AirBNB is a lodging alternative to hotels or hostels when traveling in the United States and other parts of the world. The online booking resource allows apartment or home owners to rent out their space to those traveling to their city, just as you would a hotel room. Options vary from private rooms within a space to renting out the entire home or apartment if you prefer more privacy. I was recently asked if I thought this was a viable option for lodging while traveling for meetings, conferences, and events so I wanted to share my thoughts.
How I travel
I have spent much of my life traveling, for business or for pleasure. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many popular cities in the U.S. and across the world to attend conferences or plan events. These have included San Diego, Las Vegas, Orlando, Chicago, Houston, and many, many more. So to say I am comfortable with business travel is an understatement.
When I travel as an attendee to an event and have some free time to explore the city, I like to visit the least “touristy” areas. I want to go where the locals go. See what the city natives eat, where they socialize, and where they frequent in their free time. I feel that this is so much more of an enriching experience than sticking to the areas that cater to tourists.
Going off the Beaten Path
When you go off the beaten path while traveling, you can find some of the greatest privately owned restaurants with fabulous food and other unique gems. Shopping at small boutiques and art stores is one of my daughter and my favorite things to do while traveling. Not only do you get to see some fun things, but it’s a great feeling knowing you are supporting small business owners and the prices aren’t overpriced like it is often found in high traffic areas.
This being said, I believe traveling as an attendee AirBNB is a great option for those of you who are comfortable doing so! It allows you to experience a neighborhood and daily living of residents. Plus, you can often find a place that has a washer and dryer and full kitchen to take advantage of those amenities. Prices vary depending on the city and the space you are looking at. Often those closer to downtown are more expensive and it does cost more to rent out an entire space versus a private room.
My Daughter’s Experience with AirBNB
My daughter has used AirBNB multiple times and has nothing but great things to say. When I asked her about her experiences, this is what she said. “My husband and I love using AirBNB to travel. We prefer to stay places with amenities that feel like home. We used AirBNB while traveling around Spain for our honeymoon and a more recent trip to Chicago. Each experience has been amazing with the hosts willing to tell us the best places to visit, where to avoid, and even having breakfast available at some places. One host was standing outside to greet us when we arrived at 3am and had no cell service or wifi to call and another host urged us to go to the city center to explore when we thought we were too worn out to do so. We already know where we’ll be staying again if we ever re-visit those cities! If I had to share some advice with those considering AirBNB, read the reviews! We never book a place without seeing what past guests have to say and without a fair number of photos to see where we’re staying. If you haven’t tried it yet – go for it!”
A Final Note on AirBNB for Event Travel
While I definitely believe that AirBNB is a viable option for conference and event travel as a guest, I would caution using it while in the role of planner or producer. I like to stay on site of my events so that I can run back to the room to freshen up or switch outfits between setup and show time. However, if you are someone who can pack your event bag efficiently or want somewhere where the whole event team can stay and work when not on-site this could work for you too!
Have you ever stayed at AirBNB for work? If so, was it while you were an attendee or planning the event? We’d love to hear your experiences!