Why Airbnb Rentals Are An Excellent Family Accommodation Choice (and on the rise)

We decided last minute to return to Nashville after spending 4 days in Memphis.

I spent most of the three-hour car trip searching for family accommodation and places to stay in Nashville. Everything was so expensive and I got tired of the added fees jacking up hotel prices.

It looked like I was getting a semi-good deal on a hotel but then when you added on taxes and parking it wasn’t so.

I had checked for Airbnb rentals previously but had not found anything.

After an hour and a half of checking multiple hotel search engine sites, I turned to Craig,

“I could be using this time to catch up on writing. I’m over this. I’m going to check Airbnb one more time and if not we’ll have to suck up the hotel prices somewhere.”

I opened the Airbnb website and there was our perfect family accommodation rental waiting for us.

The price was $125 a night for our Nashville Airbnb. The cheapest hotels in Nashville we could find were around $160, and that was before the extra costs associated with hotel stays.

Not to mention all the tips we’d have to add on top and the cost of eating out for three meals a day for a family of four. Ouch.

The family Airbnb rental was in East Nashville, close to everything we needed.

It was a five-minute drive to the free parking near the pedestrian bridge in Nashville, which was just another five-minute walk across the river to Broadway in downtown Nashville.

people walking on a bridge
Walking across the pedestrian bridge in Nashville

The Airbnb family rental came with a kitchen, Netflix (I know priority), free Wi-Fi, free parking, and two bedrooms. It was newly listed and above the home of a lovely family.

The Airbnb hosts greeted us upon arrival and couldn’t do enough to make sure our stay was a happy one.

They also had two girls Kalyra and Savannah’s age. The girls spent the next few days playing together out in the backyard on the trampoline.

We planned to stay in Nashville this time to catch up on work so it was the perfect family accommodation for that.

This is exactly why Airbnb rentals are an excellent family friendly accommodation choice and are on the rise for those who travel with kids (or without).

The third annual Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index released by Allianz Global Assistance USA shows that the popularity of the sharing economy for summer travel booking has tripled within two years, with 50 percent of travelers likely (26 percent very/ 25 percent somewhat) to use services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb this year compared to 36 percent in 2016 and 17 percent in 2015.

That’s a huge jump and I am not surprised.

Airbnb rentals can be way cheaper than a hotel stay

Great Darwin Accommodation in Cullen Bay
View from our Airbnb in Darwin, Australia

Hotels can be expensive places to stay, especially if you want to stay close to downtown or tourist areas.

Here are just a few of the extra costs associated with a hotel stay:

  • Parking
  • Taxes
  • Booking fees
  • Resort fees – these are ridiculously expensive
  • Wi-Fi
  • High mini bar prices
  • High prices in hotel restaurants etc.
  • Tips

The more people you have in your family, the more expensive the hotel room becomes. If you break the mold of the two child family, then you’re more than likely going to need to rent two hotel rooms. Ouch!

With Airbnb, you usually pay for the entire house, not per person or room. (Caveat – some places will charge for extra people if it’s over the capacity of the number of beds in the house. Usually, you can find a great deal on an Airbnb rental to suit the number in your party without paying extra.)

You can often find a great deal on an Airbnb property, even if you are arriving last minute to a destination, or during high season.

Note, this may not always be the case as Airbnb is increasing in popularity. But, we have shown this to be the case on numerous times, including our recent deal in Nashville.

We have saved hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, the past couple of years on family accommodation thanks to Airbnb and vacation rentals, especially on our 18-month road trip around Australia. So, of course, we are raving fans.

This one below was our favorite deal ever.

In 2015, we planned to spend Australia Day in Margaret River, a hugely popular wine region in Western Australia, especially during the summer and on a public holiday like this.

We couldn’t even find a budget cabin in a caravan park for under $250 a night.

Airbnb to the rescue.

Margaret River Weekend Getaway - Western Australia
Our Airbnb in Margaret River, Western Australia

We found the most incredible family accommodation in Margaret River – an 8 bedroom home with a pool room, toys and videos for the girls, a huge kitchen and dining room and on a large property in the bush. For only $250 a night.

We invited two other couples to stay with us for a few nights, which made it even cheaper.

Imagine if you traveled with two other families and stayed in a hotel? The price would be huge.

We were able to pool our money to cook amazing food, drink wine, dance and play pool and save even more money on eating out. We had the best Australia Day ever.

