As someone who loves to explore new places and go on short trips away, I’m always looking for more unique but budget places to stay. This is where Airbnb comes in.
For those of you that may not know, the idea of Airbnb is that private homeowners can rent out a room or a whole property to travellers. The main phrase used by Airbnb, “Don’t go there. Live there” summarises what the experience is like pretty well; you get a space that you can use as you would your own home. It’s a good option if you don’t want to pay hotel prices and want to come and go as you please but would also like something a bit more private than a hostel. Although, some of the more pricey listings on the site are simply incredible – think manor houses, luxury treehouses etc!
In terms of booking, all hosts are reviewed by their guests so you can see the experiences of previous visitors prior to booking. Some properties can be booked using the “Instant Book” function where you can immediately book the property at the listed price. However, to book the rest you usually have to send the host a message so that they can approve your stay.
My first message was along the lines of “Hi! I’m Charlotte, I’ll be visiting you with my boyfriend. We’ve been looking for somewhere a bit more unique to stay and your hut looks perfect! You look brilliantly located for us to explore the area and find some lovely walks and pubs too!”
The payment is all done online through the Airbnb site so there’s no worry about paying when you arrive/depart. The cancellation policies and payment info are all very well displayed on the site too so you’re not likely to get caught out as long as you have a good read!
I only used Airbnb for the first time on my recent trip to The Cotswolds at the start of April. My boyfriend and I wanted to stay somewhere a bit more unique but also somewhere that wasn’t a hotel, which led us to find a Shepherd’s Hut. Our Shepherd’s Hut had everything we could possibly have needed including TV, WiFi, a hob cooker, microwave and a lovely bathroom with a VERY hot shower (this was not a basic hut by any means). There was also an outdoor decking area with a table and chairs surrounded by fairy lights! Unfortunately being April it was a bit cold to sit outside, but it would be lovely in the summer for a BBQ and a glass of wine.
Some of you are probably imagining a hut to be tiny and cramped with not enough room to swing a cat, but we were actually both really surprised at how spacious it was. We were there for 2 nights so only had small bags but even with all of our clutter there was still plenty of floor space!
The hut was in an amazing location, 5 minutes to the centre of Naunton village and 10 minutes from the popular town of Bourton-on-the-Water. The hut itself was set amongst fields full of horses and was incredibly peaceful, all we could hear were birds with the exception of the odd tractor. We had super sunny weather for our stay too, so our mornings were spent looking out of the window next to the bed, letting the fresh air in and just watching the animals outside, perfect.
Our host Linda was extremely helpful, she made sure she was at the hut when we arrived in order to show us around as well as recommending us places to visit. She’d even left us some milk in the fridge along with plenty of tea, coffee, sugar and some biscuits! In this respect, it was almost like staying in a hotel as we had all the usual things that you would find in a hotel room, no need to worry about packing towels or hairdryers! We didn’t actually see our host other than on arrival and departure, but she left us all of her contact details incase there was anything we needed.
Overall I had an amazing experience for my first Airbnb and it was far better than I was expecting. I’ve even booked an Airbnb apartment for my upcoming trip to Edinburgh in May. If you’re looking for more of a “base” on your trip that’s more luxury than a hostel then Airbnb is definitely worth a look. They’ve also recently started offering experiences and tours too so that may be worth having a look into!
Let me know about your Airbnb experiences in the comments! You can also follow this link to get £30 credit for your first trip!
Hi, I'm Charlotte. I'm a UK based travel and lifestyle blogger and currently on a gap year. Keep up to date on all my adventures!