HOTELS VS. AIRBNBS: WHICH IS BETTER?

No one wants spiders crawling on them or to sleep on a hard mattress, as we all know that finding somewhere to stay is just as important as picking your destination. When booking accommodations, we often find ourselves deciding between staying in a airbnb or a hotel, so I thought we would compare both in this blog.

Airbnb

Airbnb came onto the travel scene over twelve years ago. Coined from the term ‘air mattress Airbnb,’ Airbnb hosts list many different kinds of properties—single rooms, a suite of rooms, apartments, moored yachts, houseboats, entire houses and even a castle—all on its website.

Guests can search the Airbnb database—not only by date and location, but by price, type of property, amenities and the language of the host. They can also add keywords (such as “close to the Louvre”) to further narrow their search.

To me, Airbnbs offer many different “off-the-wall” types of places, like tiny homes, clamping tents and tree houses. Just last month, my husband and I took a trip to Dahlonega, GA and stayed in the cutest tiny house, courtesy of Airbnb. It was the cutest thing!

PROS

  • Full house and/or apartment: When staying in an Airbnb, you can rent the full house/apartment, which includes multiple rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, garden and more.
  • Cheaper: Airbnb is notably much cheaper than staying in a hotel, especially for long stays.
  • Rewards: You can get rewards for recommending Airbnb to others.
  • User friendly: The Airbnb app and website is easy to use and navigate around.
  • Unique: Airbnb’s are usually unique and have a lot of character.
  • Groups: Perfect for group holidays

CONS

  • Book up fast: Popular and affordable Airbnb’s usually book up very QUICKLY.
  • Nightmare host: Sometimes upon arrival hosts are not very nice or accommodating, additionally hosts can cancel last minute.
  • Nowhere to leave your luggage after checkout: Hotels usually have a room where you can leave your luggage, allowing you to explore the city a little more before your flight. Airbnb’s do not offer this however you can find luggage lockers in popular cities.
  • No extra features: There is no reception desk or food service, Airbnb’s are usually self-service- so don’t expect a lovely maid to clean your room or change your towels while you are out wandering. 

    * If you are looking into trying Airbnb for the first time, make sure to use this my code to get up to $65 off your first qualifying booking.

Hotels

Hotels offer many great accommodations, like continental breakfast, laundry amenities and business centers.

If you have been wandering how to accumulate points without the extra hassle and or any hidden fees, I highly suggest applying for an American Express Hilton Honors card to use for basic spending, like for grocery shopping, gas or other basic everyday spending. I applied for a card just last year and have already have over 130,000 points. I would always preface with the usual “be smart with a credit card” speech, but you get the deal.

PROS

  • Location: Hotels are normally located in close proximity to key sights, which is easier for tourists. 
  • Amenities and staff: The staff in hotels are well-qualified and you can use the amenities on offer at the hotel such as pools, gyms, spas, restaurants, shuttles and high-speed internet. 
  • Stars: Hotels can range from luxurious to budget, from ☆ to ☆☆☆☆☆, depending whatever your budget is, you will always find a hotel to meet your needs and budget.
  • Security: There is often concierge or security guards in hotels, which can give you an extra sense of security during your stay.

CONS

  • Price: Some hotels can be very expensive, especially if located in a great location (rather ironic that this is a pro/con). Additionally, it can be expensive when booking for multiple people.
  • Large: Hotels can be huge and you can find yourself walking down long corridors for what feels like eternity just to get to your room. 
  • Noisy: As hotels have so many guests at one time, it can often be noisy- especially at night. 
  • Generic: Hotel rooms include a basic bed, side table and bathroom, without much character.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy traveling!

XO,

Which one do you prefer – Airbnbs and hotels? Let me know in the comments below!

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72 HOURS IN DAHLONEGA, GA

Last month, I promised my husband a weekend getaway post-Christmas if he could survive another year in the retail business. I will be honest in that of the “main” reasons we picked Dahlonega was because of a reference in a song by one of our favorite country artists. Ashley McBryde sings about the Crimson Moon, which is the dive bar she is referring to A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.

