The Discount Website Hotels Don’t Want You to Use

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If you think Airbnb only offers guest rooms in someone else’s home, you’re in for a big surprise. Find out how my Airbnb experience was totally different, and why this website is now FIRST on my list for our next vacation!

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She got to stay in a private cabin on a horse farm on memorial day weekend and it cost significantly less than a hotel room?! Okay... after reading about this girl's Airbnb experience I'm definitely checking them out! Sounds like such a cool {and inexpensive option} for whenever I need a place to stay. #traveltips #airbnb #airbnbreview #travelhacks

Ever since Andrea guest posted about earning money as an Airbnb host, I’ve been super intrigued.

You see, I previously thought Airbnb was sketchy and unsafe. I thought it was full of rented couches and guest rooms. It was definitely not something I would have ever considered if I was going on vacation, that’s for sure!

But I also needed a place for a 3-day business retreat around Memorial Day weekend, and every condo, hotel room, and guest house were completely booked on ALL the websites I looked at. So on a whim, I initiated a search on Airbnb.

Related: How to Plan Your Best Vacation Yet (Stress-Free Travel is Possible!)

What I found was shocking:

  1. You didn’t have to rent a guest room if you didn’t want to—there were private houses, cabins, and condos available too.
  2. Many of these options were available in the exact area we wanted.
  3. The prices were extremely reasonable!

I ended up booking a cute little cabin on 16-acre working horse farm in the Hilton Head area, all for a price cheaper than a crummy hotel room. Although I was initially nervous—it being our first Airbnb stay and all, I shouldn’t have worried.

Everything was incredible, and this experience completely changed my mood about Airbnb. In fact, next time we need a place to stay, I’m checking Airbnb FIRST! 

So if you’re like me and previously wrote off this alternative to lodging, here’s why you should reconsider.

1. You Get the Personalized Airbnb Experience

While hotels are nice, one downside to them is that cookie-cutter feel. The staff isn’t always pleasant, or willing to make your stay as comfortable as possible. On the flip side, Airbnb is part of the sharing economy, which means you get a host who is renting out their actual home {or in our case, a cabin that was on their property}.

Our host went above and beyond to provide muffins, fruit, water, and juice for breakfast. They knew the best restaurants to eat around town, and fun places to walk when we needed a break. Oh, and they lived on a horse farm. How cool is that??

Of course, there’s condos and apartments available on Airbnb too, but there’s also Bed and Breakfast set-ups, tree houses, airstream trailers, and more. Some even have access to free bikes, private beaches, fireplaces, and a pool. You really don’t know what’s available until you look!

2. You Meet Some Really Cool People

One of my biggest hangups about Airbnb was having to talk to a hostess. I know that sounds a little crazy, but when I’m on vacation, I like to be alone!

I had absolutely no cause for concern though—none whatsoever. Our hostess was lovely to be around, and knew exactly when to communicate and when to let us work. We enjoyed the company when she was at the farm, but also enjoyed our alone time too. It was the perfect balance.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but we formed somewhat of a friendship over the three days we stayed there. I know that if we drove through South Carolina again, our host would love having us stop by for a visit. How often do you feel like that after you leave a hotel? Not ever.

airbnb experience

3. It’s Cheaper

One of the things I’m always looking to do is save money on the essentials when I travel. That’s why I included a lengthy travel section in my resource on how to manage money better. So of course the cost of an Airbnb was one of the things I looked closely at.

Some Airbnb’s will be expensive—it really depends on the listing, the area, and the host. But the majority of them are super cheap!

For instance, the hotels we were considering would have cost us over $120 per night {this was on the reasonable end of things}, and yet we scored an entire cabin for just $90 per night. Our cabin had access to a kitchen, wifi, a quaint bedroom and bathroom, a small living room, and a front and back porch. Oh, and horses!!

We got a lot more for our dollar than a musty hotel room would have ever given us, and like I said before, an amazing Airbnb experience.

Smart Tips for Your First Airbnb Stay

The Airbnb website is pretty self-explanatory, but there are some good-to-know tips if you’re a first timer. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Don’t book last minute. Airbnb is becoming super popular, and the best-reviewed rooms and homes are taken very quickly. It also takes time to communicate with the host and get any questions you have answered.
  • Interested in trying Airbnb? Here's six essential tips to remember for your first stay. Plus, if you click through to the post and book using the link at the bottom, you'll automatically get a $25 credit!If you’re nervous about privacy, book an entire home or apartment. To be honest, I was worried about staying in a guest room where someone else lived. Narrowing my search to an entire home or apartment allowed me to get to know the Airbnb system better without feeling too vulnerable.
  • Check for extended stay rates. Sometimes if you stay for a week or more, you can get a discount. This is usually listed on the website, but even if it’s not, just ask!
  • Communicate with the host before you book. You can learn a lot by how they respond to you, and it made me feel more comfortable “knowing” a little bit more about my host before our stay.
  • Be respectful. Even though we didn’t have to clean up, we still pulled the sheets off the bed and put used towels in the laundry basket. Treat the room like you would want someone to treat yours.
  • Leave a review. Reviews are what make Airbnb work. One of the reasons why I picked this cabin was from over thirty 5-star reviews. After your stay, you and the hostess get a chance to review each other {so be a good guest!}, and it adds trust, which is the backbone of Airbnb.

Visiting new places is more than just finding a place to stay, it’s about “living there” and exploring each town like a local. Airbnb provides exactly that, and now I’m hooked!

2018 UPDATE: If you haven’t used Airbnb before, sign up through for $40 off your first stay.

Have you ever stayed at an Airbnb?

What did you think?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. I’m definitely going to have to try this! We’ve always stayed in hotels too, but this past Nov. we decided to rent a little lodge in the Pigeon Forge area (though a different site though), and it was great. It’s got me never wanting to stay in a hotel again!

  2. We love AirBnb! We were planning to attend my daughter’s graduation ceremony and had booked a hotel that was going to cost us $800/night. A week before the graduation, we discovered that the hotel wasn’t even open yet. We found an AirBnb entire house nearby that only cost us $100/night. It was lovely, private and the hosts were wonderful. My son has traveled all over the world and has stayed in AirBnb residences everywhere. The hosts were very helpful pointing out places to eat and things and areas to avoid. He is a confirmed AirBnb traveler! It’s the way to go!

  3. We stayed in an airbnb during a trip to Richmond,VA the only downside was that during our stay there was no air conditioning. A heads up about that would have been nice. Otherwise it was an overall pleasant experience.

    1. Oh yeah – that would have been nice of them to let you know. As former New Yorker who didn’t have AC in the summer, I’ve so gotten used to Florida where AC is in pretty much every building!

  4. It is nice to know about the new features of Airbnb. I liked it earlier because of its reasonable price but now have a few more reasons to go with it.

    1. Agreed! I really like how their review system works both ways. Not just guests reviewing hosts but also hosts reviewing the guests!

  5. I had no idea this existed! That is pretty cool. I go on at least 3 trips a year and I think I’d love this. I’m pinning for October!

    1. Come back and let me know how your trip goes. And be sure to read the reviews for your specific air BnB!

  6. I haven’t stayed with Airbnb before, but I have been wanting to! I just haven’t traveled that much recently (unfortunately!).

    We’re planning a trip to Ottawa for my cousin’s wedding in the fall, and I am looking at booking Airbnb – the hotels are already super high priced in the downtown core, but there are a couple events that have made it super expensive right now. I have a room tentatively booked, but Airbnb is just above 50% the cost of the hotel!

    Sweet Spontaneity

    1. Check the reviews thoroughly and you could have a trip to remember – in the best way possible! πŸ™‚

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