Note: On my last Airbnb family stay, we rented a cute beach cottage halfway between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. I noticed that taxes and extra Airbnb fees were added in, which I hadn’t noticed before.

Our Airbnb in Wilmington, North Carolina
Our Airbnb in Wilmington, North Carolina

I’m not sure if this is new or just a North Carolina state thing. But do be aware of this as it did hike up the price. Because we were busy exploring every day, we mostly ate out and may have gotten a better deal in a hotel.

But, we mostly prefer Airbnb because of its home like feel, and it’s typically an easier option for us when searching for and booking our family accommodation.

Having a more local feel when you travel

Margaret River Weekend Getaway
Our Airbnb in Margaret River

When pitted head-to-head with traditional travel services, the sharing economy is seen by Americans as the better value (35 percent; up nine percent from 2016) and provides a more authentic local experience (33 percent; up 11 percent). While traditional services still outperform the sharing economy when it comes to customer service, for many Americans, the experience is the same, regardless of which service is being used. – Allianz Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index

While (in the US at least) you can be pretty certain you’ll receive quality service in a hotel, but that service comes at a price AND it’s not the local experience travelers are searching for.

Share economy sites like Airbnb are becoming more popular among travelers because they are seeking the more local feel. They are done with the tourist hype and only checking off bucket list items – they want to travel like a local lives.

When you check into an Airbnb, you usually have a welcome booklet, with local tips from the owner – their favorite cafes and restaurants – and sometimes a complimentary bottle of wine.

I found some of the best views, bars and places to eat because of my Airbnb host in Downtown LA. She also, for a small price, drove me to the airport when it was time for me to leave.

She became a friend to me on that trip and made me appreciate my time in Downtown LA way more than I thought I would.

Share economy is more personal and easier

Margaret River Weekend Getaway - Western Australia
Our Airbnb in Margaret River

One reason I embrace the Uber/Lyft sharing economy as well is because of the local touch.

I’ve had amazing conversations with Uber and Lyft drivers. I don’t know why, but they seem more personable and open than taxi drivers.

They love the opportunity the sharing economy has given them so they tend to tell me more about their lives and they share many great local tips.

Our girls love Uber. When we lived on the Gold Coast for 18 months, we did not own a car so we often caught an Uber if it was raining or we had to go long distances.

Sometimes the girls would beg us to get an Uber just to go down the end of our street. Of course, they loved the mints and bottled water waiting for them inside the car!!

The ease of getting an Uber makes it a fantastic way to get around when you travel. Just pull out your phone, drop the pin on your location and hit request. You know where it is at all times and when it will arrive.

Searching for family accommodation on Airbnb is also easy.

I love how you can create lists of properties you are interested in the destination you are visiting, so you can easily check in on them. And only properties that are available for the searched dates are shown.

Nothing drives me crazier than searching for hotel accommodation with specific dates and you get close to booking only to have them say your dates are not available.

Or you get to the end and they reveal the real price! Airbnb tells you it all upfront.

Airbnb rentals give families more space

Darwin accommodation via AirBnB
Our Airbnb in Darwin, Australia

One thing I can’t stand about staying in hotel rooms as a family is the lack of space.

It makes it hard for us to get work done, or for our kids to play or get their school work done. There is no personal space.

I do notice a huge difference with this when we stay at an Airbnb. The girls are far more settled, they have their own space to play, especially if we are renting a home with a backyard.

This does make a huge difference if you are traveling a lot together. Space is so essential for everyone’s sanity.

“In the years that we’ve conducted the Sharing Economy Index, it has been incredible to see the significant growth in familiarity and use of sharing economy services for summer travel,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “We’re seeing more and more travelers, especially millennials, utilizing services like Airbnb because they are seeking value and a locally authentic experience.”

The sharing economy can make travel better, easier and more local.

It’s a fantastic option for family travelers, especially those who may have nervous traveling children. An Airbnb property will help them feel more comfortable as it is more like home.

 Airbnb Complaints: Downsides and Potential problems

Where to stay in Exmouth, Western Australia

The sharing economy is a great disruptor.

It’s forcing things to change in the travel industry to help the travel experience be cheaper, better and more local for you.

I do see this as an opportunity for hotels to step up and improve what they offer and their price, I’m yet to really see any one do anything outstanding enough to compete and make me want to choose a hotel over an Airbnb for my family accommodation needs.

Airbnb is my first choice most of the time.

Airbnb sometimes may not be a suitable or a cheaper choice for family accommodation

However, there are some downsides and situations where you may not want to rent an Airbnb when traveling as a family.

