Airbnb is a great tool to find authentic places in the city, in the suburbs, up in trees, down by the ocean, hosted by locals that affords you a more genuine experience. Prices range dramatically across 190 countries, from $10 a bed to several hundred. You can rent out entire villas, mansions, downtown flats, or rent out a single room or even a futon.
This variation is great. I must advise you, on behalf of those variations, to be aware of some assumptions. Here’s a 5-count list of the things that surprised me at my first AirBnb.
1. The hosts might not be there to greet you, or meet with you period.
One of the things I looked forward to was meeting new people in my new location as soon as possible. I was surprised that the hosts weren’t there and that they wouldn’t be around. It’s not their primary residence. This was one of several places they owned. I assumed the hosts wanted to at least put a face to the person staying in their house. Nope. Apparently not bothered by this at all.
Pro tip: If this will bother you, most listings on Airbnb will note whether the hosts are there to greet you.
I’ll be sure to look for this when booking my next listing.
2. Not the hosts’ fault, but sometimes the neighbors wake up really early. And sometimes the neighbors’ dogs wake up early too.
Ah, the bane of urban living. In Chicago you can hardly sneeze without being on someone else’s property. That being said, the unit below us had a tiny yippy dog that decided to start its yipping rounds about 7am. The dog would yip on and off for a couple of hours, which are precious hours after a long flight on a plane, or at a bar…
3. You may have housemates that you don’t interact with…at all.
Another cool thing I assumed (and was totally wrong about) is that fellow house mates want to hang out with you. We were lucky that the housemates at least greeted us as we walked out. We only saw them once, and never engaged in witticisms over travel and bonded over whiskey. Nope. A quick hello, goodbye and they were off.
4. You may be sharing a house with someone who balls up wet towels in the bathroom or leaves dishes in the sink.
College, 2.0. I don’t know why this bothers me (it’s not a catastrophe in my own house) when I travel, but I was a little peeved by a balled up wet towel in the bathroom. It’s kind of like leaving the cork off of the wine; you know someone else wants to enjoy it, so why leave those good things to spoil? Especially in a place where it’s like 21 degrees outside and everything with water on it suddenly freezes.
Also not a problem in my house, but I hate cups in the sink. Cups are really the most annoying thing to wash. Second only to Tupperware.
5. Not every shower in the universe has water as hot as you like it or pressure as high as you need it.
Apparently I like my shower water temperature: skin-burning hot. Old buildings simply can’t deliver. Also, I need more than a light poof of water. Who doesn’t like waterfall shower heads? Please comment if you don’t.