The time is flying!! Today, I want to share with you some tips on travelling and how to save money specifically when booking travel accommodations. Back in September, my husband and I spent two weeks in Hawaii, part of which was due to a work related trip. I know what you are thinking…. nice job!!! Well, yes, but not exactly because through my job, I was completed a 2 plus year process of obtaining a designation, and after taking and passing several tests, I was eligible to attend a conference in Oahu, Hawaii on the shores of Waikiki Beach and bring a guest. So naturally, I brought my husband along since Oahu was our honeymoon destination approximately 7 years ago.
Now, work didn’t pay for the entire trip, only the business portion. However, once that was complete we knew would want to extend our trip once we got there. So, knowing that it was going to be expensive, we began looking into accommodations early on. Our searches only revealed pricey hotels and resorts or hotels furthest from our desired location. Not exactly ideal.
My husband had mentioned using Airbnb since he had a buddy use it, and after some conversation, we decided to give it a try which happened to be the most budget-friendly way during the dates or trip AND without any sacrifice in comfort, pizazz or flair.
How Does it Work?
When you’re using Airbnb you can actually log onto their website and do a search for wherever it is that you will traveling to. Just like most travel booking websites, you enter in a few details and hit search. Except instead of hotel options, you get back listings of hosts offering up their home or space 1 of 3 ways or options by simply applying a filter when searching.
Option 1: The Couch
The first option is if you’re just looking for something very inexpensive and cheap and a place to sleep a few hours or maybe nap. Or maybe not even at all depending on how you may travel. Everyone is different, and this is just my opinion of the first option. Personally, this option does not appeal to me at all. You may just need somewhere to crash and you don’t really care what the place looks like or where you are, or who you might be with, just as long as it is relatively close to your destination location. So for that matter, you just may need someone’s couch. And that’s why I call it “the couch” option.
Yes!! You can actually make a reservation to book only a couch in someone’s home whether it be on a futon in a room or on the couch in someone’s living room. That also means that you might be there when their family or roommates are there, possibly when they’re watching TV, rattling in the kitchen. Who knows!!!! It’s definitely something you might want to consider – or not. If you’re that kind of person who doesn’t have any need for any privacy whatsoever while traveling, then that might be the option for you. I have yet to know anyone who has done this option. However, if you would like to try it just choose the “shared room” option in your search. This is most likely the cheapest options that will be revealed in your search and you will be more than likely sharing a space/room/couch with someone else.
The next two options we’re going to share with you are the actual two options we choose when booking our extended trip.
Option 2: Private Room
For our very first Airbnb experience, we decided to go with an option where you actually rent a private room, but it is still within a residence. This is where you can book the room from the listings, but it’s attached to a house or other rooms also available. Similar to a hotel, but more like a true Bed n’ Breakfast. You may share the kitchen, the living room, or the common areas of the home with either another guest who is traveling, or with the actual host/owner of the home.
Our particular accommodation was in a three bedroom home. It was unique in the sense that we rented a private room and we shared the kitchen and the front living room space. There was one other guest who was actually in a second private room, but he was checking out the day that we were arriving. So, for most of our stay, it was just us and the hosts. Amy was our host and welcomed us upon our arrival. She and her husband had their own separate quarters off the back of the house, but they could enter through the kitchen door, almost like a separate entrance. It was like they weren’t really there with us except for maybe a quick hello in the morning, and evening after a day of fun activities exploring the North Shore.
The couple had purchased the home a couple of years ago and they’ve slowly fixed it up over time. Something that they were very proud of and it showed. The home, even though it was brand new, it was spotless and extremely clean, as well as very well taken care of. It was an older home that was typical Hawaiian design. Our hosts actually left a little pamphlet for us on the bed of our neatly set room of things to do locally and places to visit or eat. It added a sense of charm as it gave their own personal story and flair, making us feel right at home and welcome. Then they provided some simple house rules like clean your own dishes and don’t let the dog, Scout, off the front porch. He was a friendly beagle who greeted us each day. One thing to note is that our listing did mention the pet Scout, so we knew he would be there ahead of time. This is something to also ask ahead of time if not noted if you have any pet allergies. We love dogs, so for us this was like coming to a home away from home.
