Our First Airbnb Experience

Holy shit I haven't been posting :'D

So today I thought I'd post something - my first Airbnb experience.
To be honest I didn't really know about it until I was planning for our first Europe trip and trying to cut cost because we were on a budget - and I came upon this really popular app called Airbnb. The concept is simple - there are hosts and there are guests, hosts are local people who have the houses/places to stay and rent the room/entire place out to "guests", who are travellers and very often from a foreign country.

I thought it was a pretty cool idea because if we live in generic hotels it would be difficult to try and experience the local culture and talk to the locals about their lives in that particular part of the world.

And also it's much easier to get around - some hosts offer free transport to nearby sights and some even take us on a free tour around - all without charging extra.

Our first experience with Airbnb took us to six different houses - because we had two weeks and were going to different places/countries every few days. The process was simple and user-friendly - just sign up on their website, complete a few security measures and you're good to go! There's also a mobile app for when you're on the move - you wouldn't want to lug a laptop around trying to contact your hosts!

sometimes they tell you: just take anything from the cupboard as breakfast

One slightly annoying thing was the security verification - it's abit buggy and I had to repeat several times. However the search process was user-friendly and fun - just type in the place you would like to visit and all the hosts available within that vicinity will pop up.

I made a grave mistake when I was searching for places to stay in Paris: I ticked only the "Private Room" selection, and left the "Shared Room" and "Entire House" unchecked, because I didn't want a whole house or share with some other people. Lots of expensive private rooms came up, so I changed my itinerary and didn't go to Paris in the end, but when I realise my mistake, it was too late to revert back to my original plan.

My mistake was not ticking the "Entire House" selection - this is because in busy major cities such as Paris, most rented places are studio units instead of rooms in actual houses - so an entire house could mean a tiny studio unit at a very cheap rental price. I was wrong in assuming that "entire house" means an entire 3 bedroom unit, which is not the case in most major cities.

I felt kinda stupid afterward lolol.

The payment process is simple, you pay with credit/debit cards but they hold on to your payment until after your stay is done and then they release to the host.

Also there's a review process where hosts and guests review each other to ensure everybody knows how nice/horrible you/they were haha.

The stays were pretty much straightforward - we arrived, call or text the hosts beforehand to confirm the meeting location/ the location of their houses, and we turn up there. Most of them are nice enough to pick us up and drop us off, but it's wise to ask clearly before booking about what they provide or how they can help to make the trip easier.

Sometimes they include breakfasts, and sometimes they charge a small fee to provide you breakfast (which I personally think it's not a big matter as you get to eat conveniently and sample the local cuisine). Sometimes they offer to drop us off at nearby attractions, for example we stayed at Hoofddorp in the Netherlands, which is quite close to Keukenhof, and the host offered to drop us off on his way to work. (saves us the time to wait for the bus).

And sometimes they can also offer to bring us around the town - for example, we stayed in Halle in Belgium to see the Hallerbos (it's a natural bluebell forest) and not only did the hosts bring us to the forest itself, they also took us out on walks to the morning market, treat us to Belgian cherry beer, drove us to Neuhaus' chocolate factory (it's a famous chocolate brand) to buy cheap Belgian chocolates and let us roam around a nearby castle for pictures.

The best part is for all these extras not only single cent was charged to us. They just did it because they love company and they like to show us around their quaint little town.

Isn't that so much better than getting a hotel room while on tour?

I thought it's pretty fun and amazing! Even in Bristol when we reach at like 11pm on a rainy night the hosts still stayed up to have tea and chat with us before heading off to bed. If you're the kind to want food outside, they will always have recommendations too, which is a big plus especially if you're in a foreign country.

I thought it was a perfect experience for us :D
We'll probably try it again on our next trip <3

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