Traveling with your family? First book a suite (hey, we are on vacay we need some space from the kids), then get the over-priced breakfast at the hotel (are those really eggs?) and then have to rent a car because the hotel right in the middle of the city was way out of budget. OR just make your life easier and book an Airbnb: wallet and sanity intact.
Today, there are more lodging options than ever before, especially thanks to platforms such as Airbnb. And we’re here to tell you that, even if you’ve got kids in tow, Airbnb can make your travels much easier and more pleasant.
Quick background: On our most recent trip, we had roughly 100 different destinations, and we used Airbnb for about 85 of them. On the whole, it was an incredibly positive experience, not least because we learned so much about how to use Airbnb effectively.
And we’re going to share a little bit of what we learned in this post.
Booking Your Airbnb
Let’s start at the beginning—with actually booking your rental.
First and foremost, we’d recommend always looking at reviews. We generally didn’t book any Airbnb without making sure it had plenty of reviews, and that those reviews were fairly positive. When we did take a chance and book lesser-reviewed lodgings, we frankly regretted it. Practical advice here: Whenever possible, get a place that has at least eight or nine reviews, ideally all five-star reviews. And if there’s a place that seems great but isn’t as well reviewed, read the comments; we’ve generally found that people’s reviews, whether positive or negative, are trustworthy.
The exception to all of this: In our experience, those designated as Airbnb Super Hosts really deliver—regardless of how many reviews they have.
Another note about booking: Generally speaking, rentals that are in the heart of the city will be pricier; those on the outskirts or in the suburbs will be cheaper. The thing is, when you stay in the heart of the city, you can save on transportation costs and have more time available to see the sights—so for us, it’s totally worth it.
One more tip: It’s a little risky, but if you can wait until the eleventh hour to book, you can save some serious money. We often booked just a day or two in advance, and got 10 to 15 percent off the normal rates. (This is something Airbnb hosts do to help deal with excess inventory or with cancellations; indeed, it’s worth noting that many people cancel their rentals at the last minute, and great units can suddenly become available a day or two in advance.) You can minimize the risk of not having a place by making a favorites list and checking it every few days leading up to your trip, just making sure there’s enough inventory that hasn’t yet been claimed. (To be totally candid, we only had exactly one time—in San Francisco—where this approach backfired and we had to settle on our Airbnb accommodation.)
Staying at an Airbnb
Now let’s talk a little bit about staying at an Airbnb and getting the most out of the experience.
One of the reasons we like Airbnb so much is that it lets us find places that really have a home-like feel—which can be comforting when you’re on the road for long stretches of time. We had great luck getting accommodations with two bedrooms, kitchen areas, and outdoor play areas for our son to run around.
Want more tips on staying in an Airbnb? Download our book today.
Thank you for reading our article! We have provided a preview of what you’ll get in our book, How to Travel With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind). You will get safety tips, tips on finding babysitters, our 12-point check-in checklist and so much more!