Places like this, they usually tend to have a minimum night stay, which ours did. I believe it was three nights. Some have a minimum of one or two nights. It’s definitely something you’ll want to look at when booking reservations. If they have a three night minimum and you only plan to stay one or two, you may want to re-filter your options.
This was our very first Airbnb experience, and I have to say I was very impressed, even though we were actually sharing the home and it was not completely private. There was parking available for our rental car and the home was situated just steps from the ocean. You cant get this kind of view, or access at any resort or anywhere for that matter in the North Shore, unless you own property there. Air Bnb allows you to have the experience without the cost.
The Savings Is Worth It
Just to give you an idea of the cost savings alone, I believe we rented this room/beach cottage house for about $105 a night. Hotels with 2 and 3 star ratings begin roughly around $300 per night, and we paid that for our total 3 nights accommodation.
Definitely something worth looking into. Especially if you’re one who considers doing only local fare, doing what the locals do versus the touristy high commercial areas. It’s definitely a unique way to travel anywhere.
Option 3: The Entire Home
On the back end of our trip, we actually ended up with a booking where we rented an studio/condo which was completely private. This is the third option you can choose when booking accommodations through Airbnb where you actually have a turnkey type of property. You can completely check yourself in and out and not even see your host if you don’t prefer to if they have it set up that way. Our host gave specific instructions on self-check-in and we didn’t see her once. She messaged us upon our arrival and advised us of her contact information if we had any questions or needed assistance. Or than that, we were on our own just as if it was our place. Again, the host typically provides you with some simple rules of the property and things that you need to do or not do upon checking in, and checking out.
On our second Airbnb experience we went back to the North Shore after my work conference, the area is a little more secluded from the touristy section of Waikiki. Our studio condo was right outside Turtle Bay’s resort. In fact, it was within Turtle Bay’s property. Very interesting because it gave us access to the Turtle Bay resort all almost all of their resort amenities without the resort price. Our parking was located within the same hotel resort self parking, so it felt like staying in the resort. This was great because our first we decided to go to one of the restaurants on property without really having to go anywhere. The next day we spent some time snorkeling in the resorts snorkeling spot along the ocean. Yet, we paid a fraction of the nightly rate.
I believe we booked this condo for around $95 a night. We stayed there two nights and it was perfect to end our trip there. On this two night stay alone, we saved over $600 by just booking through Airbnb versus going through a resort. So it’s definitely a savings worth looking into, especially if you love to travel a lot.
Still on the fence?
Ask your friends and see if they’ve used Airbnb and see what they think.
I must admit that when my husband first mentioned the idea of using Airbnb, and discovering that it was like the Uber of Accommodations, I was very skeptic. A million things were running though my mind. But, once I saw the formality of it and how it was designed and set up, talked to couple of friends who had actually done an Airbnb experience before, I was ready to give it a try. And, I’m so happy I did.Now, in the future, anytime that we’re doing any type travel type of reservation, I will definitely be checking Airbnb first before checking into a hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a spa day anytime anywhere, and having a maid once in awhile clean your room is nice, but those things alone wont stop me from at least checking Airbnb first. We actually have a wedding out of town coming up in a few weeks. And instead of driving the two plus hours back home, it might be nice to stay over because, an Airbnb accommodation might be just the ticket to enjoying the event even more.
I hope this post was helpful. If you’ve used Airbnb before, leave a comment and let me know, or if you host travelers, post your place below, you never know who might be traveling your way.
Disclaimer: This post is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any gift, payment or gratuities to mention or review AirBnb’s website or services/accommodations offered by hosts who use AirBnb. These are simply my opinions and experiences and I only promote products or services that I use and enjoy.
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