Money at 30: My First Airbnb Experience
At 32 years old, I may seem young and hip (ha) but there have been a few trends and technologies that have emerged in recent years that I’ve been a bit behind on. For example my first Uber ride didn’t arrive until 2015 while my first ever Airbnb didn’t occur until this past weekend. What’s more, I wasn’t even the one who booked the Airbnb so I’m still missing that part of the experience.
As you may have guessed, this Airbnb booking came as my wife and I traveled to Medina, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) to visit her family this Thanksgiving weekend. While her parent’s house is technically large enough to accommodate all of the family members present for this year’s festivities, my wife’s brother and his wife suggested we rent a house so as to not overcrowd my in-law’s place and bring added stress to our hosting matriarch. We concurred with their logic and the four of us ending up sharing a three-bedroom, two-story Airbnb just a short drive away from our Turkey Day destination.
Airbnb Pros and Cons
So what did I think of my maiden Airbnb adventure? Here are some of the pros and cons I encountered during my stay:
First things first: this Airbnb amounted to an amazing deal. Even during the holiday weekend, the total price came out to $50 per night, per couple. That’s surely even cheaper than what we would have paid for the barebones Motel 6 in Medina. This affordability also made it easy to say “yes” to the idea of trying an Airbnb instead of trying to find our own accommodations or squeezing into my in-law’s house. Honestly, I’m still kind of blown away by what a good deal these digs were.
On top of the Airbnb proving to be a good deal just on price alone, what we got for those dollars was also significantly more attractive than some tiny hotel room. As I mentioned, this house had three bedrooms but also had two and a half baths, a sizeable kitchen, laundry room, one-car garage, and more. In other words, we had more than enough space to relax, get work done, and even hang out with the family. Yes, our Airbnb served as a secondary hangout spot over the weekend, proving to be the perfect place to play games and enjoy some bonus snacks after the big meals and main events down the road.
When my brother-in-law booked our Airbnb, we learned that the owner of our rental was a “Super Host.” Once we arrived, it was pretty easy to see why they had been bestowed with such a title. Having grown increasingly used to hotel operations, I half expected that the bouquet of treats on display in the kitchen would come with prices attached to each item, a la the infamous mini-bar. Instead, a letter placed nearby informed us that we were welcome to any of the items in the fridge, freezer, or pantry. This included small snack items like Chewy bars and pretzels; breakfast foods like frozen waffles, eggs, and sausage; beverages such as bottled waters, sodas, and wine (Trader Joe’s famous “Two-Buck Chuck,” but still); and just about any condiment you could think of among other items. Heck, there were even dog treats placed in the pantry, which proved helpful since our housemates brought their pup along. Once again, these amenities not only further increased the great value the Airbnb rental provided but also saved us some time and at least one trip to the grocery store.
Before I jump into this section, I do want to say that the house was very neat and clean from what I can tell. That said, I have to admit it does feel a bit strange to be using things like towels while at an Airbnb. It’s not that they looked dirty or weren’t effective… it’s just seemed strange to me. I have no idea why my silly brain thinks this is much different from using similar items at a hotel but it does. While I did end up utilizing them this time, the weirdo in me suspects I might bring along my own towel in the future.
Finally, in some cases, renting an Airbnb may come with a little extra responsibility than if you were to stay at a hotel. For one, there was no housekeeping (at least not at this rental), so it was up to you to make your own bed and take out the trash. Considering that I rarely care about having housekeeping make-up my room even when I am staying at a hotel, this was actually preferable for me as I didn’t have to leave a “do not disturb” tag on the door all day.
On a similar note, our “Super Host” did request that we strip our beds (leaving the sheets on the floor of the laundry room), place any trash bags in the garage, and run the dishwasher. Honestly, these are all things we probably would have done anyway and, in the event we either forgot or didn’t get around to, I doubt the host would have taken any action against us. That said, I could see how these extra steps might be a turn-off to some travelers who value the housekeeping service provided at hotels.
With my first Airbnb experience complete, I have to say I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. While I’ve heard some horror stories about canceled bookings, nosey hosts, and accommodations that don’t jive with what was presented in the listing, this particular rental really couldn’t have gone much better. From the price per night to the extra space we got for that price and the added amenities, there’s no question that this was the right route to take for this trip.
Admittedly, I wouldn’t say I’m quite ready to make a full switch over to Airbnb for all of my travel destinations, but I’d say I’m definitely more inclined to check out such options in the future following this stay. And, with my brother-in-law already talking about booking the same house for next Thanksgiving, I suspect this won’t be the last Airbnb experience I get to have.