Just curious--why Airbnb?


Sep 13th, 2017, 10:48 AM
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I haven't done airbnb, but I've come close. The hotels I like (with the exception of smaller places I've stayed in Europe) are usually more than I'm willing to spend. The hotels I can afford are impersonal and ugly. I can live with a small room if there's a good lobby; the trouble is, many have terrible or nonexistent lobbies. I used to be fine with being out and about all day, but that has gotten to be somewhat stressful, not sure why. Putting off a trip just so I can spend several hundred dollars more on hotels seems ridiculous.

I haven't done airbnb because the one time I tried, I just really disliked the system. Had to email for availability, had to read through all their rules and often the fees were high. and then there's the stress of reviewing them while they review you. No thanks. I just don't understand wanting to go through that effort for less than two weeks. When I just want a few nights somewhere, I just want to book and be done with it. The places I would want to use it though are the kind of towns where there are no options outside of boring hotels, and usually I wouldn't be there for more than a weekend.

I do have a lot of friends and family who do it for extra room and the kitchen. I don't cook on vacation but I can see the appeal of having at least a kitchenette. You can fix a decent cup of coffee, chill wine, bring home a pastry for later. Not being able to do that in a hotel is just annoying.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 10:58 AM
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I have not used airb&b but I have rented apartments many times. I prefer apartments for a stay of more than two or three days even if I am by myself. I am not comfortable sitting on a bed, which is sometimes the only option in a hotel room other than a small desk chair. I love the extra space and comfort. I also seldom want to eat out two or three times a day and with an apartment I can buy things at the wonderful markets and bakeries rather than just window shopping and sample things back at home. Few of these things require cooking, most are ready to eat. Although I have been known to indulge in the guilty pleasure in France of searing a duck breast like a steak once or twice.

I frequently go out in the evenings to dinner or concerts or theater, and I sometimes spend part of the day in the apartment. In a hotel you have to vacate for housekeeping services at times that may be inconvenient. I much prefer the privacy of an apartment.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:07 AM
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We rent apartments and use hotels, we also stay in BnBs. It's often a matter of economics, but not always. We rented a superb little apartment outside of Grindelwald via Booking.com. Had a great one in St Jean Cap Ferrat from flipkey.com.

I just wrote for an apartment in Rome, where we've stayed in several apartments through different agencies, but earlier on that same trip, our first to Sicily, we are mostly using BnBs and small hotels because we haven't been to Sicily and like the idea of a manned facility.

Favorite thing about Airbnb.com: the detailed reviews.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:11 AM
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In most circumstances I prefer a hotel. Using booking.com, I can rent three different hotels in different cities and have all my reservations on a single page, with the dates lined up, and be able to change them easily. I do like having the housekeeping services, and am really not interested in cooking when on holiday. I travel to see things, and I'm relatively unaffected by the beauty or lack thereof in my lodgings. I've even stayed in dorms in youth hostels, but that was when I was single. I also like having the hotel reception to give advice and assistance.

I seem to be the only one who worries about this, but apartments don't have the rigorous safety inspections that hotels are required to have. (Apartments associated with a hotel are an exception to this.) In Italy, it's very rare that an apartment will have fire doors or fire escapes. Sprinklers, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers are also rare. I've stayed in apartments that had blatant safety violations: loose electrical outlets, or unprotected low windows (this when we were traveling with a toddler).

About once every other year, we travel with extended family, and then we want an apartment. Especially we want a private large space to socialize at night. It is a convenience to be able to have breakfast in, especially when you're a group of six, all of whom wake at different times. And we often have our evening meal in the apartment.

By the way, we were thinking of spending this coming Christmas in Paris. I asked advice on Fodors about finding an apartment that would be large enough for a group of seven and that wouldn't run afoul of the new rules about vacation apartment rentals in Paris. Kerouac sent me a list of approved apartments, but not one of them would house seven people. On booking.com, I found several ideal apartments for seven, but I had no way of knowing or learning if they were legal. So we decided not to go to Paris, at least not this year. Maybe next year they'll have the situation sorted out so that the supply is a lot greater, and then we'll try again.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:19 AM
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The answer is short and sweet.

