In the last few years I fell in love with Airbnb. It has saved me tons of money and with its help I met tons of weird local people. I would never had met them if I had stayed in some boring hotel.
What is Airbnb?
Let’s say there is a hypothetical Mike. Mike has an extra room in his apartment, which he doesn’t use much. Sometimes his friends stay there, or his parents, when they visit. But, most of the time it is empty. That is why Mike decides to advertise the room on Airbnb portal. Do you have a profile? Create one here. A random guy, who is traveling through town, is looking for a bed for two nights. He is browsing through photographs of available rooms. He realizes Mike’s place is only 100m away from the university, where he is supposed to be next day at eight o’clock in the morning. He reads the profile, sees that there is also a small café in the ground floor of the building that opens soon enough for his morning coffee and croissant. Airbnb is short for Air Bed and breakfast. Since Mike is a bit lazy and doesn’t really cook, the rent for staying at his place is a bit lower than the next place. He wrote a mini guide for potential visitors, listing his favourite cheap food shops, eateries and the most popular pub close to his place. So random guy sends Mike enquiry. He wants to stay there, but wonders how to get to the room from the airport.
So is Mike going to let a random guy come into his apartment?
Mike is a bit sceptical about letting a random guy into his apartment. First he reads his online Airbnb profile. Apparently Luke is a seasoned traveller and Airbnb regular user. He has ten reviews from people from five different countries. They all say he is a fun guy, cleans after himself and has given them zero problems. So Mike approves the stay, and through the Airbnb system sends him his address and basic instructions he has written in advance. Those include directions on how to reach his place from both main airports and the main train station.
What if something goes wrong?
It is usually in both parties’ best interest for everything to go smoothly. Mike has to be nice, since he is a host and wants to be paid and get good review and more Airbnb guests. Luke wants to keep using this service, so he also needs good reviews. His credit card is charged in advance for security deposit, which he gets to keep, if he doesn’t break anything. And after he leaves, Mike has some time to report the damages, if any. If all is well, he gets paid in 48 hours.
Are there any Airbnb fees?
Of course, Airbnb people didn’t do all the programing from the goodness of their hearts. They take a fee on every booking. However, a room it is usually still cheaper than regular hotel or hostel.
Is Airbnb legal?
It depends on the county. In my country, hosts are allowed to rent, as long as they pay the tax on the income after hosting. If they don’t, it can get expensive. For hosts.
Everything cannot be perfect after all
You are right. Hosts can use Photoshop, or old pictures, and rent you a room, which in real life looks a lot worse than online. One of my hosts forgot to mention the huge car cemetery and groups of dodgy people meeting behind the building where we were staying. One didn’t change the sheets on the bed for a while. Luckily we were expecting something like that, and brought our bed liners, since the place was incredibly cheap for an apartment in the centre of a really busy capital city during the high tourist season. And there are some quite scary Airbnb horror stories out there. However, the renters tend to be the leading stars of the horror stories.
Oh, gross. I’m not doing it.
Well, most of my Airbnb experience has been close to perfect so far. Or, in two cases a lot more that I paid for. In Dublin, the host stayed up with us late when we arrived, made us tea and biscuits and told us about all the best places we have to visit and also gave us some useful advice on a job and apartment market, if we decided to move there. In Madeira we stayed with an older couple, who treated us like their own children, and were offering us tropical fruits and homemade cake all the time. Their place was so clean and beautifully furnished, we were sad when we had to move to the next place we rented. Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host? Use this link.
So people will run around my whole house and eat all my chocolate?
Not really. Most of the hosts are very open and tolerant people. They may put a long list of rules on their profiles and review the most important rules when you arrive. You are usually told what you may or may not use. Some host are chatty and welcoming; there are some who will leave a map of the city in your room, Wi-Fi pass on the bed table and you won’t even see them during the time of your visit.
Making an Airbnb profile is easy. By using this link, Airbnb gives you some money which you can use on your first trip, and Goblinette can get a discount on her next trip.
Since goblins love to travel, but usually do it on budget, we use Airbnb. By using this link to subscribe, you get 22 euro of your first trip, and we get a little discount on our next. If you are not into Airbnb, there is a Booking.com link on the right side of our page. Find cheap rooms in hostels or hotels, and … travel as much as you can.