We had our first AirBnB Experience in Washington DC, July 8-10. We probably never would have tried AirBnB had it not been for my parents getting a gift card to use on the site. Dad suggested using the gift card for our next international trip, but never having done this before, I decided to try AirBnB domestically first. You can read more about our AirBnB international issues here. Going into this AirBnB experience, I had expectations as to what it would be like staying in the home of some stranger. Keep in mind, the hubby and I barely like staying in my parents house, let alone some rando's pad in a big city.
Can we just take a minute to think about where we've gone as a society. Once upon a time, it was sketchy at best, life-threatening at worst, to meet someone on the Internet and go to their house. Now, we're staying in their homes, crashing on their couches, and even meeting our future partners on the web. What a crazy world...
I digress. After an arduous drive to DC from North Carolina, no thanks to the Commonwealth of Virginia (why is there always construction on I-95?!), we arrived in the Adams-Morgan district of DC where we'd be spending the weekend. Getting into the property was easy and upon first glance, everything seemed awesome! This is when you start thinking you might just be an AirBnB person after all.
The little things
Then you start to notice things. Like the dead vase of flowers on the kitchen table. Or the "second bedroom" is really an office and doesn't have a vent to push the cold air from the AC. This leaves you to sleep in the stagnant, humid air of July. Other noted items in the home, dirty towels left out and about, no mirrors in the bedrooms, and no trash cans in the house. We only had an empty paper bag under the sink.
I don't know. Perhaps I'm being too hard here and my expectations were too high. At the same time, why should people be forced to lower standards. AirBnb hosts aren't usually friends, and our hosts were not around to talk to and learn from. They didn't do us a favor by letting us sleep in their home. They accepted payment in exchange for a service. Why should renters accept less for more money than a hotel?
Our Overall AirBnB Experience
Regardless of my complaints, the AirBnB experience was great. I left our hosts a fantastic review and we'll probably stay in other rental homes again through AirBnB or another similar site. In making notes about this experience, it's clear how cranky I was from the heat, the exhaustion of our Global Entry interviews (that's a post for a different day), and just navigating the city. However, taking a breath and a step back, our experience was fun and brought our family closer together. It was lovely not having to share a hotel room with my parents and it was even better not paying for 2 hotel rooms.
The rating system on AirBnB is awesome. You rate different aspects of the stay as well as give private feedback to the host. The private feedback doesn't show in the public review. My suggestion to our hosts was to add fans in the bedrooms to keep air circulating. If there's a surefire way to irritate a Southerner, it's to take away the ceiling fans. I'm sure we'll try AirBnB or similar website in the future, but for now, I'm feeling a little leery of how people portray their homes online. All in all, the stay wasn't terrible, it was rather pleasant and I commend hosts all over the globe for putting their homes up for people to enjoy.
The moral of this story is to try new things. Sure, some aspects might suck, but we'll never grow as people if we keep repeating the same habits and expecting something new and different to happen.