The beginners guide to Airbnb

From its humble roots in San Francisco to a multibillion-dollar global business with more than 100 million members, Airbnb has revolutionised the way the world travels. Sure, there’s something to be said for plush hotels, room service and fluffy bathrobes. But when it comes to offbeat travel, there’s no looking past Airbnb.

From saving you cash to unlocking a ‘locals’ point of view, Airbnb is an amazing platform that’ll make you rethink where you stay, and how you experience a destination. Here at GrownUps, we can’t get enough of the online platform that allows you to book short term accommodation anywhere in the world.

So how can Airbnb reimagine the way you travel, stay and explore?

Live like the locals

1By far, one of the best perks of Airbnb is that it allows you to experience a destination through a local lens. For example, say you’re a diehard Elvis fan heading to the USA for a tour of Memphis, Nashville, Natchez and New Orleans. Rather than settle for the Holiday Inn, Airbnb opens up a world of exciting, unique alternatives. Ditch downtown, and stay in a beautiful heritage home in the Memphis Garden District. Bunk down with an aspiring country music star in Nashville, sip mint juleps on a plantain cottage patio in Natchez and soak up the charm in a traditional ‘bullet house’ in NOLA. Get our drift?

Get social

Senior friends having tea with dessert in cafe

Unless you’re staying in private accommodation, you’ll generally be greeted by a host. Most of the time they’re welcoming you into their full-time home, and therefore have firsthand knowledge about the destination. From recommending their favourite cafes and restaurants to helping you plan your activities or simply having a good old yarn over a glass of wine, Airbnb offers a social element that no hotel could ever replicate.

Unlock new experiences

2-jack-sparrow-house-cornwallWhen you limit yourself to hotels, your options are pretty kerbed. If you’re staying in a city you’re usually limited to downtown hotels or airport lodges. With Airbnb, you get to experience a different side of a destination. Often, listings are located in residential neighbourhoods, which means they’re far more authentic. Beyond cities, you can book one-of-a-kind Airbnb properties in places that hotels could never dream of setting up. From horse ranches in Montana and cattle farms in the Australian outback to isolated clifftop cottages in Ireland and historic country towns in Tasmania, Airbnb opens up a world of opportunity.

Attention to detail

One of the things we love most about Airbnb is the incredible attention to detail that some hosts pull off. From freshly baked welcome cookies and homemade sunset cocktails to curated neighbourhood travel guides and bespoke décor, it’s always a treat to stay with a host that goes the extra mile. Reviews are a great place to start, so make sure you do your research before making a booking.

Explore and inspire

gallery-1464966740-1-2From luxe Manhattan lofts in NYC and magnificent castles in Scotland to sun-drenched villas in the Spanish countryside and hidden treehouses in the heritage rainforests of NSW, there are some incredible finds on Airbnb. The website is packed full of inspiration, so get online and start exploring!

Save on accommodation

Generally, hotels are a major expense when it comes to travel. In some cities, it costs hundreds of dollars just for a one night stay in a dingy airport motel. That’s why we love Airbnb so darn much. Because you’re often renting a room in a person’s home, you’ll pay a fraction of the price of a hotel. But still, enjoy your own private space and a comfy bed.

Feel at home

Is it just us, or can hotels sometimes seem a little cold and impersonal? With Airbnb, the sheer experience of staying in a residential environment makes you feel right at home, from the moment you arrive.

Peace of mind

1922ife8178830eb84688Airbnb has an amazing screening policy, which means you can sleep easy knowing that your hosts have been security checked and personally reviewed by other users. You can check out star ratings, read detailed reviews and even chat with your host before you arrive. You leave a review after you leave, which then helps other travellers decide whether they want to stay with your host. It’s really quite simple. Plus, as a guest, you’re also accountable. You have a profile, and you’ll also receive reviews from your hosts. This makes Airbnb a collaborative platform, as opposed to a one-way street like hotels.

Take advantage of amenities

When it comes to hotels vs Airbnb, the latter comes up trumps. Most of the time you’ll have access to a fully equipped kitchen which means you can cook your own meals at your leisure. This is great for travellers on a budget, families and holidaymakers with special dietary needs. Airbnb properties are also packed full of extras, like bikes, kayaks, free parking, washing machines, private pools, board games and more.

Enjoy a staycation

screen-shot-2017-03-20-at-12-07-56-pmWith Airbnb, exploring your own backyard is so much more appealing. Use the map to search for listings in your region, and plan a mini staycation. Escape to a romantic bush chalet in gorgeous Titirangi. Soak up stunning sea views at this luxe self-contained apartment near Christchurch. Escape to the country in this charming 100-year-old character villa in Canterbury, or get quirky in this ‘house truck’ that’s gained global attention. Honestly, your options are infinite!

Ready to join the Airbnb revolution? Trust us, you won’t look back. It can be a little daunting at first, but once you get started it’s slightly addictive. Need some help? Airbnb has a great online guide, and plenty of tips to help you get started.

Happy Airbnb-ing!