Last year was my first year using AirBnB for my travels. I was originally interested because of the the variety of unique homes you can stay in (treehouses, tiny homes, etc). Besides being very cheap, it really makes it so you can experience the area like a local. It’s like getting to live in every city as you would if you were a true resident. That all being said, I’ve had really great stays and also really bad ones.
Little Rock, AR
In my previous post about my Arkansas road trip, I mention my “eventful night”. After checking in, making some small talk with the host, we were on our way back out to enjoy the festival and local night life. To get back into our place, there was a keypad on the back side of the house, but after mentioning to our house we planned to be back late around 11, she said she’d still be up and would leave it unlocked until we got in. Being city girls, this made us a little weary, but after assurances of a safe neighborhood, we agreed on the plan.
It seemed to all work out, we got in okay on our return. The house was quiet so we went into the bedroom to take out the dog. My friend didn’t want to be out in a strange area at midnight, so I went with her outside. I stood a couple feet from the front door as she let the dog do her business – all in all no more than a fifteen minute event.
But when we were ready to go back in, the door had been locked. It was crazy because I’d never heard anything from behind me! Now we were out at midnight with nothing but one dog and one phone between us. We of course started ringing the doorbell, knocking loudly, and trying to circle the house in case there was a non-suspicious way to enter. No luck.
I used my phone to send multiple messages to our host, called the number provided, but it seemed hopeless. We were sure we were getting robbed or murdered or something. I called the Airbnb help line, which honestly wasn’t much help because they first needed my credit card information (even after I explained my purse was inside the locked house) and then they started trying to book me another home in the area (but I didn’t even have my keys).
Finally, after banging nonstop on the door for the twenty minute hold I’d been put on the phone, our host sleepily answered the door. She acted a bit weird, which I think just might’ve been embarrassment for lock-in us out, but we definitely slept with our bedroom door locked. It was a frustrating, slightly scary, cold hour – but now my worst AirBnB story!
New York City
When I visited New York City, I spent two nights in the coolest Brooklyn loft and then hopped the bridge to Chelsea and slept on a bed that folded down so I had to curl up like a kitten on my pillow. In the first place, we never saw a soul except for when we picked up our key from a nearby gallery (and then we spent half an hour going up and down flights of stairs because we’d lost the dang key since it’s gotten wedged into the handle of our suitcase). In the second NYC place, we always arrived to a party no matter what time it was.
Los Angeles, CA
My LA AirBnB was a super cool apartment located in West Hollywood. There were tons of plants every where and a funny antique Buddha desk lamp. When coming back from the beach we had a taste of that infamous LA traffic, and we’re running an hour late to check in. Luckily, the LA vibe is pretty chill so the host was easygoing about our tardiness. My clothes brought in a lot of sand but I did my best to keep the shower clean. I definitely try to leave my AirBnB cleaner than it was when I first entered.
As mentioned in a previous post, I loved my stay in the refurbished 60s Volkswagen work bus. It was such a unique place to stay; definitely not another average hotel stay. Besides having a nearby fire pit, being up in the mountains with the stars in view, and having a whole compost situation, it was also so cute!
Monument Valley, AZ
This home was absolutely magical. Not only because it was right in the middle of the iconic Monument Valley, but also because the home was gorgeous. They were conserving energy by using only solar power (my first time using it to power a whole house) and every room had a lot of big windows to utilize natural light. The home provided coffee, nature provided a sunrise, and we woke up to the start of a perfect day. They also had a tire swing out back that was a blast!
We arrived late and left early (which is pretty typical of the places we stay) so this pick was based on comfy beds, a fully stocked shower, and an allowance of the dog. It was very cabin style, with two bunk beds in one room and a separate cabin for the shower/bathroom area. It reminded me of my days in Girl Scouts (which I loved), but it was also pretty cold so the run from one cabin to the next wasn’t entirely ideal.
All in all, I’ve had a great time staying at all these different places. You meet new people most of the time, you get recommendations for the best local haunts, and it tends to save us a lot of money when traveling! What are your best and worst AirBnB stories?