I am a beauty blogger at heart (just look around in my house and you will have no doubt), so a thought of writing lifestyle post doesn't really come naturally to me. And this is no coincidence that I decided to start this blog post in this particular manner, since I want to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. If with beauty products I wait to open them before I have taken decent photos (for most of them, at least), and sometimes they lay there abandoned for weeks, sometimes months, with the hotels or b'n'b's in this case is quite a different story. Stepping into the room, me and Stumble Puppy will be staying at, especially after waiting in the airport for ages (I am that lucky person from the couple, who has earlier flights and are stuck reading books and magazines at airports), the least I want to do, is carefully placing my luggage and taking photos of the place. Now, you can bet, that the luggage is get thrown wherever, and the bed is tested for cuddles.
It has been pointed out to me, that new readers might not know, who Stumble Puppy is, so let me introduce quickly: he is my boyfriend in long distance relationship, living in Scotland, and we have been together for just bit over two years. Long distance relationships are hard (even when your boyfriend is kindest, nicest and most supportive person on earth), so to keep the vibe going, we have unwritten rule of trying to meet every three months. Sometimes, if there are some expos we would meet sooner than that, but it is more an exception than a rule.
We try to spice things up, and not only travel back and forth, but also meet in different countries: England, Italy, and we have upcoming trip to Sweden. As you imagine, with travelling comes a great responsibility of finding a place to live, and that can become quite a challenge sometimes. Meanwhile hotels are great, and most of the times come with included breakfast, sometimes you just want some privacy, and have an apartment for yourself without having to worry about thin walls some hotels have.
On our trip to Italy we have found an awesome project called Air BnB, which is different from hotel usually in price, might not be that central (not that it is usually a problem) and you rent it from private persons, just like you and me, and that is a great place to meet new people! We have stayed in BnB both in London and Italy, so I have some leverage and will try to compare the two.
In Italy it was our first time and we were pleasantly surprised. Although I do not have photos I took myself, I do have the link to the place. We were staying rather central (about ten minutes from main streets), apartment was new in a stellar condition and the bed was huge. Upon arrival we found a little tourist guide pointing out nearby attractions, directions how to get around and local recommendations where to eat. The host kept checking with us during the week, asking if we needed any help or we had questions, and was very assisting. The only drawback I can point out, that on top of the price, we also had to pay local tourism tax (it wasn't a lot of money, but it would have been nice to know upfront). But overall, experience was great, we were provided with answers we needed, even how to get to an expo, and all other things.
Going to BnB in London, we had even more experience, so we had more confidence in ourselves and in unlucky event of his flight being delayed, we knew to inform the host as soon as possible, and we were greeted with a smile even at midnight. This apartment was smaller and further away from the center, but hosts has left a map as to where to find nearest stations, and I could even say we found our way fine even on the very first day. We were already familiar with London's underground system, so that wasn't and issue either, so the place being a little further wasn't an issue at all. We are both weirdos, and although first night we found bed to be placed rather weird (you use ladder to get into it),and after few tries getting scare we gonna kill ourselves we got used to it rather quickly and even managed to have our morning coffees in bed :) . Hosts were very helpful and accommodating and we enjoyed our stay.
How it all works, you may ask? Very simple, you go on the website, you insert the dates when you wish to stay, and it automatically shows you available places. Then you request to book a place, and that puts you into contact with the host, which confirms the reservation. Sometimes, it might be, that someone was quicker and the place is taken, so you will get a message from the host, and you won't be charged. You are getting charged only when host confirms the reservation. However, AirBnB holds money themselves until 24 hours after check in before releasing them to host, in case, something goes wrong.
So, to summarize, AirBnB is a great alternative to hotels, it is safe and trustworthy, and booking process is very easy. Maybe next time you are travelling, give it a shot?
Have you tried the service? Did you enjoy it? If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
P.S.. sorry about the length of this post and the lack of photos, I will try better next time.