Want to save money traveling AND live like a local? Yeah, us too, which is why we choose to rent out spaces on AirBnB during our honeymoon in the San Francisco Bat Area. We didn't go for large spaces; just a few small studios that honestly gave us some great practice for our tiny apartment in NYC. During our stay we picked up on a few tricks that seemed crucial to share, so here's a few things we learned.
Location is more important than space.
Unless you plan on staying in your rented apartment or house the entire duration of your trip, don't bother spending lots of money on something huge. Oliver & I stayed in a few spaces that you could deem not liveable, but it hardly mattered since we were out and about all the time. What we cared about more was being near the action, or close to a train stop, instead of finding a place with more room. For example, we stayed in this tiny cabin in Berkeley, so small that the shower and sink were outside, no kitchen or fridge, and the bed came out of the couch. Yet, we were only a five minute drive from downtown Berkeley, and it was WAY cheaper than a hotel. It gave us the experience we wanted.
If you have a kitchen, cook dinners together.
One of our favorite things to do together is cooking, which meant that staying in places with kitchens did give us the opportunity to do something we love (and save money, duh). Instead of spending money eating out every meal, we prioritized our finances and only bought coffee and lunch out during our AirBnB stays with kitchens. Because of the money we were saving, that gave us the freedom to go somewhere fun for lunch instead of trying to keep it cheap all the time.
Scope out kitchen gear BEFORE recipe planning.
So glad we did this before grocery shopping, because if we didn't know what we had then some of our favorite recipes would have been impossible to make! One of our spaces didn't have baking dishes, but we wanted to make baked ziti, so we had to purchase aluminum baking dishes to make dinner. Imagine what would have happened if we had all those ingredients and didn't even check! So make sure you know what you are working with before planning what to cook.
Be communicative with your host.
Because sometimes people break wine glasses and their host should probably know about it...In all seriousness, we found that communicating with our host and making sure we are respecting their property helped us to have a more pleasant experience. Plus your host deserves to know if something is broken. Whoops.
Be respectful and tidy the space before leaving.
Even if some of the owners tell you to not bother washing, it's still kind to respect their space and keep it tidy. We were told to not bother washing our towels, but we did Clorox the kitchen, make the bed, and leave the space looking like it was when we first walked in. Plus, by respecting the space the owners will then write good reviews, which means having a trustworthy profile on AirBnB!
We found coming home to an actually HOME made our trip felt way more comforting instead of coming back to a stuffy, overpriced, fancy hotel. Maybe you feel differently, but we were happy with our decision to stay in AirBnB's during our honeymoon, and we look forward to future trips where we can stay in some other cool places.