I love finding different places to stay for our trips. It can make the the trip more memorable and makes me feel like we are getting a better bang for our buck because beyond just having a place to sleep, it also provides a form of entertainment.
Bonus Tips+ Savings: How I decide whether or not to stay at hotel or Airbnb is pretty simple. If it’s just one night, need a place to sleep then leave, we do a hotel. If we are doing 2+ nights and know there might be some down time, I head to Airbnb. If you follow this link and are new to Airbnb you can save $40 dollars your first stay!
It can be overwhelming to have so many options so I have a few steps I follow to help me find the perfect place.
- Filters– Use the filters to be very specific about what you want. I think people hesitate to start checking tons of filters (because limiting sounds like a bad thing but in this case it isn’t!). Using filters will help you narrow down and avoid the overwhelm that usually results in settling.
- Dates!- This is a big one if you are traveling at specific time, plug your dates in first. It’s so sad to find an awesome place then realize it isn’t available.
- Budget- Another big one. Go ahead and be honest with yourself about what you are looking to spend and know there are usually cleaning/service fees that aren’t included in the original number you saw.
- Parking- When we take road trips, I usually go ahead and click free parking. Coming into a new place late at night is not when I want to figure out where to put the car. If we don’t have a car obviously I don’t check this one.
- Kitchen- On trips we usually try to at least meal a day super low key. When I say “kitchen,” usually I just mean microwave/mini fridge set up but if you know you need one this is usually a good way to knock off several options.
- Shared/Whole place to yourself- This is a good way to save some money if you are willing to stay in someone’s home while they are there. We’ve done it in New Orleans and it was a great experience but usually we choose a place where we have the place to ourselves. In bigger cities, this can be pricier.
- Wifi- We always bring a laptop or iPad that we can watch shows on at night so we definitely want wifi.
2) Zoom out- When you are searching Airbnb, switch to the map view. Zoom out a little and search outside the heart of the city especially if this is road trip and you will have a car. Click and drag to see more options that still meet the criteria you already set. Don’t zoom out too far or you may end up in another city entirely but some of our favorite stays have been about 20 minutes outside the city we were actually visiting.
3) Read the fine print– Read ALL the info the owner makes available and several recent reviews. If you don’t have time, a chain hotel might be the better option. But if your willing to put in the research with Airbnb a few extra minutes of reading can save you a huge headache.