Travel, AirBnb, and Frugality. Do these three words go together? Isn’t it risky to stay in those places? All those travel nightmares you’ve heard. (Tsk tsk) Wouldn’t a professional establishment like a hotel be better? Well, in a word … no.
When we travel, we almost exclusively stay in AirBnbs. Usually “the whole house”, but many times just a room. And with minor exceptions, it’s been great. Now before you ask about those exceptions, we’ve had as many (if not more) nightmares staying in hotels. It’s all a part of travel.
This is our story about past excursions and how we’re going to be living throughout 2022. Full-time in AirBnbs!
SCENE ZERO (desk)
(the feeling is fun and intimate, almost goofy. music is fun and upbeat worldly, all throughout)
Have you ever considering living full-time in an AirBnb? Just selling the house, traveling the world, and staying in someone else’s home? We have, we’re going to do it again, and … I’ve got some stories to tell ya.
Hi, I’m Rick Higgins and yes … I’ve lived for months on end in homes that were owned by other people. And I’ll throw the spoiler out there right now (look left and right) … for the most part it’s been pretty great. Not without its hiccups. But generally speaking, pretty damn good.
So let me explain … and perhaps share a few ‘not so greats’ as well.
SCENE ONE (cam-2)
(v.o. scenes of hotels turning into homes via showing the app. a airplane and globe scene turning into a euro-home)
📍 For those not in the know, AirBnb is a service slash app that allows you to essentially be your own hotel. To rent out a room or your entire place safely. And we’ve been on both sides. While we’re out gallivanting about the globe, we rent our home in Miami out through AirBnb. So we have some experience.
(music pauses here)
But you wanna know what it’s like to be on the “staying” side, right?
Let’s start with the basics. Finances.
In both 2017 and 2019 we went to Europe for four months each. Obviously we needed a place to stay. And living in hotels would have broke the bank. Think about it … even if you found a place for a hundred bucks a night, that’s over three grand a month. Just for a pillow to lay your head on?
(v.o. scenes of Barceloneta, and our actual apartment tour)
📍 Specifics! We primarily stayed in Barcelona Spain. A major city with major city prices. We stayed in Barceloneta both trips, which is the beach neighborhood. And both times we had an entire one bedroom flat all to ourselves. Both came with all utilities and internet.
(music pauses here, sounds of record scratch)
And we paid $35 a night.
Let’s do some math … that’s just over a grand a month. Sounds large, I know. But honestly I couldn’t live in Miami for anywhere close to that. My apartment on the beach there, including utilities and internet, was over two grand.
It was actually cheaper for me to live in Barcelona Spain in someone else’s home … by more than half.
SCENE TWO (CAM-ONE)
(b-roll of euro-travel with v.o. in the beginning)
Here’s a side benefit you probably didn’t know. You’re closer to the culture of a place with AirBnb.
Twice in 2017 we stayed in a ‘room’ instead of a whole place. Meaning, the owner was living there as well and we shared the kitchen and living areas, all while having a private bedroom and bath. Well, one of the times we had a private bath. In Ireland we had to share the only one in the apartment.
(b-roll of waiting for the bathroom, even if I have to film it)
Sounds kinda horrible, doesn’t it. You want your privacy. But here’s the thing … we had in front of us people who lived in those cities and who could share real life stories. Who we could discuss what we had seen and get feedback and knowledge from our own local … right in our own home!
(v.o. b-roll starts with Dublin, moves to Mallorca)
📍 Now in Dublin, we pretty much kept to our side of that single bathroom place. The owners were working or in school most of the time. But in Mallorca! … we had the most incredible host. Super interactive, he told us things that we never could have received from a travel site.
SCENE THREE (cam-2)
(starts with no music)
OK, admission time. Life in an AirBnb isn’t always grand. But then again, is life anywhere always perfect?
So … A story!
(music starts, initial b-roll is internet connectivity, fades to talking head)
We were staying in Barcelona in 2019. And the place came with internet/wifi.
Or as they call it … wee fee. And for some reason someone decided to rip out the entire network in the building and replace it. And in true Spanish fashion, there was a lag between the rip out and the replacement.
(b-roll is remote working)
📍 I was remotely working at the time, so no internet wasn’t a nuisance. It was a deal breaker. But our host managed to pull some Spanish strings and get a temporary solution.
(no music, pause)
(no music. show router on the railing. music resumes. keep router visible during first sentence)
What you’re looking at is a temporary router, strapped to a railing just outside our apartment. And it would only work if we kept the front door open and I sat on the bed right in the front of the apartment. Optimal? No. Not even close. But they did fulfill their obligations.
And to finish that story, that’s how I worked for three months. In bed with the front door propped open. Air conditioning the hallway. But … I worked.
SCENE FOUR (desk)
A lot of people have asked me if feels like home to be in someone else’s home. Or does it feel like you’re invading their space? Well … yes and yes. But there is an upside.
In Amsterdam we rented out the basement of a townhouse via AirBnb. It was setup like a hotel room, pretty nice. But there was a door that led to a storage area and it was kinda fun to poke around a little. And yes, I know that’s horrible. But it wasn’t like I was digging in boxes. I just stood at the door and peeked around. So there is entertainment to be had.
(b-roll is interior home shots, maybe over the top)
📍 Seriously, depending on where you rent, it can feel like living in someone’s home. For awhile. It kinda depends on how you see things. Do you love having your own things around you. (If so, you’re going to need more suitcases, just saying). But these places do grow on you.
For instance …
We AirBnbed an apartment in Cologne Germany. It was nothing like I would have furnished for myself. Everything was white, like living inside of a ping pong ball. And for the first week, it felt seriously alien. It was NOT home in any way, shape, or form. But the second week?
Maybe it’s the familiar that grows on you, but I really hated leaving that place. It did start to feel like ‘home’, even if it was nothing like home. Ya see, that’s the beauty of an AirBnb. If you live in hotels, everything looks like a hotel. Rooms that could be anywhere. But when you rent someone’s house, you get that culture as well. An insight into where you are. And that’s the biggest reason we choose live this way.
Be happy, healthy, and we’ll see you soon.