10 Airbnb tips to find the best places + avoid grody hovels

Looking for Airbnb tips? Want to know how to find the best Airbnbs and avoid creeps and dirty places? Click through for Airbnb advice learned from six years of using the platform!

I’m struggling to figure out the minimalist hipster microwave in my Airbnb when I hear my phone ping. I fuss with the buttons and knobs on the microwave (maybe it’s not a microwave?) as my phone pings again and again and again.

I’ve just posted a video tour of the place where I’m staying – all exposed brick and gorgeous light – and I’m pretty such I know what the Instagram dms are going to say: “How do you find these great places?!” and “Where are you? What’s the listing for this place?”

For ages people have been asking me to share my best Airbnb tips and how I find such great places. This, my friends, is that post!

(And no Airbnb post would be complete without me sharing my affiliate code for $40 towards your first booking. So there’s that.)

If you’re preemtively side-eyeing Airbnb and thinking “Why would I want to use a service that requires a how-to and tips? I don’t need a tutorial on booking hotels! Harumph!”

I get it. But here are three reasons I will almost always use Airbnb:

1. You will almost always get more for your money

Last week, four of us stayed in this two-bedroom waterfront condo for a total of $99 a night. The hotel directly across the street is $153 per night for a room with one queen bed. This is pretty much the case everywhere, ever.

2. You can stay in a residential neighborhood rather than out by the airport

You know what I’m talking about. Most non-boutique hotels exist in that weird hinterland between the highway and Applebee’s. Most Airbnbs are in real, actual neighborhoods.

You can go for a walk in the morning! Pop down to the coffee shop! Get an idea of how locals live rather than eating hotel oatmeal with a bunch of business travelers!

3. You’re putting money directly in the pockets of locals (rather than multinational hospitality conglomerates) 

The money I give my Airbnb host is helping her pay for groceries and her kid’s soccer camp. When I stay at a Holiday Inn, my money is going to InterContinental Hotels Group. And who are they, really?

10 Airbnb tips to find great hosts + avoid grody hovels

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Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? I just wrapped up a six-day road trip and a few days in Winnipeg for my yearly Mastermind retreat. So fun! So highly recommended! And it’s basically free because it’s just me + a bunch of internet buddies talking online business – no five-figure membership fees!

If you’d like to DIY your own Mastermind retreat, here’s how we did it. And I got so many DMs about Airbnb I stayed at in Winnipeg! This is it and, yes, that rooftop terrace was amazing. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

Links for you!

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3 Pieces Of Mentor Wisdom + Their Unlikely Sources

Looking for mentor advice? Sometimes finding a mentor or professional advice comes from surprising sources. Click through for work tips we all need to hear!

This post is brought to you by career-improving wisdom, accidental mentors the world over, the letter F, and the Forté Foundation.

What do you picture when you picture a mentor?

For a long time, I pictured someone a couple of decades into their career, beckoning me to join them in their corner office for a chat. In this fantasy, they’d push a tray of tea and snacks towards me and ask me about my “passion” and where I saw myself in ten years.

And sometimes that is what a mentor is like!

But just as often, the best career advice we might get – some of the best ‘mentoring’ per se – comes from peers, a just-for-the-summer bosses, or someone you meet in passing at a backyard barbecue.

Today, I’m partnering with the Forté Foundation, a non-profit that helps more women enter the business world and pursue their MBAs. Forté’s MBA Launch program is a valuable mentoring resource that supports women as they apply to business school.

Because let’s be real: navigating educational and career choices can feel overwhelming. Who wouldn’t want some support and experience in their corner?

3 Pieces Of Mentor Wisdom + Their Unlikely Sources

1. “You are good enough to do this”

Professor Dwight Purdy was the hardest, most intimidating teacher in the English department. In fact, when I found out I needed one of his classes to meet a requirement for my degree, I appealed to the Registrar to get out of it.

I tried to convince them that a class I’d already taken (with, let’s be honest, a much easier professor), met those requirement. No such luck.

Professor Purdy required every student in his upper level classes to meet with him once a semester to discuss their work. I steeled myself for our meeting, emotionally prepared for one million red ink edits.

Instead, he handed back my essay and said “This is really good. Have you considered graduate school?” And I yelped “Professor Purdy! I tried to get out of your class because I thought it would be too hard!!!”

