Last year when I was planning a trip to Lyon, France I spent hours searching for affordable hotels. I wanted a smaller hotel, with a bit of charm, in a good neighborhood for exploring the city. While there were some good options available,nothing was exactly affordable by my standards. I started asking friends and aquantances for recommendations in hopes that I could get an insiders scoop the accomodations in Lyon. That's when a friend suggestion that I look at a vacation rental. A quick Google search turned up Airbnb. How have I never seen this site before? Thousands, and I literally mean thousands for apartment owners have their places listed for short term stay. I was able to find the perfect quint little apartment located in a busy restaurant street, right in the core of the action. EXACTLY what I had wanted, and there was no way that a hotel could have a location this perfect.
Airbnb's advantage over staying in a hotel is that hotels lack charm. The instant you walk in (or out) of a hotel you are a tourist. They tend to be in touristy locations, have touristy recoommendations, and just all around aren't ideal for a traveller looking to really submerge themselves into the local culture and lifestyle. Not saying it can be done, but it's just harder. With Airbnb, I was able to read reviews from other travellers that had stayed there and to chat privately back and forth with the condo owner itself. She was lovely and personable. She even gave me her personal list of restaurants, sights to see, and overall ideas for my visit. It was a splendid change from the traditional Frommers / Lonely Planet guide books we tend to rely on these days!
New customers, get $25 off your first Airbnb stay when you join using this link.
Bon Voyage for now!