Why We Chose Airbnb for Our Vacation

July 22, 2013

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.

Tahoe Kitchen

The view was pretty phenomenal as well.

Tahoe Sunset

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.

Nob Hill 2

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.

Nob Hill 1

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!

Have you ever used a site like Airbnb when you travel, instead of a hotel?

Walking to a Healthy Life

July 17, 2013

I had grand plans this summer to pretty much do whatever I felt like in the running department. I don’t have any fall marathons coming up, so I knew I didn’t need crazy high mileage. I had planned to keep a 25 mile per week base, so I was capable of entering into races up to the half marathon distance. Well, I’m sure you noticed all of those sentences are in the past tense. Those plans have been a bit set to the side as my hip issues have returned.

I dealt with the issue when I was training for Chicago last summer, but it pretty much went away when I started training for the Kentucky Derby Marathon. I guess the injury just has to make itself known, and it back in full force. I’ve been icing, stretching, receiving acupuncture treatments, and visiting the chiropractor. I am really hoping it starts to get better – soon!

So what have I been doing to keep myself from not going stir crazy since my mileage is topping out around 8 miles per week? Other than cross training at the gym, I’ve been getting in lots of walking. Not only do I like it, but its great for another member of the family – Winnie B!

Winnie Gentle Lead


Just like running, walking also has a lot of great benefits for each and every one of us. I know – walking really doesn’t compare (at least to me) to running in terms of endorphins and that feeling of accomplishment, but it does provide many great benefits as well.

Walk-Infographic1 2



I am using the summer to listen to my body and really focus on getting this hip back on track. I see a lot more yoga, swimming, and walking in my near future!

Do you walk if you can’t run? Do you see benefits as well?

Work Week Sweat Down

July 15, 2013

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Here is a quick workout to start off your week!

Work Week Workouts

Mountain Biking at Tahoe XC

July 10, 2013

I think at some point or another, most of us have owned a mountain bike. Honestly, how many of you have actually gone mountain biking? Last week when we were in Lake Tahoe, I had my very first experience truly mountain biking, and it was amazing!

Mountain Biking 2

I was hesitant to go on any technical or challenging trails since I was truly a little bit scared. I was more than willing to give it a shot, but didn’t want to attempt anything too dangerous. We found the perfect happy medium when we came across Tahoe XC! In the winter, it serves as a cross country ski area, so it was perfect for the type of mountain biking we were looking for. There were plenty of trails, and lots of single tracks, so we really did have an amazing experience. We had the option fo choosing a few different bikes, all at different price ranges. We ended up choosing a “hard-tail”, meaning the bikes only had suspension in the front. Since we weren’t doing a very technical ride, we didn’t need the extra weight of the additional suspension.

Mountain biking

We ended up riding for about 2 hours before we really hit our limit. There were plenty of rolling hills, so it was a very challenging ride! We came across meadows full of wild flowers, along with plenty of other riders all seeming to have a wonderful time.

Mountain Biking 3

I am so glad we chose the location that we did. There were quite a few times where we sailed down hills full of rocks and obstacles. By the time we were finished, by arms and hands were so tired just from bracing myself. I can’t imagine going on a more technical trail!

Mountain Biking 4

The staff at Tahoe XC were very accommodating – I highly recommend them if you are looking for a place to mountain bike at Lake Tahoe.

Mountain Biking 5

Mountain Biking 6

Have you ever been mountain biking? Where did you do it?


July 8, 2013

I promised a new post today, but I am going to have to go back on that promise. Due to the tragedy at the San Francisco airport, Marcus and I have been seeing a lot of this


And this

We have had 4 flights canceled or delayed since Saturday morning, and are still trying to get home.

I am very thankful we have been on the fortunate side of this, with no major issues like those on Asiana flight 214.

We hope to be home today. See you in Tampa!