Personal experience: Airbnb - private accommodation anywhere in the world
The first thing you need to know is that Airbnb will completely ward off hotels and hostels (however, there are zealous lovers of dinners in the room and other luxury goods - this will not affect them). But it is a kind of philosophy: to explore cities and countries, in contact with the citizens and living a normal, non-tourist life.
Rent a room through Airbnb usually means that you will share the bathroom and kitchen with the owner of the apartment and his family (and maybe other guests, if other rooms are rented at the same time). With this, I have never had any inconvenience. It happens that the apartment has 2 bathrooms, and one will be yours (this happened to me four times).
However, on Airbnb You can rent a sofa in the common room, as well as the whole apartment / house, so that, as they say, it depends.
First you need to create a profile, fill it in and verify it (using a passport, as well as connect it with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google).
For new users of the service here reference coupon on $ 30.
You can also register under a pseudonym, but if you plan to receive visas with a reservation Airbnbthen write the name and surname immediately, as in the foreign country. Opened German and Lithuanian visas without problems.
Better to find friends from real life on Airbnb (automatically, by Facebook-profile, for example) and ask for recommendations.
In the first times I would recommend to choose apartments only with a lot of positive feedback. Where there are 5 stars or status superhostwill be better than the hotel.
Try to book accommodation in advance (for a month or three). But in the message it is better to clarify whether the host will be in the city for the dates you need.
If you choose the right host, then this is a great chance to meet and make friends with interesting people. So, I have a Spanish madra, friendly Dutch and American families, friends from Berlin, Vilnius, Istanbul and other cities. Total 17 locations-equipments with Airbnb, of which only 1 was unsuccessful (I'll talk about it later).
Some are afraid to go back to where there was a good experience - they say, you can ruin everything and the memories will be replaced by others. And I'm not afraid, because what could change in our good relations and in what we are? I have twice stopped in the same location in Berlin, Vilnius, Haarlem. On occasion, I will return to the hosts in Rotterdam, Barcelona and Vienna.
What is important to know:
Most apartments / rooms have 2 prices. - per month and per day. It may well be that the price per day is $ 65, and the price per month is $ 900. If you book this apartment not for 30 days, but for 29 days, you will have to pay $ 1885.
Some locations have a security deposit. Airbnb will keep it only if the owner reports a problem. Information about this need to look in the block “prices”.
Sometimes there are additional expenses for cleaning. Airbnb automatically adds them to the rental price, as well as the service fee.
If plans can change, then it is better not to choose apartments with strict conditions of cancellation of the reservation. (In this case, the money will be returned in the amount of 50%, if you refuse one week before the date of entry, minus the service charge Airbnb).
The rent is removed immediately from your card, but the host will receive it only a day after entering the apartment. Those. if something went wrong, you need to write to the support in the first 24 hours, then the host will not receive money until the circumstances are clarified.
If you accidentally broke something in the apartment, or if the host did not provide something of the promise (for example, breakfast), you can bill each other and debate in the “Problem Solving Center”.
But due to the fact that the reservation takes place through the site, you have no commodity-money relations with the host - it feels as if you are visiting a distant relative.
A specific case: I booked a rather expensive apartment in Brussels ($ 55 per day), and in the end the host moved me to my neighbor's apartment. So, I booked a room in apartment “A” with breakfast, and got a room in apartment “B” without breakfast and with an unpleasant hostess as a bonus. I stayed for one night in this apartment, and in the morning, after warning the hostess, I moved out, wrote to the support and billed her. In the end, she returned the money to me for the second night. Such frauds are not worth getting rid of - this is harmful to the whole community and therefore it is important to write honest reviews. To smooth the impression, employee Airbnb created for me a $ 75 coupon for future travel.
And another micro-case: the ad states that a cat lives in the apartment, but the host asked if I would treat the cat well, as well as her unconventional sexual orientation, since a girlfriend visits her overnight.
If the location raises any doubts, it is better to write to the host briefly about yourself and ask questions of interest. In general, in any case it is better to write a short message to the host before booking (although if the host does not confirm it within 24 hours, the money will still return).
