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Air BnB > Hotels

Now that my Rome holiday posts have come to an end, I figured it would be a good idea to talk about the accommodation that we stayed in and give you an insight into that too. Air BnB has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years and I knew when Matt & I decided on our first holiday together, I wanted to try out Air BnB for myself. For those who might not know what it is, it is a website that allows you to find either room shares, flats or houses to stay in on your holidays/breaks away instead of your usual hotel or hostel options. People will put up a room or a flat/house of theirs for rent and holiday-goers can stay for as little or as long as they want. I wanted to try it because the process always gets rave reviews and some of the flats/homes I have seen others stay in look incredible and it gives you the chance to have a home away from home.

So after putting in the info of which city we wanted to stay in and the dates we would be staying there, I searched through lots of available places ranging in price, location, amenities, and ratings. A great option for first-time users of the site is that you can filter whether or not you only want to look at properties from "super hosts". Super hosts are people who have been used a lot on the site and who have great reviews so I opted for the filter as it meant the host of whichever accommodation we ended up staying in should be reliable and trustworthy which is just want I needed to hear when this was my first trip away to a different country for a long time. Being able to choose from a list of trusted, popular hosts is also a great function for those who are travelling alone. I've been thinking about going on holiday on my own for a while now and I know if I do, I will be using Air BnB and this option as it takes away the worry a little bit for a young petite woman travelling on her own! You can also filter the price, the size of accommodation you need as well as a number of other things. After whittling it down to a few promising looking places, we settled on a flat and got in touch with the host.

Our host was wonderful. He picked us up from the airport as we were getting into Rome quite late at night which was great as he could give us some ideas of what to do during our time there that we possibly wouldn't have got if we were in a taxi. Although our host won't obviously be the same as all the others, the fact that once we got to the flat, he told us all about the best places to eat and the best time to visit busy areas etc. is something we wouldn't have had if we checked into a hotel. Of course most hotels will provide the room with maps and tourist information, but they won't give you the nitty gritty bits you need to know - like which restaurants are great despite their not-so-welcoming exterior or where is best to avoid as it's just a tourist trap for getting money out of people. Getting the chance to speak to a local meant we instantly felt comfortable in a foreign city and felt much more prepared for our days out.

Another great things about the Air BnB option was that you had your own space. Obviously if you're only renting a room this might not be the same, but having a whole flat for the duration of our stay instead of just a glorified bedroom in a hotel meant we could have breakfast at our leisure - in our PJs if we wanted to - instead of having to rush down to a busy canteen with lots of other tourists every morning. It also meant we could prepare lunches if we wanted to save money and we could eat at home one evening instead of being in an expensive restaurant.

Having a flat to ourselves meant we didn't have to care about things like any curfews a hotel might have and we didn't have to think about a cleaner or maid coming into our rooms everyday etc. As Rome was so hot whilst we were there, it was nice to know we had the option to come back to the flat during the midday heat and just chill out until it cooled down a little. It also meant we just felt at home for the duration of our stay. My last reason for Air BnB being a better choice than a hotel is simply the expense. Buying direct flights to Rome and then paying for our Air BnB accommodation was more than half the price it would have been if we had stayed in a hotel. This meant we could afford to be more spendy whilst we were actually there and be more carefree about how much we spent on food etc when we were out and about. It also has meant I've got the itch to travel like never before because I now know I can stay in so many places for such a little price. If you check and book in advance, you can stay in accommodation for as little as £15 a night (depending on what city/country you're staying) but that price cannot be competed with.

Although I think Matt & I were lucky as our host was the most generous and welcoming friendly guy, it has certainly convinced me that Air BnB is the best option for travel and holiday accommodation and I will never use a hotel ever again unless I really need to.

Have you tried Air BnB? What was your experience like?

- A.
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