Some of my best travel experiences have come from getting to know places with the help of my AirBnB hosts. I love AirBnB for so many reasons – the convenience of being able to stay with a local host, the professionalism of having a website’s customer service team to protect your experience, and the price! I’ve even used AirBnB for a business trip when we were able to rent a whole four bedroom house for less than the cost of two mediocre hotel rooms.
If you’ve never given it a try, here are just a few of my favorite hosts that I can promise will make your experience a good one!
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North America AirBnB Recommendations
- Hawaii – Volcano – This was the house my boss and I rented when we had an early meeting in Volcano. It would be a great home base for a family or group of friends exploring Volcanoes National Park. (Listing can be found here.)
- New York City – Little Italy – Another business trip with a fantastic location. This apartment is right on Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy. I stayed a week and loved the location. Having a kitchen and a good wifi connection were helpful for my work and I saved a lot compared to the price of a hotel in this notoriously expensive city. Jie is a foodie and can provide restaurant recommendations and tips for things to do as well. (Listing can be found here.)
South America AirBnB Recommendations
- Colombia – Bogota – David was one the the sweetest hosts I’ve had anywhere in the world. He is a genuine and caring person and truly went above and beyond to help me to get to know his city, especially the food! His apartment is located in the north of the city, so I opted for a cab to/from the airport. For getting around, you are just a block from a Transmillenio stop, so it was convenient for me to get to La Candelaria, Zona Rosa, etc. (Listing can be found here.)
- Colombia – Medellin – Lina saved us when other accommodation fell through at the last minute. Her apartment is in a safe neighborhood in the Laurales-Estadio area, just a block off the bustling Calle 70 and 5 minutes from the Estadio metro stop, which can easily get you anywhere else in the city. There are pets at this property, but we found them endearing and part of the charm. (Listing can be found here.)
- Peru – Lima – I stayed with Antonio & Tina in their family home in the Surquillo area of Lima. Some may prefer to stay closer to the action in the Miraflores area (it took me about 45 min to an hour to walk to Larcomar on the water, depending on how many stops I made along the way) but I enjoyed being in the “real” neighborhood of Surquillo with it’s proximity to locals-only markets and businesses. Tina promptly answered any question by email and Antonio was kind enough to give me detailed directions for anywhere I needed to go. For an extra fee, he also provides pickup/drop off services from the airport or bus station and can help you to arrange your onward travel. My only complaint here was that the wifi signal didn’t reach to my room, although I was able to work from their lovely sitting room in the front of the home when I did need to stay connected. (Listings can be found here.)
Europe AirBnB Recommendations
- Turkey – Yalova – I had no idea such a tranquil oasis lay just an hour or two from Istanbul, but my quick overnight stay in the village of Kurtkoy confirmed it. Getting there by ferry was easy and inexpensive and you can either drive your own car or choose to use the minibuses between Yalova and Kurtkoy village, where a peaceful retreat awaits. You can chat with hosts Chevrel and Alan over tea in the garden or explore their organic farm and orchard in the company of their dog, cats and some of the happiest chickens you’ll ever meet. I didn’t do much but soak up the delicious quiet and country air, but on my next visit, I hope to explore some of the great hiking trails or natural hot springs nearby. Be sure to purchase some of Chevrel’s homemade preserves and chutneys or a jar of roasted hazelnuts harvested next door. (Listing can be found here and you can view photos from my visit here.)
- Ireland – Cork – David and Angie are the sweetest couple and we loved our stay in Cork, in big part due to their kind hospitality and warmth. Angie is a talented artist and David has a chocolate studio on the property – be sure to watch him in action and to save room to pack some of his chocolates as souvenirs. We also loved their three dogs who always kept us company. Little extras made our stay even better – hand drawn maps to find nearby points of interest, a ride into town when we had a bachelorette party that would keep us out late, and a hot water bottle to warm up the bed. Be sure to make time for chatting with Angie and David over a bottle of wine. (Listing can be found here.)
- Ireland – Ennis, Clare – Margaret made sure that our stay at historic Cranagher House a luxurious retreat while we were in town for a friend’s wedding at nearby Dromoland Castle. She is a fantastic hostess, anticipating any need we had before we did – from leaving out hair styling tools for us to prep for the wedding, giving us a ride to the Castle when needed it and sharing a lovely bottle of wine. All meals and snacks that we had with Margaret were amazing as she is a wonderful cook – we are thankful that she sent us recipes to follow up! The rooms are tastefully decorated and every art piece has a story – we wished we could have stayed longer and in fact had friends take our place for a few days once we had moved on. (Listing can be found here.)
- Ireland – Dublin – We only stayed overnight in Dublin due to an early flight the next morning, but the location of this flat was ideal for a couple of pints in Temple Bar before heading back home. We met Helen briefly to check in and she was kind enough to point us towards a nearby restaurant for a nice dinner. (Listing can be found here.)
Africa AirBnB Recommendations
- South Africa – Cape Town (Brooklyn) – Staying with Nawahl was such a good way to get to know Cape Town beyond the gleaming tourist districts. To be totally honest, I did have a few locals raise their eyebrows when I told them I was staying in Brooklyn as it’s known by some as a bit of a “rough” neighborhood. However, I never felt unsafe – it’s quick and inexpensive to call an Uber if I needed to get to/from the city at night. During the day, you’re a 10 minute walk from a MyCiti bus station on the T01 line, which takes you directly to the Waterfront or Civic Center with a beautiful view of Table Mountain on the way. The internet connection isn’t the most reliable (provided via a USB dongle) but Nawahl was extremely helpful and accommodating with this or any other need or request that I had. (Listing can be found here.)
- South Africa – Cape Town (Blaauwberg) – Probably my favorite airbnb in Cape Town, Du Toit’s apartment is immaculate, spacious and a block from a beach that’s popular with kitesurfers. There’s a MyCiti stop very close by and even when I arrived home late at night, I felt perfectly safe walking through the neighborhood alone. It takes about 45 min to an hour to get to the city, but I found the commute quite relaxing. Du Toit is the sweetest – he works nights but is keen to take his guests out to show them around the CBD, Waterfront and Cape Quarter areas. I had a great time exploring local food spots with him and his friends too. Wifi is limited but fast. (Listing can be found here.)
- South Africa – Cape Town (Convention Center/CBD) – If you are visiting Cape Town for a convention, Shameer’s place is in the PERFECT location, just a block or so from CTICC. Wifi is free and unlimited and the apartment is spacious and clean. The building caters to travelers and executives so there’s a market with prepared foods, a coffee shop, laundry, etc. all just downstairs. It’s not the nicest area after dark as it’s in the CBD, but Uber is just a call away and the Thibault Square MyCiti stop is literally across the street. This also means a direct connection to/from the airport, which will save you cab fare. Shameer is a great host with an interesting history and view on life – plus, he’s also a great cook! (Listing can be found here.)