I used to think that hostels were the cheapest short-term accommodation available however times are changing. From my experience I have found Airbnb to be consistently more cost effective. I’m a huge Airbnb advocate, I’ve stayed in 15+ different places in various countries. Last year Airbnb contacted me, inviting me to a sweet party in LA as acknowledgement of having stayed in Airbnb’s in more than 10 different countries. I didn’t go, sorry to disappoint 😦
Why is Airbnb so good? For me it’s simple, it’s a more efficient use of your money. You can get more for less. But you might be thinking, I’m a solo traveller I need to be with open-minded travellers and hostel party vibes. Read on my friend…
- Airbnb is an online platform for ordinary people to rent out their rooms or whole place to anyone in the world.
- You can rent either; shared rooms, private rooms (a flat/house share like situation), or a whole place.
- Rooms/places are rented out on a ‘per night’ basis.
I started using Airbnb when I was on a two month long backpacking trip around Europe in 2015. I found Airbnb to be consistently cheaper, more secure and private than hostels.
Here is an example:
Let’s say we (2 people) want to go to Budapest for 3 nights 12-15 April.
On Hostelworld I found the well-rated Wombats Hostel. Three nights for two people in a 6-person dorm is £75.37.
I then put the same requirements into Airbnb. I can get a whole private apartment in Budapest for a similar price (actually less in this case).
The private apartment has free Wi-Fi, tidy kitchen, towels, washing machine and best of all a bathroom that you don’t have to share with a hostel-load of people. This apartment is the same price as the hostel and has 179 reviews giving it an overall 4.5-star rating. I’m sold.
Of course, I’m not comparing apples with apples here. A hostel and Airbnb offer different things. Perhaps you want the social, festive vibe of a hostel, it all depends on the nature of your trip. Or maybe you’re a weirdo like me and stay in an Airbnb but then go to the hostel bar to make friends and have a night out. This is exactly what I did in Budapest last time.
Saving even more with Airbnb in expensive locations
The savings you can make by using Airbnb as your accommodation source tend to be more pronounced in locations where accommodation is expensive, for example in Nice, France.
I searched for 2 people in Nice (France) for 3 nights 12-15 July (peak season).
- Cheap hostel: £148.47, yes most hostels were around £30-40 a night for a 6-bed dorm 😥
- Whole apartment (Airbnb): £131, a saving of £17.47 compared to the hostel.
- Private room (Airbnb): £81, a saving of £67.47 compared to the hostel.
Need I say more?
Well maybe? An airbnb can still be the most cost effective option if you’re a solo traveller, you might just have to search a bit harder. Economies of scale definitely work in your favour when there are two or more of you.
Airbnb’s ethos is about living like a local, having local rather than touristic experiences. I fully support this idea, along with saving those pounds £££.
In my future posts, I will write about developing a trustworthy Airbnb profile, along with my beginner, intermediate and expert tips for booking Airbnbs. I have so many tricks and tips to share with you!