The breakfast option does not always mean home cooked food (especially on weekdays). It can be milk and muesli or croissants and jam, which will be put in a prominent place in the kitchen for you. Usually, the hosts ask about your preferences or tell them to choose something on their own in the fridge. Only one host has made breakfast buns for me every day.
Twice it happened that I lived in a strange apartment myself - in Vilnius and Rotterdam. In messages the host tells about the apartment, if it turns out, meets in person or asks a friend / girlfriend to instruct. There is nothing wrong with that, although at first complete confidence is surprising (you can not help thinking about it, you could give the keys to the apartment to someone you know, leaving the gadgets and all the things in their places).
It is possible to bargain with the host, but it depends on you (personally, I don’t like to bargain for the price - it suits me or I can afford to afford something else. I don’t like it when someone tries to bargain with me). But a little pleasure: if you come for the second time, the host can give you a discount - you get it on the card automatically.
The unspoken rule is not to bring guests if you do not rent an apartment entirely.
Some hosts are on the eve of your departure. Bye-bye party (dinner with family), but this is not the rule. I had just 2 such parties in Barcelona and Haarlem.
If you choose the right host or you're lucky, you can celebrate holidays together (which is always interesting, since it is an immersion in other traditions). I once with the rest of the guests celebrated the birthday of the host in Barcelona and celebrated the new year with the Dutch family in Haarlem.
From the category of pleasant coincidences: the new 2015 year I met with a guy from Tel Aviv, who rented another room in the same apartment in Rotterdam. We went to watch fireworks on the Erasmus bridge, drank wine and laughed a lot. He was very easy and calm.
The best hosts and guests slightly exceed expectations. A good tradition is to bring small souvenirs from your country or suddenly buy a cheesecake or other cake for tea. From the side of the hosts for a long time I can list the amenities
From absolutely fresh - Dietrich from Rotterdam bought for me a “female” shower gel Where and sponges for makeup removal (he lives himself and rents a room, so this is a small, but an act for the comfort of the girl guest). Not to mention that he bought the products, as he knew that on January 1 all the shops would be closed. Knowing that I love cheese, he even bought a piece for me Shropshire Blue, which I really liked.
Sometimes in the short biography of the host you can see the right person. So, my host in New York was an artist, a writer, and a past jazz performer. We went together for a brunch, listened to records and chatted in the evenings. In the end, I gave her ideas for the exhibition of paintings, and she gave me the contacts of her publisher and wrote for my mom, who is also an artist, useful addresses for grants and the community of artists.
In Vienna, I stayed with a translator from the UN - it was interesting with her. She was pleased with her own cooked apricot jam with lavender.
- Look not so much at the apartment, but at its location. It is usually better to pay a little more, but live in the center or, if we are talking about Western Europe, somewhere near the station (they are just in the center). But there are exceptions in everything - in Amsterdam I could not find good accommodation at an affordable price, so I stopped in Haarlem (Amsterdam 15 minutes by train with wi-fi), which was very comfortable. In general, it is important to choose the right area - for example, now I know the place where I would like to live in New York, but before my arrival I could only believe rumors or pictures.
- Carefully read the reviews, sometimes the host will not write about the fact that the house does not have an elevator and will have to drag the suitcase to the 5-th floor along the narrow steps.
- If you are allergic, pay attention to whether there are animals in the apartment. In several locations there were cats and / or dogs, but I treat them very calmly.
- Choose not only the apartment, but also the person with whom you will live. Unless, of course, you are interested in the experience of living in a family or finding a girlfriend / friend from another country.
- Specify the full address and ask how to find a house (and get from the airport) in advance, so as not to look for a location with a suitcase at night, panicking that you can not call and clarify.
Someday I will also be a host, but so far the dimensions of the apartment do not allow. Of course, not for the sake of money, but for the pleasure of recognizing travelers, sharing stories and making amenities.
The original column is published on the website. Medium.
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