I know we’re a bit late to the table here, but thanks to our friends who we met in France encouraging us to to use the app we went ahead and booked! (Also thanks to the flood, because without our caravan getting ruined we wouldn’t have needed it anyway!)
Using the app we found really easy, I had previously looked into booking before and got a bit confused by everything and always ended up leaving it as I was still a bit unsure! Maybe they’ve changed the search process a bit, maybe I’ve gained more confidence in the idea or maybe both!
We had a search around and booked in at an apartment in Lloret De Mar for 19 nights. We chose it as a good base to explore Barcelona without being right in the city, with a few beaches nearby and lots of interesting places to explore it ticked our boxes.
We since found that the city is probably a little bit too far at just over an hours drive away, you then have to find parking! With public transport it worked out over two hours away due to the changes etc. Maybe it’s not so bad if travelling without young children. We find it pretty tricky to plan days out to fit it all in to be honest. By the time 5 people are up, fed, cleaned and dressed. We then tidy the apartment and pack up the car for the day, it’s often pushing midday before we actually get where we’re going! On the occasional time when we’re organised enough to sort a packed lunch beforehand it CAN work a bit better!
Anyway back to our booking… Ben was getting a bit anal about finding accommodation suitable enough for storing the trailer too so it was good to have somewhere with a secure underground parking! I should also mention you can chose if you share accommodation or have the entire place – which is what we select, as a large family it just suits us (and most likely others) better!! So we booked and paid upfront and were greeted by the host on arrival. (Initially this poses a bit of apprehension because you wonder if they might be a weirdo) – in our case we were surprised to find a normal and friendly guy! 😆 Who couldn’t do enough to help us out, we had an issue with WiFi (there’s ALWAYS one isn’t there, let’s face it.) Being in Spain I said to Ben we have to get used to ‘mañana’… it may not be fixed before we leave! I was wrong, our host had it sorted the next day! 😊
The apartment was really well equipped with everything and more than we could think of, it also had an onsite pool, gym and small children’s play area! We couldn’t understand why we didn’t need to pay a security deposit or similar to book but apparently, and forgive me if you already know this, but it’s covered through air bnb’s insurance. Ben got friendly with the host and went for a few beers with him, they even had a farewell beer on the last night 😆 so I asked him if we should wash and make up the beds etc ready when we leave, apparently we didn’t need to do anything as we paid the cleaning fee! It seemed mad to think we had spent all this time here (at a great price) and didn’t need to do anything at the end! It just feels a bit more personal knowing it’s someone’s actual property rather than a hotel! Especially given that we had enjoyed our stay so much it felt right to clean the whole place before we left. Though it was prob pointless if the cleaners were coming, but still. 🤷🏼♀️
We’ve noticed that a lot of properties listed seem to be managed through companies on behalf of the owner. Sometimes this probably works better and could possibly be more professional, but do tread carefully. We noticed that when reading through the description on some there were lots of fees being added on top to pay locally, per day etc. Which could easily be missed if you didn’t read it thoroughly. Personally I think that’s a bit cheeky, when some you see advertised at face value and others just make it look a lot better than it is.
After your stay you can review the accommodation – equally before booking you can also read the feedback on somewhere in areas such as cleanliness, response times etc. If there’s anything you wanted to let the host know privately you can do this as well as leaving a public review. You’re also able to contact the host directly during the stay should you need to!
We have a few more booked and we’re excited to be checking out different accommodation and new surroundings! Overall we’re loving using air bnb and, wait for it, it’s actually often CHEAPER than staying in our caravan on a site a lot of the time!! Given we were spending so much extra on campsite washing machines and the added cost of towing! We miss the social aspect of caravan living and the early wake ups and overall time spent outside does seem to be more when you’re staying at campsites. I have to say though it’s been a huge release not to be setting up an awning, constantly tidying and decluttering such a small space. Being in the apartments we’ve been spiked with a dishwasher, washing machine (forgot how good it feels to have a washing machine!!) Even though Ben does the washing, but that’s another story. Looking ahead to our next accommodation with a BATH. Hell to the yeah. Winner all round.
Do you have any air bnb experiences to share with us??