Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Airbnb experience

In two months, i have used Airbnb four times: in Barcelona, Provence, Paris and New York. The first three bookings went smoothly. But for New York, i got cancelled twice by my hosts. The first one the day after i booked which wasn't such a big problem since i had a time to look for replacement which i found a few days later. But that 2nd host also cancelled and this time two days before our departure to New York!

Inga has quite a number of apartment listings in New York. Two days before we left, i got a message from her. According to her, the owner refuses to leave the place until the 20th (we were supposed to arrive 16th) because of some construction being done at the place. I was really angry because aside from the fact that it was so hard to get an apartment in NY, she refused to be accountable for what happened and told me to cancel the reservation myself as she didn't want it to reflect on her record. She said it was not her fault but the owner's. I complained to Airbnb and they immediately took action. A few hours later, Inga cancelled the reservation. Airbnb refunded my money and gave me an additional $120 for my next booking. When i looked at her profile, there's an automated message from me that said, "The host cancelled my reservation two days before arrival." I would have said a lot more but according to Airbnb, if the transaction is incomplete, meaning i did not stay at the apartment, i cannot review the host. Good for her.

Anyway, that nightmare turned out well because i found another apartment a few hours before our flight. This one has a better location in the 4th floor of an old building. It's just a block away from the subway. It felt like home compared to Inga's place which is a condo in a new building. This has personal paintings, minimal but tasteful furniture and feels like someone actually lives here sometimes.

good thing i took a picture of the front door

the rest of the pictures are from Airbnb.com

the living room

the bedroom
the comfortable sofabed

the relaxing bathroom with a view outside

the small but adequate kitchen

Despite the cancellations, i had a wonderful time using Airbnb and would still use it in my future travels. Aside from the cheaper rent per day compared to hotels, it gives you an experience to live like a local for even a few days and for me, that's a good enough reason to book at Airbnb.

Just choose your host carefully. In my case, i chose well four out of five times (i included the host from the first apartment in NY since she acted responsibly when she cancelled). Before i booked them, i read all the reviews from previous travelers. I also did that with Inga and read her positive reviews. I don't know why she has a lot of them.

Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. We were meant to stay at a better place. All's well that ends well.

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