I always search for authentic experiences when travelling and that includes living in a city like a local. I started using Airbnb since two years ago and I'm fascinated that it let's me connect to many unique individuals and the accommodation they offer. Meeting locals can be the most insightful way to get to know the city as compared to a paid tour guide and also you get to make friends.
I like hotels too actually as they offer comfort and luxury but it can also feel isolated and artificial as compared to actual homes. Homes that have the flavour and lifestyle of people living in them, sometimes instead of a front desk, you are greeted by pets! The flexibility and diversity is definitely worth the consideration.
My Favourite Listings from my Airbnb Travels:
July 28 - 31, 2015 · 1 guest
3 Nights - $223 SGD
Belle chambre proche Gare de Lyon/Bercy/Nation
This was the first booking I have confirmed with Airbnb, the place didn't have many reviews that time but I liked the location and the photos of the accommodation. I liked the place as it was a typical Parisian apartment building in a very convenient location with places to eat and a nice window view. Conveniently a walking distance to Gare de Lyon which is one of the main train stations in Paris where I arrived coming from Geneva.
About the hosts:
Ahmed, Guillaume & Clothilde were living together in the apartment in separate rooms.
I briefly spoke to them but it was very easy to communicate and get instructions to finding the place.
No lift, so you might want to reconsider dragging a heavy suitcase up the stairs until the 7th floor, like I did with my 22kg suitcase.
August 4 - 7, 2015 · 1 guest
3 Nights - $183 SGD
COSY ROOM 15MIN TO X BERG,MITTE&TXL
I like the location, it's convenient and a common area where tourists stay in Berlin. But what I loved the most was the HUGE window and high ceiling, despite being narrow it had a very spacious feel to it, very well kept and nicely furnished.
About the host:
Eric was very attentive and spent a lot of time in taking care of the place as there are other guests in the bigger room, had the chance to chat with him and another guest from Israel in the common area and delightfully talked about the places we've travelled to.
This may be located in the red light area, but other than that it was fine.
August 7 - 10, 2015 · 1 guest
3 Nights - $153 SGD
Huge beautiful room in centre
I love Art Nouveau! So I just had to stay in this room when I visited Prague, the whole ambiance and vintage atmosphere made the experience very unique.
About the host:
Jan seemed to be an expert in receiving guests as he had everything prepared with maps, directions and dinning tips.
The place was old of course, but that is where the charm is and you will hear noise from the outside street, might also be too warm in the summer.
July 8 - 11, 2016 · 2 guests
3 Nights - $230 SGD
MASTER SUITE BEDROOM CANGGU BALI
Did not really realise the listing is a villa property but it was a good price and the place is gorgeously and massively huge! The pool was super nice too, I really have to emphasise that.
About the host:
I think Anna from Greece manages the place but didn't really meet her in person but she was available to message all the time. Her staff Julia was lovely and very warm, she made sure we had a comfortable stay.
Bali can be quite congested with traffic, so it takes a while to get to a place and the location is not very central and isolated, better to hire a driver if you stay here.
September 29 - 30, 2016 · 2 guests
1 Night - $81 SGD
Noosa Blue Room Bed + Breakfast
We were driving from Sunshine Coast to Noosa Dua and booked the place for a night, EVERYTHING was beautifully decorated and each one of the rooms had a theme. The attention to detail and the breakfast prepared in advance was FIVE STARS. Really lovely home, super clean and almost like a set from a holiday movie. I loved it a lot!
About the host:
Was not able to meet Bob and Sharon in person as the couple were asleep when we arrived and have left early in the morning when we woke up. Still I was really impressed with their adorable home decors and the marvellously prepared breakfast.
You to drive to reach the area, I don't imagine commuting is a good option, everything else is perfect.
May 5 - 8, 2017 · 3 guests
3 Nights $413 SGD
ROOM NEAR THE CATHEDRAL AND DANTE'S HOUSE
Best location I could recommend to anyone visiting Florence, everything was so close by and even walked from the main station.
The room is simply beautiful and decorated with antique wooden furniture and even the ceiling was painted with sort of renaissance motif.
About the host:
Monica can be easily contacted and had arranged everything prior to our arrival, she had someone greet us the day we checked in and everything else was convenient.
Since the location is central you will hear some noise from the street outside and bring insect repellant as there may have been mosquitos in the room.
This wraps up a summary of my favourite Airbnb experiences and recommendations. Looking forward to many more experiences I can share with you all.
WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?
A lot of people I speak with seem to be concerned with this, well I've booked 17 listings in different countries and had no threatening experience so far, but this is because you should properly asses the listing and have a few guidelines to consider, so I will share mine:
Listing Guidelines when I book Airbnb
Some listings can be expensive and some very cheap, that is why you need to specify if you are looking for a room or an entire apartment, it is important to know what kind of place you are staying at to determine if the value is good for you. You don't want to pay for an entire house if there is only two of you travelling, see read carefully
This is very important as this also affects the price, like paying more to stay at a good neighbourhood which is central and very accessible is very valuable to me. When making trips that are only less than three days, this is so valuable as you SAVE TIME in commuting and transportation and instead be able to explore conveniently without rushing to get home. I remember booking a cheap listing in Geneva, it was nice but I had a hard time leaving the area and going back home as it was very far.
Very very very important, know what previous people have said about the listing and you will be able to know instantly what is good or bad about it. A host that often cancels bookings may not be a reliable option so attentive to this. Reviews are honest and always insightful but what about new listings? Good price, good location but no reviews? Then you will have to base your assessment through their profile description and photos, normally new listings will have lower introductory rates to get bookings and reviews initially, so in this phase people will put in a lot of effort in promoting their listing through the description and photos. Probably not a good idea to book a listing with few photos and very little information in the description. I had this experience when I booked my stay in Paris and using my guideline I managed to have a pleasant stay.
Check the profile of the host, as a visual reference to a face also gives a sense of trust and says something about the people who will host you, they will normally write something about themselves for you to have an idea on wether you will be staying with a family, couple or homes with pets.
Remember always weigh PRICE vs. VALUE, your comfort and safety is not cheap, although most of the listings will definitely be cheaper than hotels anyway and more privacy as compared to hostels.