Airbnb Tips For Your Honeymoon by Vanessa Larkey

If you're a budget conscious bride, you're probably a budget conscious traveller.

While staying in hostels is a great way to meet people, a honeymoon calls for something a bit more private. Hotels are expensive, which is why Airbnb is a great alternative. If you've never used the online vacation rental service before, you've probably read that it's wrecking havoc on the hotel industry, and driving Toronto condo boards crazy.  Bad press aside, everyone has at least one friend that swears by it. 

Peter and I had used Airbnb a handful of times before our honeymoon. A day here, a couple nights there. But, our honeymoon was the ultimate Airbnb test - almost 3 weeks of staying at other people's places. We definitely learned a lot along the way, which I will share with you now! 


A five star hotel comes with certain expectations. Friendly concierge, a workout room, hotel bar, and perhaps a pool. A five star rating on Airbnb can mean anything because it's user generated. What do I mean? Both the guest and the host have the opportunity to rate and review one another. To ensure fairness, both parties do not receive their ratings/comments about one another until the other party has reciprocated. 

Me? I think this leads to skewed ratings. Travellers are generous with the stars because they want a good rating for future Airbnbs. Hosts are generous with their reviews because they want a good review to ensure more guests. While most of the places we stayed were great, our most disappointing experience involved a cockroach - and that was at a 4 1/2 star location. The hosts response? "This is an island. It happens." 

If you found a cockroach at a hotel, you KNOW there would be action taken! So! What do you do if a place is not what it seems, and the host does not seem to care? 


Contact Airbnb immediately. They resolve all disputes between host and traveller, and will refund money so you can stay in a hotel for a night or two. 


La cucaracha aside, we realized there is a code travellers use when rating other Airbnbs. When someone says, "This place is exactly as described" it generally means, "This place is okay. Nothing special - you will be underwhelmed when you arrive." 

If there is even the slightest whiff of negativity in a review, do not stay there. Run. Leave. The same goes for anything less than a 5 star rating. Anyone can get a 5 star rating. If there's a place that has less, there must be something seriously wrong with it. 


While searching for a place to stay, you'll notice some of the places/people are designated as 'Super Hosts'. This. Means. Everything.

Other travellers have gone out of their way to recommend the Super Host. The Super Host takes pride in their accommodation, and will try to make your stay as awesome as possible. At a Super Host Airbnb we stayed at, our hosts left out a welcome basket that included local fruit from their garden, coffee, pancake mix, and snacks. The welcome basket also helped us stay on budget, as we didn't need to buy any fruit or granola bars/snacks while we stayed there. 


Super Host locations book fast. If you want a great place to stay, you need to book early. The place with the cockroach? That was the last Airbnb that we booked, and it was almost 2 months after we booked our other accomodations. 


Google street view is your friend when booking on Airbnb. Take a virtual tour of the neighbourhood. Are there grocery stores nearby? How close is the bus stop? What is the parking situation like? All of this is very important, and can make or break your trip. 


Not all Airbnb's offer the same amenities. If you're staying in multiple locations and unsure of what to expect, bring a towel, facecloth, and toiletries. Most places we stayed at had shampoo/conditioner, but not all. Luckily, we came prepared. 

And that's all we have! Would love to hear other people's advice/comments about booking with Airbnb. 

RAINBOW! One of the coolest things we discovered on honeymoon. All will be revealed in a future blog post about honeymooning on a budget! 

RAINBOW! One of the coolest things we discovered on honeymoon. All will be revealed in a future blog post about honeymooning on a budget! 

*Final budget for the wedding is coming - still tying up some final details.


The Art Party & Final Payment by Vanessa Larkey

This weekend sh*t got real. Again.

Peter and I woke up Saturday morning and started rushing around like a McCallister about to miss their flight.* 

Our final appointment with the venue (Fantasy Farm) was scheduled for later that morning. We were responsible for providing final attendance numbers and paying the remaining balance on our deposit. Our grand total was about $2000 more than we had originally budgeted for. This was not fault of the venue - entirely us. Our wedding guest list expanded by approximately 20 people throughout the year. To be fair, the venue had flagged that might happened. They said more often than not, wedding guest lists grow as the date moves closer.  

After departing with thousands of dollars, we rushed back to our place. Later that afternoon we were hosting a wedding decor arts & crafts party. As I mentioned in a previous post, wedding odds and ends (place cards etc.) are hella expensive. Bunz Trading Zone is great for some of that stuff, but if you don't swoop in right away, you're left wandering the aisles of Michael's cursing their inflated prices for wedding decor. 

Not content to spend $40 on table numbers, I enlisted the help of some of my artistic friends (shout out to Gabrielle and Michelle!), my bridesmaids and future mother-in-law, Susy. Our mission? Create wedding place cards, table numbers, and a few other wedding odds and ends for the big day. 

As a thank-you, I made lunch and bought booze. 

What did I learn from the crafting party? For one, I was reminded of how insanely talented my friends are. I was floored at their designs and artistic prowess. I also learned that crafting takes much longer than I had initially anticipated. I figured we would be able to knock off the table numbers, place cards and a few other odds and ends in 2 hours. How young. How naive It took about 5 hours in total to complete everything, with the place cards taking up the most time and resources. I'll think of that the next time I'm a guest at a wedding. 

This photo is brought to you by an, "Oh shit! I better take photos of this!" moment. 

This photo is brought to you by an, "Oh shit! I better take photos of this!" moment. 

Aren't they beautiful??? 

Aren't they beautiful??? 

So! We're three weeks away from the wedding. What's left to do? A bunch of stuff, including our wedding day schedule. 

*Any Home Alone fans out there?