I don’t think enough people know about Airbnb and what an absolutely fantastic accommodation resource it is for families, especially larger ones like ours, travelling on a budget. It wasn’t until 2015 when we were travelling through The UK and Europe that we first used Airbnb with kids. We were so impressed and amazed by this site and couldn’t believe we had not utilised it sooner. Not only did we find ourselves saving a bucket load of money on accommodation, but we were staying in large, fully equipped properties which had so much more to offer than your standard hotel room.
What is Airbnb?
A lot of people (myself included until recently) have heard of Airbnb, know it’s some sort of online accommodation resource, but that’s about the extent of their knowledge. They don’t realise just how advantageous and easy to use it is.
Airbnb is an accommodation website which instead of listing hotels, lists homes and private properties. This accommodation is advertised by the ‘hosts’ (the owners of the properties). Like with other online accommodation sites, travellers select the area they are wanting to stay, the dates they are after and the number of guests. They can then browse the listings, read reviews from previous guests, communicate with the host, book the accommodation and pay, all in one secure place. It is a very simple website to navigate and very easy to use.
Often with three or more children it is difficult to find hotels that can accommodate families all in one room. This is usually due to fire regulations and of course, limited space. On many occasions we have had to book two adjacent rooms which, as well as being pretty inconvenient, is also very costly. Airbnb has solved this problem for us!
All over the world, Airbnb has a plethora of affordable accommodation suitable for large families! Even the absolute cheapest hotels or hostels in and around capital cities in Europe and The UK, as well as at home in Australia, costs our larger family $150-$200+ per night. With Airbnb we have found so many great places to stay that are usually much nicer and much larger than a hotel room, for half the price, if not less, of a budget hotel!
Airbnb is not just about saving money either. It’s the whole experience! Often you are staying in someone’s home and the experience of meeting the hosts and living like a local in their homes is one you would never get staying in a generic hotel! We have met so many lovely people through our Airbnb stays, all so welcoming and helpful, and the time we spent living life in their homes, as tourists, was a truly unique and amazing experience.
Here is a list of some of the places we have stayed through Airbnb so far:
Apartment in Rhineland, Germany
The apartment in Rhineland was our first European Airbnb experience and we were amazed at the price for our five day stay in the beautiful Rhineland region. Our 2 bedroom apartment was huge, clean and reasonably well equipped. Located on a quiet residential street, it was only minutes from The Rhine and several beautiful ‘postcard Germany’ towns. We paid $350 AUD for 5 days.
Private room and breakfast in Fossoli, Italy
Una Notte All’ Atelier was a truly amazing and unforgettable experience. A beautiful Italian designer apartment comprising several private rooms, a shared kitchen and bathroom, an authentic working artist’s studio and a spacious deck and outdoor dining area; a true taste of regional suburban Italian living.
Although we were in a private room, we were lucky to have the whole place to ourselves during our stay and our host was simply amazing. Mara greeted us warmly, provided toys for our children and a fully stocked kitchen with plenty of breakfast supplies, drinks and snacks. She made us feel so welcome and at home and even attempted to teach us some Italian! (see Airbnb page here)
Private room in guest house in Canneto, Italy
Around 30km outside of Rome, The Olive Farm is a grand old guest house surrounded by olive trees, in a beautiful rural setting. Private rooms are rented on the upper floor of the farm house with basic kitchen and shared bathrooms. It is rustic, but has everything needed for a comfortable stay in an extremely unique, picturesque and memorable place and only half an hour or so from Rome. Our children loved exploring the farm and meeting the many friendly animals that called it home.
Apartment in Paris, France
The apartment in Paris was an incredible find! Comprising three bedrooms and two bathrooms, over three levels, this amazingly trendy family apartment in the northern suburbs of Paris felt like home as soon as we arrived. We stayed for a week and drove in to Paris (about a 20 minute drive) most days. The home was in such a charming and typically Parisian area. The surrounding streets were narrow and lined with similar old apartments and shops and just a few blocks away was a local market selling fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bread and other delicacies. Such a memorable stay and it only cost us $475 AUD for the whole week! Yep – 7 people, 7 nights, quality 3 bedroom apartment, 20 minutes from the heart of Paris for $475! Try finding anything even remotely close to that on any other accommodation website!
House in Gower, Wales
This was a lovely, modest and simple home in Gower on the south coast of Wales. The house was very clean and tidy with modern kitchen and facilities and so close to the beautiful south coast. Our host was just lovely, so welcoming and helpful and so great with the kids. She even ended up sitting on the couch reading a story to our little ones on the night we arrived!
Static caravan near Lincoln, England
This caravan/cabin was a budget conscious option and was the cheapest we could find in the area at the time. On arrival, we were pleasantly surprised by how spacious it turned out to be, considering it was a caravan. Definitely the biggest caravan I’ve ever seen! It had 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and en-suite and a lounge and dining room big enough to fit us all comfortably. The host was helpful and the park was in a very peaceful setting by a river in a quiet, picturesque country area of Lincolnshire.
So there you have it – proof that Airbnb is in fact, an amazing accommodation resource! Each property and stay is a unique experience, and with so many to choose from there is definitely something for everyone.
I should mention that in the past there have been some negative stories circulating the web. Reports of things going horribly wrong for a traveller using Airbnb. Warning! Lookout! Beware! This could happen to you! I really don’t believe that this is something you need to worry about or let deter you in any way. As with everything, there is always going to be one negative story out of one million positive stories and in reality these occurrences are very, very rare, given that the website lists over 1.5 million properties in 191 countries. Taking care to check out the reviews from previous guests and researching the area around the properties is a good way to ensure the host is credible and that the home is adequate and safe. When selecting our properties to stay in we always looked for ones which already had some positive reviews. This gave us confidence that they were legitimate and suitable. Often when renting an entire home or apartment, which is usually the case for a large family, you are renting the home of another family and in our experience, most properties are clean, well maintained and secure. If guests ever do have any concerns about the accommodation they have arrived at, Airbnb have great customer service facilities to discuss cancellations, refunds or change bookings where necessary.
We have absolutely loved using Airbnb with kids, and these experiences have not only saved us a lot of money, but have genuinely enriched our travelling experiences. We are really excited about utilising this fantastic resource for family accommodation so much more in our future travels all over the world.