AirBnB! What is is and what does it even mean! We didn’t have a clue for a long time, was it staying in someones house or was it just a unique hotel? We decided to take the plunge when we couldn’t find any hotels or hostels for our stay in the tiny alpine village of Badia in South Tyrol in the Dolomites of Italy. We were a little apprehensive of what might greet us on our arrival after a 3 hours train and bus ride from Bolzano…but what we did find was a wonderful Alpine chalet we could only have dreamt of staying in, surrounded by mountains and with a wonderfully helpful host, we were sold on AirBnB!!
So what is it and what are my options?
Basically AirBnB is where you rent out a room, apartment or even an entire house from a host. Instead of just staying in the usual hotel or run of the mill hostel, with AirBnB you can find some of the most unique abodes in the world to lay your head. You might be in an igloo in the arctic or a tree house in the rockies, or you might just find a trendy rooftop apartment in the city or cosy and family friendly house in the suburbs!
With AirBnB you have a tonne of options. If you want you can just rent a room from your host and stay with them, this gives you the chance to get to know the area more like a local. But don’t let that put you off if you are more keen on your personal space, you can rent our entire apartments or houses. Of you could be in a private section of the same house as we were. The option are literally endless!
Booking is really easy and simple but it is also a little different to what you might be used to on other accommodation websites. You can search according to your price constraints from high to low and the options come up on a handy map.
You can also check out what features your choice has, whether that be the internet, a pool or washing machine as well as details on exactly where you will be put up and pictures of the accommodation.
From here you have to “request a booking” ( There is also the odd property with a lightening symbol that can be booked straight away) this means that your host has to accept you to stay at their property. If you imagine that someone is going to be renting a room from you, you probably do want to check them out first!
But this is the same for choosing a host, you can check out reviews to see what other people made of the property and the host themselves. You will also have to submit a form of ID and other confirmations of identity (I used my facebook profile!)
What is great about AirBnB is that you can message your host at any time to ask about anything you want. We asked our host Giuseppe about hiking in the area and advice about the weather conditions for climbing.
He was only too happy to get back to us and offer us advice. You can also let your host know where you will be travelling from and what time you will get there as you go. We also got great tips on how to make the somewhat complicated journey to his property.
What we loved about it!
Well firstly the location we found! We have always wanted to stay in a traditional alpine chalet and here was our chance. But instead of it being a really touristy version it felt authentic, complete with the host’s children playing in the garden as we played cards on the balcony over looking the mountains! The apartment itself was traditional in amazing hand crafted furniture and yet at the same time modern and clean. It was comfortable and in a stunning location we could never have even imagined! Finding such a unique place and for a great price was so much more of an experience than just being in yet another hostel or hotel.
Our host Giuseppe and his wife were also really helpful. It kind of feels like the benefits of Couchsurfing with the added benefit of privacy if you want it or also less awkwardness as you are a paying guest. We were picked up in his car from the main bus stop and driven up to the house, we could knock on their door at any time and ask about where is the best places to hike or where the shops are. We had access to a garden and could sit out on the terrace as the children played. It really did feel much more authentic and also much more of an added experience rather than just using your accommodation as a place to sleep!
We are most definitely sold on AirBnB after our first time! Staying in such unique and wonderful surroundings with wonderful hosts just seems to offer so much more than regular accommodation. We would also love in the future to try staying with someone in their house too (we do have our first couchsurfing gig coming up soon too) to try and interact even more with local culture and customs.
AirBnB is an easy and fun way to integrate more with the place in which you are visiting. Sometimes it can seem difficult or intimidating to find locals willing to show you around, but with AirBnb it comes with the territory…if you want it! But if not, you can just use it to find the most special and different accommodation out there!
Have a go yourself!
What are you waiting for!? Change your usual boring accommodation for a real experience and also find a great price too! If you click the link below you will get $25/ £17 off your first booking just to tempt you that little bit more!!
Let us know if you find somewhere amazing, we would love it if one of you had an amazing experience from reading this post!