According to my calculations, last night was my one-thousand-and-first night staying in an Airbnb property! I imagine this makes me part of a pretty elite group (although I have yet to receive my invitation to the super secret clubhouse).

I’ve pretty much lived on Airbnb for the last five and a half years – and I’m in good company! It’s the first choice for digital nomads from Berlin to Bangkok. Everyone from my friends to my Lyft drivers want input on booking their own trips, advice on being a host, or ask to hear my horror stories. Occasionally I even come across someone who doesn’t know what Airbnb is, which is always both refreshing and befuddling.

I thought I’d mark this momentous occasion with a breakdown of some of my most memorable Airbnb experiences, answer a few questions, and submit one small request…

Casablanca Airbnb

Questions I Get Asked A LOT

“Should I book a room or an entire place?”

This depends on a few factors:

  • How long is your stay?
  • Have you ever been to the city before?
  • Do you need to work while you’re there?
  • What’s your price range?
  • How much private space do you need?

If you’re visiting a new city for a weekend and plan to be out a lot, I would highly recommend booking a room in someone’s home. They’ll be able to tell you where the best bars, brunch spots and farmer’s markets are so you can make the most of your brief stay! Staying in a room in someone’s home may seem weird at first, but some of my favorite travel experiences have come from the sense of community that living with a local can provide. On the other hand, if you’re going to a place for longer than a week and you want to be able to cook breakfast in your underwear or do yoga in the living room, a private apartment is probably more your style. These days I book a whole apartment 90% of them time, but when I do choose to stay with a host it’s always a breath of fresh air.

Budapest Airbnb

“Isn’t it weird to stay in someone else’s place?”

I enjoy the occasional hotel stay, but there’s no better way to get to know a neighborhood than by living like a local. Every place I’ve stayed has been tastefully appointed with all the amenities I could possibly need (with the occasional missing bread knife). I’ve had gorgeously minimalist high-rise apartments and cozy studios full of books, depending on what mood I’m in when I’m searching. Of course, I’m picky with my choices, just as I would be with a hotel or B&B stay.

Barcelona Airbnb

“Have you ever had a bad experience?”

Yup! Back in the early days there was one. I went into detail about it in this post, but suffice it to say the place was certainly not as advertised. I contacted Airbnb’s help line and within an hour we had a free place to stay while we searched for new accommodations (it was supposed to be a month-long stay). We had a dedicated contact person to help with the search and answer any questions we had – and they gave us a discount when we finally did find a place to stay. The great service I got during this incident made me an Airbnb customer for LIFE.

Vancouver Airbnb

“Are you sure it’s safe?”

Pretty darn sure. Airbnb has tons of verifications for both hosts and guests, photos taken by independent professionals, and a large insurance policy to protect the property. But just like any hotel, check the reviews before you book! Read the host’s profile, make sure they have plenty of verifications, and check the star ratings. I won’t stay with anyone who has less than 4 stars in any category.

Airbnb Ratings

 

Experiences I’ll Never Forget

Over the years many hosts have given us tours of their cities, and we’ve cracked open more than a few bottles of wine with fellow Airbnb guests. Our host in Fes even ended up taking us around the entire country of Morocco, one of my all-time favorite adventures. The type of people who use the service are generally the most friendly and welcoming people you could hope to meet on your first (or third) visit to a new place.

These are just a few of my favorite memories… (click to enlarge)

 

And now on to my teeny, tiny request…

I Want to Filter by Wifi Speed!

Seriously, is this too much to ask? Just because a place says they have wifi doesn’t mean it’s fast. Geographic stereotypes do not apply when it comes to internet speed – I’ve had lightning fast speeds in Southern Europe and painfully slow “speed” in the States. If the folks at Airbnb could find it in their hearts to partner with a speed testing service and display the results somewhere on the listing page, that would be absolutely fabulous.

This is probably the most common complaint I hear from my fellow Airbnb power users. Airbnb Developers – I promise that freelancers all across the globe will send you flowers, chocolate and champagne if you get this done for us. Cross my heart.

Got questions about my Airbnb experiences? Have a favorite story you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

  • cgthegeek

    I’m planning to travel for work a lot this year and airbnb seems like the most economical way to go, especially since I need to work out of wherever I stay. These articles are great! Keep them coming!

    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      Thanks! It’s definitely the most economical, especially for those of us who want a nice place to work wherever we are. Hope you find some cool places this year! :)

  • http://www.venicebeachcottage.com Joe Handy

    Great article Kit! Next time you are in LA, you have to try one of our airbnbs here near the beach (I made Superhost this year). Would 15 Mpbs be fast enough or does it have to be closer to 50? Trying to keep up with all of this, Joe

    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      Congratulations on making Superhost Joe! I would love to stay in one of your places next time I’m in LA!

      15 Mbps is totally good – the only issue would be if it’s shared amongst a group of people. 50 is amazing but it’s really not required ;)

      • http://www.venicebeachcottage.com Joe Handy

        Thank you so much. I appreciate the feedback Kit. We are enjoying this adventure from the other side and have met the most wonderful people from all over the world. Joe

        • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

          Meeting people from all over is definitely the best part! :)

  • katyabroad

    Wow, you are the Airbnb queen! Seriously, should you not be on their payroll by now?! It’s definitely the first accommodation site I go on when planning a trip; I’ve loved all of my experiences. I’m totally with you about the WiFi though! It’s the single most annoying thing if it’s slow or not working properly!

  • Piùssù Firenze Bnb

    I am an airbnb host more and more in love with my airbnb guests so I truly understand how you can’t stop using it! Great article!
    Ilaria

  • Alex Nigg

    Superhost over here, wow this was fascinating to read! In SF a gift card to Tartine is practically worth gold. PS, I think your WiFi suggestion is genius, any progress or feedback from AirBNB on that?

    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      No feedback yet, but I’m in touch with Airbnb about a few other things and I’m always mentioning it to them! :)