Saturday, August 3, 2013

Travel Inexpensively and Live Like a Local with AirBnB

Caroline is a writer on OnBetterTerms, AvantCredit’s blog. Avant is a personal loan provider operating in the United States.

I’m writing to you from Prague right now. Yesterday, I was in Vienna, and before that Budapest, Athens, and Chania on the island of Crete. I didn’t win the lottery to be able to afford this European trip. I just took advantage of the website AirBnB.

AirBnB is a service where regular people can list their apartments, extra rooms, or full homes for travellers to book. I’ve stayed in AirBnBs all over Europe and North America. Here’s what I’ve learned…

You save a lot of money when staying at an AirBnB

The average cost per night that I’ve spent on this trip has been around $50 USD per room. That means that since I travel with my partner, it’s only $25 a night per person. If you’ve ever tried to travel cheaply at hostels, you’ll probably know that the price is per person, not per room — meaning the AirBnBs are not only more comfortable, but more affordable. When you compare the AirBnBs to hotels in the area, you’re probably only paying a fifth of the hotel price. The same great location for much less than a hotel — plus, more amenities…

You save a lot of money by eating at your AirBnB

Because most AirBnBs give you access to a kitchen, I’ve
saved a lot of money on food by cooking some meals at home, and preparing lunches to take during the day’s sight-seeing. Being able to keep food in a fridge and make my own coffee in the morning means I’m not buying inflated convenience food in the tourist areas. Often our hosts share in their meal preparations too, further diminishing the costs. This leads me to my next point…

Your hosts are locals, so you live like locals

My travel style is to try to get immersed in the new culture and avoid tourist traps. Hotels are the same all over the world and you may never speak to a local if you stay in one. Your AirBnB host lives where you’re visiting and can give great tips about local spots that you’d never find in a travel guide. They’ll help you save money by telling you about the fantastic little restaurant off the beaten path so you can avoid the inflated prices on the main drag. They’ll know what entertainment is worth it, and they can help you navigate the public transit so you can save money on taxis.

With AirBnB, I’ve been able to afford to see some of the world’s most beautiful places. What’s more is that I met some lovely people and really experienced what living in these cities was like. What are your tips for frugal and authentic travel?

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