We are no longer AirBnB virgins! I’ve got say, we loved the experience.
And, like that other experience, we had plenty of nervous anticipation of the unknown.
After looking through all of our options for accommodation, we decided it was time we took the plunge with AirBnB. What did we have to lose, besides being in the middle of the San Juan islands without anywhere to sleep? Yeah, we were a tad nervous, but hey, it was an adventure and we’re always up for an adventure!
It turned out better than we expected.
Surfing the AirBnB site, we looked at the areas we wanted to go and within minutes found some true gems.
An escape on Orcas Island that overlooked the San Juan islands;
And a cabin that hosted a river in the backyard, while glaciers watched down upon it, nestled within the Cascade Mountains.
Best of all, they were cheaper than hotels. Oh, we were so in!
The AirBnB app is essential to having a positive experience with this new type of accommodation. With sketchy internet connections, all communications between us and our hosts were in one place. We didn’t have to scramble to find emails and we received text messages when there was a new message. Easy peasy.
Once we were booked, we were in constant contact with the hosts. A few days before our scheduled reservation, we received directions, house rules and information on how to access the properties. We saw neither host during our stay, but we were in easy contact with them when we needed to be.
Directions from both hosts were clear, which was great considering we were finding the accommodations either at twilight or in the dark.
I’ll admit, I had thoughts of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in my head as we approached our first rental on Orcas Island, (it was at the top of a hill and at the end of a rustic, dirt road) but that anxiety dissipated as soon as we saw the views.
We were nestled in a secluded hilltop surrounded by pine forest. We feasted our eyes on the gorgeous vistas and magnificent views of the sea we had just crossed via ferry. The views were exactly as advertised, if not better.
For the second experience, to ‘our cabin with glacier views‘, we arrived well after dark and it was further from the highway than we had anticipated. But we weren’t deterred. It was just as advertised.
We couldn’t see our surroundings, but we could hear it. Out the back was not the meandering creek I had expected, but a raging river, given all the rain. No threat, of course, and as we saw the following morning, totally awesome. And the glaciers, oh, they were closer than the pictures showed. We had gorgeous, snow capped mountains all around us.
Both places blew away our expectations.
With a hotel, you know what to expect. But, do you really? I expected a quiet, comfortable room in Seattle. Thanks to where the hotel put us, we got to enjoy a loud, rambunctious family reunion for 2 solid nights instead. I guess you get the good with the bad.
So, how do you have a great experience with AirBnB?
The key with AirBnB is communication with your host.
Ask questions, get clarification. Be clear on what the house rules are.
Do more than they expect before you leave. We swept out the first place, vacuumed the second, even though it wasn’t a requirement. It wasn’t dirty, per se, but they definitely needed a quick clean up. You want to gain a good reputation as a guest because the hosts are trusting you, just as you are trusting them. This will help you with further bookings.
Now, it’s true, like a hotel, you are paying to stay. But be respectful of the space and the fact that these people are putting their homes out there to strangers. How would you want your home treated?
We will have AirBnB on our minds from here on out when booking accommodations. I’m eager to experience more of this…
(UPDATE: In fact we have used Airbnb for a majority of our 10 Month Australian Road Trip! See our post here.)
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