A few nights ago Brett and I were sat on the sofa in our AirBnB in Park City, Utah chatting about life, travel, work – the usual. It felt like such a familiar scene; a cosy room with a fire blazing and a coffee in hand and yet we’ve only been here for a week.
Thinking back, I felt the same sense of connection in our hotel room in New York, where we stayed for two nights over new year’s…and that place we stayed in Soho, London for two weeks in September. I felt it at my Lower East Side rental last year when my friend Rone came to visit…and during my one month stay with Mary Sue (I rented out her spare bedroom) late last year.
Six months into my nomadic lifestyle and I’ve come to learn that home is where the heart is…for me, that’s usually an AirBnB rental in a cool location.
I know that AirBnB gets a lot of flack and New York in particular has some tough rules to navigate: my new year’s eve place got cancelled at the last minute because the owner’s building found out that he was an AirBnB host and evicted him. Then there are the horror stories about the people who rented out their place to a seemingly nice couple, only to return to find there had been *an orgy / a drugs raid / a party for sixteen year olds with no parental supervision (*delete as appropriate) and a trashed home.
I’ve been using AirBnB since 2012 when my nephew James put me on to it. It makes travel affordable and also allows me to live like a local. My many trips to New York City, my summer in Amsterdam, my current ski month in Utah, next month in Fernie (Canada) and my two weeks each quarter in London (UK) have been possible because of AirBnB. Short-term renting in one’s home town is a weird experience I warrant you, but it allows me the luxury of living in the areas I couldn’t afford to live in full time.
Many professional landlords now use AirBnB; their offerings are more hotel-like and professional but lacking in the home comforts you get from a true AirBnB host renting out their home.
I believe the heart of AirBnB is a good one. Travellers and hosts (who, often, are travellers themselves) come together to share their homes, their cities and their stories. It’s a lovely community to be a part of.
E, an ex-New York City host (he had to stop because his building sued him) is a teacher who used to travel in the school holidays. He’d rent out his place – a cute, designer, magazine-featured studio – and was one of the best hosts I ever had. He’d left food in the fridge, baked me fresh bread and gave me a little loofah soap he’d picked up in India. Another host, left me a list of his favourite places to visit and told me the best place for brunch in the area. D&T kindly took in my ski gear so I could send it in advance of my arrival and not get stung with excess baggage charges on the plane. There are many other stories I could share of kindnesses and generosities I’ve been extended, and I’m sure, as is almost always the case, the happy endings far outweigh the nightmares.
I’m a big fan of AirBnB and here are a few guidelines I use in case you want to try it for yourself.
- I only ever book somewhere that has great reviews.
- I always touch base with the host first, tell them a bit about myself and my trip and find out a bit more about them and their place.
- I drop the host an email when I’ve booked their accommodation, giving them my contact details.
- I communicate with the host as the arrival date approaches; let them know my estimated arrival time and keep them up to date.
- I’m a good guest: AirBnB isn’t a hotel – so I clean up after myself and leave the place as I found it.
- I always leave honest reviews on the website.
Sign up using my code for some money off your first trip, or credit if you’d like to earn some extra cash by hosting.
To find out more visit www.airbnb.com