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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: wealthviahealth on February 08, 2015, 06:51:21 AM

Title: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: wealthviahealth on February 08, 2015, 06:51:21 AM
I have heard a bit about Air BNB on various podcasts but have never actually heard about peoples direct experiences with it.
I am hoping to use it for work travel next month in between my scheduled hotel reservations to cut down on costs.

For those who have tried it; did you feel comfortable in some one else's place? Anyone done it for work travel?
Can reservation be made on short notice, ie day of or day before?
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: LRM on February 08, 2015, 07:10:51 AM
I have used AirBnB twice: once in Boston, and once in paris.
 I wasn't in charge of booking either time, but I loved both! Paris was amazing. We stayed in a beautiful one bedroom/studio apartment with a view of the Eiffel tower for five nights for $350. Cheaper and more comfortable than a hostel would be for two people. The building had an outside security access as well as the double lock, so it was extremely safe. We met the owners beforehand and they made us feel comfortable and had a whole book of activities to do and things to know about the neighborhood. It was very clean and I'm super happy we used airBnB abroad.

I also loved air BnB in Boston, the place was clean and safe. We had an outer access to the building as well as the double locked door inside. 7 of us stayed in a three bedroom apartment. Very affordable!

Hope this helps
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: fa on February 08, 2015, 07:23:18 AM
We have used airbnb quite a bit, both for personal and business travel.

We love the concept and have never felt uneasy about safety.  We have had some places not be very clean.  The guest reviews seem generally to be too generous.

A couple of things to watch out for: some properties are listed for 1 guest.  Every additional guest can greatly add to the cost.  This is a way for some owners to make their property seem cheaper in the lisitngs than it really is.  Also, watch for some very high cleaning fees.  If there is a substantial cleaning fee, I expect the place to be very clean.  This is not always the case.

Also remember that airBNB charges a fee that is added on at the end.  So you pay more than you think.  However, that is true for hotels as well.

We have never had any real issues and I really prefer a home over a hotel room.  So I recommend AirBNB. If you are looking for cheap, don't forget to consider couchsurfing, which I have never done.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Albert on February 08, 2015, 07:45:40 AM
We used it in Barcelona last year and had a very good experience. The place was renovated very recently, spotlessly clean and in excellent location just off the main area. We there three adults and a child so it was much cheaper too than two hotel rooms in a good area.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: limeandpepper on February 08, 2015, 08:16:34 AM
I used it for the first time throughout Taiwan last year and was happy with it. In a couple of places were we sharing the property with the owner, and I felt comfortable with that. In others, we got our own self-contained unit/apartment, so it basically felt like a holiday rental. You get all sorts of residences.

We were making travel decisions a bit on a whim, so a couple of times we made reservations on very short notice, but it isn't recommended because it can cause inconvenience to everyone involved, and you should have a back-up plan in case it doesn't work out. We were lucky that everything went well - we had really nice hosts, who often went out of their way to accommodate us.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Albert on February 08, 2015, 08:28:59 AM
There are a lot of advantage to Air BNB and as I wrote above I have had only good experiences, but you still need to understand that it's not quite the same as booking a hotel room. Doing the latter is trivial - you put in your name, credit card number etc. and are 99% sure that issue is solved and the room will be waiting for you. With apartment rentals (by the way mostly it's stand alone places where owners do not actually live) it's a bit more complicated. You'll need to communicate with owners/agents (could be an advantage) and they could refuse your reservation for whatever reason. Also it could happen that they cancel your reservation a week or two before because of say illness in the family or something like that. Of course you'll get all money back and probably a voucher from AirBNB as well, but you'll still have to find another place to stay.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Exhale on February 08, 2015, 08:56:14 AM
Great experiences with Airbnb in Phoenix, Austin and Pasadena. A great way to travel - personal and/or business. However, do read Albert's post for the possible downsides. I plan to keep using Airbnb. In fact, I have an Airbnb beach cottage rental for this July on the books. I say give it a try!
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: nanu on February 08, 2015, 10:05:57 AM
My sister used it in Barcelona was approved of it, I used it with my girlfriend in Orlando and liked it.
The room we got was dirt cheap ($20/night) and therefore not amazing or anything, but good for what we needed (a place to sleep & shower after days at theme parks).

