As you are all aware we have been organising as much of our accommodation as possible through Airbnb. We don’t mind the odd hotel but much prefer the experience of actually living with local people. Lots of people keep asking us about Airbnb so we thought we’d tell you a little bit about it.
What is Airbnb?
Basically it’s just a collection of rooms and houses that are available to rent all around the world. That’s it. What makes it different from Expedia or Booking.com is the fact that each room is part of a private home. It is exactly the same as driving past a house with a ‘bed and breakfast’ sign hanging from the front gate except that all of the signs are hanging together on a website. Anyone can list their home or a bedroom, it’s simple.
How do you choose somewhere to stay on Airbnb?
There are thousands of listings on their website so choosing the right place could be tricky. It isn’t though, it’s easy. Just select a town, or an area, and the appropriate dates and the Airbnb site will return a long list of available accommodation. The real knack is filtering down to exactly the accommodation you are looking for, same as any booking sites. Set the maximum price, select whether you want Wifi, use of the kitchen, washing facilities etc and off you go. Simple.
The most important things to read though are the reviews. Every guest is invited to write a review of their stay and every host is invited to review the guests so it’s a really good system. When we make an enquiry we never book anywhere with no reviews.
What’s wrong with using hotels?
Absolutely nothing, a few nights in a nice hotel is fantastic and it feels great to spoil yourselves occasionally. But long term hotel stays can just be so soulless and depressing. You don’t really get to meet anyone and it can easily turn into a diet of TV and huge meals if you’re not careful.
Isn’t it a bit weird staying in someone else’s house?
So many people ask us this, it really isn’t weird at all. It’s not like we just turn up unexpected at a strangers place and move into their bedroom is it? Every single host that we’ve stayed with has been so friendly and so welcoming, and we’ve felt comfortable within minutes of arriving. Obviously we have to be aware that it is their house and be respectful of their belongings but we would do that in anyone’s house.
Do you get your own bathroom?
Sometimes. When you book you can select either ‘whole property’, ‘private room’, or ‘shared room’. Obviously both ‘rooms’ will be within the hosts own house so could potentially involve sharing but ‘private bathroom’ is another filter you can use when selecting so not a problem. We never share a room but book a mixture of the other two options. For longer than a week stays we like to have our own space.
Are you allowed to cook?
Another filter as mentioned earlier, just select ‘use of kitchen’ and that’s it. Again you do have to be considerate and remember it’s someone else’s kitchen but we’ve never had a problem. A few of our stays haven’t included kitchen use but they’ve only been short-term so sandwiches for lunch and eating out have been the order of the day.
What happens when you first arrive?
Usually the hosts are there to meet us and show us where everything is and what’s what. Jo has a list of questions now that she fires off to get all the relevant information which really helps. Occasionally we’ve arrived when the hosts are out or even away and previously emailed instructions have to be used to find a key and get in. That can be a little strange as we just felt like housebreakers! Once a taxi driver dropped us off at 2am and we just had to creep down the side alleyway and let ourselves in, he didn’t understand and was so suspicious. very amusing.
Will you be booking anymore Airbnbs ?
Will we? Just try and stop us. We have another 30 booked for the rest of this year! More wonderful people to meet and more new homes to live in, we can’t wait.
Apologies now for the long list of photos but this may be more for us than any of you. All of the Airbnb places that we’ve stayed in so far and the wonderful people that we met.
To say we have enjoyed staying with all of these incredible people would be an understatement, we absolutely loved it and will never forget their kindness and generosity. They have all made our little adventure very special.
June 2015 – March 2016