It was a couple of years back that I was got myself introduced to the concept of AirBnB (Bed and Breakfast accommodation) while I was travelling to Europe for the very first time. I was travelling to Paris, Amsterdam, and Prague. My main reason to look for a BnB for stay option was basically I wanted to connect with locals at a much personal level and give the fact that traditional hotels are not my choice most of the time and they would also come handy if I needed anything in this foreign land.
While surfing through the Airbnb website I happen to land upon many beautiful properties, but somewhere deep down I was still not confident that the pic and reality would be the same. Going by the credibility of the website I knew things will not go totally off the track. Along with the checking the Airbnb website I was also doing my endless stream of Google search. I had always heard that B&Bs are an ideal place to stay if one looks for soaking up in the unique experience of that city. With a welcoming and warm hosts, safe surroundings clubbed with friendly locals and most information at your doorstep of every B&B, there really is no better place to stay.
Here are few of my pointers what it takes to pick the right kind of B&B
Knowing your traveling requirements –
While visiting any place know what exactly you are looking for. Is it a leisure trip or something professional. Basics like are you ok with host staying in the same floor/house, parking (in case you are driving your own vehicle), with no TVs or small TVs. While booking be sure whether you are looking to rent an entire apartment, or just a room.
And most important in today’s time – Wi-Fi facility. Check do you want like a full-fledged kitchen or just basics of Tea/ Coffee is enough for me? A fully equipped kitchen also gives me a high. Cooking our own breakfast gives a different happiness. A kitchen also comes handy in times of need like when we reached Prague late night and all restaurants were shut I took to the kitchen and cooked a meal that was nothing less than the best meal ever.
Above all choose a place that you feel makes you happy.
Do a little about the neighbourbood –
As you sit down with your search for BnB keep in mind the locality that you are interested in and if you are now sure then ask your friends who have been there or do some Google search. While in Paris I stayed at Montmartre which was almost walking from Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. Airbnb around this place well also almost pocket-friendly. This locality saw a huge Arab- French population and hence there were many Arab eateries too. The streets here had a lot of charm and character.
If you are a party lover and night bird then also consider what you want to do at night. If there’s a particular neighbourhood close by where you can hang around till late evening.
Check for restaurants, convenient grocery stores and metro stops nearby.
It’s very important to check reviews of the place that you are considering. Also, do a little google search to see/know about the property. In my opinion, at least five reviews about a place is a good indicator to find out about the place and check how old those reviews are.
During our stay in Greece we had booked this beautiful looking property at Mykonos but to my terror when I reached I was surprised to find that I have to take 35 steps (I have hurt my leg very badly at Santorini). Also the fact that the host never mentioned about the steps when we were exchanging emails.
Note – At times reviews too can mislead
Ask yourself the question
Don’t hesitate to ask any number of questions you to your host. A nice host will never ignore to answer an endless stream of questions that will help you decide better. Your interaction with the host makes things much clear to you.
Every house has some rules ie- Check the Check-in/out times, Pet policy, what and how much is access to guests, guests allowed to stay at night and so on. Make sure to read them well and decide. Smokers especially need to check with the smoking policy.
Also read about liability insurances etc just like in case of accidents most of the time B&B has the liability to take care of that. I have always preferred B&B over hotels it gives you a great benefit to interact with the hosts and at time they can double as personal guides to a new city. They’ll help you explore the hidden gems and rest assured this can make your trip most memorable experience.
Last but not the least go by the little juju or the gut feeling you have.