Our biggest fear when we considered using AirBnb for our first international trip was turning up (travel weary with exhausted, whiney kids) and there being no-one there… or the host cancelling at the last minute and not being able to find an alternative within (or anywhere near) our budget. So, is AirBnB a reliable option for family travel?
We liked the idea of AirBnb for family travel because it offered us a budget friendly option with:
- a full kitchen
- a laundry
- a more authentic experience
All this for much less than we would pay for a hotel room!
AirBnb can save you money and room in your suitcase!
Not only were our AirBnB apartments cheaper than a hotel room, but a kitchen would mean we could save money by preparing food at ‘home’ rather than eating out for every meal. By carefully selecting for an entire apartment, I would also have the space to spread out a little as we were spending anywhere from two to eight nights in each property. Washing machine means we could pack clothing meaning less luggage!
The benefits of AirBnB were far superior to the traditional alternative. So, in spite of our reservations (pardon the pun!), we forged ahead and booked all of our five weeks accomodation for Italy, Netherlands and England through AirBnb.
Use the filters
AirBnb gives you the option to shortlist your accomodation based on certain criteria such as filtering for properties managed by a ‘Superhost’ and for the ratings the property receives. I diligently applied Superhost and 5 star rating filters to all the properties I booked.
Do your homework
Read the reviews! I can’t emphasise enough how useful this was in choosing our AirBnbs! There are some fantastic and informative reviews out there that will not only give you information about the accomodation itself, but also the street and its proximity to local facilities… when choosing a property in Sorrento we found that one was located just 1 minute from the lift (that gets you up the cliff from the beach) by reading the reviews and was the deciding factor in choosing that property over the others. Perusing the reviews will also give you the chance to see how the host responds to any criticism. Its important to note that you rarely find a property that doesn’t have any negative comments.
Talk to the host before you book
This is really important. it will give you an idea of how responsive the host is and allows you to ask specific questions prior to booking. When I enquired about a property in Florence (Italy) for our family the host quickly responded explaining about how many stairs we would be walking up and wanted to make sure that would be ok considering we have children… we still booked the property but were grateful for the heads up and her honesty created a sense of trust.
So, how did it go?
We were overwhelmingly pleased with our choice to use AirBnb! Our hosts were all friendly, thoughtful and gave fantastic recommendations on where to eat, shop and local attractions. It’s a very different experience to the dry old folders with brochures and menus in them that you get in a motel room.
Was it as good as it looked on the website?
The apartments were all as good or better than we expected. Our apartment in Cortona, Italy was absolutely breathtaking!
Did we use the kitchen, laundry and extra space?
The benefits of AirBnB that make it so good for family travel really defined our trip. We really appreciated the space on rainy days or days where we needed to rest and catch our breath. We used the washing machine nearly every day and we certainly made good use of the kitchen for cooking dinners and preparing lunches for the day ahead. When we did eat out, we were super happy with the host recommendations.
Did we have any issues with hosts cancelling?
One host cancelled about 2 -3 months out from our trip. She claimed to have repairs needed at that time (in the good weather) and was asking me to cancel from my end because she didn’t know how to do it. I knew this was a bit odd so I rang AirBnB and they quickly managed the situation and immediately refunded the money. I rebooked a lovely apartment without a problem.