The Random Writings of Rachel: So, We Tried AirBnB

So, We Tried AirBnB

As I've mentioned, perhaps too often, Angel and I went to Influence Conference last weekend. When planning for our little roadtrip, the main goal was to accomplish the trip as cheaply as possible. Because we were both going, we couldn't really share a room at the Westin with other attendees (Because Angel's a boy. Ewww! Who wants to share a room with a boy??).

We looked up all hotels and bed and breakfasts in Indianapolis, and discovered to our shock and amazement that it is not cheap to get a room in that city. (And by that, I mean that there was nothing under $50 a night. I don't know what your standards of cheap are).

At this point, I told Angel that I'd heard of this really weird concept called Airbnb.com. Angel hadn't heard of it before, but I knew the theory of it--that people rented out houses or rooms in their houses to complete strangers as an alternative to traditional hotel stays. After spending a few minutes on the site, we found someone offering a private room and bathroom with internet access and free parking available for $45 per night, located 1.5 miles away from the conference hotel.

Angel and I decided that we weren't afraid of adventure, made an account, and reserved the room. And then we wondered how everything would turn out...

 A lovely out-of-focus picture of our temporary home.

Our host did a great job of staying in touch with us before arrival, and was home to let us in when we arrived at 3 in the afternoon. Our 2nd night staying there, the hosts were had some friends over, and invited us out into their backyard to chat and drink margaritas (except, you all know I don't drink margaritas, but I appreciate the friendliness of the offer). We had originally reserved the room for 3 nights and paid in advance, because that's how the Airbnb system is set up, but at 7 p.m. Saturday night, we decided that we might as well head home instead of waking up early for a long drive on Sunday. We told our hosts that we were headed out, and they immediately said that they'd refund us for the night that we didn't stay. To my perspective, that was not at all necessary, because we'd already paid, and besides that, we didn't even 'check out' or decide to check out until 7 p.m., but that was a much appreciated kindness that I definitely wouldn't expect from the typical budget hotel.

The very nature of Airbnb.com means that every stay will be different, but we had such a good experience this first go-round that now Angel thinks we ought to use Airbnb for every vacation to come!

Have you ever tried Airbnb or other non-traditional places to stay when traveling? I'd love to hear your story!

24 comments:

  1. Totally Weird. I'd never do it alone, but interesting........

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  2. I've never heard of Airbnb before. We actually use couchsurfing.com - it's like Airbnb but people let you stay for free. We really enjoy it. But if we're ever in a place where couchsurfing isn't available, we'll have to check out Airbnb!

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  3. That sounds like quite an adventure! I've thought about trying out systems like that - renting a house when traveling abroad, etc, but I'm usually pretty skeeved out by the whole thing. And Mikey is far less adventurous then I - and I'm not generally considered adventurous.

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  4. That is so interesting. I haven't heard of that site before. I'm glad it was a good experience.

    We used to stay at B&Bs all the time until once we had the worst experience ever. It was in PEI. I think, no I KNOW that woman was crazy. It was very expensive, the place seemed like a taxidermy museum/haunted house full of old dolls behind glass and cats that looked like they were being kept hostage. Kind of like one of those houses on Hoarders. It also smelled like pee. Very strong pee. The woman was scary and carried around a big cane. She also insulted both of us. We had also pre-paid. I was so scared that night I couldn't sleep for fear she would try to kill us in our sleep. That morning, at the crack of dawn I told my husband we were leaving. We just packed our bags and snuck out before 6 am and never looked back. Since then we haven't been too willing to stay in people's houses anymore.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  5. I've heard of this, and other similar sites before. I probably wouldn't do it alone, but might try it with someone! What a fun experience.

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  6. i've heard a lot of mixed airbnb reviews. i would definitely check it out if we ever got the chance. kind of like staying in a not so scary hostel. :)

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  7. We used AirBNB to rent a condo when we went to the beach last summer, and got a deal for I think it was $79/a night right on the beach, which was way cheaper than the hotels on the beach. It was a little place, but since we didn't spend much time there besides sleeping and cooking (it had a TINY kitchenette that we used to make dinner to save $$), it was just fine. I would use them again!

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  8. That sounds interesting! Glad you have a good experience :-)

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  9. I've only used AirBnB for one trip last year when we went to Portland. It was amazing! The house was on the beach and it was cheaper and way more beautiful than the hotel we ended up staying in the night before. I'd definitely check it out again! Good to know you experience was great also!
    -Carylee
    morepom.blogspot.com

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  10. You went to Influence? It seems like everyone I know in the blogosphere went! (Which is totally not true.) I wish I could have gone. Also, I have never used AirBnB, but thanks to your experience, I will in the future!

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  11. Sounds like fun. Glad it turned out so well for you and Angel.

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  12. This whole AirBNB thing intrigues me...although I have always been scared to stay in an actual B&B because it involves interacting with strangers too much. My brother in law and sister in law LOVE it because they get to eat breakfast with the owners and stuff, but that sound like torture to me...!

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  13. My husband, a friend, and myself traveled all over Scotland and England for two weeks during the 2012 summer. We used AirBNB to book most of our overnight stays. We had a wonderful time, found some great deals, and met some fantastic people! We loved how much our hosts could usually tell us about the areas we were visiting.

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  14. Nate and I are planning on using AirBNB on our trip to the east coast. It seems like such an AMAZING program. I know every stay is different but I'm hoping ours will be great. :-)

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  15. I've never tried anything like this but I've heard of something similar only it's called "Mennonite your way" (yes, it's for Mennonites) It's Mennonites who offer their homes for other Mennonites to stay with them and no fee, you just give what you can. Some friends of mine have used it several times when they travel in the States (I'm from Canada). Interesting concept but I don't know if I'd do it. Sounds like you had a great experience though :)

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  16. I have only heard good things about AirBnB. Maybe sometime soon hubby and I will get a weekend away and give it a try.

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  17. Huh never heard of AirBnB but it sounds super interesting!

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  18. I've never heard of this but it's an interesting concept. I'm glad it worked out for you!

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  19. I've never heard of this but it's an interesting concept. I'm glad it worked out for you!

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  20. I've heard of it from someone that I know. They rented out a place in California with a few of their friends. It looked like a swell time! If I were to do it, I'd rent out a cabin or house. That was pretty adventurous staying with complete strangers. Wow! I'm glad you had a good experience!

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  21. So glad you shared this experience!! I've heard some pretty good things about airbnb. I'm definitely going to give it a try!

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  22. I hadn't heard of Airbnb before this post, but I did know about B&Bs that are just in normal homes. We stayed in a regular (not in a normal home) B&B for our honeymoon.

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  23. I LOVE AirBnB!! I've used it for trips to NYC, Paris (I actually rented 2 adorable flats during my stay and love them both) and Nice, France. I love that you feel like you're a native wherever you're staying at. I was right in the center of the city in each of the apartments and paid probably half of what hotels charge! It's a gamble everytime, but I have been lucky to find great ones! I take the reviews seriously, as well as contacting the hosts with specific questions to make sure its a good match.

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  24. I LOVE airbnb, it's such a great concept. I use airbnb when travelling to Berlin, in two weeks il be trying them for a third time this year. It can be hit n miss but every host has been welcoming. I think I blogged about my first stay!
    Donna xx
    www.polkadot-pink.com

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