5 Reasons Air BnB can be an awesome alternative to hostels

In recent years, Air BnB has come on strong with our students looking to set up the best possible housing during their free travel opportunities on our European programs.  Here are five advantages to Air BnB over hostels.

First: Air BnB lets you choose the kind of accommodation your or your travel party prefer.  Do you want to have 3-4 of you stay for several days in decent comfort and have your own kitchen?  Then book a flat that’s all yours and has a kitchen and a nice bathroom.  Are you looking to stay as cheaply as possible and don’t care about a kitchen or much privacy, than select that you want a shared flat or even a shared room.  Here’s what the webpage looks like when you’re making these choices:


Second, Air BnB lets you unpack and control your space in different ways than you can in a hostel.  With Air BnB, your room or your bed or your entire flat are yours, with no times that you need to leave cleaning and no need to worry about a lock for your backpack and other things.  You can select a flat based on a neighborhood you want to stay in and also based on how highly the host and the flat have been reviewed.  You’ll want to find a place that has multiple reviews (more than a dozen is ideal) and one where the reviews show that the host is a good communicator who won’t ever go ‘ghost” on you.  Here’s an example of the right review and comment scenario:



Third, Air BnB can help you gain access to a “real neighborhood feel” experience rather than a touristic one.  You’ll be staying in someone’s guest apartment or in their guest room or even just the extra bed in their room.  Many times, that someone will suggest local places you can grab food or a drink that you’d never find on your own.  And sometimes, the host will even offer to take you on a short walking tour to find your way around on the first day.  In hostels, you’ll have the fun of meeting travelers your age from all around the world. Via Air BnB, you’ll meet locals who love the city you’re visiting because it’s their home.  To increase your odds of finding this extra local energy, read the flat’s reviews carefully and then ask plenty of questions and show plenty of interest in your host when you make your booking and follow up with her or him as your stay approaches.  Here’s the kind of review that suggests a warm and eager local:



Fourth: In Western Europe, Air BnB can just be a cheaper option for a few days than a hostel. Up market hostels in major European cities may cost as much as 35 euros a night.  Meanwhile, you can often book and Air BnB with a friend and have one of you on a pull out or else sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor and pay less than $10 each per night.  Here’s an example of a deal like this in Madrid for the first week in June:



Finally, Air BnB can be a great way to get some calm and mindful time during a busy travel and learning adventure. Notice the elderly neighbors who are dressed to the nines as they head out for coffee and a market run in the morning. And the young families who are navigating tight sidewalks with strollers and toddlers on scooters. And the people who seek out “your” local park each day to argue politics and then play bocce ball like their lives depend on the outcome. None of these things will make your trip to any given city. And yet the way you can breathe a little easier and more like a local may well stick with you long after you’ve packed up and moved out of “your” little place in Pisa or Porto.

To open your own Air BnB account, go to: www.airbnb.com and sign up.  Note: you will likely be prompted to upload an ID and a photo of yourself.  The service does this so that the folks whose places you’re booking will be able to know that you’ve been vetted by Air BnB and are in fact who you say you are.

Happy travels!