10 Great Reasons to Travel Using AirBnB

By: Kathryn Casna
I AM NIKOM / Shutterstock.com

Did you know that AirBnB started when some college students rented out air mattresses in the apartment because all rooms in their city were completely booked for a festival? Hence the name AirBnB. Well, the company has come so far since then. It’s fast becoming a popular way to travel just about anywhere. Despite being a completely different experience than booking a hotel, most travelers love it. It’s true that, AirBnB isn’t for everyone, but there are some great reasons to at least try it out, and isn’t trying new things what traveling is all about anyway?


10. Convenient Booking Process

The booking system on AirBnB is designed to be fast, convenient, and intuitive. To get started, you fill out your profile, add a photo, and go through the verification process. All of this helps your host get a good idea of who you are, so be sure to tell them about what you love about traveling. This process can take some time, but you only have to do it once. To check out listings in your destination, put in your travel dates and the number of people in your group. You’ll get a list of available spaces, complete with photos, info, and availability. You can sort through these by price or look at the map to see where they’re located. Once you find a space that looks good, open a conversation with the host, ask any questions, and request a reservation. The best hosts will respond quickly!

Airbnb booking

9. Low Prices

Travel can be expensive. Even with discount sites, all-inclusive resorts, and vacation packages, you can still pay thousands of dollars in accommodations alone for a couple of weeks’ stay at your favorite destination, and if you want to move around each night, like on a road trip, it’s even worse. The good news is, many AirBnB hosts offer economical listings. You should know that wherever you stay using AirBnB, it probably won’t be very hotel-like. In most cases, you’re staying in someone’s actual home, but if you’re willing to forego many traditional amenities like a private bathroom, check-in at all hours, and last-minute bookings (although some hosts do offer these things), AirBnB can be an economical alternative. Listings might be as low as $15 for a spot on the sofa, or $30 for a private room all to yourself. Much better than $80-$100 or more for a hotel room, huh?

sofa bed

8. The Road Less Traveled

If you’re the kind of traveler who likes to blaze your own trail instead of following in the cookie-cutter footprints of those who went before you, check out AirBnB listings for your trip. AirBnB offers some of the most unique accommodations in the world, and hosts do indeed live all over the world. Check out glamping in Australia’s outback, a refurbished school bus in Sweden, a haunted house in New Orleans, and more. AirBnB listings are hosted by your fellow travelers and others who simply want to meet you and hear about your adventures. While some accommodations are literally in actual hotels, most are completely unique. Learn a little history when you stay in a period home, renew your spirit when you enjoy an outdoor living room, or get a taste of the luxurious life when you stay in a European castle. You literally choose your own adventure.

Photo by: Airbnb/Brand New Studio Earthship
Photo by: Airbnb/Brand New Studio Earthship

7. Meet a Local

What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local? Get to know one, of course! When you scroll through the listings at your destination, check out the profiles of potential hosts. Sometimes listings are hosted by transplants who fell in love with the place on their travels, and they can be fun to get to know. Usually, however, your host will be a local. Locals have a way of knowing a place’s secrets. They’ve been there most of their lives and can tell you the best places to eat, sights to see, and pitfalls to avoid, but even better, they themselves embody the essence of your destination. Their speech patterns, habits, quirks, and attitudes all reflect where they live. Even if you don’t get to actually meet your host (which sometimes happens) you’ll learn much about local culture simply by being in a local’s home.

Locals Cuba


6. Feel at Home

When you stay at a hotel, does it ever feel like an impersonal experience to you? Some high-end resorts and luxury hotels make an effort to address all of their guests by name, but at many hotels, you’re just the guest in 208. When you stay with an AirBnB host, however, you’re Jill, a horse-loving accountant who grew up in Vancouver, but moved to Banff to be closer to nature. Or Raymond from Montreal, a digital nomad whose life long goal is to eat one local dish from every country in the world. Your host only has so many guests, so he or she usually has plenty of time to get to know you. Hosts are known for creating individualized experiences by brewing up your favorite coffee, creating a tailored list of sights to see, or clipping your favorite flowers from the garden for your bedside table.

people chatting

5. Learn a Language

If you’re traveling to a place where people speak a foreign language, AirBnB is your opportunity to learn it! Brush up on your Spanish, French, Tagalog, Japanese, Swahili, or whatever tongue you’re working on. Many hotels make it a point to speak to you in your own language, but hosts don’t always have the resources to learn the language of each of their guests. That means you’ll be in situations where you’ll need to learn a few words in the local language. If you’ve already been introduced to the local language, or have been studying it, speaking with your host is a great opportunity to practice your accent and learn some turns of phrases that they don’t teach in school. There’s no better way to master a language than to speak with a native, so dive right on in over a cup of coffee with your host!

learning a new language

4. Support a Shared Economy

Did you know that when the housing market crashed in the United States, AirBnB helped save people’s homes? When thousands lost their jobs, hosting for AirBnB was the only way many of them met their mortgage payments each month. In a nutshell, that’s one of the greatest benefits of a shared economy. A shared economy makes it easier for people just like you to make money. Whether they are AirBnB hosts or Uber drivers, you’re helping them make ends meet. The best part is that your AirBnB host gets to keep nearly all of the profits of your stay. AirBnB only takes a small percentage of your booking, so that money goes right back into the local economy, not to some international chain whose headquarters are located on a different continent. It’s like giving back to the community that’s made your trip special in the first place.


3. Safe Transactions

When you book through AirBnB, those booking fees you pay go toward supporting the AirBnB infrastructure. AirBnB is constantly updating and improving their systems to make both hosting and traveling safer. For starters, your host never sees any of your financial information. In fact, they don’t even get a phone number or email address unless you want them to. Payment is made through a sort of “Escrow” system. When you book a space, AirBnB holds onto your money until the morning after your first night in the space you booked. Then they deliver these funds to your host – that is, unless you call AirBnB with a legitimate complaint – you can’t get into your room, the room was unlivable, or your host makes you feel uncomfortable. While few travelers have a problem with their hosts, it’s always good to know that there are systems in place for your safety.

secure payment

2. Meet Fellow Travelers

Much like a hostel-type atmosphere, many AirBnB hosts are the cultivators of friendly travel culture in their homes, whether intentional or not. People who enjoy traveling this way are often friendly, outgoing, and experienced travelers who can’t wait to get to know fellow wander lusters. If you’re of the same ilk, give AirBnB a try. It’s common to meet lifelong friends and travel partners on the road, and your host can be the perfect conduit for that. Even if you’re staying in a private room, your host may rent out more than one room to travelers. Enjoy conversation over morning coffee, ridesharing, and getting to know people from (other) far off places. Who knows? You might learn about a new place you’d like to visit someday, and if that place is one your fellow guest calls home, you’ll already have a connection there. How cool is that?

meeting people coffee shop


1. Personal Safety

For people who have never used AirBnB, staying in a stranger’s home might seem unsafe, especially in a place you’ve never been. You’ve probably seen horror stories about listings on the internet. These stories do not represent the norm, though. Most hosts want you to have a great time, and AirBnB is set up to provide you with a great, safe experience. Ah, the review system. When you stay at a listing, you and your host give each other reviews. Just as the reviews on your profile tell other hosts what kind of guest you are, the reviews on host profiles tell you about the kind of person and kind of place you’ll be staying with. If you’re concerned about your safety, only book with hosts who have 20 or more positive reviews. See what other guests like you have to say about them, and avoid anything that makes you feel uneasy.

arriving home