Some people prefer to rent an apartment (I'm not one of them).
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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:34 AM
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Curious, bvlenci, if your home has sprinklers, fire doors, fire escapes. It makes sense to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and I do, but it never occurs to me to worry about the rest, at home or away. Maybe in a big hotel but not otherwise.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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We are a family of 4 with twins aged 10. It is hard to find hotel rooms in some locations that accommodate 4 people. (Having that problem right now with the neighborhood I want to stay in in Barcelona.) Not only that, but if they do, we usually all have to sleep in the same room. This means Mom and Dad can't talk while the kids are trying to go to sleep, and we have to turn off the lights (at least until they fall asleep).

With Airbnb and vrbo, etc., we can get bigger spaces, often for the same price, with separate rooms.

Also, we can get spaces with laundry facilities right in the unit which is essential, in my opinion, when you want to pack light and is usually essential when you have kids because they mess things up.

I don't like to cook on vacation either, but we will often do our own breakfast to save time and money. Breakfast out can take a long time when you just want to get going early, and when you add 2 more people (kids) to the bill it gets expensive. We will also occasionally pack sandwiches for lunch when we go hiking, which also saves money. I don't want to stay home this year and go next. I could be dead tomorrow, and want to go now,

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Sep 13th, 2017, 11:52 AM
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I have been doing Airbnb for years in various places in the world and have had very positive experiences and have also formed long-term friendships with most of my Airbnb hosts and have kept in regular contact.

My S.E. Asian Airbnb hosts from 2015, drove over 3 hours, in Jan 2017, to come to visit me at my hotel in the city where I was staying. We went out, had fun, and then they and their child went to their hotel and stayed overnight and then drove home the next day. We had a great time.

In Jan 2016, I flew from the city where I was staying to their city to hook up with them for lunch before flying on to another city. We e-mail each other, during the year, and plan when we'll see each other again. Within the next two years, they will be relocating to my favorite city in their country as they had been discussing it over many years, prior to me even knowing them, since they want to live in a smaller city than where they presently live. They will buy a house, on the sea, and have invited me to stay with them, if I want to, instead of staying in a hotel.

My other S.E. Asian hosts and I have also become friends. One is Asian, but from here in L.A., but his wife is Asian, born and raised in the country in which they live. Earlier this year, they took me out to Sunday brunch and we had a great time. When their second child was born, some months ago, they e-mailed me photos and we will see each other again when I return. Plus, we will also connect when they come to L.A. for a visit.

The Airbnb couple who rented me a room in their house, here in the U.S., were great and very helpful. After my parent passed away, they sent me a beautiful card with a very kind message and we wrote to each other for about two years. They are up in age and don't use e-mail, so it was hand-written letters/cards from them. I still think of them and will drop them a letter soon to see how they're doing.

My Airbnb host, in Europe, was great. Although his place is not on the market now and I ended up in a hotel, during this summer, I am still in contact with him as he manages a restaurant and I surprised him and dropped by, a couple of months ago to say hello, and he was really glad to see me and mentioned that he and finance are expecting their first child and that he will send photos.

I just had a great Airbnb experience in Europe and had it not been for my Airbnb hosts, I might not have ever seen my luggage again as the airline had lost it. The day that I arrived, my Airbnb hosts was supposed to drive to his house outside of the city, as it was a weekend and he wanted to go home. But, instead, he didn't go home but stayed and dealt with the airline and then a day later, knocked on my door and was standing outside with my suitcase. I was shocked as I thought that he had driven home for the weekend. I had tried to access the website of the lost-luggage office, but couldn't even get through to it. But, my Airbnb host was on it and got through and took care of it all.

As far as Airbnb being cheaper than a hotel, it depends on what type of Airbnb accommodations one books. There are different price ranges, within Airbnb, just like there are different price ranges within the hotel system.

On some trips I prefer Airbnb or other rental companies, and on others I prefer hotels. It depends on the destination, the travel situation, the location of the property, the size of the property, and what mood I'm in for an upcoming trip.

I really like to have a kitchen as I'd prefer to have the choice of cooking my meals as I hate having to be restaurant dependent when traveling and trying to eat around 3 food allergies and a meatless diet. Plus, I prefer not to have to plan eating within certain time slots, depending on what city/country I am in and when restaurants will be open and then close and re-open. Having flexibility in when I can have a meal is great and if I've been out, running around all day, then by the time I get back to my accommodation, I want to be able to relax and not think about where I'll have dinner or if I need a reservation at a restaurant. I don't eat at restaurants every day at home and also prefer not to have to eat every meal out while on vacation. However, in one of my S.E. Asian countries, on some trips I have eaten out every day, but it's easy for me to find food that I can eat there. Other times, I have cooked.

