I like to save money wherever I can (who doesn’t?!). My mom always jokes that I get it from my papa, but my mom raised me going to thrift stores, so I think they are both to blame. We have just always been thrifty people!
The other thing that I like is getting a true feel for where I am traveling. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for hotels. My mom and I had the trip of a lifetime traveling from Denver, Colorado to Boise, Idaho when I was returning for my Junior year of college. My mom put me in charge of lodging and I went pretty cheap (see: Motel 6, Budget Inn, anything with “cheap” in the name, etc.). By the time we rolled into Boise, we were desperate for deep, quality, sleep and my mom booked us a room at Holiday Inn Express. We walked in and it was like we had emerged from a month of being stranded in the wilderness. “It smells like fresh laundry! They serve cookies at the front desk! The room is so quiet!” Hands down one of my favorite memories.
So, hotels are good BUT I AirBnB whenever we are wanting to get off the beaten path.
Here are a few reasons why I like AirBnb (also check out VRBO):
- You rent from locals. And most of the time they can give you really good suggestions for places to eat, local things to do, the best coffee shops, etc.
- Free parking. Caveat: not always, but more often than not. Chances are, they are renting to you because they are out of town, so if you rent their apartment downtown, you also get to use their parking space. You don’t get “valet” but you also aren’t paying $20+ a night to park.
- Free other stuff. Wifi. Pool use. Coffee and creamer. Cooking staples. Netflix/cable. Some will even include bikes to use, pool/beach towels, beach chairs, and equipment that you can use appropriate for the location.
- A kitchen! Again, depending on your needs and booking preferences, some rentals will not have a kitchen or it will be limited to just a mini fridge and a mircowave. We always like to have a kitchen if we are staying longer than 2 days so that we can visit the local grocery store/farmer’s market/bodega and make something for a night in. This helps save us money and we can just enjoy the location and each other’s company.
- Personalized feeling. The hosts are usually pretty great. You can write a message telling them why you’re coming before you confirm the reservation (“my birthday weekend” or “bachelorette weekend,” etc.) and they host will usually leave you a little treat. When we booked a house in Nashville, the host left us some things to get us started like coffee, snacks, and a local candy along with a welcome note. It was so nice and made us feel very welcome.
If you’re planning on traveling, sign up for AirBnb and use my referral code to get $35 in travel credit.