The last two times I’ve been abroad, I’ve decided to stay in an Airbnb. Both places that we stayed at were fairly local to the city center and made my stay more enjoyable. I did consider a hotel, so why did I settle on an Airbnb?
The first time I was looking to go to Lisbon, I had my options more open than the second time. I did look at hotels and even regular bed and breakfasts, but there’s something about them that just didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to have the freedom to come and go as I please, come back home as late as we wanted to without disturbing anybody, and just have that homely relaxed feeling.
I’d never stayed in an Airbnb before I went to Lisbon though, and it was my first time even looking at them, and to begin with I was looking at pretty average places that were just all over the place (luckily I had Pedro to guide me in the right direction, and not too far away from the city), and eventually I found a really beautiful flat in an old building, which was literally a ten minute walk to the city centre.
What I like about Airbnb, is the fact that you get to see exactly where you’re staying, you get to see reviews from previous visitors and you can contact the host whenever, and you’re guaranteed a response. I also feel like Airbnb is perfect if you’re going on a budget holiday, you can find some great places for quite cheap, which is what we managed to do both times.
The first Airbnb I stayed in was beautiful to look at, it did have its faults (it was freezing at night time), but it was comfortable and there was enough space for the two of us. The second time we weren’t as central, but we stayed in a very cute little place on the second floor in Bairro Alto.
When we met our host, she was kind and very informative, she didn’t stay with us for too long and then we were left to explore the apartment at our own will. The first thing I said to Pedro after she left was, “This place is massive. SO much bigger than I expected.” – which is true, the photos made the apartment look small and I was actually a little bit worried about it since Pedro was walking on crutches due to an accident he had a few months ago, but it was spacious enough for the both of us and his two plastic friends.
I said it in my review too, that the location is good if you want to stay near to your apartment if your plans are to get drunk, we were surrounded by pubs and restaurants and the streets filled with a lively atmosphere throughout every night.
My main qualm with AirBnB is the fact that unlike a hotel, the amenities can be limited. There’s no going downstairs at tea time and just picking your food, you have to go out and either buy groceries or find a nice restaurant. We didn’t find eating that hard though, and since Pedro knows the area well, he knew a few spots, and I will admit, we did order in a few times too. But deciding where to go and what to eat was normally a lengthy conversation between us.
The feel of an Airbnb is so much nicer than a hotel. I’ve stayed in many hotels and I just never feel comfortable in them. I can’t relax and there’s a lot of noise outside the rooms because of other tourists and I don’t really like it when cleaners come in at certain times in the day, making you feel like you have to be out. With an Airbnb, you literally are staying like a local, no matter where you are, there’s no rushing, no strict schedules and you can come and go as you please without feeling like a bother.
When I next go travelling, no matter where it is, whether it’s Lisbon or somewhere completely different, I will definitely look into staying in another Airbnb, my experience with the booking, communication and the stays have been just so easy, I’ve definitely preferred staying in an AirBnB apartment to any hotel I’ve ever been in.
If you would like to see where we stayed (both times) here’s the link to the apartment in Bairro Alto and the apartment from the first time we stayed in Lisbon. Both are in great locations, and we loved our stay both times.