Staycations: Tips for Using Airbnb and Our Experience to Date

This past year we’ve stuck to exploring the UK for our holidays partly due to COVID and also due to having a new baby. As such, we’ve wanted to stay in cottages/ rentals and Airbnb is always at the top of the list to check out!

We stayed in our first Airbnb back in 2014. It was a gorgeous apartment in Rome in a non-touristy area near the Aurelian Walls. I remember we were a bit nervous about using Airbnb the first time. We’d heard about people using it before and were intrigued to give it a go. It worked out more affordable then a hotel and also gave us the option of preparing some meals rather than eating out for the whole trip and therefore saving some money. Safe to say that we loved it and have used it may times since over the years! We’ve stayed in 19 Airbnb’s in 7 different countries over the past 7 years and am sure we’ll be using it many more times. Below are the places we’ve stayed with the Airbnb links:

Italy: Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Venice (again), Desenzano del Garda

Germany: Dusseldorf

France: Bordeaux, Paris

UK: Cheltenham, Islip, Devon, the Cotswolds

Ireland: Cork

US: Santa Rosa, Groveland, Pebble Beach, Goleta, Venice

Australia: Cairns North

If you haven’t signed up before, use this code for £50 off your first trip anywhere.

So here’s my top tips for using Airbnb and making the most of it!

  • As soon as you know your dates get on it – do your research and search in advance. The sooner you look the more choice of options you’ll have.
  • Check out those reviews – we only go for those with 5*s and have multiple reviews. See if there are any comments about road noise, the neighbourhood etc.
  • We make sure that everywhere we stay has had multiple reviews so we know its the real deal.
  • We will check through the reviews to see whether the host had unexpectedly cancelled on anyone at the last minute as there would be nothing worse than being in a different country or a road trip and having your booking cancelled. We usually go for places where they don’t have any of these to avoid the risk.
  • If you’re looking to save money definitely make sure there is a kitchen of some sort so you can prep some of your meals even if it is just breakfast and lunch.
  • Always put in your date options so you’re just looking at what is available.
  • Use the map function to pin down where to stay. It’s worth bearing in mind how far away or close to attractions/ places you’d like to be. When Tim and I go anywhere we don’t mind staying somewhere more local/ less touristy, whereas when I’ve been with my nanny we needed to be in the action so it wasn’t so much walking.
  • We always check out the area we’re staying in by doing a little google research. Is somewhere just very affordable because it’s in a dodgier area?
  • Make sure to use the save ‘heart’ function. Create a wish list for the area you’d like to stay and you can then compare them all together and see where they sit on a map too.
  • Look out for ‘superhosts’ or properties that are in the Airbnb plus program. You can just search for these if you’d like and you know you’re in good hands!
  • Look at all the photos in detail to know what to expect.
  • A couple times we’ve asked hosts if we can leave our suitcases or car at the property on the day of checkout and most of the time they’ve been really accommodating. It’s always worth checking though so you don’t end up having to lugging your suitcase around!
  • Most of the Airbnbs we’ve stayed at have been brilliant at having ‘guidebooks’/ suggestions on places to eat or visit close by. Some of them have turned out to be some of the best places we’ve tried and places we wouldn’t have found by ourselves.
  • Both the host and people staying have to leave a review and there are also a few generic questions about things like how did it rate on cleanliness, communication, accuracy etc. Therefore you don’t get any of those fake reviews and I feel like you can rely on the reviews.

Some of our favourites were:






Bordeaux was a bit different to all the others. All of the other places we’ve stayed were for the whole apartment/ house, however, Bordeaux was for a ‘room’. I was going on a girls trip and we booked there without realising it wasn’t the whole place! We decided to stay with it and it worked out really well. Our host was great and let us use everything in the apartment and was also only around for 1 night of our long weekend so we basically had the whole place to ourselves for the trip! Just a reminder to check you’ve clicked ‘entire place’ under ‘type of place’ if you want the whole place to yourself.

Have you used Airbnb? Have you got any other tips/ recommendations? 

Until next time,
Cathers xx

Posts you might be interested in where we stayed in Airbnb:


US: LA, Pebble Beach, Groveland,

Ireland – A Mini Road Trip