My First Airbnb
I’m more than a little late to the game but I thought I’d share my first Airbnb experience with you, just in case there are a few others out there who, like myself, are slow to jump on board the next trend.
Airbnb had been on the scene for quite a while. It officially launched in 2008 and in 2009 the site had over 2500 listings. Airbnb has gone from strength to strength (with a few small legal hiccups along the way) and today there are listings in over 65,000 cities in more 191 countries.
I’d known many friends and family members who had tried Airbnb and had great experiences. Many haven’t booked a hotel since. My cousin regularly has guests staying in rooms at her incredible place in Healesville. I had even helped my mum list our family farmhouse on Airbnb.
So, why was I so slow? I’d like to say that I just didn’t have the opportunity but that’s not true. I went to Vietnam last year and the option was there, yet I chose budget hotels all the way through. Change is scary but I can now say that I am wholeheartedly converted.
My First Airbnb in London
My partner and I were moving to London and, with no home prepared and no couch to crash on, we had to find somewhere to stay while we settled in. London is expensive - this isn’t news - and when it came down to it, hotels just weren’t an option.
Hostels were another option. I’m not opposed to hostels at all. They are definitely the cheap alternative for a budget trip but the thought of rickety bunk beds and shower queues during a time of such chaos was more than I could handle.
What really tipped the scales in Airbnb’s favour was the quality of the listings. I was stunned by so many beautiful places in the most convenient locations. With style and character, many looked more appealing than hotels.
So, we booked our first Airbnb - a private room.
The Airbnb Experience
We arrived at the house and were warmly welcomed by our host. She took us into the living room, offered us a drink and talked to us about our plans in London. A perfect host, she filled us in on the local transportation (tube and bus stops), where to eat a good breakfast and how far we were from all of the major sites.
After a lengthy chat, we were given a tour of the house and shown to our room where we were left to our own devices. I won’t deny that I felt awkward at first. When you book a private room, it’s impossible to forget that you are staying in somebody else’s home, no matter how friendly, welcoming and accommodating your host is.
It takes time to feel comfortable moving about in somebody else’s kitchen and using their shower in the morning - constantly fearful that you’ll interrupt somebody’s routine. Eventually, I settled in and felt comfortable enough to wander through the kitchen, make tea and read through her excellent coffee table catalogue.
Once settled, I was able to properly appreciate all of the benefits that come with staying in an Airbnb.
Benefits of an Airbnb
Booking an Airbnb in an expensive city can save you some serious cash - even when compared to a decent hostel.
Helpful hosts will give you tips on where to eat, drink and explore.
Having a friendly face welcome you to a new city is a great way to start a holiday.
It’s homely - you’re staying in a personal space created by the people who live there.