Our family of seven has stayed in more than 20 different homes through AirBNB, across 12 countries, and over 40 days. It’s our preferred form of lodging. No other other type of lodging we’ve used has compared, and I’ll explain why.
When you have a large family, it’s difficult to find a place to stay, but AirBNB has been the answer to our prayers. Let’s jump into all of the reasons why…
Before we start, you can get up to $50 off your first AirBNB trip with this link.
1. AirBNB is Accommodating
It’s not easy to find a hotel room when you have five kids. I remember the days before AirBNB when we would go from hotel to hotel until we found one that could fit all of us. Something about fire codes… blah, blah.
And then when we finally found one, it would almost have to be a suite, which are highly overpriced and never impressive… and they don’t always hold seven people.
AirBNBs have as much space as you need, and we know the exact sleeping arrangements before we get there, thanks to the bed layout on the profile.
It breaks it down to the exact beds available:
There’s no fighting over who is sleeping where when you decide before you arrive.
2. AirBNB is Affordable
I used to say AirBNB is cheaper for us since we are a family of seven, but I’ve come to realize that it’s just cheaper in general. When my wife and I have traveled without the kids to expensive places like Rome and Venice, we’ve been able to find AirBNBs for around $30/night. And they were nice.
I’ve come to the conclusion that, if you look around at several, AirBNB is much cheaper than hotels, and can often rival hostel prices.
For example, this 4-bed home, nested in the Dolomite mountains of Italy, is currently $103/night:
We once stayed in a completely remodeled Belgium farm house (originally built in the 1700s) for $28/night, and we’ve stayed in a nice home nestled in a small German village for $25/night.
3. AirBNB Locations Are Better
A small city may have 20 hotels, but it has thousands of apartments and houses. Within those houses and apartments, you’ll find all kinds of different types of AirBNBs. Here’s an example of the locations and prices in Budapest, Hungary:
Since they are scattered throughout cities, you can choose to be exactly where you want to be, and if you’re in a different country, you can fully immerse yourself into the culture. Speaking of which…
4. AirBNB Immerses You in Local Culture
We’ve stayed all over Europe, and this is the best part! Why stay in a commercialized hotel when you can immerse yourself in the culture? That’s exactly what AirBNBs do.
You get a feel for what it’s like to actually live in that city. Even in the States, you can feel what it’s like to live in a different area than you’re used to. And yes, we do have culture in the States.
We’ve had so many awesome experiences seeing how the locals do things — using the local appliances, and even seeing what they keep in the cupboards.
Here’s the view from an AirBNB unit in downtown Munich, Germany:
You can even meet your neighbors if you’re the social type. In many cases, the host will gladly introduce you.
5. Many AirBNBs Allow Pets
We don’t have pets at the moment, but when we do, AirBNB is always the best choice. Of course, all AirBNBs don’t allow pets, but many do, and you’ll know ahead of time.
Simply filter by pet-friendly places:
You’ll have more options than you would with alternative lodging.
6. AirBNBs Usually Have a Kitchen
Not only is it cheaper to stay in an AirBNB, but they come with a fully stocked kitchen if you choose, so you can save money on food while you’re saving money on lodging.
And the best part is, this doesn’t cost extra, it’s actually the standard. All units don’t come with a kitchen, but it’s easy to find one that does. Again, just filter by homes with kitchens.
This is a pretty standard kitchen for Europe:
6. AirBNB has Flexible Check-In/Out Times
Want to arrive after midnight or check out at 2pm? Most AirBNBs will allow that if you let them know ahead of time. Hotels often give your room away or charge for these services. With AirBNB, you’re just communicating with a regular person.
This actually goes for cancelling too, not that you would typically want to cancel. But if plans change, there are various cancellation policies, from super flexible (lets you cancel all the way up to 24 hrs out for a full refund) to super strict (can only cancel within 48 hours of booking for a refund). You can see the different types here.
And on top of that, check-in/out is usually easier! This isn’t always the case, but with most of the AirBNBs we’ve stayed in, we literally booked it online, and checked in via a lockbox. You get your keys out of a box, and the house is yours. You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.
I prefer talking to the host though, and here’s why…
7. Many AirBNBs Offer Local Tips
Hosts are not hired guides, but I’ve never met a host who wasn’t willing [and usually passionate] to give us all the best tips about the area. Many units come complete with self-made city-guide books.
From the restaurants where the locals go to the hidden history throughout the town, you’ll get a more personalized experience.
More often than not, people are excited to tell you about their country or state, and excited to show you everything they’re known for, including the things that aren’t as commonly known (like the stuff you’d only find on Atlas Obscura).
8. AirBNB Shows You New Things
We love seeing different AirBNBs. We’ve even got some ideas for what we want to add when we build our own house.
Ever seen or used a bidet? What about a fold-down ironing board or a washer/dryer behind a cabinet in the kitchen? We’ve seen all kinds of unique things like this, and it’s fun for us and the kids. The kids immediately scout out the place for things they’ve never seen, and almost every time, there’s something new.
Here are a couple extreme examples of what you can get with AirBNB:
We haven’t stayed in a castle or an igloo yet, but our time is coming! One idea is to plan an entire trip around a unique AirBNB like this. That could create your entire vacation.
9. AirBNBs Offer More Privacy
Hotels are great, until your neighbor snores at 2am, or until the room across the hall is packed with a fraternity party. With AirBNB, you get to pick whether you want an apartment (still more private than a hotel) or a separated home.
We’ve had all kinds of amazing private balconies or courtyards in the AirBNBs we’ve used. The privacy is real. If you want to get away from the crowd, AirBNBs work wonders. We stayed at an AirBNB in the middle of downtown Zagreb, Croatia, with a secret entrance and a private courtyard, right in the middle of a busy downtown area.
Those are the things you only get with AirBNB.
10. AirBNBs Simply Have More Room
On top of having more places to sleep, you have more space in general. You’ll often get a full living room, kitchen, and dining room.
If you’re looking for space, you’ve found it. The options are almost endless when you need space. You can find large house easily. There are also plenty of vacation homes large enough to accommodate a family reunion.
It’s common for AirBNBs to have beds anywhere beds will fit, so it’s easy to find homes that sleep several families.
Try It for the First Time
If you haven’t tried AirBNB yet, give it a shot.
Use this link to get up to $50 in travel credit. You have nothing to lose. It’s cheaper and better than most hotels. You won’t be disappointed.
If you have a rental property, or even a spare bedroom, consider earning some extra money as an AirBNB host.
You can learn more here.
Anyone can become a host. I’ve seen listings where people rent out their backyard, and don’t even provide the tent.
You may be in a prime location to earn some money as a host.
This article was adapted from 10 Essential Reasons We Prefer AirBNB, originally posted on MoneyMiniBlog. Written by Kalen Bruce. The article was rewritten and re-edited, but features many of the same images and concepts.