Airbnb was set up more than a decade ago – first called Air Bed & Breakfast – and now boasts around 150 million users worldwide. But what if you’ve still not taken the plunge? Here’s what to expect from your first booking.
You scroll through the properties on offer, whittling down your criteria and scouring the map of the city you’re headed to for that all-important romantic/girly mini break.
Are you going to choose the right area? What if you misread the description and end up in a place that only has bunk beds? Or worse, no bed? Nerves course through you as you click, refine the search and make your choice.
Next up, you email the owner to enquire about renting the property. Bravado reigns supreme as you wait for their response. This is it – you’re finally making the move into being an Airbnb-er. Just like all your friends, you too are avoiding hotels and their annoying check-in times and room service interruptions (ahem) by choosing to ‘go local’.
You wonder what the deli around the corner from the flat you’ve chosen is like, and if the owner will leave a cute note.
This happens when you book and when you arrive. The owner agrees to you renting the property – well done you, you’ve navigated the maze of the website to find your treasure. Then, when you actually find it in real life, there’s another wave of self-praise.
Negotiating the streets of a new city, finding the key and the right apartment without waking all the neighbours isn’t easy. And the building isn’t condemned, hoorah! Best of all, it is just how you expected, and, yep, this is going to look great on social, too.
After one night in the new place, you are so into Airbnb you declare you, too, will become a host. You’ll be able to pay for that loft extension with the money. It’s so simple, so friendly, so modern.
And you’re going to style your home based on their cool interiors. You spend the first day of your trip wondering where they got their scatter cushions/teapot/bookshelf. Life will never be the same again, you vow.
Getting home from holiday used to be all about telling people where you ate and what sights you saw. Now you can add in ‘we stayed in this ace little Airbnb!’ to your gushing. You spend the best part of the next three months telling people about your amazing find, as if you are the first to use the service, as well as extolling the virtues of Airbnb.
Well, that is, until it’s time to book another weekend away, and suddenly those worries about whether you’ll find the right place among the cobbled streets of a whole new city come bubbling back to the surface. After all, what if they have a cat you don’t know about? Or the building is condemned.
Have you used Airbnb? What was your experience like? Would you ever put your home for rent on Airbnb?
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