I’ve noticed some articles recently about a possible backlash against Airbnb, so this has prompted me to write this post. I’d like to make it really clear that we don’t receive, and haven’t asked to receive, any preferential treatment from Airbnb, this is simply a post about our experiences!
We’ve stayed in a total of 18 different Airbnb places, between November 2013 and March 2015. Some of our top reasons for using this service are:
We really have found excellent value for our money, especially when we’ve booked an entire apartment, and have the use of a kitchen, instead of going out to eat at restaurants all the time. How about US$138 per night, for an apartment 5 minutes’ walk from St Mark’s Square in Venice? Compare that to hotel rates!
Room, apartment, boat – if you can imagine it, they probably have it! We stayed on boats twice in Florida. They were moored in marinas with terrific facilities, and both times it was a great experience.
We stayed in a homesteaders’ cabin in the middle of the Joshua Tree desert in southern California, and saw more stars than we could imagine!
~ And perhaps most importantly ~
when the homeowner included us in party invitations and took us out to see parades and bands. In Austin we met friends of the homeowners, who became practically our personal local tour guides, and then imagine our delight when they invited us to stay with them in their second home in South Africa! We built our incredible three-month visit to South Africa around that generous invitation 🙂 The lovely lady homeowner in Louisiana introduced us to the local Cajun lifestyle and we had some unique experiences and wonderful food!
We even had our own apartment within the home of the former Ambassador of her country to England. Madame Ambassador introduced us to her delightful, fun-loving friends, took us to parties, and became a great friend.
We definitely have to spend longer researching places to stay through Airbnb. We scrutinize the photos, read the reviews carefully, and often contact the owner with questions before booking. These are people’s homes, and as such they will each be different, with different amenities, and yes, standards of cleanliness. For a one or two night stay, we usually book a hotel. That’s pretty much the only con I can think of! By luck, or research or good judgement, we’ve never had a bad experience, and are happy to say that we have stayed in contact with several owners.
I think if I were a woman travelling alone, I would do even more careful research before booking through Airbnb. Certainly it’s not for everyone. If you want a concierge, an on-site bar and restaurant, daily housekeeping, and consistent quality, book a hotel. If you want a real local experience, the chance to cook food that you bought in the local market (and save some money!), a friendly host to show you around, and a home to live in, try Airbnb.
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