Ditch the hotel. Rent a home instead.

I travel. I hate hotels. I personally find them stuffy, small and irrespective of what the stars say, inherently characterless. I chose to experience someones home instead, a room or the entire space.

I’ve used Airbnb to host travellers in Singapore for over 2 years [read all about it here] and consequently have been using this service to find homes to stay at over the holidays for even longer.

Thus far,  I have stayed at

⊗ an attic in Paris in the trendy Le Marais with very interesting neighbours,

⊗ an artist’s extremely quirky villa in the old town of Nice decorated with large murals made entirely of impressions of her lips dressed in various shades of red lipstick and a bright pink bathroom dedicated entirely to dolls,

⊗ a doctors plush sea-facing apartment in Nice from where we had the best seats in the house to the season’s super moon rise over the water in all its magnificently large fiery glory,

⊗ a true-to-form rustic-esque villa in Ubud,

⊗ a duplex 2 bedroom flat in Venice over the busy Venice Art Biennale season of 2013

⊗ and most recently, a lawyer’s eclectic loft in London filled with books and edge.

Nice: an artist’s quirky villa 5 minutes from the tram line in the Old City
Nice: view from the balcony of our vacation rental

Ubud: rustic villa living in Bali
London: homely eclectic loft in zone 1

Basics while using Airbnb

1) Always, ALWAYS read reviews

2) Check the listing’s rating basis – Accuracy, Communication, Cleanliness, Location, Check-in and Value; with a maximum of 5 stars to a minimum of none.

3) Check the ‘Amenities’ tab to see what the host provides with the space, safer bet than making an assumption that will cost you time and mental peace. Is there a lift in the building? / is breakfast included? / does the apartment have cable TV and/or wifi? Or email the host should you require further clarification.

4) Check the maximum number of guests allowed by the host and if there are any charges for extra guests (usually a per person/per night charge) over the minimum.

5) Check what the host stipulations are on check-in/check-out and cancellations.

6) Most listings provide a google map reference, check this before making the final booking. My listing in Singapore also provided a street-view link.

7) Get to know your host should you be sharing the space with them.

8) Review the security deposit clause, not all hosts take a deposit, so be careful with the ones that do (+ make sure it is reversed back on to your credit card after check-out).

9) Write a review to encourage and educate other travellers on your stay & experience.

Example of amenities listed by the host - Airbnb

Example of amenities listed by the host – Airbnb


39 thoughts on “Ditch the hotel. Rent a home instead.

  1. I too beleive in that .. I dont like hotels as such .. so usually rent a cottage and it is cheaper too

    you get to do what you want to do when you want to ..

    those are some lovely pictures

  2. I have never left the US, but I’d love to. Here in the States when we go on vacation, I do try to rent a house. Hotels are okay, but when you rent a house it just feels more relaxing. I used to use our dog as a reason to rent a house, she would always snub me when we’d come back from vacation and pick her up from the vets. So I started renting houses that would allow us to bring our 110 lb. Rottweiler with us. She got to enjoy the vacation almost as much as we did. Now I do it when I can afford it because it’s much less stressful to rent the house and know that someone isn’t in there touching our stuff while we are out.

  3. Totally agree! I have just done a couple of Airbnb stays (it was couch surfing before that but I’m over it now!) and the experience has been nothing short of lovely. Great post! Ps: I’ll keep u in mind if I’m in spore 😉

    • Great! I tried my hand at couch surfing too but prefer to pay for my space now 😛
      I’m no longer hosting in Singapore but if you ever visit there are great homes to stay at.

  4. We agree completely. Staying in homes is the way to go- and almost always more economical than a hotel. We’ve had great AirBnB stays in Jamaica, Montreal, Hawaii, and will soon be doing more in British Columbia!

  5. Great post. AirBnB definitely has some great options. Must check out next time I travel. Thanks for sharing.
    On another note, these Balinese villas are soo droolworthy right. Effortlessly classy.

  6. Hehe, great to see you over in Bali Aradhana. That’s where I’m back and forth to at the moment! Beautiful place..

    Love how you’ve made the images. Great work there!

    Take care,


  7. All those places looked wonderful. I really loved the place in Ubud. I am definitely going to try this the next time I go on a vacation (hope its soon). 🙂

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