My life has seriously changed since Airbnb! I swear. I have always travelled a lot, and even since having kids, I have not stopped traveling. My husband travels a lot for work, and I mean, A LOT. My kids are still young so we made the decision that whenever possible, me and the kids will travel with him at least until they start school - otherwise we would hardly ever see him! This would not be possible if we had to stay in hotels. First reason being the price, and second reason being that it is not convenient to stay in hotels with young children. We've done it many many times before Airbnb and other accommodation options became available.
The first time I went away with my husband and his 2 boys, they were 2 and 5 years old. We went to Zurich for a long weekend and checked into a hotel. We made sure to ask for inter-connecting rooms so we can keep the door between the 2 rooms open. We finally got them to sleep the one night and without thinking I moved a chair which was holding the door between the 2 rooms open, and the door shut closed and automatically locked. I had locked 2 boys into a pitch dark room on their own. My husband rushed into the hallway to try and open their door from the outside, but then realised he had put the chain lock on the door earlier. We called reception in a panic and they told us that there is no key, we can only open the door from the other side - i.e., where the 2 boys lay asleep…. My husband is busy screaming at reception saying there HAS to be a way to open the door!? He then decides to call them on the phone and try to instruct them how to unlock the door from the other side….. Try to instruct a half asleep 5 year old how to unlock a door in the dark!? Impossible. I was mortified. Here I am trying to have my first weekend away with the boys and start a relationship with them, and I have managed to lock them into a pitch dark room! My husband then ran into the hallway in his underwear and smashed their front door open, breaking the chain-lock, like he was superman. The Italian young couple who just arrived and was walking down the hallway must have had a shock to see this all! Needless to say the boys were totally confused and luckily unaware of all that went on…..
Since then, I hate hotels and their inter-locking rooms and all the inconveniences when traveling with children! Don't get my wrong, I LOVE staying in hotels when traveling without the kids (which is basically never..) or at least when I get a night off with my husband because some sweet friend of mine has offered to look after the kids for the weekend! ;) But when going away with the family, I will only go with Airbnb and other home vacation rental options.
Why do I love it?
Firstly, the cost is always less then if you had to book several rooms in a hotel. And the space is much bigger, with a living room….space for the kids to play and for adults to relax.. You get a whole apartment or a house, depending on what you want. For me it's important to have a kitchen available when travelling with the kids. It's basically impossible to eat out all meals when with the kids, so having a kitchen really is a MUST so you have the option to eat at home as well. Anyone with kids also knows how much washing you need to do on a daily basis…. With Airbnb you would usually rent a property that has a washing machine. Also staying in an apartment is so much more personal then a hotel. You usually stay in a residential neighbourhood rather then a touristy area so you kind of blend in with the locals and see the local way of life. I love that.
Whenever we tag along on my husbands business trips we usually look for an apartment in an area close to where he needs to work. But when we are going on holiday, we usually look for a nice big house that accommodates us all comfortably. We have now stayed with Airbnb accommodation in London, Barcelona, Provence, Istanbul, and have 2 more places booked in the US in a few months time. In Istanbul the host was extremely helpful and nice, even helping us to order food when we arrived, and offering to pay for the food in case we didn't have any money exchanged yet! In France we went with all 4 kids on holiday so we rented a huge house with a beautiful garden and swimming pool. We were able to go to the local markets, buy fresh produce and cook our own meals at home. We also ended up inviting the lovely 98 year old neighbour over for lunch! It felt like we were actually living in France.
We have always had a positive experience and I would seriously recommend it to all families traveling with kids!
What experiences have you had with Airbnb or other rental accommodation sites?