We’re living almost exclusively in AirBNB accommodation, over a year now travelling with our two kids through Spain and Portugal, Croatia, Italy Sicily and Malta. Grant working through the night and me Distance schooling the boys in the morning, a home away from home is so much better for us than a hotel room.
There are hundreds of apartments, houses or even just rooms to choose from around the world, depending on where you want and what you want, you can put a maximum price, what needs you have, for us we prefer no less than 2 bedrooms although we would take a one bedroom if there was nothing else in the area we wanted to be, Internet connection is the biggest need for us.
They have pictures of the place, reviews from other visitors, plus you can contact the host for more information before booking, once booked the money sits with airbnb, the money doesn’t go to the host until a day or two after you arrive, making sure you and the host are happy.
We have stayed in quite a few apartment’s now and we are very happy, you do get a range of places of course, everywhere is different. Winter and spring months you can normally pick up a great deal, prices can go up around the summer months (Northern Hemisphere/European ‘summer’ July, August and September).
We struggled booking northern Spain for August, we managed it but at a cost. So if you know where and when you are going it would pay to book in advance during those summer months.
Advantages for the budget traveller
When we decided to start travelling as a life style we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to get a house or apartment for such short periods, we expected that short term rentals would want big deposits and that the ‘short’ would often be 3 months, so AirBNB came along just when we needed them, connecting us with local homes rather than tourist targeted ‘luxury’ accommodation. The money saved by preparing your own meals in your own kitchen cannot be ignored, a reasonably priced dinner out in Europe can be anything from 5 – 20 Euro’s per person, a roast chicken dinner at home can be under 5 euros for all of us.
No Bills! Most AirBNB accommodation prices include utilities like water, electricity and internet, the usually included cleaning charge means you only need to keep the place tidy and a cleaner will polish it up properly for the next guest. Some places will charge you separately for these costs of course, especially Gas if provided from Bottles, as should the bottle run out you’ll usually be expected to pay for a full bottle.
Staying for longer keeps the cost down
By staying for a month in each place you do eliminate too many cleaning and airbnb costs, plus a lot of places the price drops a little when staying for a month, this has worked out well for us as it is nice to properly get to know a place, get time to relax, it makes it all feel a lot more comfortable, we do occasionally do a few weeks here and there, even a day or two in some places just to break up the long trips.. but in general we will always try to do 1 month in each place.
Also staying longer means you have less travel costs and keeping that cost down is huge when trying to stick to a budget.
Things to look out for
In some apartments they claim to have 2/3 bedroom but the second/third is actually the living room with a pull out sofa, these are the kind of things if not obvious in the pictures make sure you confirm with the host, if it’s important to you.
Read all the reviews carefully, I think having reviews is important, I prefer there not to be too many host cancelled reviews there, we don’t really worry too much about little issues, but if there had been any problems with the internet though then we would probably look at other apartments, especially if the issue hadn’t been sorted.
We have stayed in places with no reviews…I guess someone has to be the guinea pig, so far we have been lucky with all of our accommodation on Airbnb but I do feel so much more comfortable with a pile of great reviews…
Before actually booking I would always say contact the host, if they come back fast and are friendly answering all questions asked, then you should be ok.
Once booked make sure you get the full address of the place, this should come up in your receipt, directions to the apartment and a mobile number and or E mail address and ask who will be meeting you to pick up keys etc, do all this at least a week before arriving, I have left it to the last minute and panicked, but lucky for us those times were fine and we got answers to texts straight away. All of our hosts so far have been super fast at responding to us and super friendly.
If Internet is important to you like it is to us then double and triple check that the apartment does come with it, make sure it has enough internet usage to cover your needs, we are normally in apartments for 1 month so unlimited is crucial for us, as we both work and need the internet to correspondence school our boys. We do also use the internet to watch one TV show a night, we never turn on the TV, we like to get into one show and watch one episode a night.
We have had two apartments so far that have been a real challenge with the lack of internet coverage and it’s really a challenge we can do without.
When a host cancels your booking
We have had this happen twice, once we were booked to stay in Oviedo (Northern Spain), the host cancelled about 4 weeks in advance, due to water leakage and work needing to be done, so fair enough but we were at first shocked and pretty worried that we wouldn’t find something else, airbnb do actually give you 10% extra to add to the amount if you can’t find something for the same price, we were lucky in this instance as we were very flexible as to where to go after Santiago, we ended up booking a place in Leon instead, and loved it…so feel that it was meant to be.
