We're coming to the end of a four week European vacation. Most of our accommodation was booked through Airbnb and I thought I'd share our experience.
The great thing is that compared to a hotel room you get a kitchen, clothes washing facilities and an internet connection. I particularly like not having to go to a restaurant for every meal. The host is available by phone if you get stuck which is reassuring.
As you are renting from inexperienced landlords, they do tend to have some quirks. Some of the spaces were oddly cluttered with nicknacks that they might have thought enhanced the spaces, but really meant that we had no place to put our luggage.
Sometimes the host has a lot to say when we first arrived, tired from a long flight, and it might have been better if they left us to it and dropped back for the "orientation" session.
Like eBay, Airbnb lets both parties review each other and from what we heard some guests leave a big mess so we've tried to do the right thing in each place. Reviews of land lords tend to be positive and subtly hint at issues rather than being clear about them. (My guess is that when you write a review of a place knowing that after reading it, the other party will review you, it tends to calm things down a bit).
The biggest issue we had was hot water not working due to insufficient flow from the shower to trigger the on-demand heater. Looking back at past reviews it's clear this isn't a new issue.
A good thing about travelling is remembering how great it is to live in Australia. Spacious houses, modern bathrooms, comfortable beds and a lack of street crime. Big European cities seem like the "third world" in some ways compared to how we live in Sydney.
Never heard of AirBnB but what an interesting idea! Provided that the 'trust' issues can be sorted it fills a really good value niche - those who want better than a backpackers but are self-sufficient and don't need a hotel's facilities.
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