The Awesomeness That is Airbnb
It turned out to be a great situation for all involved. The boss loved it because it saved him hundreds of dollars over the pricey convention hotels in Boston. But my co-worker and I both enjoyed it too.
At the end of a busy day selling on a crowded convention floor it was far more relaxing for us, our place was a few miles away from the hub-bub of the convention and the adjoining hotels, so we didn’t have to deal with crowded hotels and elevators; we got to stay in a quiet townhouse instead of an over-crowded hotel.
The next morning at the booth, my co-worker and I just smiled as convention attendees complained of broken elevators in the main convention hotel which led to crowding in the lobby had kept them waiting for more than 15 minutes to get up to their rooms after their pricey breakfast.
Our Airbnb was just a short cab-ride from the convention center, so it was still very convenient. Both my co-worker and I had our own rooms and bathrooms. It was far roomier than a hotel would have been and as a bonus, we had access to a kitchen for morning coffee or even meals if we felt like cooking.
Since then I have traveled with Airbnb frequently as a traveler, and last year we used them after we sold our home. The new home that we purchased was tenant-occupied and the lease expired several months after we had to be out of our property. So we needed a place to stay for a couple months between when we sold our home in Conifer and when we moved to our new house in Evergreen.
Airbnb fit the bill perfectly - we packed up what little we needed and gathered up our two dogs and high-tailed it to the Baker neighborhood in Denver. The dog-friendly apartment had a small kitchen and a nearby dog-park, which the owner pointed out to us. We spent a few weeks in the thriving hotspot for millennials before the claustrophobia fully set in and we headed further east to a lovely townhouse in the Stapleton area.
With several months of vacation rentals under our belt, we finally settled into our new home in Evergreen. It wasn’t long before I tried my hand at hosting our own guests to help defray expenses. The floor plan in our new home is just about perfect for hosting guests, with a separate entrance for them and an extra room to relax and just hang out. We enjoyed meeting folks from all over the world and the extra cash helped us afford the new dog fence that we needed to put in.
Little did we know how valuable this experience would soon be. More to come on that below.
Airbnb is a frugal person’s answer to the travel bug.
A study reported in 2016 found that renting an entire home on Airbnb costs about the same as a single hotel room in the home-sharing site’s 20 biggest US markets. In many cities—especially expensive ones like New York and San Francisco—Airbnb is significantly cheaper than hotels.
Kitchens are a huge bonus when you’re traveling.
One of the big positives of staying in a short-term rental over a hotel is that you most likely will have a kitchen. Not only does it make it more convenient to grab your morning cup o’ Joe, clearly having a kitchen can save you a ton of money. Even if you just use the kitchen for one meal a day, the savings can quickly add up. All of the Airbnb rentals that we have stayed in have had kitchens, and we always use them.
This is one of the main reasons I wanted to write this Airbnb review – because you can save a ton of money by having a kitchen on your vacation!
And we all know how much she loves to save money ;-).
I love having a kitchen when I am traveling because it helps curb costs on food and meals. Both Dave and I enjoy our morning coffee and we try to eat healthy, so the convenience of a kitchen is key. And we all know how quickly costs mount when you eat out a lot - so Airbnb is a money mogul’s best friend!
It’s also nice not to be in a position where you have to go out for every meal.
Airbnb is often much cheaper for large groups.
If you have a large group that you are traveling with, then finding a place to rent is usually more affordable through a vacation rental site such as Airbnb. Often you can rent an entire house for little more than the cost of one hotel room. Say you’re planning a trip with 8 people - if you choose to a hotel, you would likely have to rent at least 4 rooms and that’s provided all the parties are able to double up.
However, if you are renting, you can usually find an affordable house with multiple bedrooms that can fit your whole family comfortably for a price that is much cheaper than at a hotel.
Airbnb is great if you are bringing pets.
We also like to travel with our dogs a lot, so we like to hang out in the rental at least some of the time with them. Instead of a small room with just a bed, most vacation rentals offer a comfortable sitting area where you can hang out, play games and listen to music while you make a nice meal. Sure beats trying to stuff a sandwich into those tiny mini-bar fridges.
In the “house rules” filter you can select “pets allowed” which will filter all the properties that allow pets. As always, communicate with your host beforehand to see what they’re okay with.
There are hotels that allow pets but they often charge extra fees that make them even less affordable. And there may not be any convenient places for your dogs to do their business.
You'll have more space.
With short-term rentals, you’re typically renting a standard living space like an apartment, townhouse, cabin or house. That means that there is usually more space with a short-term Airbnb rental than with a hotel room. You'll most likely have a separate bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen, a balcony, and more.
With a hotel, you usually just have one room that is just a few hundred square feet.
When traveling with Airbnb, here are some things you will want to keep in mind:
Always read the Airbnb review, not just the star ratings. Airbnb reviews can give you a insight into the space and the host as well. There are also Airbnb reviews for the host as well, when they use Airbnb as a travelers. You will want to read the reviews in order to see if the rental is the correct one for you, how the host is, and more.
Read and understand the Airbnb description. Some places will have rules, such as whether you can bring your pets, if you can have others over, and so on.
Keep in mind that Airbnb is not a hotel and you can’t get some of the same services that you would expect in hotels. Someone won't be there to clean the rental every day (unless you request that and pay an additional cleaning fee), there won't be a concierge, and there certainly is no room service.
Don’t forget to sign up for Airbnb since you’ll receive a $40 Airbnb coupon code for your next stay. This coupon code does not expire, so you can just sign up and it will just save to your account for when you plan your trip in the future.
You can also make money with Airbnb.
Okay, so this last one isn't exactly a reason for why you travel with Airbnb but I think you might want to know about this sweet deal.
I honestly think that being a host with Airbnb or another home vacation rental site is one of the smartest ways to make extra money. Hey, you’re paying for it anyway, so why not make some clam off of the extra room(s) you may have?
And the money being made is nothing to turn your nose up at. Renting one room in our home on Airbnb made us $1000 the first month I tried it. Other side gigs, like TaskRabbit or Fiverr may make you $2-$300 a month, but they often are more time-consuming than changing the sheets and they may come with a lot more headaches.
I have friends who are making so much money that they rent out their entire home on Airbnb and they stay elsewhere. They now live in a van down by the river. (Not really.) But they do live in a motor home that is parked in their driveway when they’ve rented out the entire house.
I have successfully rented out our home on Airbnb and I would highly recommend it to others who live in a popular vacation area. If you are interested in finding out more about hosting on Airbnb click here to sign up.
All you need is an extra room, an apartment above a garage, a guest house, or a tee-pee in your backyard, to make money through Airbnb. We’re thinking about building a tiny house to put on the property to make more money once we move back to Colorado full-time.
Don't completely dismiss the idea of hosting others. While there are some horror stories out there, I have yet to experience anything that I considered to be even remotely negative. As always, be mindful of your safety and the safety of those around you.
I’ll be writing more posts about our experience and offer some basic do’s and don’ts that may help you avoid potential pitfalls. We have successfully rented our homes both on a long-term and short-term basis, and I intend to continue to do so.
In fact, I am extremely grateful that Airbnb offered us a way to keep our dream home in Colorado, despite a job offer in Florida that my husband received shortly after we moved in. Not only does it cover all the costs but we make a small profit to boot - and we can still enjoy it ourselves when we want.
Current Update: 10/20/2018