In this blog, I will dive more into our weekend exploring around town and what we felt like fit our agenda the most.

Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, Dahlonega, GA boasts a 6,000 population and is known as being the site of the first significant gold rush in the United States. It’s also home to many wineries, a thriving performing and visual arts scene and plenty of outdoor activities year round. Dahlonega is also home to the University of North Georgia, which is a small, “multi-campus” college.

FOOD & DRINKS

Dahlonega has many local restaurants that all boast of unique tastes and eclectic styles. Below are just a few of the places we stumbled upon in our wandering around town.

THE PICNIC CAFE

The Picnic Cafe is a charming, old-fashioned bakery and cafe with a small-town vibe and assortment of housemade sweets.

Chandler and I went for brunch on Sunday morning and it was delightful! I highly recommend the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and the peppermint mocha. Chandler went with the biscuits and gravy and both were great options.

ADDRESS: 30 Public Sq N, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 7:30AM-8PM daily
INSTAGRAM: @thepicniccafe

CANOPY + THE ROOTS

Canopy and the Roots exceeded all expectations I held going in. It is a local coffee shop, yoga studio and music venue with the most calming and eye-pleasing aesthetic. Chandler indulged my begging and pleading to go and I loved every minute of it. This is a place I could definitely see myself blogging, reading and sipping on a cup of coffee regularly.

RECOMMENDATION: Iced Coffee & Cold Brew

Check out their calendar if you plan to stop by and check out what talent they have playing at the time. You can even take a yoga class!

ADDRESS: 53 W Main Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: They are open seven days a week, but hours do vary.
INSTAGRAM: @canopyandtheroots

THE DAHLONEGA FUDGE FACTORY

The fudge shop quickly became one of our favorite spots in town. We visited on Saturday afternoon and this girl’s sweet tooth was quickly satisfied. They offer over eighty (80, y’all) types of fudge, brittle and chocolates. The Dahlonega Nugget (pecans or cashews covered in homemade caramel and dipped in chocolate) is a favorite. I personally went with the chocolate covered pretzel and even bought some to go.

ADDRESS: 8 N Park St, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: F/SAT: 10AM-9PM (open daily)
INSTAGRAM: @dahlonegafudgefactory

WOLF MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS & WINERY

Setting atop a mountain ridge, Wolf Mountain boasts breathtaking views of North Georgia from the multiple decks overlooking many mountainous range. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed grabbing a glass of wine, enjoying each other’s company and seeing the beautiful mountain range.

We went with the “sweet” flight and enjoyed six of their different wines.

It was slightly snowing when we visited, so the inside was was quite packed. (#notcovidfriendly) On any other warm day, we would’ve enjoyed the porch and the gorgeous view.

ADDRESS: 180 Wolf Mountain Trl, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 12PM-5PM
INSTAGRAM: @wolfmountainvineyards

ACCENT CELLARS

Accent Sellars was another winery we visited during our stay in Dahlonega. This place was off the beaten path, but was well worth the drive. It had //.

*There are multiple wineries in Dahlonega to choose from, so make sure to make a conscious effort to visit more than one if you consider yourself a wine “snob.”

ADDRESS: 215 Auraria Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 12PM-6PM M-SUN / 11AM-7PM SAT
INSTAGRAM: @accentcellars

SHENANIGANS RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB

Shenanigans is a buzzy pub offering Irish-American fare & diverse beers in snug quarters with live music & a deck.

The SOUTHWEST IRELAND SHRIMP WRAP and FISH & CHIPS are both drool worthy.

ADDRESS: 87 N Chestatee St, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 11AM-9PM
INSTAGRAM: @shenanigansdahlonega

SIGHTS & SOUNDS

HARVEST HUB FARMER’S MARKET

In Dahlonega’s historic town square, the annual Farmer’s Market begins the first Saturday in May and continues weekly through late August. Fall markets are held on the 1st and 3rd Saturday every month in September & October and you can find local handmade jams, jellies, seasonal vegetables and hundreds of other items.

