Basically this is a website that pairs people who have rooms, apartments, houses, etc. available to rent with travelers who are looking for a place to stay. I first heard about this service when CBS Sunday Morning did a story about it a couple years ago. We are not big travelers so I didn't think much about it at the time but frustrations over the accommodations available to us last year as we traveled with our chihuahua got me wondering if Airbnb would be a better fit for us.
Here was the problem:
- The nice hotels that allow dogs wanted an extra $75 - $150 per night for a dog to stay.
- The moderate hotels that allow dogs had smaller fees between $25 and $50 but had assigned specific rooms for people with dogs and they were NOT nice rooms. Some hotels only allowed dogs in smoking rooms and others just in run down rooms with moldy bathrooms and peeling wallpaper.
- Either way the added fees really drove the price up and influenced how long we stayed.
I was able to find a few places that fit our needs on the Airbnb website and set about signing up as a user. Part of the sign up process is writing a little about yourself so that when you reach out to a potential property owner, they can learn a little about who you are before accepting you as a renter. Since this is a relationship business and the profile blurp seems like an important aspect.
I spent two hours thinking and trying to compose a few paragraphs that describe who we are, what our travel style is like and what we like doing. Sounds easy enough, after all I do know us pretty well, but I found the task quite challenging. I couldn't decide what, if anything, I should say about my chronic pain. How do I convey that we are friendly and well humored while still explaining that we are introverts who don't want to hang out with the property owners. When it comes down to it, we sound pretty boring on paper. We don't drink, travel the world, hike or bike in any serious fashion, we aren't involved in anything outside of our family/friends/house. Heck we don't even eat meat.
Then again, maybe boring is what people want in a renter. Perhaps it will assure them that we won't disturb the neighbors or ruin anything around the house. STILL, I'm putting a fair amount of pressure on the whole thing because a couple of the places we want to stay don't take dogs. When I finally get our profile crafted, I'll be reaching out to those people and making a heartfelt plea for Gypsy's acceptance.
The benefits to Airbnb:
- We can have an entire apartment/condo/house to ourselves - places with full kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living spaces. Much more comfortable and private than offered in the hotel setting.
- We can stay twice and long for less money.
More stuff for less - it's totally worth a try. I'm optimistic that this will make our visit more affordable and enjoyable. I'll let you know how it goes after.
Have any of you ever used Airbnb?