Over the weekend I had a girls trip with my sorority sister Becky for another planner conference in Nashville. When we first started planning for this trip I was shocked at hotel prices in Nashville - gosh darn all the bachelorette parties and hipsters traveling there driving up prices. When I travel I typical have two behaviors when looking at accommodations - either stay in a bed and breakfast which adds charm to the overall getaway experience or if the trip is full of activity just find a safe, clean and affordable place to stay so you can focus spending on the purpose of the trip.
I know that everyone's budget differs but for a frame of reference typically when Shaun and I travel we like to stay around $150 or under for a night. But when I go on a girls trip and accommodation cost has to come out of my monthly discretionary budget, which I already have a hard time sticking to and since those trips are usually about having fun and not a romantic place to stay I like to go the clean, safe and affordable route . . . and that's what drove me to Airbnb.
I think because I like staying at bed and breakfasts, which is typically someone's private home I was open to Airbnb but nervous. I looked mostly on the site out of curiosity but when I saw we could stay in a room for $50 a night vs. the $130 at the hotel I had booked I canceled the hotel and took a leap of faith. Our hosts are super hosts which means they host guests frequently and have good reviews - I'm not saying newer listings wouldn't be great but as a first timer I was glad to stay with established proven hosts. On the Airbnb site I saw photos of what our room and the rest of the house would look like, a summary of the accommodations from the host and reviews from prior guests so I knew exactly what I'd be getting. One thing that distinguishes this site from a hotel booking is that the host has to accept your request to reserve the room, it's not just reserve. I know there has been criticism of this process and I'm not saying there's not bad behavior from some hosts but at the end of the day you are staying in someone's home and not everyone may be a good fit for their space. Also, to stay with Airbnb I had to upload my drivers license (this is not shown to the hosts) - so there's a little measure of security that people are who they say they are.
Our host communicated with me via the site and was very easy to get a hold of. The front door has keypad and we were also provided a key. Inside the home was set up to be very accommodating to guests - the hosts marked their bedroom door as private quarters, had wifi and local area information on the kitchen counter and on the two guest bedroom door cute signs saying welcome and out names so we knew exactly which room was ours.
Inside the room was a bed, night stand with lamp and a shelf on the wall with hooks which was the perfect spot to keep our towels and toiletries since we were asked not to keep our items in the bathroom as there were also guests in the other room and it was shared between our two rooms. Sharing a bathroom made me a little nervous - what if we all wanted to shower at the same time in the morning but luckily the timing just seemed to work. Each host is different when it comes to areas of the home but our hosts had said we were welcome to use both the kitchen and living room, because we were out and about a lot we didn't really find this necessary but it was nice that it was available.
I was worried there would be some awkwardness with either the hosts or other guests but we really only briefly saw our host Friday evening and the other guests Sunday morning when we were all leaving; I think if you're open to this type of travel you're probably open to meeting new people anyway so this was something really silly of me to be worried about. Now that I had a positive experience I'm open to doing it again - which is kinda a game changer for me and Shaun because it certainly changes how affordable a weekend getaway could be. I completely recommend giving it a try but I really wish someone had referred me when I signed up because if you use my referral when signing up you'll get a $40 travel credit.
***This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own and I paid for the accommodations with my own money. If you use my referral link you will receive a $40 travel credit and I will receive $20 credit so it's win-win for everyone and I would appreciate the support should you be interested in using airbnb in the future***