Renting a home rather than staying in a hotel has some distinct advantages. However, it can be time-consuming to find the perfect rental, especially if you’re traveling with a group.
Recently, I traveled out to Colorado from Minnesota with two friends. We ultimately decided to rent a condo through Airbnb. Here’s what I learned, along with a few key takeaways for anyone considering renting through Airbnb or Vrbo.
Let’s start with the obvious: you’ll want to decide on an approximate location before you start searching for rentals.
We chose to fly into Denver and knew we wanted to be out in the mountains but didn’t want to drive for several hours after flying. With these parameters in mind, I set about searching Airbnb for some rental homes that were within 2 hours of Denver.
Payment and Budget
Perhaps tying for first priority with location is budget. When you travel with friends as I did, it’s important to establish what everyone is comfortable paying. That way, you don’t waste time researching the most amazing Airbnb ever, only to find out it’s out of someone’s budget.
You’ll be able to search Airbnb based on price, but know that pricing is deceiving. The ‘total’ displayed right away isn’t the actual total with all the taxes and fees. You’ll likely have to click on ‘Reserve’ to get a firm total for your stay.
Typically, you’ll reserve your rental with a credit card. However, you may be surprised to learn that you could actually book an Airbnb using cryptocurrency. You’ll need to convert your crypto into a gift card first, using a site like Bitrefill.
And Airbnb gift cards are just one of 4,000 different things you can buy with your cryptocurrency there. They currently support five forms of crypto: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, and Dogecoin. You’ll have a few options when you exchange your bitcoin for a gift card, though you will need to choose amounts in $25 or $50 increments.
Once you’ve established a budget, use Airbnb’s property filters to find exactly what you want in your price range.
For our getaway, we all wanted our own bedrooms and at least two bathrooms. A successful friend vacation combines time together with plenty of personal space, in my opinion! I was able to snag a fantastic condo out in Keystone, Colorado, that featured four master bedrooms. Each one of us had our own en suite bathroom, not to mention gorgeous mountain views.
Reviews and Descriptions
Be sure to look at the owner’s description of the property along with the photos. But do not neglect reading the reviews.
I almost didn’t book the four-bedroom Airbnb because the owner’s photos didn’t show any sort of mountain views. The place looked nice enough, but if I’m paying money to travel to the Rocky Mountains, I need some breathtaking mountain views.
Then I read the reviews on both Airbnb and Vrbo. A few helpful renters stated that the photos did not do the condo’s views justice and that every single bedroom boasted stunning views, along with the balcony.
I took a chance and decided to book the condo because of this. We were rewarded with glorious Rocky Mountain views along with our own bedroom suites, and a balcony that was the perfect place to sip our morning coffee while taking in the views.
These days, having flexibility with any kind of travel reservation is practically a requirement. Beware that some Airbnbs won’t let you cancel, or they’ll charge you 50 percent of your total fee if you do cancel. I understand why, but it was also important to us to have more flexibility here.
This Airbnb host allowed us to cancel 4 days before our arrival, which turned out to be incredibly beneficial. Unfortunately, one of our group members couldn’t go, so I messaged the Airbnb owner to inquire about a discount. I knew we were within our cancelation window and wanted to give her the opportunity to either rent it to us at a lower rate or direct us to another, smaller condo of hers if she had one.
I hesitate to write this because I don’t encourage you to ask for discounts on Airbnbs “just because.” We had a legitimate budget concern and I simply asked if she’d be willing to discount as one of our group members backed out. I didn’t demand and I didn’t assume she’d be willing to give us the discount, but she offered one for us that worked well for everybody.
Airbnb Versus Hotel
Hotels can be excellent lodging options on vacation for sure. An Airbnb has some distinct advantages, like having a group of friends together in one space with plenty of room for everyone. If you do decide to rent an Airbnb, take the time to do your research on location, budget, amenities, reviews, and cancelation policies.