We started our travels in cheap hostels and hotels, just because we wanted to save as much money as possible to do fun stuff. It was nice for a while, but we also realized we are not in our 20’s anymore and we enjoy a bit of comfort and quietness! So later that year we switched to Airbnb’s. One of our first Airbnb’s was in Kuala Lumpur. It was a studio in a 20 story building. Big enough for the two of us and easy to keep clean, but as our work started to pick up, our needs changed as well.
Most of the time we rent a 1-bedroom apartment where Paul works in the bedroom and I work in the living room. Not ideal, but good to save some money. After a while we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment. It’s just nice to have a bit more space when you work the whole week.
What do we like about living in Airbnb’s?
There is so much to like! Here are a few of the things we like the most.
Freedom. Living the way we do gives a sense of freedom. A kind of freedom that I’ve never experienced before, and it is great! Whenever you do not like a place, you know you’ll be leaving soon again. That kind of takes away any kind of stress.
Not owning a lot of stuff. It’s also really nice that we do not own a lot of things. We did accumulate a lot more over the years, but it still fits in 2 bags a person. We like that we don’t rely on having things. It makes us focus more on everything around it and enjoy life more.
Live in different places/houses. We’ve lived in all sorts of apartments over the years. Some were really old, some new, some were luxurious, some not so much. We lived in big buildings, small buildings, some had a pool or gym, or a roof terrace.
Eventually we are planning to settle down somewhere, and by living the way we do, we have a pretty good idea of what we want and what we don’t want.
Living among the locals. We are both very social people. Most Airbnb’s are in buildings where also a lot of locals live. We love that, because it doesn’t feel like we’re on holiday, but actually living there. We become part of the community.
What are the downsides of living in an Airbnb?
Unfortunately it’s not only positive. Here are some of the downsides to living in Airbnb’s. (in our opinion)
Neighbors. You’ll never know who your neighbors are going to be. We had a few apartments where the neighbors were playing really loud music. One time we asked kindly if they could turn it down a bit, but unfortunately it only became worse. We try to ignore it for as long as we can (because sometimes we are leaving in a few days), but if it gets really bad, we inform the host about it.
Cleanliness. We’ve had some Airbnb’s where it wasn’t as clean as advertised. Just make sure to take some pictures and inform your host about it straight away. They often offer an immediate solution.
Receiving mail. This is not always easy. The address is often very unclear and hard to find. On many occasions our mail didn’t arrive.
Internet. As we rely on a stable and fast internet connection, it’s not always certain that they can provide that. We’ve actually had to leave an apartment halfway because of the bad internet.
To close it off. Here are a few tips for finding a good (longterm) Airbnb.
- Read MOST OF the reviews*. You’ll get a good honest impression about the place by reading reviews up to 3 years back.
- If you want to pay a bit less, and some more peace and quiet, choose an Airbnb on the edge or just outside of the city center.
- Look carefully at the pictures. You can tell if things are too good to be true.
- See if the host replied to any of the reviews, and also how they replied.
- Book in advance. This will save you some money as hosts will raise their prices before high season.
- Always check the cancellation policy.
- Ask the host questions if you look for something specific. They are most likely willing to help you out or give you tips.
- Do your research about the area! Google Maps can be a big help!
*Reading reviews is very important for booking the right place. When you read them, pay attention to the reviews for long term stays. They often give a lot more (and honest) information about the place. Also look at the wording. If the wording is very generic, that means they probably left some things out. Not everyone is honest when they write a review, because what they didn’t enjoy doesn’t necessarily affect other renters.
What are your experiences with living or staying in Airbnb’s? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.