What is Airbnb?
The short answer: people renting out a couch, room, house, apartment, condo... to people looking for a place to stay.
From their website:
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.
Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries.
Using Airbnb allows you to stay in a wide range of lodging, from simple futons on the ground to really nice apartments in funky neighborhoods to luxury villas steps from the beach. There are even castles, treehouses, and Airstream trailers. And because nearly all of what you pay goes to the owner directly, you’re keeping your money close to the ground.
I was making a cross country (the USA) trip in June and looked at various options stay in the affordability range (which was, no budget at all, but not in the good way. More like, barely enough for gas and pack some sandwiches or something to eat on the road). I decided on the route I wanted to take (avoiding a couple key cities for various reasons) and figured if I drove about 10 hours the first day and 9 the second, I could make it in 2 days and only have to sleep somewhere 1 night. Then I looked at options; hotel, sleep at a rest area in my car, camp? I wanted to camp... but my husband and my Dad were both adamantly against it. I brought my camping gear anyway... but wicked storms, flooding, tornadoes and 100 degree heat made me change my mind and I did end up in hotels in the end.
And now, I have to do the same trip again.
This time I remembered Airbnb existed and I thought I'd log in to see what was available in my 'stopover' city. I found 1 that looked ok and affordable but dang... a little nerve wracking. A single woman, traveling alone and booking a sleepover in someone elses home. I just don't know if I'm ready to make this leap of faith!
It doesn't help that I've spent time researching and reading forums and blogs... and although 90% of the stories are positive and went fine, it's the horror stories that stand out and stay with you! You can't unread what you've read or unsee what you've seen, you know?
So... tonight, I am just pondering this road trip and I have to admit, I'm a sucker for wimping out of 'new' experiences (like booking an Airbnb) and although I hate to spend $130 on a hotel room for one night when I'm arriving, exhausted, sleeping and getting up and leaving again... I know I probably will opt for that in the end over tent camping or Airbnb.
It's just that I realized, with all the people I know personally; family or friends - I don't personally know anyone who has used/booked Airbnb and I guess I'm a little gun-shy to give it a go. I keep testing the waters with my toe but afraid to jump in.