A Home Away from Home: My Thoughts on Bed & Breakfast (B&B)

April 2010 - Salisbury, England. My first experience with B&B lodging.

Recently while dining out with friends, I have been asked about my experiences with B&Bs. Whilst I have always been a strong enthusiast of budget traveling, I know that everyone will always have their own preferences when it comes to lodging options.

Bed and Breakfast or B&B has been around the industry for quite some time and it has only been a few years back that it has become an instant hit, thanks to AirB&B. As the name suggests, it is paying for a Bed (mostly a spare room on someone else's house) and Breakfast (served by the hosts).

How AirBnB started.
Photo Credit: Google Images

For those who haven't tried B&B and are still on the fence about how this works, I have written a couple of pros and cons based on my own experience and why I believe it's ideal to give this a try. 

Disclaimer: Please do know however, this blog is entirely based on my personal experiences and is not affiliated in any way with the AirB&B Company.



Just think about the amount of money you can save and spend on food and transportation and other travel expenses instead of a hotel room you will only use for sleeping and showering. Again, this might be different to everyone and depends on the type of vacation you would want to have. I'm a practical traveler and if I will be out most of the times anyway exploring a new city I'm at, then I only need a bed and shower to get by so cheaper lodging options work out perfectly fine for me.

To give you a quick overview of how much I've spent on my accommodations on my trips via AirB&B:

*All prices are total in SGD which include tax and all other service charges.

Feels like Home

While I enjoy the comforts and feels of hotel beds and sheets, nothing beats the ambiance of a real home. You have the option to rent out a whole apartment (which we've had for Paris, Rome  and Florence) or just a private room. There is a welcoming feeling of being at home at someone else's house in a foreign city. I know it may sound odd but I think the familiarity that a home gives like furniture, wall decorations, sofas in the living room, kitchen and its home-cooked-food smell and all that homey vibe transports you back to your own home. The photos and information that are posted on the AirB&B website are 99.9% accurate and the previous travelers' comments can attest to that. 

And it's not just that, the camaraderie you will get from your hosts contribute as well. It's like being welcomed with open arms not just in their city, but in their home as well.


Our cosy home at Rome, Italy

My home for 2 nights in Vietnam.
Though it was setup as a Hotel, it was still cheaper compared to listed hotels.

Local Experience

Another advantage staying at B&B is that you get a glimpse of what the local neighborhood is like. This maybe irrelevant to some but for me, I like to experience how it's like to live in a city I'm visiting even if it's just temporarily. Also being with local guests, they will most likely give you tips on where to get good food and show you non-touristy spots worth more seeing than those published on guide books. It's like having your own private tour guide in a way.

Our host from Greenbank B&B joined us for our breakfast and kindly showed us the way to the Chalke Valley, which is only a few minutes walk from her home. We had an early start of the day and hiked up to be welcomed by a spectacular view of rolling hills of the English countryside. Our stay at this B&B was unplanned and we haven't even had the slightest idea what we can see around as we booked this place on the same night that we arrived! So this tip from our host was indeed an added bonus for this B&B experience.

Chalke Valley, Salisbury, England

Morning Hike at Chalke Valley! Good way to see the other side of England.

Meet New People and Perhaps Gain Friends

Though some may raise concerns regarding the safety of this type of arrangement, I haven't even felt or given this a thought. The key to finding the perfect host is to read other travelers' recent reviews. From then on, you will have an idea what the host and the area would be like. If still in doubt, engage the host in a chat conversation. You may not end up sharing beers after your stay, but when you decide to go back, at least you'll know people and you will be surprised with the kindness of these hosts all over the world.

Some of our hosts joined us for breakfast and dinner, shared a wine with us and some of them even cooked food for us.

When our flight from Goldcoast to Sydney got cancelled, our B&B host Lee re-assured us that we can stay for one more night if need be. There was another guest coming on the day we were about to leave so he generously offered his son's room for us to stay at.

So far I've never had any bad experiences with the hosts I've had, all of them have been very warm and kind. In some cases, you might not meet them personally like our host in Paris, but they will make sure someone (a friend or a relative) will be there to welcome you.

Basic Amenities for Free!

Free wifi, free use of laundry and kitchen, free breakfast,  fresh towels and linens and even a hair dryer are all provided. 

Kitchen at Kristin and JP's lovely home that we stayed at Sydney.
[Photo Credit: AirB&B site]



If you are to share with four or more people, make sure you'll rent out the whole apartment. Sharing a room might be too congested and hard to move around. Although we've rented a whole studio apartment in Paris, we didn't realise how small it would be, that we were literally bumping into each other when moving around. 

Bathroom Share

If you will be renting a room from a local guest's house, chances are you will be sharing the same bathroom with them. It may not be a big deal for some, but ideally I would prefer to have a separate guest bathroom to be used. 

Bathroom for our own use at Novella House, Florence
[Photo Credit: AirB&B site]


There might be more or less instances you will run into your hosts at their homes. I am aware that I am a guest but I always feel embarrassed if we would have to get up early in the morning and then come home really late at night. It felt like I was disturbing them in their own homes while they are asleep.

Room Service

Please do not expect all the rooms will have comfy king sized-beds and fluffy pillows. Please expect your room to be the same way as you left it, no one will clean it for you. And lastly, please do not expect you can call your hosts to prepare the food for you. This is a home so act like you are just at your own home- you make the bed, you will prepare your own breakfast (cereals, fruits, which are readily available at the kitchen). It's a "please-help-yourselves" arrangement. So if you are used to traveling like a VIP, this may not work you.

Despite all of these tolerable cons that I can think of (and honestly still travel without it), I would still stay with B&Bs and choose it over hotels. I am glad that the traveling community has been very open to support this type of travel accommodation alternative. Apart from the fact that it is way cheaper, I really enjoy the homey atmosphere it gives especially for someone who's just visiting a city for the very first time. It's a very different kind of welcoming feeling as if you've just returned home.

A welcome home feel! GreenBank B&B, Salisbury, England.


Links to the B&Bs I have stayed at: 
(The Paris and Goldcoast homes are no longer listed on the AirB&B website.)

GreenBank Bed & Breakfast, Salisbury, England

Brilliant House, Rome, Italy
Novella House, Florence, Italy
Charming Room in Groovy, Newtown, Sydney, Australia
Hanoi Home Double Room, Hanoi, Vietnam