We did however have our 3 month booking for the UK cancel 4 weeks before hand, because she had decided due to money reasons that she wanted to let the house long term and this for us has proved to be a nightmare, it took us so long to find anything within our price range for the UK in the first place, it wasn’t totally our perfect choice but we were happy and looking forward to settling down for 3 months, had so many plans, when it got cancelled..we couldn’t find a single thing.
My wonderful sister came to the rescue, she offered us to stay with her, it was a squish, but again I think this was meant to be..at least we were closer to family, and in the end it was a wonderful stay, and we had lots of bonding time with our little niece Effie.
We did basically end up cutting our trip to the UK short, scrapping all our plans of getting the boys into a few classes (we wanted to get Jake and Luke into a Drama class, Jake Guitar lessons and Lucas Drumming lessons)…
This hasn’t put us off using Airbnb, we have loved everywhere we have stayed, airbnb have been great at helping out with the extra 10% if needed.
When booking now, I look through all the reviews and if I see that the host has cancelled previously I must admit I move on…I really can do without that happening too many times..
Useful items to bring along with you
- Pegs for the washing line
- If we find curry pastes along the way, we buy a few to take with us..
- A Potato peeler
Get $36 NZD off your 1st night stay with Airbnb, or make money from your home while you’re not using it, by clicking the link below;
Airbnb Apartments we have stayed at
Airbnb Apartment in Estepona was gorgeous, 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, nice living room and good size kitchen.
Close to everything, in the old town, 5 min walk to the beach. Cafe’s and restaurants 2 mins away and the Supermarket was literally just around the corner.
The new Orchid house right outside. The area was really safe and very friendly.
It cost us under £600.00 (NZ$1,200.00) for the month, March 22nd to April 22nd 2015.
Airbnb Apartment in Rota was a lot smaller than the one in Estepona, and we did feel it to start with, but it was sufficient, it had 2 bedrooms, a living and kitchen together, 1 bathroom and a small outside area.
It was a 20 to 30 mins walk to the old town . Once in the old town it was lovely.
The beach in Rota was beautiful, really unspoilt.
Cost us NZ$1326 (around £650 for just over a month), April 22nd to May 22nd 2015.
We stayed in this Airbnb in Seville for one night to break up our trip from Rota to Lagos (Portugal).
Our Apartment was right by the old wall, had 2 bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen and bathroom.
It cost NZ$90 (£40) for 1 night. 23rd May
We loved everything about Lagos, that included our gorgeous Airbnb Traditional Portugesse House.
This was in the heart of the old town, you didn’t have to walk far to get to anything, the beaches were picture postcard. The house had 2 bedrooms, a good size living area and a kitchen with dining. There was also a little roof top area with two sunbeds.
I think we all left a piece of our hearts here, one day we will be back.
Cost for a month is NZ$1,260.00 = £567.37
22nd May to 22nd June 2015
Airbnb Apartment in Estoril, on the coast of Lisbon.
We stayed in Estoril Sao Joao, the apartment was about a 10 min walk from the beach, 30 min walk from Cascais and 30 mins by train to Lisbon. It was an older style apartment that had everything you needed for a lovely beach stay, 2 bedrooms, living room with dining and a small kitchen. Supermarket right next door. (So close in fact that the sound of the checkout ping through our open balcony door will be one of the unique memories of that stay)
Cost NZ$1306.00 per Month (Just over £600 per month)
From June 22nd to July 22nd 2015
Airbnb Porto – What can I say, Mario picked us up from the station, was friendly and amazing from word go. Arrived at the apartment, he had the fridge filled with important items and ice creams for the boys. He had a glass of port wine with us to welcome us to Porto.
The apartment was lovely, had lots of room for us, kitchen was a good size. Had everything you needed and a good sized garden with table, sunbeds and swing chair. Big Supermarket just down the road. Walk into the main Porto area probably took around 40 ish mins.
July 22nd to 9th August 2015 – Cost NZ $1007 = £427.50 for 19 days
Airbnb Santiago – Our apartment in Santiago was about 5 mins to the start of the old town, the location was perfect, right across the road we had a gorgeous cake shop selling delicious tiny bite size versions of the cakes, that we occasionally treated ourselves to a little selection. The Apartment has 4 bedrooms, living room and kitchen, was perfect for us and had everything we could need. Santiago de Compestela is a must see.
August 9th to 17th 2015 – The cost was $707 NZD = £298 for 8 nights.
Airbnb Leon – The Apartment in Leon was large, again had 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living and dining area and good size kitchen. This apartment is normally rented out to teachers and will be again come Sept. We loved staying here, Isa was a perfect friendly host, her and her father gave us lots of information on arrival about Leon. We have been spoilt with the amazing cathedrals we have visited and Leon’s cathedral doesn’t disappoint. It is truly beautiful.
