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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30 THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH BY 30 Pt. 1

Turning another year older always makes me reminiscent over everything I have accomplished and the many things I hope to do. Although I truly believe that “age is just a number,” there are thirty things that I am setting out to do before I hit ominous dirty thirty in 2023. Anybody else right there with me?! Entering into a new decade will have challenges of its own, but I know that I will be ready for whatever happens!

This might be a lengthier post, but stay with me as I dive head first into half of the things that I hope to before the next decade hits. I plan to post later this week of my second half of goals, make sure to stay tuned. Here’s to getting these all accomplished (and more) in the next three years.

#1: Take a class to learn a skill

Baking has been a hobby for me in years past. I haven’t done the best job in branching out to try new recipes but I plan to sign up for a class to learn new tips and tricks in the cooking/baking world.

#2: Have a house to call our own

We first started a savings account from the money we got from our wedding almost a year and a half ago. From that point on, any spare “change” we’ve saved up has went into the house fund. We just renewed our lease at our apartment to give us more time to save, but our goal is to have a house in the greater Asheville area by early 2022.

#3: Go to the Kentucky Derby (5/22)

All depending on how the virus plays out, my husband and I have every intent of going to the Derby in May. We were able to see Churchill Downs on our anniversary trip in August and this girl fell madly in love with the horse racing world. Fingers crossed we can make the trip!🤞🏼

*WE ARE GOING TO THE DERBY, Y’ALL! I bought my husband tickets for Christmas and I am PUMPED!

#4: Complete a weekly juice cleanse

Juice cleanses can be pretty penny, but you get what you pay for. They are a good way to help restore your gut and to reset the your body of the harmful //. Clean Juice has a daily and weekly option that are both fully customizable to your tastes.

#5: Have 300 followers on Alex in Asheville

This goal quite frankly scares me if I’m being completely honest. Since I stared blogging some six months ago, I had no earthly idea I would even be to the point where I am now. It has been a safe space for me and has already given me a great community of fellow bloggers. These people put their heart and soul into their writings and it definitely inspires this “newcomer.”

With that being said, I want to make it a priority to grow my audience and to find my niche of fellow writers. Follow along in my journey!

#6: Learn how to knit and crochet

My mom has always said that I have knack for the tedious things. She’s not all wrong, folks. With that being said, I would love to take the time to knit pieces like hats or blankets for those who might need them. I feel like it would be something soothing to do at home curled up on the couch.

#7: Plant a tree

I am planning to save this for when Chandler and I do actually buy a house with a yard and the adequate space to do so. Every intent is to plant a tree for Chandler and I as a couple and for each of our kids when they’re born.

#8: Travel to Asia

This has been a dream of mine for some have time now. I have been fortune enough to have traveled internationally to four different countries, with the exception of Haiti twice. However, going to an Asian country has been the ultimate travel dream of mine! I am lucky enough to have friends who also love to travel, so we hope to plan a trip relatively soon.

#9: Start a family

As an obvious goal for most young couples, Chandler and I plan to start family within the next few years. We plan to only have two kids, but we’ll see where we end up.

#10: Upkeep a garden (9/21)

Before the winter came quickly and rudely uprooted all of my hard work, I had a thriving (in some sense of the word) herb garden on the porch of our 900 square foot apartment. We repurposed one of the troughs we had custom built for our wedding, which makes it quite a special piece to me! I was able to cut fresh basil, parsley, cilantro and mint to cook and garnish our meals with!

Going back to the tree idea, I want space enough at our “one day” house to have vegetables, fruits and flowers in one big garden! Dream big, right?

* It’s not the to level I want it just yet, but I am learning to propagate plants and keep those alive. Yay me!

#11: Make French Macaroons

I feel like this will be one to give me quite a run for my money, but making macaroons sounds ever so sophisticated. It would be as if I was back in Québec City with a gelato in one hand and macaroons in the other. A coworker from back home brought in homemade macaroons and they were the //.

This could also be the class I take to master a skill! (#1)

#12: Read a book per month

This isn’t necessarily a hard goal, but it’s consciously making time to read every night. I’ve always loved to read and would like to knock out those books that have been on my list for some time.

#13: Flip a piece of furniture

We currently have two pieces that I plan to “flip” once we buy our new house and I decide on what theme I’m going for. DIYing furniture is such a satisfying thing to watch and very cost effective.

#14: Take a picture or video every day for a month

There are so many great apps to use for this, but I have found 1SE, which stands for One Second Everday. It’s a simple way to take videos and cut them down to one second, as I’m sure you inferred. You can do a month, six months, a year or any variation of time. I have seen friends who have done different videos and it is a unique montage of memories to look back on.

#15: Travel to the West Coast

The farthest west I’ve been is to the Lone Star State three years ago for work, but I would love to visit any part of the west coast. We have family that lives out on Bainbridge Island, WA and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the Washington and Oregon area. My husband has been there once before over a decade ago, so I would love to experience it together!

Thank you for sticking with me through the first part of my “Thirty before 30” bucket-list challenge! I hope to be able to do most, if not all of these things before I turn thirty. If not, I have a great place to start and will continue to check things off as I go.

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! 🗺