Thought I’d give a little review of our experience with Airbnb, which has hosts in 190 countries.
We used the Airbnb website to book 9 of our 11 lodgings. The shortest one was 2 nights, the longest was 30. The site allows you to filter exactly what type of place you’re looking for: entire apartment/home or just a room. You can filter by price, location and a whole host of amenities. The homes are marked on a map, so you can easily pick a specific street or neighborhood. Typically weekly and monthly rates are significantly lower than those of less than a week.
We didn’t find any discrepancies between the listing’s photos and descriptions, and what we actually experienced. It’s a self-policing application. At the end of each stay, Airbnb encourages you to review aspects of your stay, such as the host’s responsiveness, cleanliness, actual-to-advertised items, and overall experience. These reviews are attached to the listing where owners can respond to them publically, and where other potential renters can read them. Hosts of course take this serious. Even though you’re in contact with them throughout your stay, you can also leave a private message for them. Though not required, many will help you with arrival logistics. We were picked up at several airports, train stations and bus stops.
On the flip side, the host can review YOU. Since we always left the home as we found it, we have quite the string of positive feedback comments. These aren’t public, but I suspect that all hosts have access to them, which can help them screen out troublesome renters.
Airbnb personnel are readily available to act as a go-between, via email or phone, if any issues or communication problems arise between the two parties. We used this once when we called an owner (after she didn’t reply to emails) with arrival details, but she spoke no English.
So there ya go. I’d definitely recommend the company. No cost to sign up, but they tack on a small daily fee.
Oh yea – a photo:-) Our laundry wasn’t drying quick enough for Dave’s liking, so he rigged a ‘dryer’, which worked quite well. – Laura