August 17th to 22nd 2015 – Cost $467 NZD for 5 nights stay = £205.87
Airbnb Bilbao – We arrived at the apartment tired and had to climb 4 flights of stairs with luggage, so wasn’t a great start but once inside the apartment it was gorgeous, really modern and really clean, once we sorted ourselves out and had a look around we were very happy, the apartment had 2 bedrooms, one with double futon bed and one with two single beds, lovely compact kitchen, living room and had everything you could need, although because we were only here for 3 nights we didn’t cook… The metro station was just up the road and the trip into the main part of Bilbao took about 5 mins if that…it was a great location. Loved our stay here in the beautiful Basque country.
August 22nd to 25th 2015 – Cost NZ$ 447.00 for 3 nights (around £200 )
Airbnb Split – Ivana was there to meet us at the apartment as arranged, we had a few flights of stairs to carry our luggage, poor Grant is getting a dab hand at this…The apartment was newly renovated and everything inside was brand new, it was a very nice apartment.
It was a 5 / 10 min walk into the old town and had shops all around us, the bus station with our luggage took about 15 mins.
Sept 2nd to 4th 2015 – Cost NZ$155 for 2 nights
Airbnb Omis – We were very happy with the space in our apartment in Omis, it had 4 bedrooms, 1 large bathroom, a second separate toilet, a good size living room and an ok sized kitchen, best of all were the two large balconies, the views of the mountains were gorgeous. The biggest disappointment for us here was the internet connection, we basically had to connect to the cafe either below us or the cafe across the road, some evenings it made working a bit of a challenge. We were a 10 min walking distance to the old town and there was a supermarket just down the road.
Sept 4th to 2nd Oct 2015 – Cost $995 NZD per month ( £438.42 )
Airbnb Dubrovnik – This was not the original apartment that we had booked, but we were happy here, even though there were lots of steps, it was good exercise for our legs. The apartment was large, had everything we needed, the internet was a bit gittery at times but we got through. The views from the balcony were great, there were two common balcony’s a few doors up from the apartment that had seats etc to admire the views from, they were probably our favourite, every day when we went into town and came home we would stop and take a look.
Oct 2nd to 2nd Nov 2015 – Cost – $1185 NZD per month (around £518.00 )
Airbnb Ulcinj – Thank you to Nermin and Nersit who were both very sweet.
Our Apartment was spotlessly clean and spacious, we had two bedrooms, good size living room with large dining and kitchen area, nice bathroom with good shower, good internet and close to everything, (supermarket on the ground floor of the building), we were very comfortable there.
If you do need accommodation in Ulcinj I would recommend this apartment.
Nov 2nd to 14th 2015 – Cost NZ$681 for 11 nights (around £292.39 )
Airbnb Shkoder – Thank you so much to Agim, he was a wonderful host, as I always say so far we have been blessed with wonderful hosts. This Apartment although just 1 bedroom was very spacious and had everything you could need for a comfortable stay.
Agim and his wife cooked us a traditional albanian dinner one evening, we had such a memorable time here. The Castle ruins a total must see..
Nov 13th to 20th 2015 – Cost NZ$450 for 7 nights (£2oo )
Airbnb Tirana – This Apartment was clean, had 2 bedrooms, a good amount of space and most of all it was very warm, which was really needed during our stay here.
The location was a little out of the main town, but we had everything we needed around us, including an amazing cake shop.
Nov 20th to 27th 2015 – Cost NZ$404 for 7 nights (just under £200 )
Airbnb Durres – This apartment was probably the most basic apartment we have stayed in so far, but we had enough beds and it was warm, I think best of all it was right by the beach and in Durres I couldn’t have been happier that we had booked the beach rather than the city.
We had lovely restaurants around us and hosts were very friendly and very helpful.
Nov 27th to 4th Dec 2015 – Cost NZ$274 for 7 nights = £122
Amazing apartment in an Amazing Location.
Debbie the owner of the Apartment made sure that you had every bit of info that you needed, she was always super fast to answer any question via E mail that we had.
Pauline who looks after the house was lovely, she really helped us out when we needed a Dr’s Appointment, not sure what I would have done without her.
The apartment had everything you needed and more for a comfortable stay, Jacob loved having his own area down stairs, said it was his favourite place to date. The Balconies and the views of the white city were incredible and if a little warmer think we would have happily ate breakfast, lunch and most dinners up there.
Dec 5th to the 16th 2015 – Cost $1002.00 (£449 ) for 11 nights
Airbnb Bari – Good location and ok apartment, slightly strange in the way it was set out but had everything we needed and it was close to everything, when you are only in a place for 1 night this is crucial.
