Is AIRBNB a good choice?

Old Jan 25th, 2013, 01:26 AM
  #21  
 
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Paris - extensive metro makes getting almost anywhere pretty easy. I like the 7th, yes, near Rue Cler. Area IMO has neighborhood feel and fairly calm. Yes there are other tourists but plenty of locals too.

Rome, I used to stay up on the Aventine Hill - gorgeous but a bit of a hike. Now I stay near Termini for convenience - it gets some bad press but it makes arriving, departing, and day tripping easy and most sights are walkable from there. I would like to stay in Trastevere in the future if I was staying for a longer period.

I've always used hotels, usually under $200 a night - we tried an apartment in Barcelona but since our stays are usually not more than 4 nights, the hotels are a bit less complicated IMO.
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Old Jan 25th, 2013, 02:39 AM
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I have used Homeaway with great results in Italy and note that they have properties in Paris too.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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As for Airbnb in general, I will stick with them in the future. They were very efficient regarding my recent cancelation situation.

I booked two beautiful apartments through them, for Bangkok, as I was to be on vacation there for 29 days. But, unfortunately I had to cancel my trip due to a parent medical emergency. I was to be at one of the apartments right now.

I had great contact with the apartment owners and both of them reduced the price of the rental for me. They were on regular e-mail with me. Before having to cancel, I contacted both owners and explained the unfortunate reason for my cancelation. They were very understanding. I then canceled the reservation online and within 30 minutes, Airbnb had e-mailed me stating that I had been refunded the full amount, minus the booking fee. The refund actually appeared back to my credit card within 3 days. It was great to get the money refunded that fast as it needed to be used to book 2, very-high-airfare plane tickets, to the sick parent.

One of my best friends uses Airbnb regularly for European bookings. He now lives in Europe and he and his wife travel around Europe a lot to visit friends and family. They have gotten some really great places. He has had no complaints. He also likes the fact that he can just pay for the places in US dollars. The company is just up in San Francisco area. So, that way the money can just come out of his U.S. account.

Of course one has to do one's homework and read reviews, and ask the owners questions on the Airbnb page to them. I felt comfortable and then booked the two apartments and was contacted immediately by the owners saying that I had been accepted. They were very prompt in replying and being back and forth on e-mail with me as after one has booked, then one gets their e-mail address and the address to the property.

Happy Travels!

I like the idea that the owners don't get paid until 24 hours after the guest has arrived. So, if the guest doesn't feel comfortable, then he/she doesn't have to take the place.

As for Paris, I found my perfect apartment through www.homeaway.com and that's the apartment that I've stuck with. I've also booked through www.vacationinparis.com for a Paris apartment rental.

Happy Travels!
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 06:24 PM
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Oops....We need an edit button! LOL!

Happy Travels!
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 06:40 PM
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Guenmai, my experiences with AirBnB in the US and in Europe have been similar to yours and I have a very high opinion of the company and the people I've dealt with through the site. So I won't repeat what you've said, just say I agree, recommend the site and, as with anything, shop carefully so you know what you're getting and what you're not. I've never felt tricked by owners on AirBnB, have always gotten what I believed was being offered.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 10:04 PM
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Hi Chad,
I just came back from both Paris and Italy last week. I used airbnb and booked hotel rooms most of them at 4 or 5 star hotels. All in all my experience renting with airbnb trumped my hotel experiences. I guess I liked the personal touches from the people I rented from. I'd be happy to pass along the links for the apartments that I rented on airbnb in both Paris and Florence.
You both are going to have a great time!
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 11:14 PM
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I have used VRBO ( in US and Paris) and AirBnB ( in US only) and have had great experiences all around.

Rather than debate the merits of the systems, let me recommend the place where we have stayed twice in Paris. Other folks from Fodors have stayed there as well, based on my recommendation.

http://www.vrbo.com/339804

The owner, Sylvain, is wonderful to work with and speaks excellent English. He has another nice apt, a bit smaller and a bit less money but I can't find the link now (if you search my posts here, I have linked it in other similar threads).

The apartment is in a terrific location and the price is equally good. Tell him Deb sent you.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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I have been pleased with VRBO in Paris and Airbnb in London. For longer stays I would first look into VRBO, for short stays, or to save a bit more money, look at Airbnb. Airbnb does provide owners and renters with protection.

Enjoy Paris. It is fantastic.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 04:38 PM
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I'll piggy back on this and ask about AirB&B. Do they broker entire apartments or just rooms in people's homes or rooms in bed and breakfasts, or both or what?

Asking about neighborhoods will probably create as much kertuffle as the AirB&B question. Everyone likes something different.

Paris: arrondisements 3 to 7 get the most recs here, IME.

My favorite area to stay in Florence is near Piazza Santa Croce.

In Rome I've stayed in most areas in the center, but my favorite area is at the top or north end of via della Scrofa.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 04:43 PM
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Sites like AirBnB and VRBO exit for the convenience of owners, not for renters. Everybody's experience depends on the individual owner. Most people will have had good experiences, but some people have found the unit didn't exist or belonged to somebody else or did not resemble the photos or was dirty.

If you can't use your rental, you'll have to scramble around to find some where else to stay, maybe pay more than you want to just to get a room. You may get re-imbursed later, but what about your hardearned vacation time?

I always advocate using a reliable rental agency which guarantees their rentals. And pay with a credit card as additional insurance. You can always dispute the charge.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 04:48 PM
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They do apartments and rooms, not sure about rooms in B&B's, but I don't think so.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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tuscanlifeedit: "<i>Do they broker entire apartments or just rooms in people's homes or rooms in bed and breakfasts, or both or what?</i>"

They don't 'broker' anything. They are a listing/ad site more similar to craigslist than a rental agency/broker. Mostly rooms in private homes, but some vacation rentals.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 05:17 PM
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But unlike Craigslist, there is some vetting of rentals and some protections offered to renters.
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Old Aug 6th, 2015, 06:13 PM
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Airbnb in my opinion and experience is a HORRIBLE choice. I made the mistake of booking with them. My experience: their customer service is arrogant and they are in my example untrustworthy. I was planning a South American vacation in June and heard about Airbnb. I went to their website and thought it was a cool concept. I could save money and try something new. What a mistake. After booking and paying for my room some 35 days in advance I thought everything was set and cool. At the last minute, practically on the eve of my departure, they suspended my account and canceled my paid reservation without explanation. I only found out through a private message from my chosen host as I was packing to leave. When I tried to correct Airbnb over the matter they demanded a copy of my passport, access to my Face Book and Google accounts and reconfirmation of my cell number. I didn't want a last-minute derailment of my plans so I unwisely complied. After all that, they wrote that my already 30 days ahead paid reservation was illegitimate and that my account was suspended. Attempts to receive a reason were ignored and I was repeatedly told that they didn't have to give an explanation and were not liable in any way for the mess. Subsequently I had to revoke their permissions, change passwords and accept their corporate hubris / insulting customer service as the "final word". I am now very committed to telling the world of my wretched experience in hopes of sparing other trusting travelers a similar big steaming pile or Airbnb treatment. The good news is, my money was refunded (they had no choice really), I didn't add to their profits and my host of choice understood and received me with a nice welcome. Beware of Airbnb. They might jerk you around as you're in departure as well. I am glad to say that already 4 other friends have now dumped their plans to use Airbnb and I will continue on a righteous mission to share my experience honestly as a cautionary tale regarding Airbnb. The exponential result should make it worthwhile. Choose wisely and seek accommodations elsewhere.
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