I don’t know about you guys, but we hate booking hotel rooms when we travel.
It just always seems like we’re compromising in one way or another, and you never REALLY know what you’re in for. until you get there. As minimalist travelers, we’d tend to stick to budget hotels. Usually that means we’re going to be in a cookie cutter room, eating something that’s been cooked in a microwave, or sleeping on questionable bed sheets. Probably all three. There’s only so much value you can squeeze out of a Motel 6. No offense Motel 6…we’ve shared some special nights together, but this rocky relationship is over.
This year we decided to leave our budget hotels behind and opt for a more interesting option. AirBnB.
We’ve stayed in AirBnB’s all over the place and each one is a unique experience. AirBnB offers something for every traveler and every budget. Prices range from city to city, but I guarantee if you look, you’ll find exactly the right room for your taste at a cheaper rate than a comparable hotel.
AirBnB allows us to feel right at home when we’re traveling.
We almost never spend more than $40-60/night when we’re in the US, and usually even less internationally. With AirBnB, we almost always have a kitchen to use, which means no more microwave dinners, a benefit for our health and our budget.
Hostels can be fun, but their private rooms can sometimes be pricy. Also, they’re often kinda loud.
As a budget friendly alternative, we sometimes opt for a private room in someone’s home. This gives us the benefit of meeting a local host who knows the area, and can usually provide some useful insight into great places to eat and fun things to do in the area. More often than not, we’ve made great relationships with our AirBnB hosts, and have maintained relationships with them after our departure. It’s all a part of the adventure.
Often times we choose to rent out an entire place.
This can be in the form of a house, apartment, condo, or studio. You still have a host that you can contact in case of any issues, they’re just not going to be sleeping in the same unit as you. They might not even live in the same building. This obviously carries with it an added level of privacy and ability to “make yourself at home” during your stay.
Overall, the value we get out of staying in an AirBnB is much higher than that of a hotel room.
The review system allows you to rate your room and your host, while your host also has the opportunity to rate you. AirBnB hosts live and die by these ratings. It’s a competitive market, so they’ve got to be on top of their game. One bad review on an AirBnB host can be far more damaging than a bad review a hotel website. This means your room’s almost definitely going to be clean when you arrive, and the sheets will always have been washed. Most hosts actually have a cleaning service that comes in to change the sheets, and freshen up the room between each guest.
Here in Chiang Mai, we’ve tried out a few different AirBnB rooms.
We’re seeking out the best place for us to call home on our extended stay in town. Our hosts happened to have a few different units available around the city, and since we got along with them so well, they let us move around a bit.
The first place we stayed in was a quaint studio apartment in a brand new building near Nimmanhaemin Road, Chiang Mai’s most popular street. Nimmanhaemin has great nightlife, with lots of cafe’s, bars and restaurants to choose from. The building itself is brand new with great rooms, all of them with their own private balcony, and air conditioning. These rooms are simple, but affordable. We LOVE small spaces, so we felt right at home the moment we walked in. There’s a queen size bed, a desk, flat screen TV with cable, and a comfortable western style bathroom.These rooms don’t have the benefit of a kitchen, although they do have a refrigerator to keep water and leftovers chilled. Since we’re crazy about Thai food, and it’s so cheap to eat out, we rarely cook for ourselves here. So the lack of kitchen facility was no issue whatsoever. There’s also security and a public laundry in the building.
After a few days, we decided to rent a private room in a large 4 bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood just outside the main city. This place was HUGE! The rooms can be rented individually, or you can choose to rent the entire house based on availability. This AirBnB was quiet and comfortable. There was ample kitchen space with pots and pans, a front yard where we were able to hang our hammocks, a beautiful flower garden, and four bathrooms. There was also a huge living room with plenty of sitting space, with wifi, a flat screen TV and cable. Two of the three nights we stayed there, we were the only ones renting the house, so we felt like the King and Queen of our very own castle. The hosts even helped us to rent a scooter so we’d have easy transportation to and from the city. This place would be great for writers who’re looking for a quiet space to work, a group of friends, or even a family with children who need plenty of space to spread out while they’re on vacation. You could easily fit up to 8 people in this space.
Our hosts, Paul and Gentile, are real AirBnB professionals.
They have several units around the city that they operate and they have some of the highest reviews in the city. This factored heavily into our decision to stay with them. We love getting to know our hosts, so we asked if they’d be interested in joining us for dinner one night. They brought us to one of their favorite restaurants in the city. We all had a great time. It turns out we had a lot in common, both of them value travel and cultural exchange as a means of obtaining a broader global perspective. Paul is originally from Canada, and his wife, Gentile, is Chinese. They’ve lived in several countries before moving to Chiang Mai. Since Paul is Canadian, he’s able to communicate easily with westerners, while Gentile is able to communicate with the many Chinese visitors they accommodate as well. They’re a real AirBnB power couple.
So, if you haven’t had the chance to check out AirBnB yet, you’ve really got to give it a try. You might never stay in another hotel room ever again. Better yet, use this link for $35 off your first AirBnB booking of $75 or more! We’ll also receive a small travel credit if you use the link so it’ll be beneficial for all of us! And don’t forget to check out Paul and Gentile’s AirBnB listings when you’re in Chiang Mai!