Had 3 bedrooms, good size kitchen and a living and dining area, also had a good storage area for our luggage.
We loved Bari and it’s old town, brought back lots of wonderful memories from our last trip here many years ago.
Dec 16th to the 17th 2015 – Cost $122 NZD for 1 night
Airbnb Malta – Malta is stunning, we stayed in the gorgeous Marsaskala, a pretty little fishing town, with stunning clear water beaches. Valletta is just simply incredible..
There is history oozing from every tiny bit of Malta..everywhere is worth visiting.
Our Apartment was probably the most stunning apartment of our whole travel experience so far and we have stayed in some great apartments.
Just two bedrooms but so much space, the hosts were fantastic, they didn’t leave you needing anything…they even put up a little christmas tree with little presents underneath for us…would highly recommend this apartment..just 30 mins by bus to Valletta.
Dec 18th to Jan 15th – Cost $752 NZD (We did pay an extra 100 Euros for Water and Power)
Airbnb Ragusa – Ragusa Ibla is a picture postcard view…
Our apartment was really lovely, right in the centre of everything, just a stone throw away from the steps that lead you into the old Ragusa Ibla.
There were 3 bedrooms, lounge, dining a bathroom and a second toilet (always handy :))
Jan 15th to Feb 12th 2016 – Cost $953 NZD for 1 month
Airbnb Palermo – Location, Location, Location…
This was just a small place oozing with Character, had two double bedrooms, 1 on a mezzanine up a spiral staircase. It had a beautiful painted ceiling, an amazing library with a huge selection of history, art and literature (all in Italian) in the living room. A well equipped kitchen and dining area.
We were literally on the doorsteps to the famous Ballaro Market.
We loved to walk around in the hussle and bussle of this colourful market every day, selling everything from clothes to fish…We were just a short walk from most of the tourist sites..
Palermo really did have a lot of character, you couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
Feb 12th to the 26th 2016 – Cost$814 NZD for Two Weeks
Airbnb Kastela Stari – We stayed in a gorgeous apartment in Kastela Stari, 30 mins by bus from Split and 20mins from Trogir.
Our apartment had 3 bedrooms, 2 double with balconies and 1 single (with a cot).
The living room was a good size with open plan kitchen, dining..also with a balcony that had a little table and chairs, a lovely place to sit and admire the view…
We were a 10 min walk from the beach and restaurants and a 5 min walk from the supermarket and bakery.
Croatia’s coastline is to me the best there is…
April 6th to May 6th 2016 -Cost $1231 NZD
Airbnb Podstrana – Loved staying in this apartment, Jani and his wife were super sweet. Jani was there to help out whenever we needed, he even took us on a day trip. The apartment was 3 bedrooms, good size living room and kitchen.
We definitely felt at home here. We were only 5 mins to a stunning crystal clear ocean and pretty beach, we did have a walk up a very steep hill but we just think of it as our exercise for the month.
May 6th to June 1st 2016 – Cost $1219 NZD
On the 1st June we stayed in Geneva – We couldn’t find an apartment on Airbnb within our price range that was allowing just a 1 night stay so we used Booking.com and stayed >Here< for 1 night.
After that we headed back to our Airbnb Apartment that we had previously stayed at in Lagos Portugal <Airbnb Lagos< for another wonderful month.
Airbnb Sevilla – We had already had a day here in Seville as a day trip from Rota and a night in Seville on the way from Rota to Lagos, but still felt there was so much more to see so this time we booked a week.
It was 43+ so very very hot, there were sprays from every cafe and restaurant trying to cool you down, we left it until a lot later in the afternoon to venture out but we did and loved everything about Seville, it’s so grand so much history. Our apartment was very central, always love a perfect location, it was small but plenty big enough for us especially just for a weeks stay…check the listing out, would totally recommend a stay in this beautiful city.
Cost $638 NZD for 7 nights
Airbnb Alicante– Our apartment was 3 bedrooms, a great living space and kitchen, the whole apartment was very spacious. The walk to the beach was around 10 mins and it was a nice walk, to the old town it was 15 min walk and to the huge shopping area it was around a 20 mins walk, just 5 mins up the road was a Mall with a fantastic supermarket.
July 8th to August 5th 2016 -Cost $1397 NZD
This Apartment was nice and had everything you needed inside…it was about an 8 min walk to the closest supermarket, about 10 / 15 min walk to cafe’s and Restaurants and I would say about 30 min walk to the beach.
We did spend a lot of time chatting around the pool…and relaxing whilst here..
August 5th to Sept 2nd 2016 -Cost $1360 NZD
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