In fact, I'm currently looking for places in Boston/Cambridge for my family for when they come to my graduation, since it's much cheaper than hotels.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Migs on February 08, 2015, 10:22:34 AM
My boyfriend and I and a few friends chipped in together to rent a 3 bedroom apt when we went to Lisbon. It was a really nice place and cheap - about $100/night split between 5 people. It also had a great patio and the apt was really spacious.

The downside I would say is finding a place quickly (same day) may be somewhat difficult and on occasion it's difficult to get in contact with some of the apt owners. Also, I haven't found a way to use airbnb for travel hacking on cc's outside of putting it on a Barclay Arrival card or Cap One Venture card.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Albert on February 08, 2015, 10:25:23 AM
If you want a good combination of price, location and quality I suggest booking it at least a month in advance.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: totoro on February 08, 2015, 10:29:25 AM
I would suggest that for a big trip you look two or more months in advance.  We booked our trip to Japan using Airbnb and I had to change one booking.  It was much harder to find great, affordable places two months in advance than it was four months in advance when I initially booked.

That is not to say you can't find something, just that the really popular places tend to go quick.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: nanu on February 08, 2015, 10:32:04 AM
By the way, if you sign up through this referral link you'll get $25 off your first trip:
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Zikoris on February 08, 2015, 11:46:12 AM
I've used it in Budapest, Vienna, and Hong Kong and had great experiences. Got to stay in great places at a fraction of hotel costs, with WAY more amenities - kitchen, free wifi, better locations for transit, and way roomier (except Hong Kong, but the price was right!).

I only had one bad experience, in Paris - the place was really bad. 8th floor with no elevator (not mentioned in the ad). No reviews, minimal pictures. There was a makeshift loft bed built in with a wet mattress, and the landlord was puzzled why that bothered me - she said something like "Of course it's damp, it's raining outside" (I guess any time it rained water leaked into the bed?). We abandoned it within an hour and rented an apartment through a hostel my boyfriend had stayed in before. However, AirBNB has fantastic customer service and I had a full refund within a few days.

I only stay in places with several good reviews now, and lots of pictures. That seems to do the trick.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: boy_bye on February 08, 2015, 12:21:29 PM
love airbnb. i've been using it since 2010 and have had pretty great experiences every time. the worst experience we had was in new york, where the apartment was very clean and nice but had a serious cockroach problem ... blehhhhh ... can't really blame the person renting the apartment for that, though. i lived in a place like that once too and i did the best i could but ... there's only so much you can do!

but so far i've used airbnb to visit boulder, denver, salt lake city, fort lauderdale, brooklyn, provincetown, charlottesville, and paris, and it's been great. much cheaper than a comparable hotel in most markets.

i agree with the other folks that the reviews are generous -- for instance, after i met the nice gal who rented me the apartment with the roaches, i wasn't going to trash her place in the comments -- so in your mind allow for the place to be maybe 20% less awesome than you think. if there are no reviews, beware.

Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: daymare on February 08, 2015, 01:03:02 PM
I've used AirBnB several times - in Iceland, CT, Belize, and an upcoming trip to Italy next month.  Generally, you want to book several months in advance to get the best places/prices, and definitely only book places that have several reviews and many pictures.  It's a nice way to be able to eat and not have to go to restaurants constantly, plus renting an apt gives you more privacy than a hotel room (and potentially a better/more residential location).
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Riff on February 08, 2015, 02:18:14 PM
I haven't used Air BNB, but I have used VRBO a couple of times.  Stayed at a condo in Ft. Myers a couple years ago, which was awesome.  And this past October I booked apartments in Venice, Florence, and Rome.  Excellent price & locations!  I much prefer an apartment to a hotel now.  Huge places compared to a hotel room.  Plus getting a kitchen in the room gives us the opportunity to cook if we like to save even more money.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Kris on February 08, 2015, 03:31:41 PM
I, too, have used VRBO for years.  For people who have used both, which have you preferred, and why?
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: Sayyadina on February 08, 2015, 03:43:16 PM
Air BNB is great. Check before you use it for work travel, though. My company will pay for hotel rooms, but not Air BNB.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: PawPrint53 on February 08, 2015, 08:06:03 PM
We used Airbnb for the first time in September on a trip to DC. The condo was great. We just got back from 5 days in Portland, OR. We spent one sleepless night in a room and then cancelled and stayed in a hotel. The bathroom had no curtain, there was no heat and the house smelled bad. To be fair, I have a sensitive nose, and I think it was just an old, damp house smell. The freeway was right next to the house--the sound wall didn't dampen the noise, IMO.

