santorini! I know, right? I am starting a weekly #wanderlustwednesday post using Airbnb for traveling ideas. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the amazing deals all over the world!
4. Reviews – I never ever ever ever ever… did I say ever? book a listing that has no reviews. I am not saying YOU should never do this, but I personally do not book because want to hear what other travelers have to say about the place. I am sure the host thinks their place is wonderful and they are super cool people – but reviews give you an unbiased look to the host, place, area, etc. But remember everyone has to start somewhere so if they just listed their place on Airbnb of course they won’t have any reviews. In this case I would be extra careful and diligent booking. Be sure that you converse with the hosts several times to be certain that it is a good fit for you.