When the creators of Airbnb pushed their idea in 2008, investors thought it was the strangest idea they had heard. People staying with strangers?! Well, we know the rest of the story. Today, Airbnb has become commonplace in the travel world.
Currently, Airbnb has:
More than 100 million users
2.3 million listings
Active in 57,000 cities and 191+ countries
(According to DMR Stats/Gadgets)
While it has been around for a while, I will finally be delving into the world of Airbnb this spring for international travel. (I know…I am a slow adopter.) Why you ask? We decided that staying at places with a kitchen would be better than going out to eat every meal. This way we can cook at home a little and enjoy our meals out more. At some point in a long travel itinerary, you simply put food in your mouth day after day without enjoying it. This way, we plan on enjoying coffee on our balcony, wine and cheese in our backyard, and salads overlooking a quiet neighborhood. Did I mention that there is a washer and dryer? That is another convenience I like. (Maybe there will be a vacuum cleaner too! If you don’t get this reference, read my previous blog entitled Vacuuming For Olympic Gold.)
I am more of a luxury traveler than a budget traveler so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the Airbnb search. What I found out is that there are a lot of properties that fit my “upscale” travel lifestyle. Simply by picking a destination, narrowing down my search with the number of bedrooms, location and price, I had plenty of homes to choose from. Once I narrowed down my selections, it was recommended to me to read the reviews- and not just one or two. The reviews will tell you what the listing will not. When you have picked your home, you can email the owner and get a dialogue going. When the terms are agreed upon, you click a button to confirm and pay. If you are traveling with others, you can email them an invitation to join you and see the link of the property. It is very easy to use and convenient. All the fees are posted, including nightly rate, cleaning fee, or extra person charges.
And if sharing someone’s home isn’t enough, you can find meal sharing experiences in different places too. What exactly does this mean? You can sign up for a dining experience in the US or abroad with a chef or just a person who loves to cook. It is kind of like eating at a chef’s table except you are not in a restaurant, but someone’s home. You share the experience with others or you can book your own group.
In Zagreb, Croatia, for example, Lidija will be serving the following menu (for $51 a person on EatWith) for an upcoming event at her home:
“Štrukli “- Baked local pasta filled with cottage cheese and cream, with bread crumbs on the top
Homemade Bacon or Prosciutto with Local Cow or Goat Cheese-Served with homemade bread and Croatian virgin olive oil
Roasted Organic Turkey or Chicken served with “Mlinci ” (“Mlinci” is a type of homemade pasta usually served with meat in the Northern part of Croatia.)
Roasted fresh fish and organic potatoes-Stuffed with garlic, olive oil, laurel, rosemary and lemon.
Light Seasonal Fruit Biscuit Cake
“Rožata”-A typical dalmatian desert made of eggs.
Sounds delicious, sign me up! I love the idea of meeting people from different places and enjoying a night of good food in someone’s home. I hope to be trying this out soon!
While some of these websites are just getting started, the idea is catching on. Check out these sites online: Feastly, EatWith, and MealSharing and Bon Appetour.
Travel is all about experiencing things from a different perspective. From where you stay, to what you eat, get out of your comfort zone and try something different.