Tim Foolery

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Is Airbnb for me?

I love to travel.  When I do travel, I love to live like a local. I want to eat where the locals eat. I want to take buses and subways and ride bikes.  I want to find a dive bar or a hidden gem bar that isn’t on TripAdvisor or another guidebook.  I don’t (necessarily) want to be viewing a city from a multi-room suite, high above the residents of that city.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a beautiful suite upgrade, but if I’m trying to experience a city like a local, why don’t I live like a local?

I’ve never once stayed at an Airbnb.  To be more clear, I’ve never stayed at any sort of short term rental arrangement like Airbnb, VBRO, FlipKey, Wimdu or any other the others out there.  I have no problem with other aspects of our “share-economy” – I use Uber/Lyft all the time.  I can’t even remember the last time I took a traditional taxi someplace. I just have never pulled the trigger on an Airbnb.

I have dozens of friends who’ve stayed under these arrangements before. They swear by them too.  I can’t quite put my finger on why I’ve shied away.  Maybe it’s be cause I like daily maid service when I travel.  Perhaps I like the idea of a full service bar/restaurant in a hotel (even though, I rarely dine at the hotel in which I stay).  Perchance I have an unhealthy fear that someone will come into this property and rob/murder me.

Well, all this is about to change.  I have to go back to Oregon this weekend – I’ll be in a small town that does have a couple of hotel options, but they didn’t appeal to me.  A couple were in the Super 8 class of accommodations, plus those were out of town, more on the highway. I want someplace where I can walk to grab a bite to eat or drink, if the mood strikes me. You know how much I loathe driving.  One option required me to share a bathroom with an adjoining room – it’s a great hotel and I love the concept (a rehabbed turn of the century hotel in a historic downtown setting), but I am not going to fight a neighbor for a shower or a toilet — and I am sure as hell not going to walk down the hall to use the toilet…and wait in line for the privilege to do so.  One final option, was to stay at a loft hotel, one where I’ve stayed before – but the rates were nearly $300 per night.  Which is utterly nuts, if you ask me.

That left me with an Airbnb option.  Friends that I’m meeting this weekend are also staying at another Airbnb – and they stay in them all the time.  So I downloaded the app, created a profile and booked a room.  The rate was almost a third of the hotel costs.  It’s right where I want to be.  It has good reviews and appears to fit my needs.

Quaint Downtown

Now don’t you see why I wanted to stay here?

It’s just one night – how bad could it be?

Am I nuts for not trying Airbnb before?  What advice do you have for a newbie?  What are your Airbnb horror stories?