Some of them include:

  • Short city trips
  • Overnight stays
  • If you want full service
  • If you want a resort style experience
  • If you can find deals like kids stay or eat free
  • If you can use reward points
  • If you don’t require self-catering accommodation
  • If you won’t have time to use the full facilities

For all of these situations, you may end up getting a better deal with a hotel but do your research.

With Airbnb rentals, you will have to clean

When you rent an Airbnb you will be taking care of cooking and cleaning yourself. However, you also pay a cleaning fee.

I’d like to see more guidelines from Airbnb in regards to this and the expectations of what cleaning you are responsible for during your stay. I think if you are paying a cleaning fee, then you do not have to leave the Airbnb rental spotless.

I think being responsible for cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen and leaving it in a respectable state is fine.

However, I have had some hosts requesting that I strip all the beds and put the linen in the washing machine. I’m generally okay with this, and happy to help, but I do get annoyed to be charged a cleaning fee if I’m expected to do this!

I also had one host complaining that we left the house in a mess. She could not define for me what her expectations were considering we put the towels in a pile on the floor ready for her to wash.

We put the dishwasher on and wiped down the benches and as there were no instructions for garbage disposal we left the trash tidy and organized.

We left the sofa bed out so she could easily strip the sheets and remake it. I was baffled as to how it was messy. What was messy, was when we checked in and the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes and the coffee pot full of old cold coffee.

You win some you lose some.

Airbnb needs to work with the hosts to create clearer cleaning guidelines.

You can’t make your guests pay for the cleaning fee and then ask them to clean beyond general tidy up after yourself or get cranky if they haven’t vacuumed and mopped the floors.

Lack of trust

While familiarity and likelihood of using sharing economy services have risen significantly since 2015, fewer than two in ten (17 percent) Americans are willing to say they are “very trusting” of services, leaving the majority (83 percent) at least somewhat skeptical (48 percent somewhat trustworthy/ 13 percent not very trustworthy/ 5 percent not at all trustworthy/17 percent not sure).

The hesitation for some Americans to trust the evolving gig economy may be the result of recent negative stories in the news. On learning of the latest reports of safety and regulation concerns relating to ride-sharing services, one in three (35 percent) Americans say they are now less likely to use these services in the future. Conversely, half (50 percent) reported that this news has no impact on their decision to use ride-sharing services.

Personally, I have not had any real negative Airbnb experiences, although I have heard of some complaining that their Airbnb host canceled at the last minute.

My advice is to read the Airbnb reviews of each place carefully.

See if you can get a feel as to whether the hosts sometimes lives in the Airbnb rental. This could lead to potential problems if they change their mind about wanting to stay in their own house.

Do a thorough research of the Airbnb’s location and study those photographs.

If there are any problems, contact Airbnb. And if there are any problems during your stay, reach out to the hosts to try and solve it immediately.

All the hosts we have had through Airbnb have been very accommodating and accessible via the Airbnb app.

In regards to Uber being unsafe, I don’t see how it’s any different to taxi cabs. You put your safety in their hands as soon as you get in the car – Uber driver or taxi cab driver.

There have been stories of taxi cab drivers committing crimes. I guess I feel safe knowing that the ride is being recorded on my app. And it doesn’t affect me using ride sharing services at all.

Disrupting the local communities

I feel the biggest problem Airbnb seems to be creating lately is the negative effects it can have on local communities.

It’s a tough one. On one hand, it’s helping local property owners earn a side income.

However, people are now starting to purchase properties purely to rent out on Airbnb, or they are turning their investment properties into Airbnb properties, which means long-term rental accommodation availability for local residents is seriously declining and rental rates are increasing.

Also, many communities and neighborhoods are unhappy with the different people frequently coming in and out of the neighborhood all the time and the noise levels that may increase should tourists be enjoying their travels a little too much.

Most Airbnb properties have very strict party rules though.

I have read a few articles recently how Airbnb has really changed the vibe of many communities and people are moving out which is destroying the local feel that people rent an Airbnb for in the first place!

I think it’s a difficult challenge and one I’d like to see Airbnb, hosts, community members and government work together more on.

The sharing economy and Airbnb is brilliant, but I also don’t want to see local communities disrupted so much and residents’ lives affected in detrimental ways.

Do you love Airbnb for your family accommodation choice? How often do you use it?

Have you had any bad experiences and do you feel confident using it in the future?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation.

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