He chuckled – I imagine I was not the first student to say this – and said “Sarah, you are good enough to do this.”

Sometimes I still try to get out of doing hard, scary, challenging things. It’s so much easier to just do things I already know I’m good at!

But then I remember how I was once needlessly frightened about something I was, in fact, pretty good at. And maybe I’m good enough at this other thing, too.

(P.S. That thing YOU want to do? I bet you’re also good enough to do it.)

2. “They’re not all going to be home runs”

Starting your writing career at a newspaper is a mixed blessing.

Pros: you will learn to write on tight deadlines and get all the good gossip first.

Cons: you will have to write on tight deadlines and maybe you can’t produce The World’s Most Moving Article when you’ve only got 25 minutes.

The first summer I interned at my hometown newspaper, I spent spent 70% of my time writing as quickly as possible and the other 30% of the time worrying about the quality of my writing.

Sometimes my articles were met with praise and glowing letters to the editor. Sometimes it was crickets and a terse note from Edna in Tamarack, MN pointing out that I’d used a semicolon incorrectly.

Whenever the latter occurred, I’d fuss and sulk and edit and polish my next piece. I  hoped to avoid Edna’s wrath and attract more praise. Because if a piece of writing is published and not met with immediate adulation, what is the point even???

One day, my editor happened up me doing a third round of edits on my write up of the city council meeting. “I think if I rewrite the lede it’ll be really good,” I sighed.

My editor tilted her head and smiled. “They’re not all going to be home runs, ya know,” she said before headed towards the breakroom for more coffee.

I realize now that what Ann probably really meant was, “Sarah, no one expects your city council report to win a Pulitzer. Stop obsessing about it and just hand it in; the proofreader is sick of waiting.”

But what I took away from her comment was the fact that – simple by the law of averages – not everything we create or attempt is going to be amazing. The pitches we write, the applications we send, the professional relationships we try to develop – they won’t all stick.

All we can do – if we want to continue with the baseball metaphor – is keeping going up to bat and swinging our hardest. Eventually you’ll hit a homerun.

  3. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”

When you’re a 21-year-old P.R. intern at an ad agency you are usually given the less fun tasks.

One of the tasks that fell to me was placing follow up calls to everyone we’d sent press releases to.

I spent hours every day calling newspapers and magazines, asking very busy, important people if they’d received our press release about the new molded hull of that speedboat and if they were planning on writing about it.

It was, in a word, uncomfortable.

I felt like I was bothering people! Nobody particularly wanted to talk to me! They all had things they’d much rather be doing!

After a week of watching me flinch and squirm at my desk, my supervisor called me into his office for a “How are things going?” lunch.

I told him that I liked the part where I wrote press releases. I loved the part where I got free tickets to all the events we were promoting. I didn’t particularly enjoy the part where I called strangers every day and nagged them; it made me uncomfortable.

He nodded with understanding and tilted his head. “I get it. But you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more once you get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Geoff was just saying I needed to grow a thicker skin and get used to placing follow-up calls. But his advice is applicable to, oh, PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING.

Most things worth doing make us uncomfortable! Sending an email to that cutie on Tinder, applying to graduate schools, negotiating for higher pay, or standing up for your beliefs.
The sooner we can be okay with being uncomfortable, the sooner we can start moving towards what we want. Click To Tweet
But I want to hear from you! Have you ever worked with a mentor, ‘official’ or otherwise? What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

9 Ways To Stay Smart Even If You Haven’t Taken A Class In Years

Want to stay smart? Of course you do! Staying intellectually curious is one of the keys to a happy, fulfilling life. Click through for 9 ways to stay sharp and train your brain!

Have you ever seen that tv show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

It is, by and large, an exercise in realizing that you now know nothing about history, science, or math.

How many cups are 28 fluid ounces?
Between 1455 and 1485, the War Of Roses took place in what country?
A common type of radio wave is referred to as VHF. What do those letters stand for?

I DON’T KNOW OKAY. But I can definitely tell you the full name of Instagram sensation Tuna Melts Your Heart!

As kids head back to school, I am more motivated than ever to stretch and build my brain so I’m not stumped when my 12-year-old stepson quizzes me about the difference between genus and species.

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