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Airbnb part 2: What users say

Travel

Airbnb users tells Clinton Moodley why they love using the accommodation app:


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An Airbnb listing in Barcelona. Picture: SuiteLife.

Trevor Davis, travel and lifestyle blogger



Tell us why you use Airbnb ?


We often find Airbnb to be our best value option for accommodation when we travel.  We always rent the “entire apartment” so Airbnb provides us with our own space and privacy.  We also like to self-cater when we’re traveling for extended periods of time, so having a kitchen and even laundry facilities is a huge benefit, and difficult to find in a traditional hotel.  Lastly, we sometimes find Airbnb is more affordable, and better value than other accommodation options. The amount of savings or added value will vary greatly depending on the country that we are travelling in. Japan and Australia are both good examples of countries where we saved a lot of money using Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel.



Can you recollect your first experience?


Yes, it was in Bridgetown, Barbados in December 2015.  We’d planned a one-week winter getaway several months in advance, and our previous apartment rental had fallen through at the last minute.  We were able to find a beachfront unit on Airbnb that was available for the exact days we wanted.  It was fantastic!


What are the dos and don’ts of Airbnb?


Dos:

- Do your research before booking.  We only book units that have multiple positive reviews.  Since there’s no standardization with Airbnb, you have to know what you’re getting before you book.

- Always get in touch with your host before check-in  to make sure you know where to go, how to get the keys etc.  We’ve found not all hosts provide this information in time.  We’ve had situations where we show up at an apartment building, then realize the host never told us what apartment number to go to.  We’ve had to chase them down by phone, while standing on the street with all our luggage.  Lesson learned..

- Be adaptable.  Sometimes the units aren’t exactly as you expected.  We’ve had many units that list free wifi as a feature, only for us to find out once we arrived that the WiFi is almost unusable because you’re really just using the owner’s wifi from next door or the unit may have a TV with no channels.

- After you have stayed in a unit, write a detailed and honest review of the place to help other future travellers.


Don’ts:

- Don’t stress the small stuff. Yes, things many not always go smoothly because you’re not dealing with a big hotel chain.  But on the plus side, you’re getting a more unique, authentic local experience.

- Don’t leave the unit a mess.  Since this isn’t a big hotel chain, they don’t necessarily have professional cleaners between guests. Tidying up after yourself is just good manners.



Travel specialist, John Rodgers:



Best and worst place you’ve stayed?


The first place we were in with Airbnb was in Barcelona, Spain.  The place was not what we expected at all and was a small place on the lower floor with virtually no heat and we were cold for the first 6 weeks we were there.  We booked that place for 90 days and almost convinced us not to use them again. Best would be a 1 bedroom apartment in Torino, Italy for a month,  We had bedroom, formal living room, dining room and a huge kitchen. Then there was the great apartment in Cannes, France and a really nice place in Bucharest, Romania.



What has Airbnb taught you?


Airbnb has made us very careful, We have had a couple of bad experiences. They do care about their customers and want to make sure you are cared for as you should be.



How are the hosts usually?


We have only had one host that was not great, but most of the time they are really accommodating.  They are always waiting for us when we arrive.  I can still picture the little lady in Torino leaning out here window waving to us.

clinton.moodley@inl.co.za




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