I was hooked after my first stay in an Airbnb. The quaint cottage was overlooking Saguenay Fjord in Québec, Canada. Every morning, the kids and I would sit on the deck and try to spot whales breaching the waters below. The gentle breezes and fresh air were intoxicating. I was able to relax. I was able to let the children run loose…
Airbnb has changed the way I travel with my kids. As a family of six, we outgrew the single hotel room reservation years ago and I needed to look for alternative, more economical options. Just in case you are unsure of how Airbnb works, I’ll give a quick rundown. In cities, towns and small villages in over 190 countries, individuals can rent out their personal homes or vacation homes through Airbnb. This service makes it easy to search for exactly what you are looking for. You can book, pay and communicate with the owner through the site. Here are some of the many benefits of using Airbnb while traveling with kids:
1. Experience a country like a local: often you can just walk out of the door and explore the area. Some of my favorite travel memories involve stumbling upon a unique market or off the beaten path restaurant.
2. Great for large families: you can search for units with multiple bedrooms, a swimming pool, or free parking (just to name a few). Many will even provide a crib and highchair.
3. Have a glass of wine on the balcony: once the kids go to bed, you are stuck. Imagine sitting on a balcony in Paris, sharing a bottle and watching the streets below.
4. View properties on a map to scout the exact location you want to be: looking for a residential area, want to be near a market, playground or attractions? The map feature allows to to search by area of the city.
6. Get help from your host: often the owner will aid you in finding great activities not listed in a tour book and will be there for an emergency.
7. Save money: rent a home with a washing machine, a stove and a refrigerator. Eating out can get very expensive and, let’s face it, not many kids eat their money’s worth at a restaurant. I try to mitigate costs whenever possible and at least eat breakfast at the rental.
There have been some new additions to Airbnb that sweeten the deal even more!
1- They have started with vacation planning/ customizable experiences also in select cities, like San Francisco.
2- You can earn extra miles with the American Express Skymiles Card and others (check if yours has a deal).
3- Wanting to travel for your honeymoon? You can even put Airbnb on your wedding registry!
Here are some things to look out for/be aware of…
1. There is often a surcharge above 4 people ( although babies tend to be free)
2. Extra fees for cleaning and a service charge add to the per night cost
3. Most have a minimum stay requirement and strict cancellation policy
One good airbnb experience can lead to another! Just make sure you read the reviews and find the right place for your family. Happy Travels!