When I go into an Airbnb experience or any other type of rental experience, I go in with a positive attitude and hope that it will all work out and so far, both my Airbnb experiences and experiences with other vacation rental companies have been very positive ones. I'm quite flexible when it comes to rental accommodations and I don't treat them as if I'm staying in a hotel or expect hotel services.

Happy Travels!
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Sep 13th, 2017, 12:00 PM
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"MmePerdu on Sep 13, 17 at 9:29am
My situation and feelings about where I stay are very much like vickiebypass's. I like to be "home" in the evening, like lunch out, dislike dinner out, who knows why. A comfortable place to sit & read is paramount and something not usually provided in a hotel room except maybe in those beyond my budget."

I'm also not keen on dinner, but am a lunch person and also by the end of the day, don't want to have to concentrate on where to eat for dinner. Too much planning. LOL! I like to pick up a few groceries, come back to my rental, chop up some vegetables and fish and throw it all into a stir-fry pan, and then sit on the sofa and eat, watch TV, and just relax. Then, later, I night go out for an evening stroll if I feel inclined to do such.

Happy Travels!
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Sep 13th, 2017, 12:13 PM
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Bvlenci- you're not the only one who worries. But I've stayed in hotels that are clearly not being maintained well, so who knows if the alarm and sprinklers even work. And then I know homeowners who do their own plumbing and electrical and really shouldn't. Figure it's a toss up. But don't you stay at relatives or friends houses? I may worry about it in the back of my mind but I can't see grilling my host on whether or not their fire alarm has been tested recently. At least in the case of an apartment, you aren't likely to be trampled by dozens of other people who have no idea where the emergency exits are.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 12:41 PM
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A whole house rental is a good option for a large or extended family. They don't have to deal with multiple hotel rooms or various hotels, finding restaurants for a large group every night, etc.

For a single traveler it isn't worth it nor is probably a room in someones house with the owner around.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 12:53 PM
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"For a single traveler it isn't worth it nor is probably a room in someones house with the owner around."

I'm going to have to disagree with that assessment. As a single traveler, though I want my own bathroom, I sometimes do book a room in someone's home. It just depends. There are so many permutations that sometimes I cannot stop myself from wanting to stay in a home that's exactly where I want to be, with terrific amenities at a price that's perfect.

Also, as a host who rents my own guestroom & bath on Airbnb, by the look of the reviews I get, there's a big market for what we offer.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 12:58 PM
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It depends on the kind of holiday I'm having. When we did spring break trips to Hawaii with our son over the years we rented an apartment through VRBO for two weeks at a time and that worked well. (even though it wasn't a real holiday for me after going to Costco, Safeway etc to get stocked up and then cooking and cleaning up just like at home...lol). I can't see the point of an apartment if it is just for a few nights.

Usually I prefer hotels but am picky and like boutique hotels and spend a lot of time researching them.

Living in a city with a housing crisis which has been exacerbated by Airbnb, I would not use them in any big city, in fact I have gone off them pretty much the more I read about them and the problems caused in so many places.
Perhaps I would try one in a small place without housing issues for locals.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 01:16 PM
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Why not?

I rent apartments/condos all the time as a solo traveler when it's at least a one week stay.

But I prefer to make the arrangements thru a local property manager or agency, not an owner-direct website like VRBO or airbnb.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 02:05 PM
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If we're traveling with close friends, we will try to rent an apartment (hardly ever Airbnb), or if we're traveling as a couple for 4-5 nights or more. Reasons? We love to do our own cooking on vacation (and so do the people we travel with), we like to hang around at an apartment after dinner and chill with our friends or ourselves or go out nearby for a stroll or a nightcap, and we like to have a washing machine. And usually it's cheaper than a hotel.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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I'm not a fan of hotels in general. Sterile. Boring. No character. No soul. And nothing depresses me more than returning to a room with just a bed, a chair or two, a small table and a TV.

There are times when I need a hotel, and when I do, I try to look for small boutique hotels; but I much prefer self-contained accommodation. The more unique the better.

In my case that's meant a schoolhouse converted into a cottage on a vineyard in New Zealand, a cottage on a dairy farm (also in NZ), a shed that had been converted into a small studio on a vineyard in Australia, a beach cottage, a converted barn behind someone's home in Hood River, Oregon, a posh apartment above someone's garage in Bend, OR, numerous suites in private wings of homes in various countries, guesthouses in Iceland, self-contained apartments within privately owned chalets in Switzerland.

