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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