When booking lodging for last weekend’s trip to Napa, my brother and I ran into a problem.
AKA, a stupid golf tournament.
Apparently, this tourney was huge. So huge that the golf clapping audience snatched up pretty much every single room in Napa. Little bro and I were left with two options.
- Book a room at a posh property in Napa for somewhere around $600 a night.
- Book a room at a not-so-posh property 45 minutes out of Napa for around $40 a night.
It was a lose-lose situation. We needed the room for four nights, which made option one totally out-of-budget. Also? My brother was only staying with me for the first two evenings, then transitioning into a separate property with his
girlfriend fiancé for the two nights following the proposal. Translation? He would actually be paying that outrageous price for a total of six nights. I’m all about the occasional splurge…but this was ludicrous.
Option two concerned me for several other reasons.
- It was only $40 a night.
- It was 45 minutes away…problematic since we were sharing a rental car.
- I would be staying there by myself for the second two nights. (And it was only $40 a night.)
I had been desperately searching the internet for days when I finally remembered a blog post my friend Megan had shared about her experience as an Airbnb host. I decided to check out Airbnb.com and see if anything interesting popped up.
Twenty minutes later, I had booked a room just minutes from downtown Napa for a mere $85 a night. Sure, it meant sharing a queen-sized bed with my younger brother for two nights and staying in a stranger’s home–but all of this seemed far more appealing than dropping a couple grand on lodging or catching bed bugs from a skeezy motel. Airbnb it was!
I’d describe Airbnb as being kind of like Uber…but for bedrooms! Verified Airbnb “hosts” are able to rent out various properties (this can be a private guest room, an apartment…even an entire home/condo) to approved guests. I simply created a guest profile, messaged my potential hosts about wanting to stay in their guest room, and waited for them to approve the request. It was quick, simple, and honestly kind of fun! Now I just had to worry about what the actual stay would be like.
Luckily, it was amazing. So much better than a hotel in so many ways. Here’s what I loved about it:
- Airbnb is heavily based on reviews. (Both guests and hosts earn reviews after a stay.) The detailed, honest feedback from past guests made picking a room in a stranger’s home way less scary.
- There was no annoying check-in process. I informed our host we would be arriving after midnight, and they made arrangements for us to let ourselves in.
- The house was beautiful, well maintained, and so much more personal than a hotel.
- Ours hosts were super friendly and fun to interact with. They gave us lots of great tips on local wineries and restaurants, and a free $25 Lyft voucher! Cha-ching.
- Parking was a breeze. We were able park on their quiet street for free…way better than paying an arm and a leg for the inconvenience of a parking garage.
- FREE WINE! There was a delicious bottle of wine and two glasses waiting for us in our room. One of the hosts works in the wine industry, and gave us vouchers for $200 of free wine tastings. Napa wine tastings are ridiculously expensive — we used up all of the vouchers and were incredibly grateful.
- Privacy wasn’t an issue, as I thought it might be. Our room was quiet and secluded, and we had our own bathroom.
- There were adorable dogs! (This was mentioned in the listing, so it wasn’t a surprise.) I kept trying to lure them into our guest room to come snuggle with me, but they were too polite to impose in such a way. Maybe next time.
- We saved a ton of cash, which allowed for more dining, wine tasting–and of course–SHOPPING.
Clearly, my Airbnb experience was convenient, affordable, and an absolute delight. I plan on booking rooms through them on a regular basis, and have already reserved an entire condo in Maui for a trip we’re taking with my other brother and his girlfriend in January. Airbnb was significantly cheaper than VRBO–the site I typically use for vacation rentals–and our Maui condo is gorgeous and in a fabulous, central location. Airbnb for the win!
If you’re traveling anywhere soon and need a unique, fun and affordable place to stay, I can’t recommend Airbnb enough. I’d use the site to rent my own guest bedroom if it wasn’t completely open to the rest of our home. I can’t imagine there would be too many people who’d want to be that…er…exposed.
And if they are down with that? Well…I don’t think I’m quite ready to have them stay at my house.
(Although I’m sure
the snuggle whores Jolie and Penny would absolutely adore such a set up.)
Giving Airbnb a shot? If you use my referral link, I’ll get a $25 credit! Just sayin’.