Somehow, you got stuck planning all of the lodging for your upcoming vacation.
Oh isn’t it great to be the organized, responsible friend?!
So basically, everyones happiness and the future capability to roll good-times falls on you!
You wanna bail.
BUT, you’re in luck…
Some people have a knack for finding awesome digs while vacation planning
and I like to believe I happen to be one of them.
My wake up view from one of the best air bnb's EVER!! (link below!)
A Stress Free Guide for Finding The Perfect AirBnb:
When I plan a trip, I never like to have a “home base.”
I like to go from town to town, taking advantage of being in close proximity (for a night or two) to everything each different place has to offer. Even if it means living out of a suticase that somehow always gets messy and needs to be reorganized...every..single..day.
Coordination of good adventure spots and convenient but dreamy and unique sleeping quarters is my specialty, my friends get so excited when I say I want to go away & always give me full control of the planning (thankssss guys).
I don’t know if it’s pure, dumb luck or the down-for-anything attitude and flexibility I can always count on from my usual travel companions, but we always seem to score the perfect place at the perfect price.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no “right” way to do this, there is only what works best for you! The clearer your plans are the easier it will be, so organization and proper dedication to planning is key.
The first thing I do once I book a flight is make a list of destinations within my destination, and map them out, (on an actual map, but I guess you can use google) in the order that makes the most sense to me!
Once you can physically see where you’re planning on going for fun, you can start comprising a plan for where you’ll sleep each night.
I usually like to go in a loop, but if you like to bounce back and forth from a home base, that’s a great experience too—all a matter of preference!
If you're loopy like me (ha), ask yourself, would you rather do the bulk of your driving at night or in the morning? Maybe a mix? We don't like to waste valuable daylight hours cramped in the car... not to mention we have a hard time getting our butts out on time in the early AM... plus, we don't mind drinking a few extra cups of coffee and temporarily skimping on our beauty sleep for extra adventure time (and of course emailing our host that we're planning a late check-in). So for this reason, I tend to base where I sleep each night on where I plan to be by the following morning, doing the drives at night instead of in the morning! I feel I can better utilize my time this way, but different strokes for different folks.
Ask yourself these things.
Figure out what works best.
Once you establish your destinations, you’re almost ready to searching for that perfect place..or places!
Here, it is important to designate who is responsible for the bookings and establish a nightly budget/a total budget for the duration of the trip.
(Discuss this with your group.)
AirBnb can divvy up the payments between guests, or one user can book it and then split the cost amongst their group. Sometimes we take turns booking and then just exchange the differences of what we spent (I make a payment chart to keep track of each person's spending).
Usually, I find we are willing to spend $30-45/person/night (about $250-350/person for a week), sometimes we will score a great deal and only need to spend $15/person, and sometimes we go all treat-yo-self and spend $70 per person, thats why it helps to figure out both your nightly and weekly (more or less) budgets!
AirBnbing booking can be a balancing act!
Next, go to AirBnb's website (if you're new sign up here & you'll save $ on your first booking!)
and specify your:
number of travelers,
maximum nightly price,
rental type (you can rent an entire place privately or stay with an AirBnb host)
and general location.
If you want, you can also search for places with specific amenities like AC, washer/dryer, hot tub, etc.—the more specific you are, the number of results will decrease, so only check your absolute must haves!
Now, see the beautifully comprised list, with little pictures of each place that comes up? Ignore that list!!! Check out the map feature to find an ideal location, I tend to look farther away from the cities & closer to dark skies and wilderness areas. this, again is a matter of preference!
Start exploring the map and comprise a list of favorites, separately organized by area.
When searching, zoom in and reload the map, sooooooo many more properties will come up with a more specific map search!
Assuming you are starting your search early (meaning 3+ months in advance) my best advice is:
Don’t book the first places you see!
Seriously, I could be in love with the first one, and the warning that 90% of properties are already booked is blaring red at the top of the screen, but you learn to ignore all of the pressure-you-into-buying-stuff techniques the internet throws at you (they're probably bluffing anyways).
I take my chances, I scour for WEEKS, checking every single day.
In doing this, you'll find the amount of available properties is always changing with new hosts and listings and of course, cancellations.
I read all of the details and rules for each property as each one differs, I make sure the user has reviews & actually read them all.
I look at the pictures: can I see this space as functional and aesthetically pleasing for my group? Do the listing specs match the property? (one time we weren’t careful and rented a “3 bedroom” for 3 couples that actually only had 1 bedroom, with a couch and an air mattress on the floor...sounds cozy, right?!—you can all learn from my rookie mistakes!)
Are there cooking utensils available?
Do the hosts have any pets? (I have a cat allergy).
Do I really need a hot tub in the desert???
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...
The Airbnb community is so wonderful and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the hosts, just use the same caution you always would, be polite and respectful, and ask whatever questions you need to before booking to feel comfortable!
If one you like gets booked, its fine, it wasn’t meant to be and you’ll find one better, never once have I had a regretful thought like, “man I should have booked that one!”
The perfect place always just jumps out to me—I just feel it when I see it, like, this is the one!
Here are some of the AMAZING places I stayed at on my last trip to Colorado/Utah:
Alma, CO (Breckenridge)
Moab, UT (1)
Moab, UT (2)
Lyons, CO (Estes)
In the past, I've read travel blogs, followed other adventurers on instagram, or even pinterest/google search “the best air bnb’s in ___________” but keep in mind a lot of these don’t take budget or group size into account.
I’ve found the best method to be just simply taking your time with it, which is how I found all of those above.
So, about 6 weeks out is when I really start solidifying my plans, narrowing down my options, and finally, booking.
Make sure you communicate with your hosts as your trip is approaching, voice concerns, ask questions, keep them updated in a reasonable amount of time if your plans should change.
Oh, and don’t forget to pre-download check-in instructions, sometimes cell service can be spotty!
Most hosts put the most thoughtful touches into the beautiful spaces they open to us, so we love to leave little gifts for our hosts, like teas, chocolates or thank you cards; the AirBnb-ers are a truly lovely community that we are lucky to be a part of!
Have fun, explore, spread good vibes.
Most importantly, welcome home, for the night.
New to the AirBnb community? No worries, we'll get you wandering soon! Save money on your first booking by registering for a free account here!
Also! Please visit our friends over at Pen and Trail, an online travel magazine where you can read my upcoming trip planning guide “For the Un-traveled Traveler” and tons of other amazing travel stories written by a network of great adventurers!