‘After spending three years being paid to stay in hotels and B&Bs across Scotland, I find it very difficult to book into one and call it a ‘holiday’…’
This means I tend to check out how clean the toilets are, look under the beds, and ask for random things for my room in order to see how up to speed the owners and managers are. Basically, I can’t relax because I feel like I should be looking at stuff and going ‘Ooooh, look! That’s the 100th bit of identical IKEA furniture I’ve seen this week…’
After a while, it’s just not fun any more and the barriers between working and enjoying are too blurred. Plus, how I have the added bonus of LT inspecting everything in his line of vision and telling me how he thinks it could be improved. If he worked for VisitScotland, there would be very few 5 Star awards given out, I can tell you that for free.
Because of my reluctance to stay in hotels and other serviced accommodation, the expansion of Airbnb has been my saviour. Also, I don’t much like other people, so I love being able to opt for ‘full property’ to ensure that I have no random folks in the room next to me. I’d love it more if I could choose ‘full property…and no neighbours’, but I feel this is a touch unreasonable…even for me.
Over the past two years, I’ve used Airbnb for pretty much every accommodation need I’ve had when travelling. This includes an apartment in Lisbon, Madrid, London and Istanbul, a cottage in East Nashville and a gorgeous town house in Savannah. The only one we’ve had any problems with was in Istanbul, but more because LT got eaten alive while we stayed there. Every other property was clean, well maintained and excellent value for money. We’ve also had some fantastic hosts, who have met us on site, picked us up at airports and kindly provided us with local food and suggestions on attractions.
Airbnb appeals to me from a budgeting perspective as there are only two of us travelling and we dont’ really spend that much time indoors. This means we need only one bedroom and studios are often ideally priced and well situated. The fact that the site offers you countless photos (seriously, some of these are taken from every single angle) and ensure that you really don’t have much to be left in the dark about.
Location and Range
You check your chosen location, have a look at the size options, number of bedrooms, etc, choose your price range and that all-important ‘full property’ box and BOOM!, you have a list of suitable options. Choose which one is closest to the pub (that’s my criteri, anyway…) and then fire off an email to the webnet thing and wait for the response that almost inevitably says: ‘Hi Mrs T, yes, we’d love to have you stay for 3 nights and, did you know that there’s a new (insert name of new wine bar here) just round the corner from the flat? Job done.
I know that the company has had some negative press and, from my trip to Istanbul, I what with the bitey monsters in the flat (which caused LT to sleep fully dressed with his head covered with one of my scarves….seriously, it was quite the sight), we also had very noisy neighbours. But, we DID book an apartment in a city centre tower block and, well….these things happen, don’t they? Most of the negative stories about Airbnb have been about the neighbours complaining about noisy guests, as opposed to the opposite. Obviously, we were quiet as a mouse. Or two mice, rather.
I realise that there are many different experiences, and that everyone is looking for different things in different accommodation, but I highly recommend the site for its ease of use and the fantastic hosts that we’ve met on our travels, so far. Fingers crossed 2017 will bring us more Airbnb success.
Have you tried Airbnb and, if so, how positive or negative have your experiences been?