This was our experience...
Airbnb Rooms was released in Summer 2023 as a separate feature, but staying in a room or area of someone’s home has been a major part of Airbnb since its establishment.
We stayed in rooms or suites in the homes of locals when interrailing through Europe in Spring of 2023 and wanted to share our experience. We know it sounds a little awkward and scary but generally this is a great way to enrich your experience in a country and reduce the amount you spend on accommodation. We think it’s a great option especially if you’re only staying for a few days!
One experience we had with an Airbnb room was when we stayed in a private suite in someone’s home in Bologna, which was by far the best experience we had staying with a local! This meant that we had our own bedroom, bathroom, and even a mini kitchen and dining area, all on the top floor of a local’s home. The couple we stayed with were incredibly sweet, and left a full breakfast outside the door to the suite every morning! They also spoke to us and gave us some great recommendations of things to do and places to eat in Bologna which we really appreciated. This stay was so much more reasonably priced than hotels and our own apartments in the area, and we got to understand what life was like for these kind, accommodating local residents. They really respected our privacy and said we could come and go as much as we wanted to, at any time of day!
We stayed in another suite like this in Thun, Switzerland. It not only had a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom, it had an amazing view of the mountains!! The only downside was that it was in the loft of a family home, and you did have to walk through their home to get up, which felt a little awkward at times. If you stay in rooms in other people’s homes, of course you have to be prepared for this sort of thing sometimes. However, this “room” was significantly cheaper than any nearby hotel and it came with local recommendations, a mountain view and a kitchen to prepare our own food - which we definitely appreciated after seeing the prices to eat out in Switzerland!
Speaking of places that are a little more expensive, we were planning to head to Amsterdam or Rotterdam towards the end of our interrailing trip. However, our budget was becoming very low and if you’ve ever looked at having a short break to Amsterdam, you’ll understand why we decided against staying in the city centre! Hotels and Airbnbs are incredibly expensive in both cities, so we ended up staying in the small town Gouda for a few days and getting the train into Amsterdam and Rotterdam as day trips. We stayed on a sofa-bed in someone’s apartment! This sounds a lot worse than it was, we had a private room and full access to her bathroom and kitchen if we needed it. If you’re literally just looking at accommodation as somewhere to sleep and shower like we were, and planning to head out for the day as much as possible, you should have absolutely no issues staying somewhere like this. Our host, yet again, gave us a huge list of recommendations for the area, meaning we got to explore Gouda so much more. We never would’ve visited if it wasn’t for this great host! If sharing a bathroom isn’t your thing, this could be a struggle, but we found our host’s bathroom to be perfectly clean and nearly always available.
We know Airbnb Rooms aren’t for everyone, and it can seem like such a daunting idea to go and stay in a stranger’s home. But with their new features, the hosts now have profiles, so you can get to know them a little before you visit. Of course, we know people have had negative experiences staying with locals, and we aren’t saying this isn’t without its dangers, but as long as you check the reviews and feel comfortable, we would urge you to try it. Experience something new, meet the locals, and save yourself a bit of cash too.
Hopefully this has helped you to understand Airbnb's new feature and what it's really like. Feel free to let us know what your experience has been like or ask any questions by tagging us on Instagram, or sending us a DM! - Jess :)