Sunday, July 29, 2012

Take A Non-Traditional Approach To Lodging For Your Next Vacation

Trying to find a place to stay when you travel can be stressful. We found this out recently on our vacation to Washington DC. Not only did we have just a week to find lodging, but we also had a strict budget to follow.

So while I was taking the traditional route searching for hotel rooms, Rick was searching for rooms through Airbnb a website that brings travelers and private parties that have rooms, apartments, condos, or houses for rent. I had never heard of Airbnb before, but had heard of Homeaway and Couchsurfing.

While my hotel search was bringing up expensive rooms with an added parking fee of anywhere between $20 and $40 a day! Yikes! Rick came up with a few choices, an apartment right downtown, a room with private bath in the Georgetown area, and a room in a huge house in the suburb of New Carrollton. After contacting the apartment owner through email to no response, and the Georgetown listing disappearing. We took a close look at the bio of the New Carrollton house. Turned out they are a married couple whose children were all out of the house. So they had this huge house and all these bedrooms. She lived in London in the past and he is from Jamaica. They seemed well traveled so they could relate to the needs of the weary traveler.

We were able to read reviews from previous renters and see pictures. Our house had plenty of pictures, but no reviews. This was a little scary but we took a leap of faith and booked 2 rooms at $65 a piece. Plus the fee Airbnb tacked on. One room for Rick and I and one for Megan. We did not have a private bath, which ended up being absolutely no problem. Soon after booking our rooms online our host Ann Marie called to ask us questions. I found her incredibly friendly so I was put at ease. She had said this was a new thing for them and they had just listed their rooms.

When we arrived at their house the next weekend we found their house to be warm and comfortable. Our hosts were wonderful and very helpful. We work up every morning to a big breakfast to start out our day.

In the end it was a great experience! We drove to the metro stop, which was only a couple of miles away from the house, every morning. Parked and took the train into DC to see all the sights. We pretty much were gone all day and would come back later at night. The neighborhood was very quiet and safe.

Would we do it again? Absolutely! I would highly recommend this alternative to staying at the huge hotels which can be impersonal, very noisy, and uncomfortable. Just be sure to read the reviews and have a few places in mind in case one doesn't reply to your inquiry. So next time you are planning a vacation check out this alternative to the big box hotel chains! As I write this I am on Airbnb checking out places to stay in Paris!! Just to put on my wish list.......for now anyway

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