On this Travel Tip Tuesday, we said good-bye to Valdivia and are now in Puerto Varas, a lakeside town that feels like Lake Tahoe’s half-Chilean, half-German cousin. But we’ll introduce you to Puerto Varas another day.
Today, our travel tip is essentially unpaid advertising for Airbnb. (Click here and we can both get a $25 credit!) It has been supremely helpful for our long-term travel needs for several reasons:
- You get to meet local people
- You feel like you’re “at home” instead of in a sterile hotel that could be anywhere
- People are often more accommodating with Holly than hotels are
- It’s often cheaper than a hotel but more comfy than a hostel
- Airbnb handles the money and has protections for both guests and hosts
We’ve had a variety of experiences, from very independent ones where we stayed in an apartment by ourselves to being treated like friends of the family. The family we stayed with in Valdivia invited us to have beers with their friends and colleagues, sat on the patio with us while we chatted with their kids, and took us for a beautiful drive where we saw sights in Valdivia we’d never have found ourselves. (Photo up top.) Here we are with our Chilean family-for-a-week.
Last night, they took us to their favorite late night spot where we shared a pichanga. It’s like nachos, but with fries instead of chips.
They were also the ones who helped us finally make our way to Niebla, which literally means “fog” in English, after we got off on the wrong bus stop the day before.
We’ve had so many memorable experiences on this trip, but Valdivia was one of our favorite places because of the natural beauty and the people we stayed with. So, if you’re going on a short trip OR doing full-time travel like us, we highly recommend checking out Airbnb. To close us out, here are some things we’ve found helpful when using it.
- Fill out your profile completely. This is especially important when you’re new to the site and don’t have reviews. People are letting you into their homes and want to know who you are.
- Read reviews carefully. Someone might say they have laundry, internet, or some other amenity, but maybe it didn’t work or wasn’t available. Other reviewers will mention this.
- Don’t be discouraged if it says “no pets” or similar things. I’ve written hosts notes explaining that we’re traveling with our dog and what they can expect from her, and no one has turned us down. In our stay outside Los Ángeles, the guesthouse owners watched Holly during the day while we went hiking, letting her play on the patio and tag along while they hung laundry out on the clothesline. It was so kind of them!
- Send inquiries in the host’s native language. Even if you have to use Google Translate to help, people appreciate when you make an effort and don’t just assume everyone in the world speaks English.
- Act like a house guest. In big chain hotels, you might just leave a towel on the floor in the bathroom, but you don’t do that when you’re a house guest. Act like you’re a house guest at your parents’ friend’s house and you’ll always get positive reviews.
That’s all we’ve got for tonight. Hasta pronto.