We weren’t able to go because of how early in the year it was, but would’ve definitely enjoyed going if we had the chance to visit.
This girl is definitely a sucker for a good Farmer’s Market.

ADDRESS: 52 N Park St, Dahlonega, GA
FACEBOOK: Dahlonega Harvest Hub

DAHLONEGA GENERAL STORE

The Dahlonega General Store has books, maps, candy, 5 cent coffee, popcorn and gifts for all ages. Somewhat like a Mast General Store for those of you are familiar with those, the DGS has plenty of trinkets and knick knacks for the entire family to enjoy.

ADDRESS: 24 Public Square, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: 10AM-9PM
INSTAGRAM: @dahlonegageneralstore

NIGHTLIFE

For being a relatively “small” town, Dahlonega can pride themselves on a great nightlife scene. There are still many bars and restaurants that are still open relatively late. (thanks, COVID…)

CRIMSON MOON

The Crimson Moon is a dive bar located off of Dahlonega’s historical district. Ashley McBryde’s famous A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega is what helped to set them on the map, but this place is such a cool vibe! We visited on Friday night and enjoyed live music with enjoying a side of your typical bar food.

*This was also one of the main reasons we visited Dahlonega, if that tells you anthing.

ADDRESS: 24 N Park St North, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: 11AM-10PM
INSTAGRAM: @thecrimsonmoon

LODGING

When Chandler and I had originally talked about getting away for a weekend trip, we looked at many different options for “lodging.” I have an American Express credit card and have bookoodles of hotel points, but I saw this tiny house on Airbnb and instantly fell in love. Nestled on five wooded acres in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this tiny house is located less than 15 minutes from downtown Dahlonega. Large windows offered wonderful views of the surrounding woods and filled the house with the most breathtaking natural light.

We enjoyed our own “personal” fire pit, picnic table and walking trails that started right off of our house.

OTHER NOTABLE PLACES:

Currahee Brewing (Clayton, GA)

Etowah Meadery (Dahlonega, GA)

We also stopped in Helen, GA on the way to Dahlonega. If you have time on your trip, please make the stop. Helen is a Bavarian town and is the home to the biggest Oktoberfest sight in the US. It is full of German flair, pretzels, bier gardens and much more!

Chandler and I had the absolute BEST time during our getaway. It was such a refreshing weekend and came at the just the right time. I [highly] recommend Dahlonega for a short time away. If you are looking for a tiny house like this one or another fun stay, make sure to use my Airbnb link to get up to $65 off of your first booking.

Have you ever visited Dahlonega, GA? If so, what have been some of your favorites and “must-do’s?” Let’s chat in the comments below! ♡

XO,

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THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP

Taking a road trip can be thrilling, humbling and gratifying all at once. It satisfies your adventurous spirit while also showing you how small you are in this world. Although flying by plane or riding by train both have their own perks, driving by car or RV gives you a totally different sense of freedom. It allows you to see the beautiful scenery, changes of landscape and leisure of traveling at your own pace. If you are planning to take a road trip in the future, remember that there are no “rights” or “wrongs” in this journey. Make it everything you’ve dreamed of. A road trip can also be two hours across state lines or across the country over the course of months. Remember to have your snacks handy, your travel playlist ready to hit play and your mind ready to experience everything on the open road. Remember to allow for time to “get lost.” As a minute-by-minute by planner, some of my most memorable moments have come from being off the beaten path.

Taking road trips in the past, there is nothing better than the heart-to-heart conversations it has brought about and the jam sessions that keep the car rocking.