I've used sites like HomeAway, FlipKey, Holiday Houses, Book a Bach and various and sundry country specific sites for private rentals for years and years. Air B&B is just the latest addition to my arsenal.

I've had some wonderful experiences this way - met some lovely people and stayed in some fabulous places.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 03:06 PM
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"MmePerdu on Sep 13, 17 at 12:53pm
"For a single traveler it isn't worth it nor is probably a room in someones house with the owner around."

I'm going to have to disagree with that assessment. As a single traveler, though I want my own bathroom, I sometimes do book a room in someone's home. It just depends. There are so many permutations that sometimes I cannot stop myself from wanting to stay in a home that's exactly where I want to be, with terrific amenities at a price that's perfect.

Also, as a host who rents my own guestroom & bath on Airbnb, by the look of the reviews I get, there's a big market for what we offer."

I totally agree and one can view the Airbnb reviews of guests.

I'm a solo traveler and find it well worth it whether it's a condo, apartment, or a room. When I rented the room, in the house, I had not only my own private entrance, but also my own ensuite bathroom. I also had access to the entire ground floor of the house and was told that I was more than welcome to use the washer/dryer, cook in the kitchen, eat whatever I wanted out of the fridge, and also use the movie video library to take movies back to my room to watch on my Apple TV. Priceless.

On that trip I had to live between my Airbnb room and my regular fleabag hotel. I was not on vacation, but was where I was to look after and spend time with a parent in a skilled nursing facility.

I liked my Airbnb room so much until I asked if I could stay longer and was given permission to stay on until the next guest was to check in. So, I went back on the Airbnb website and paid for the extra nights as one does not pay hosts directly.

I stayed on some extra days and then had to move back to my sterile, expensive, fleabag hotel room and with the communal washing machine that I found full of black, stagnant water and thus had to throw my clothing into my rental car and drive to a laundromat and pay to do my laundry. At the Airbnb, the owners had a new front-load washer and dryer with all of the bells and whistles.

At the Airbnb house/room situation, sometimes the owners were around and sometimes they weren't. Some days, we ate breakfast together in their beautiful kitchen. One day when they mentioned that they would be out of town at a family function, I was given their cell phone number in case of an emergency.

Happy Travels!
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Sep 13th, 2017, 09:09 PM
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As a solo traveler who uses lodging almost exclusively for sleep, hygiene, and -- yes! -- a breakfast buffet! -- an apartment has little appeal to me.

And if I were to consider an apartment, I would avoid AirBnB: I don't like contributing to the conversion of local neighborhoods to those through which tourists traipse. JMO.
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Sep 13th, 2017, 09:50 PM
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I'm another single traveler who prefers apartments to hotels -- though I've never stayed in an Airbnb property and may never (like other above, I just don't like their business model).

I like an apartment for --

Privacy. I dislike the hotel staff knowing what time I go down for breakfast, what time I leave the hotel, what time I return, etc. I far prefer to be anonymous in my comings & goings.

Breakfast. I'm an oldish (62) woman losing her hair .... and it takes me a few hours to fight with my remaining 3 strands of hair for the elaborate comb-over and to get them ready for public viewing. I don't want to have to get up early and get it all done before going down to breakfast. I prefer to put curlers in my hair, then enjoy breakfast while the hair is setting. Then I can finish dressing and go into town at my own pace.

I admit that I can overcome the latter problem by getting a hotel that doesn't offer free breakfast but does have a minibar (to store yogurt for cereal). If the hotel offers free breakfast, I am so cheap that I cannot pass it up, even if it means an early-hair-fight.

Or perhaps I ought to just go to breakfast in curlers. My mother would leave her grave and kill me.

I'm this close / / to buying a wig...

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Sep 17th, 2017, 02:14 PM
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Mu husband helped a young woman from Bulgaria on the subway here in NYC, the other day. She was a student and only staying in NYC for 2 days. She was staying in an Air B&B apt. She had taken the wrong train three times and her Air B&B place was at the end of the "F" line in Queens. I'm guessing she did this because it's close to JFK. But meanwhile, she was alone and spent a lot of her measly two day in NYC trying to figure out how tot get to her Air B&B. Hope it was cheap. I'm sure it was.
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