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.


Honeymoon Booked! by Vanessa Larkey

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It’s not that I haven’t had a lot to write about, it’s just I’ve been travelling a lot for work and haven’t had time to collect my thoughts and put them into a word document. Also, Stranger Things. Have you watched that!?!?! If not, I recommend you do it now.

No spoilers! 

No spoilers! 

 Anyway! I digress.

 As I mentioned in my digression (SORRY!) I’ve been on the road for most of July/August and haven’t had a lot of time to blog or, you know, plan the wedding. In the middle of last week I had a burst of inspiration, hunkered Peter down and we booked the flights for our honeymoon. Is it wedding related? Kinda. It’s been a while since I’ve had a vacation and, who doesn’t like planning a trip?  

Except, choosing a location is a lot harder than you think. Europe? Would love to, but we want to honeymoon in the winter and Europe isn’t exactly a tropical paradise, especially in January. I thought Thailand would be pretty cool, but Peter vetoed it. He hasn’t travelled a lot, and wasn’t into such an exotic locale. Mexico or Aruba? All-inclusive vacays can be fun, but we were both looking for something with a bit adventure. Costa Rica? Peter was concerned about the language barrier. California? Not about that life (for a honeymoon, at least).

Ultimately, we decided on Hawaii. I found flights for $600 (tax and baggage included) using the site cheapair.com to Honolulu and we booked immediately. Friends that have visited the islands have warned that it can be expensive, but we’re determined to honeymoon on a budget. We’ll stay in Airbnb’s and use the Aeroplan Points I’ve collected throughout the summer for car rentals.

  When I told my Mom we booked our flights she said, “I am so excited for you! I think this will be your very best trip. According to Elvis Presley, Hawaii was his favourite place, and he travelled all over the world.”

Did I fact check that? Hell no. But if it’s good enough for the King of Rock (according to my Mom) it’s good enough for me.