Well into our dating, engaged and married life, my husband and I have taken many road trips together. We have traveled to Nashville for the CMA Fest, Washington D.C. for a P!nk concert and Atlanta many times for Braves games. We were also the crazies that made the twelve hour drive the day after we got married to hop our cruise boat in Fort Lauderdale. In between the few times we stopped to get food or gas, I was passed out in the passenger seat. Just ask my husband. Some co-pilot I was…

One of my favorite road trips that comes to mind happened to be during my junior year of college. It was midway the fall semester and one of my friends had just moved to Baton Rouge. She was there for a two year assignment with Teach for America and wanted to show off her new town. Two other friends of mine and I bravely embarked on the the twelve hour trek from Columbia, SC to Louisiana all in a days time. Luckily, we the three of us divided the driving time and made the load a little less daunting. We also stopped in New Orleans on the way in and stayed at a low-key sketch hostile, but it was one of my those unplanned moments that made for great conversation later on.

PACKING LIST

More than anything else, an organized packing list helps in preparing for an upcoming road trip. I tend make a list ahead of time with as many things written down so I check things off as I throw them in the suitcase later on. Depending on the destination of your road trip and the time of year can all dictate what makes the cut. Like in the picture below, I categorize my list by clothing, toiletries, technology must-haves, essentials and miscellaneous. From there, I subcategorize under each of those headings to what will fit best my needs for the trip. As a precautionary measure, do some research into the weather so you will be more prepared. If you are traveling up north during the winter, tank tops and Chacos probably shouldn’t make the list. When I traveled to New York for a late Christmas and New Years trip a few years back, I packed for cuteness over comfortably. I payed for my mistakes big time.

CAR PLAYLIST

For most people, a playlist is a pretty important part of any road trip. Whether you are going two hours away or twenty, a car playlist makes all of the difference in helping to pass the time. Unless you have friends like mine who can create conversation for the majority of a twelve hour trip, it’s best to have a playlist to fill the down time in conversation. I personally use Apple Music to create my pre-planned playlist but there many other apps to choose from like Spotify, who will shuffle music off of artists and genres what you like. If you are looking to keep your options open, try playing podcasts or audio books.

PROPER DRIVING ETIQUETTE

This might be a pretty obvious rule, but having proper driving etiquette is pretty important on a road trip. If it’s a shorter trip and someone is particularly willing to make the entire drive, let them. (hint my husband) Sometimes it pays to be a bad driver. hehe Like our twelve hour drive to Louisiana, rotating every couple of hours helps to keep everyone alert and rested. Having an co-pilot riding shotgun, someone napping and another “on deck” to drive has been the best the best system I have found that works.

TRAVELING APPS

▪️Wanderlog

Wanderlog is a travel app that excels in helping you find inspiration for your road trips. While you may use other apps to help give you ideas for trips, Wanderlog is an actionable platform to give structure to your dream vacation. Use Wanderlog to discover things that you want to do and save the locations to Google Maps for when you get to a certain city.

I love the structure that Wanderlog’s platform provides. While it’s great for all levels of planning, I like narrowing my trip down to a few destinations and then using Wanderlog to sculpt out a trip in each one of those destinations. I can craft an itinerary by adding the must-see attractions that I want to do, and then have a separate section for restaurants I want to try or hotels and hostels that I want to stay at. While other planning apps feel like you’re just daydreaming, Wanderlog provides an actually productive planning platform.

You can also collaborate with your friends for one cohesive list. If you’re planning a group trip, you can all add your ideas and bucket list destinations to the itinerary. With this app, you can add as many stops as you’d like to your itinerary for free. It’s a great planning app for personalizing and perfecting your holidays.

▪️ TripScout

This app is another great source of organization when it comes to having all of your ideas in one place. You can add Guidebooks for each trip with the dates that you plan to be in that city.

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

POLAROID CAMERA & JOURNAL

I do not leave for any road trip without my Polaroid camera or journal. I got my camera a few years back during a Black Friday deal and it has been such a great way to have tangible instantaneous pictures. You can put them in a Scrapbook or string them up on your wall as a great way to display them.

I have always been one to enjoy putting pen to paper. Although putting my thoughts here on my blog is my ultimate goal, there is nothing like writing, drawing or journaling about your trip. I’d you haven’t before, grab a notebook or sketchbook and give it a try!

Above all else, enjoy your journey and allow yourself to get lost. Road trips are meant for exploring the unknown and it is okay to not always not what’s next.

Happy traveling! 🗺