Monday, April 27, 2015

Is Choosing Airbnb Worth It?

If you've been following my personal Instagram, you would have seen that I recently spent some time in the Pacific northwest visiting my parents in Portland and sightseeing in Seattle. While out there, my boyfriend, his cousin, and I decided to try Airbnb for the first time. Now, right off the bat I want to tell you that we are in no way sponsored by this company and that all of my opinions are real and true without any outside influence. With that being said, let’s dive right in.

Airbnb is an online community of people looking to rent out their accommodations to travelers visiting their city or town. These humble abodes could range anywhere from mansions, to homes/apartment to even RV’s and tree houses. It’s quite an obvious but novel concept; owners offer their residence to strangers, charging a nightly fee with the option of adding additional fees for cleaning or booking. It varies per household.  

What a crazy notion, having strangers live in your home! What if they steal something or destroy the house?! Then on the other hand, what if the owner goes into the house and rummages and steal the patrons belongings? On both ends, that is an insane amount of trust to put in someone you’ve never met before. But that’s just it. Trust is immediately evident upon posting the home on the site, and when a guest books the home. It's like an unspoken promise; "No, I will not steal your stuff while renting your home and you will not steal my stuff while I’m out sightseeing." (To learn exactly about how it works, check out this site that has a really good breakdown of the logistics, including additional fees that surprised me upon booking.)

The Airbnb we chose for our Portland stay

On this trip, we booked an Airbnb in Portland, and one in Seattle. The two homes were completely different in their own rights. I think the home in Portland reflected much of the side of the city you don’t usually see. It was an older home, calm, warm and welcoming especially after a long day of doing touristy things (like voodoo donuts, yummmm). The Seattle home was much more modern, still very comfortable, but you could see the city represented in the decor and amenities.

Our Seattle Airbnb

I felt that, despite it having everything we needed, the fear of theft was quite evident in the Portland house. It had an older TV with minimal channels, old beds that creaked when we moved around, empty cupboards in the kitchen, and signs throughout the house with instructions. Although helpful, it definitely made me feel like a stranger in someones home. It was quite a lovely home, and it did its job but I don’t think I’d return.

The Seattle house, on the other hand, was quite a wonderful experience. Emily, the owner, provided an atmosphere that truly created a home away from home. In addition to all the amenities that a hotel would provide, she had a warm fireplace, Netflix, a Keurig and a selection of Kcups from which to choose, and a very, very comfortable bed and couch.

So really…. My Airbnb experience was completely different within each house we stayed, and I’m actually thankful for that. It really gave me a good perspective on the experience that I can give to you. In my opinion, the only real con is the risk of being uncomfortable. But this is a reality whether you choose a hotel or Airbnb. Despite reading reviews, you just never know if the place will be comfortable or not. The pros of choosing Airbnb is:

1. You have the opportunity to meet really great people.
  • Emily not only let us leave our bags in her home before check in & after check out (poor travel planning on my part), but she sent us back to Las Vegas with delicious macarons!
2. You get to see the local side of the city.
  • This is really important to me because as a tourist, I don’t get to see much of the city outside of the touristy areas without opportunities like this.
3. If other amenities like kitchens or yards are important to you, this is the way to go.
- Generally, hotels with kitchens or patios tend to cost more.

Ultimately, the pros outweigh the cons. Think of it this way, where else are you going to be able to find an ocean view apartment in the Philippines for $34 a night or a treehouse under a volcano in Hawaii?

Philippines & Hawaii

Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb? Do you have anything to add to the pros and cons list? And if you haven’t stayed, would you? Let us know in the comments!



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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Who Is Brunch Network?

Earlier in the week you got to hear a bit about myself, and let’s be honest…  I would totally do all of those things without a doubt... and so would Jessica!  Jessica and I kind of stumbled into BFF status through corporate life, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from our growing friendship, it’s that there’s something slightly better than a supportive friend, and that’s a supportive friend who makes you wonder, think, and take action.
Taking on all of the above, Jessica has impacted my lifestyle in a positive way.  When we encounter dilemmas or anything that could potentially make for a bad day, we take a step back and look at everything from a glass half empty/glass half full point of view.  While this back-and-forth concept of perspective gets me every time, I will have you know that the two of us are pretty good at it.  Ultimately, it has evolved into the search for balance in our every day life.
Jessica and I are nearly opposite individuals.  We come from different backgrounds.  We have a different past life, and we live a different current life.  However, we have taken these things and let them complement each other, which led us to broaden our perspective.  Together, we can find the good in the bad, and see the bad in the good.  In essence, we have obtained the yin and yang in our friendship.
As co-founders of the Brunch Network, we’re providing a perspective.  But there is never just one way to look at an experience.  Yes, we may be two gals sharing the stories now, but we are documenting our experiences and adventures in hopes that yours may go slightly smoother, or maybe even make room for some of your own adventures.  Either way, we want to hear about it, and only encourage that you share your experiences too.  We want to hear and learn from you.  After all, we’re a network of people, experiences and inspiration.  We are the Brunch Network.

So, if your glass is half empty, maybe it’s time to mix it up a bit.  If your glass is half full, well, drink up, the rest of the world is waiting for you.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why The Brunch Network?

You know those people who are often waiting for that “sign” to help them make major decisions? Or that “nudge” of motivation from something to encourage themselves to go out and do whatever it is that they are too afraid to do?  I used to be that person.

About a year ago, I was about to move in with my long time boyfriend and his daughter, I had a great job in a field I had absolutely no experience in, but enjoyed it, my previously rocky relationship with my parents was evolving into something I had always wished it would be. Life was great. But I felt like I was another face in the crowd, trying to fit in a mold that everyone else was already in.

I had a few pinterest boards where I pinned places I’d eventually like to visit, foods I’d eventually like to try, and hobbies I’d eventually like to learn. But that’s all they were; just ideas and wishes. Maybe when I had enough money and more time I would eventually do it, but when exactly is “eventually”? Then, I got that sign I didn’t know I needed ...and that sign came to be one of my closest friends and now, business partner. Pam is one of those people who will encourage you to do anything and she’ll be right there next to you. You want to go to Miami and salsa in little havana? Pam will have the flight prices and an AirBnB location ready to book. You want to take ukulele lessons? She’ll show up the next day with her ukulele and ready to meet the teacher when you’re ready. What better nudge do you need than a friend who’s ready and willing to help you pursue YOUR dreams?! And that’s why we have created this site: to give you that spark of possibility.

This blog is here to encourage you to meet new people, try new things and go to places you’ve only seen in pictures. We’re going to show you where the locals eat, how to meet new people, and experience things you wouldn’t have, without talking to them, and so much more. If there ever was a time to follow your dreams, it is now. Because if not now, when?