We stayed at an Airbnb in Sainte-Marie, Martinique while we were visiting for the Martinique Surf Pro. Budget nightly rate, basic (but sufficient) accommodation and dozens of great reviews. What could go wrong? Well, hundreds of mosquito bites, several power outages, and an unreachable/unresponsive host. At least the garden is pretty, though.
Room and Board
Airbnb has been a travel lifesaver for us! For instance, we’ve been to a handful of tiny towns for a surf contest that only offer one or two hotel options within dozens of miles. Or (more commonly), when we visit a tourist-popular city (think: Paris, Sydney, Tokyo), all of the decent hotels are all ridiculously out of our price range. We used Airbnb in every country we’ve visited so far: up and down Australia’s east coast, before/after our campervan reservation in New Zealand, in villas while in Bali Indonesia, in the heart of Tokyo and out in Japan’s countryside, down the Atlantic coast of France and in the center of Paris, as well as for our quick trip to Spain. I’ll be honest — some Airbnb accommodations have been better than others. We’ve stayed in a fabulous penthouse, but we’ve also seen cockroaches. I’ll break down the good, the bad and the ugly, and ultimately, why I highly recommend using Airbnb!
Our first week in France was spent in Lacanau-Océan, a super cute and lively beach town on the Atlantic coast that hosts the Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro surf contest. Before we left for Europe, I was searching for a hotel/Airbnb/vacation rental/hostel, anything, for several days and was struggling to find somewhere for us to stay in Lacanau. Everything was either miles away from the ocean, or way over our price range. One day, while re-doing the same search I must have done a dozen times, an adorable surf hostel, Villa Zenith, showed an opening for a private bedroom + private bathroom for €80/night… Perfect. Oh, and it’s two blocks down from the beach. Amazing! I booked it within minutes.
We decided to treat ourselves to a resort lifestyle in Bali after living in a camper van for a month in NZ. We spent one week at the Komune Resort and Beach Club, which boasts two pools, two restaurants, full bar, spa, hair and nail salon, air-con gym and yoga classes. Everything you can dream of for a week of luxury. Also, Komune hosted the surf contest at Keramas that Shaun competed it, so it was super comfortable and convenient to stay on-site for early morning heats.
After driving past literally thousands of sheep every day, we developed quite an adoration for the fluffy creatures and a yearning to cuddle ’em! Luckily, we stumbled across Smith’s Family Farm in Marlborough Sounds where we camped for the night and finally got up, close and personal with the cuties.