Once a while do something you’ve never done before.
I had heard a lot of positive comments about Airbnb for foreign travels. It was budget friendly for travellers, good location, and the prices were unbeatable. We were planning a New Year 10 day trip to Rajasthan, mainly Udaipur and Jodhpur. It was the peak tourist season, and our plan was pretty last minute. All the hotel prices were bumped up like crazy, and by chance, I just happen to type Airbnb India.
Voila, a series of options I didn’t even know existed popped up and the prices were similar to the feeling of the first showers after a long dry spell of summer. The best part was the number of properties listed was quite a few, giving a myriad of options in terms of location, budget, the quirkiness of the room. The list of positives just went on and on.
Whenever I and my husband plan these travels, we make sure our local commute is at a minimum. Usually, the most lavish hotel properties are the only ones which allow for such a luxury. In our case, we decided to go for a homestay instead. This allowed us not only to enjoy a family stay with the locals of the city but also to get stellar views of the old city right off our window.
Here are the 5 things I loved about First Airbnb Experience India:
#1 The Prices.
I know I know. When travelling on a holiday, who really harps about affordability. Well, I do. Especially when the prices are as low as a 3 digit figure per night. 3 digit seriously! We paid close to 700 bucks a night for a hostel stay in Udaipur. We got a separate room, hot water, decent clean setting. I did carry my own bedding, even though it wasn’t really required. But it just made it that much cosier.
Next stop, we spent a night at a relatively more luxurious homestay turned hotel Airbnb at Udaipur. We had to extend a night stay so we pretty much booked it like three days before our travel. Price: Roughly 1500 a night. The room, the views were totally worth the money. Not just that, the terrace setting for dinner, with the view of Lake Pichola just made it all the more worth the bucks.
Ditto at Jodhpur. Probably our best decision was to choose Pushp Guest House for our long 4-night homestay. The host made us feel so warm and comfortable at their residence. It was a sweet deal at roughly INR 1200 a night.
#2 Every room came with its own quirky set of character
The selling point of Airbnb other than the prices has to be the unique decor of the rooms itself. It’s amazing to see how locals really deck up their home and truly believe in atithi-satkar. For instance, when we stayed in the heart of the old blue city in Jodhpur, little did I expect that I would actually be living in a blue house. That itself was a charm worth paying for.
#3 We got to stay walking distance from the main tourist spots
One of the things I loved about staying right on Lake Pichola was the easy accessibility to pretty much every location. While the rest of the tourists were busy bargaining with rickshaws, we oh so confidently simply walked to all the destinations. Mind you, they were long walks to cover the entire city, but it was absolutely required after all the ghee ke paranthe we were having.
Take for instance the Dharohar night show at Bagore ki Haweli was from 8 to 9 pm. We stayed 5 mins walking distance from this place. The minute the show got over, we went to the nearby Gangaur Ghat chilled with other tourists till midnight watching over the beautiful lit up Lake Pichola. We didn’t have a care in the world. Others were scrambling to get a vehicle back to their hotel and were paying through their nose because of the demand.
#4 Food at Airbnb is no less than 5-star cooking
Candle lit dinners with a view and food that is mouthwateringly delicious. What more can one ask for? Whether it was Ghar ka khana or serious international level cuisines, I have not had such delicious food 10 days in a row anywhere else. Airbnb gets full marks in the food department.
Just to give you an idea, in the whole of Jodhpur, we didn’t even go out to try the main course anywhere else other than at our homestay. Also, what helped was having an ex Taj trained chef as your host. It was finger licking good food!
#5 The Airbnb App was pretty straightforward and easy to use
Even for first timers like me.
I had a lot of ifs and buts when I went ahead with the choice of Airbnb. But thankfully, the whole process of booking, refunds, dates, everything went on super smooth. There is not one thing I would change about their app usage. It was pretty perfect.
The only bit about Airbnb which I would say can be a bit of a problem is if you have young kids and older parents travelling with you. In that case, I would recommend going ahead with a regular hotel instead. Reason being, these homestays are located right at the heart of the city, that could be a bit challenging to access, be it the roads or the walk to the house.