First off, I want to start by saying I was not paid or compensated for this post. I had a really great experience on vacation, and want to share it with you!
When Marcus and I started planning our summer vacation, we knew we wanted to go out west to Tahoe and San Francisco. These can be fairly expensive destinations, so we knew we would need to look around to find the perfect spot to stay. We started off looking at pretty standard places – Marriott’s, Embassy Suites, Hilton’s etc. We found for the $250-$300 price range, we were really just getting some pretty standard spots – nothing bad, but nothing all that great either. We decided to look at other alternatives.
When I worked at my job in the internet marketing industry, I met a lot of great people. One of those people happened to work at Airbnb, “a marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world”. I had heard a lot about the site, and wanted to check it out for myself. There are houses and apartments on every end of the spectrum, from single rooms in houses, full houses for rent, and everywhere in between.
We started looking at all of the places in both Tahoe and San Francisco that fit our budget, and came across quite a few. Our criteria was pretty simple, really. We wanted a place with a kitchen, in a good location, that was well-kept and clean. We were able to find our perfect match in both locations! We just used their search function on the site and checked for our available dates online. It then puts in a request to the owner for them to approve your rental. Once that is done, the space is yours for your requested dates. It really is that easy.
We chose South Lake Tahoe for our stay. The place we found was absolutely perfect. It was right on the lake, fully updated, and was incredible. It had a great kitchen, so we were able to cook breakfast in each morning, which was perfect before our full days of hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor fun.
The view was pretty phenomenal as well.
Everything we needed was in the condo – pots, pans, dishes, a coffee maker, and even a washer and dryer –> such an amazing bonus when staying in an outdoor focused spot! We ended up usually wearing at least 2 outfits a day depending on our activity, so not having to worry about whether or not we would have clean clothes was wonderful. Before I forget to mention, our accommodations in Lake Tahoe were only $135 a night, which to me, was a steal. It would have been pretty hard to beat that price, considering everything we had.
Go ahead and check out the condo we stayed in South Lake Tahoe! If you head over there, I highly recommend it!
As for San Francisco, the city is much bigger than South Lake Tahoe, so we had to do a bit more research as to where we were going to rent a place. I had stayed at the Fairmont about a year ago, and remembered loving the area it was in, so I decided to go with that general vicinity. We stumbled upon a studio apartment just a couple of blocks from Mason Street, a pretty heavily travelled area. It was a great spot with easy access to restaurants, grocery stores, and the cable cars. Since we would be there over the 4th of July, the roof top deck didn’t hurt either. We were able to catch the fireworks from up top, which I loved. We didn’t have to deal with the crazy crowds and trying to get back to our place alongside thousands of other people. It was perfect.
Photo from Airbnb
The studio in Nob Hill also had a kitchen, but we didn’t end up using it nearly as much as we did in Lake Tahoe. San Francisco has so many more walkable spots and cute diners, so we chose to check those out instead. It was still really nice to be in an actual apartment than just a standard hotel room though. Of course, we didn’t have simple things like room service and towel refreshes, but I was ok to forego that for the space. Of course, it was nothing crazy in San Francisco (given that it is a big city) but the accommodations were still really nice.
Photo from Airbnb
Check out the studio we stayed in Nob Hill here. For $140 a night, the price was absolutely right!
Before we arrived at both destinations, we were given the owner’s contact information in case we needed anything at all. We did end up using it for a few little things, and both owners were very quick to get back to us. They do put a security deposit down when you stay, and are very quick to get it back to you once you check out and everything is good to go.
I think the biggest difference between using a site like Airbnb and just renting a hotel room is Airbnb charges your credit card as soon as you reserve the space. This was actually a positive in my book, since we booked it back in January. We were able to break up a bit of our travel expenses, which was really good for us. We weren’t looking at everything being charged the week we were gone. Between the sleeping space, our airplane tickets, and actual expenses during vacation, we had about 6 months to get everything handled and paid. It worked really well for us.
I highly recommend using Airbnb the next time you travel. It was simple to reserve the space and really made me feel like we had a nice place to stay in. Being away from home for a week can be a little trying sometimes, but when you have a great place to stay in that feels like home, it is a lot easier!