Published on June 8th, 2014 | by Lindsay0
Our First Airbnb
There are some things that seem to appear as if out of nowhere and then just explode and get huge super quick. Super is my word of the day. I don’t know why but I’m pretty sure I’ve said it at least 15 times today. Super. 16.
Anyway, Airbnb. Airbnb is one of those things. Going from a few whispers of its name to it becoming a commonly spoken word on every traveller’s lips in a very short time meant we knew we had to check it out. And so this Airbnb review was born! Ta dah!
The sign up process is pretty slick and straight froward. As a first time user, it does help if you connect with Facebook so that you can find friends who use the site, who can give you recommendations, which makes you look more human and not like a rapist to potential hosts. Always good.
Not only that, but there’s also a pretty hefty, yet quick and simple, verification process. You need at least one verification but obviously the more the better as, yet again, you’re looking less like a rapist.
The verification process is seriously impressive! One stage is scanning your passport and the site reads it and verifies you from it. Very cool.
Once that bit is all sorted you can begin your search for pretty places to stay across the globe. This is where it gets fun! The site is really easy to navigate and inspiring with Neighbourhood Guides and photos of the very best and most quirky places to stay on the home page.
Once you know where you’re going, you can search via the map or via price. The choice is yours. When you’ve found the perfect place, send a request, preferably with a message about who you are, why you’re going and why you want to stay at their place. Hosts have 24 hours to reply. If they don’t then the request expires and you’ll have to find somewhere else to stay. I liked this feature because it eliminates the waiting around and trying not to ask anyone else just in case until you’re sure.
Our first booking in Prague was a complete success and we had fantastically quick communication with our host. Even when our bus was stuck in rush hour traffic on arrival in Prague, we were able to use the Airbnb app and free Student Agency bus wi-fi to let her know we were running late.
When we arrived, we were really happy with our decision to use Airbnb! The apartment was clean and tidy and looked just like the photos. Not only that, but our host was absolutely lovely!
With Vienna, however, we did have to make two enquires. Unfortunately the first person we contacted didn’t reply to our request in time, which meant that by the time we knew and had a chance to sit down and find somewhere else, our options were a little more limited. Another thing that limited our options was that we wanted to stay for just one night and some hosts only offer accommodation with a two nights minimum limit. In the end, we did find somewhere, which was lovely!
The price difference between countries is definitely something to be aware of though. For example, two nights in our own apartment in a family home in Prague cost the same as one night in a shared flat in Vienna! Airbnb also add a small “Airbnb fee” to each booking. They have to make their money somehow I guess, but it is a little annoying if you want to book a few different places to keep paying a fee each time. There may be a way around it, let us know in the comments if you have any tips on how to avoid this!
Overall, Airbnb is a fun, and sometimes more private, alternative to hostels or hotels as well as being a more expensive, yet safer, version of Couchsurfing. It’s found a niche as a bridge between the two, and it works quite well. We’re definitely looking forward to trying Airbnb in the future, and although we’ll probably still use hostels and other places to rest our weary heads in the future, we’ll definitely be considering Airbnb as an option every time we search for accommodation.