The reviews for both places were similar, which makes me question any of the reviews. I have used VRBO several times and have had good experiences at each place.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: MMMdude on February 08, 2015, 09:46:11 PM
We used it for a week long stay in Harlem and it was awesome.  We shared the space with the owner.....he was hardly there and we also were out 90% of the time besides sleeping.  Paid like $80 per night compared to $150+ for any alternative in Manhattan.  Really airbnb was the only option to stay in a place like Harlem as there really aren't any hotels as far as I could see in the immediate area.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: MustachianMD on February 09, 2015, 01:04:40 AM
I used Air BNB in Chicago when I went to a conference with the DH and kid. We paid half the price that it cost for a conference hotel and it came with free parking instead of dropping 50 a night for parking at parking structure. I was also able to walk and take a shuttle to the conference.

We rented a whole apartment and it was clean and centrally located. The renter was very nice and helpful, not at all intrusive. We also loved having access to a kitchen. I would definitely do Air BNB again, so much more space and freedom.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: DCJrMustachian on February 09, 2015, 02:30:00 AM
I hosted a couple of guests at my condo near DC.  Hotels near me charge $2-500 per night so I was able to collect a decent amount while I visited my parents for a week.  I welcomed and got along well with each of the guests, and didn't have any serious problems.  I even had one repeat visitor.  But the condo management put the kabosh on airBNB guests almost right away.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: theonethatgotaway on February 09, 2015, 03:00:21 AM
I've used in in NYC, Austin, and London.

The homes in Austin were fine, most of them are professionally managed now (Turnkey Corp)

The condos in NYC/ London meh. Not so much. Hosts were picky, or unresponsive, or the houses were dirty. We gave up in both instances and booked hotels because the quality and dealing with owners was such a hassle.

We also had a couple of times where we were scammed with our hefty  (think $300 +) deposits. So in the end, we will never use the service again.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: totoro on April 30, 2015, 10:29:59 AM
If you feel you are getting scammed complain to Airbnb.  They have good customer service in my experience.  I second the plan of only renting from places with several good reviews.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: mrmiyagi on April 30, 2015, 12:12:30 PM
Have used it a few times, all positive experiences. Prices are usually comparable or better than hotels. Plus it can be cool to meet a local to give you recommendations on what to do, where to go, etc. Who knows, you might end up staying up drinking with your host until the wee hours of the morning (don't ask how I know this...)

I agree with some other commenters - we only book places with lots of positive reviews. Those types of places tend to be popular, so book as far in advance as possible.
Title: Re: Experiences with Air BNB
Post by: sw1tch on April 30, 2015, 12:48:00 PM
We used AirBNB for the first time for our trip to Fresno/L.A. a few weeks back.  The experiences were overall very good.

We booked 3 different locations all with the owner occupying the house at the same time.  There was one room that had a shared bathroom between 2 rented rooms - we didn't have any issues with that at all (he also had a washer/dryer which was nice).  Keep in mind some hosts will be chatty while others will just leave you alone.  Some might also be a little awkward but generally that didn't affect our stay negatively.

We tried to go off of previous reviews and generally kept with places that had a lot of positive reviews.  However, something to keep in mind is that if a place doesn't have any (or very few) reviews, it generally is a new booking.  These can be somewhat risky but can also be very reasonably priced as the host is trying to build some positive rep.  Since we decided to take that risk with a place that had no prior reviews, we got an apartment rental within a block of Hermosa beach for a very good rate.  After our booking (due to a few other reviews coming in from other renters that stayed before us) the rate for the place that we stayed has gone up about $40+ a night.

Also, try to get a referral e-mail to get $25 off your first booking.