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Navigating AirBnB

A mere ten years ago, AirBnB came onto the tourist scene, and it’s made quite a splash. It’s an easy way for people to make money, simply by renting out an extra room or a seasonal home. It’s also wildly convenient for travelers: flexible check-in times, the amenities of a home rather than just a bed and bathroom provided by hotels, not to mention the kind and helpful hosts characteristic of AirBnB. Above all, AirBnB provides a wide price range while still ensuring a quality stay. Though popular among both travelers and those with an extra bed in desirable locations, many cities have been protesting the company, as it makes tourism more accessible and hence has contributed to cities completely overrun with tourists. Before, tourism was limited to the amount of beds in a hotel, but now, anyone willing can rent out a room, increasing the number of tourists a place is able to host.

As a college student, I’m always looking for the most affordable options when traveling. Be it a hostel, a friend’s couch, or an AirBnB, if it’s saving me money, chances are I’ll do it. A lot of people like to invest in a nice hotel with beautiful views, and while a few fluffy pillows and a hot tub sound nice, when I’m on a budget, I’d rather spend my money experiencing new things. Besides, if you’re touring right, the only time you should be in your room is when you’re sleeping! 

A snapshot of our picturesque and affordable place in Marseille from the AirBnB website.

Seeing as though most of the time I have been traveling with friends this summer, AirBnB has been the cheapest option for me! For example, a group of 6 of us stayed at an AirBnB righton the Mediterranean coast in the city of Marseille, and I only had to pay $100 for the whole weekend, whereas the cheapest hotel in the area was 150+ per night. Or this past weekend, I went to Aix-en-Provence with a friend and found an AirBnB smack in the center of town for less than $40 a night. 

At only $40 a night, we can’t complain when the bathroom is a tad… narrow!

Before making your reservation, be sure to read the listing in its entirety. Unlike hotel rooms, each AirBnB is different, so if you require certain amenities, make sure to check if the place has them! For example, most people in France do not install air conditioning, and therefore many AirBnBs are not climatized. Additionally, things like WIFI, towels, free parking and soap are not always guaranteed, so be sure to check. 

Rooftop view from our AirBnB in the center of Aix-en-Provence!

Pro tip: once you make your AirBnB account, share the link provided with a friend to get them to sign up. If they make an account (they don’t even have to make a reservation!) then you get a credit towards your next reservation, making your booking even cheaper!

If you’re traveling with friends, I think AirBnBs are a great option. However, most places are full apartments with a minimum fee, so it may be pricey to get one just for yourself. If you are traveling alone, consider checking out some hostels. They are a very cheap option, and most are actually pretty nice! If you don’t feel comfortable sharing rooms with strangers (it can be a great way to meet new people!), many hostels offer individual rooms at a rate cheaper than any hotel. 

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