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Airbnb or B&B's

My husband, myself and our 4 year old will be spending 2 weeks in the U.K. We are thinking of spending a week of that in Scotland. The purpose of the trip is to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.

We are deciding if we want to stay in Airbnb rentals or traditional bed and breakfasts. I'd like to spend around $150 per night.

The appeal of Airbnb is that we can rent a whole house or cabin and some of them have hot tubs. We would be missing the privacy element if we stayed at a traditional B&B, but great advice on what to do locally as well as meeting other travelers. Thoughts?

Posted by
4885 posts

I think you've summed up the choice well, and I don't know which variables are more important to you.

Do you plan to move around during that week in Scotland or stay in one place? The more nights you expect to sleep in different places, the more appeal the traditional B&Bs should have, I'd think. More convenient, likely to be located closer to sights you want to see, more need for hosts' local knowledge you won't have time to acquire on your own, less reason to want additional space or privacy. On the other hand, if you plan to plunk down in one location for the week, the value of having "your own place" gets more apparent.

Posted by
503 posts

Given that you are traveling with a 4 year old, I'd opt for the Airbnb since it gives you the option of fixing meals. Going out for dinner every night can be taxing for adults let along kids. As for the availability of hot tubs, I've found those few and far between. But the extra space, and ability to "eat in" far surpasses a hot tub....

Posted by
5029 posts

In the UK, Airbnb in my experience isn't the best option. With their fees, they usually cost 25% more for the same property than on other portals. Instead, consider Trip Advisor rentals, booking.com or one of the local agencies such as Scottish-country-cottages.co.uk.

Many B&Bs will offer double rooms, but not family rooms, as they aren't large enough, so you would have more options with renting a cottage.

Hot tubs are a bit of a rarity in the UK, particularly in the north, as the weather isn't good enough for most of the year to justify the cost of installation. They would be full of rainwater!

Posted by
1207 posts

Depending on the time of year, cabins at the National Parks in Scotland can be an alternate choice. I personally prefer traditional B&Bs in the UK...so much more "comfy", often with tea and biscuits and hot breakfasts...plus someone who can give friendly advice. Many can bring in small folding bed for a child in the same room as parents. If you are going to be out all day after a hearty breakfast you can go to a sandwich shop or shop at the local deli for a picnic lunch. Some B & Bs offer dinner; especially farmhouses. Pubs welcome children, so you can try Pub Grub which can be good (one we stayed at near Chester had a retired "star" chef) and have a beer. Check the listings on line...I believe that you can do well on your budget...in Scotland and small town or rural England.

Posted by
645 posts

Here are a couple of sites I use to book accommodation in the UK. http://www.cottages.com and http://ownersdirect.co.uk. If you are staying in one location for a week and have a car, I would highly recommend a cottage. Sometimes the owners are living close by and on hand to ask questions. You could pay from $80 a night to $150 a night for a stunning English cottage. I do like B&B's for 1-2 night stays. There are many with triple or family room combinations. I often use Booking.com.

Posted by
1014 posts

Here is a lovely place to stay in Thurso, Scotland. We have used their accommodations for the past 4 years. http://www.thursobayholidays.co.uk/ This is a scenic area, well worth seeing. There is a grocery store across from the Holiday Homes, so it is easy to get groceries. The homes are about 1/2 mile out from town. We usually walked it just for the fresh air and lovely scenery.

The owner also has an apartment for rent in town. I have never used the apartment.

It is a short drive to Wick, a lovely little town. Also, you can catch a tour bus to the Orkney Islands which is a great tour. Take the full day one.

Posted by
3901 posts

I realize you are travelling with a little one, which makes renting a 'whole' airbnb more palatable, and easier since you prob want two beds or bedrooms.

My husband and I generally stay at airbnb's with the owner present - some have sat and chatted with us (A wonderful 3+ hour chat with a lady in California. Hubby sitting up and talking with our Dordrecht host for a few hours after sightseeing was over), a few offered us supper and/or breakfast, one picked us up at the train station and dropped us off as well...others have been - here's your room, nice to meet you - and then we didn't see them again.

We have also had some great talks with people from all around the world staying at traditional B&B's.

Maybe you could look into Airbnb's with the owner present and just read thru the reviews to see if people mention that the owner was helpful/liked to chat...or you could even message them first and ask if they like to socialize...

Posted by
123 posts

Just got back from first trip to Edinburgh. Rented a flat in New Town via Air BnB.

While one never knows if the pictures portrayed on Air BnB are totally accurate, this flat turned out to be easilily a million pound flat that we rented for £100 a night. Absolutely jaw dropping, and the host was extraordinary.

Always carefully read reviews on Air BnB before booking. We had good vibes about this host, judging by the reviews alone. Turns out, our expectations were far exceeded by the accommodations.

I cannot recommend New Town Edinburgh enough if renting a flat or cottage. Many great grocery/food markets throughout the neighborhood really made in home cooking quite easy.

TK Maxx and Superdrug, also in neighborhood, for all other last minute purchases (example, if didn’t pack enough shampoo or forgot hair flatiron).
Hope this helps.