So you pay to sleep in a stranger’s house, either by taking over their whole pad or just in a spare room. But won’t their stuff be everywhere? What if I break a glass and it turns out to be some great aunts favourite crystal vase? Will it feel a bit weird? I’ve used Airbnb in Northern Ireland, Argentina, Berlin and France but I have to admit that at first I thought the idea was a little strange.
When we travelled around South America, sometimes it worked out cheaper to rent an entire apartment than a private room in a hostel. It was great as it gave us the space to unpack, especially if we were planning on staying there for longer than a week, which was the case in Buenos Aires.
Having a small kitchen meant we could buy and cook all our dinners ala maison, this helped us to save A LOT on eating out all the time. But it also gave us a fun insight into the lives of Argentinians, as the places we rented were usually in residential parts of the city, meaning we soon got to know our neighbours. We completely lucked out with the place we found for Christmas as it came with a rooftop pool, all for the same price of a small room in a not so great hostel. Result!
But it doesn’t mean Airbnb is without its ‘issues’. It can take a while to find the perfect pad that doesn’t break the bank AND isn’t in some dodgy ghetto. Sometimes there is a reason it’s that cheap. You really need to read the reviews (if they have any), check out if the photos match the description and also judge how safe the neighbourhood is from the tiny map, which can all take time.
Airbnb take an extra fee (for matchmaking travellers and home owners also known as hosts) so the price you see the property advertised for, isn’t usually the final price. Some places also add on hefty safety deposits which, although refundable if you haven’t been behaving like a bull in a china shop, it can eat into a good wedge of your travel budget.
Some hosts don’t take instant bookings, meaning you could message them and wait ages for a response or not hear back from them at all. Very infuriating if you are short on time and need to get somewhere booked soon!
I recommend downloading the app as it makes the process of finding, booking, and paying so much easier. It is also great to keep in touch with your host to let them know of any problems during your stay but also to get to know them before you arrive. I mentioned to one host I was looking forward to cooking so they made sure the kitchen was fully stocked, even rushing out to get me a potato masher!
Plus you might get freebies. Who doesn’t like a freebie?! Fresh fruit baskets, box of chocolates, bottles of wine are sometimes left as welcome gifts. Then when you leave pay it forward, so leave a review not just to help other travellers but also to give your hosts an indication of how they could improve or what you loved.
Have you ever used Airbnb? I’d love to hear your experiences please tweet me, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or simply comment below!