A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of staying at an Airbnb for the very first time. There were a number of concerns that plagued my mind in regards how my first Airbnb experience would play out. Is Airbnb really safe? Would my hosts be nice people?
The first time I’d heard about Airbnb was on the radio, about 3 years ago. I made a note of it, and then set it aside, meaning to look it up on the web sometime. The next thing I know, Airbnb was catching my attention all across the blogosphere. And now, you can hardly visit a travel blog without seeing an Airbnb coupon displayed in the sidebar (my included, you’ll notice). lol
For years I’ve been meaning to try out Airbnb, and this past March, I finally got to. I had a tripped planned to Irvine in Southern California, to attend a travel blogging conference. It was a big deal because it was also my first real solo trip (unless you count short flights to & from Dallas while you’re by yourself as “solo traveling,” which I don’t).
Finding the right place to stay…
I did my research & found a nice place that was just a short bus ride from the hotel where the conference was being held. I should mention that the hotel’s rate was $140+ per night. This Airbnb listing was under $50 a night. Due to my “classy travel on a budget” mentality, saving money was at the top of my priorities.
I reserved the room, and proceed to contact my host. After informing them on why I was coming to Irvine, I proceeded to tell them a little about myself. They responded in turn, and I felt good about my choice.
But, I didn’t sleep that night. Or the next. I attribute that to the following reasons:
- Anxieties about my social anxiety issues, the fact that this would be my first solo trip.
- The fact that I was spending a chunk of my travel fund (why does this always get to me? Travel is my passion!).
- The fact that I was actually taking a trip instead of just planning one (when daydreams become reality, the introvert in me screams “Nooooo…”).
- And on top of it all I was about to attend a large networking event (see reason no. 1).
Plus I still had to look forward to my first experiences using Uber, Lyft, and the local bus system. Ha.
So I packed my carry-on bags, hopped on a plane, managed to survive my first Uber ride, and soon found myself on the doorstep of the place I would call home for the next week. Bolstering all my courage, I knocked on the front door, and idly wished we were in the days of Star Trek & I could have someone beam me back to the comforts of my own bedroom.
My host welcomed me inside, and took me on a brief tour of the house. She made it clear that if had any questions, to just ask, and that I was free to use the kitchen, hang out in the living room, or just keep to myself. And I have to say, she was such a sweet lady! I could tell that right away. She reminded me of someone that my grandma would have been friends with, and that put me at ease right away.
Me & my comfort zone
I was temped to crash in my room, and stay there the remainder of the day. But I soon grew hungry. So I toddled into the kitchen to fix my Ramen noodles for dinner. My host was in the living room watching TV, and she talked me through where to find everything in the kitchen.
During the commercials, we chatted about a variety of things from traveling to pets to Orange County. I ended up joining her (and her sweet dog, Olivia) in the living room to watch Castle.
That evening, when her daughter got home, they both invited me to join them in a game of cards. I was able to learn a lot about Irvine, and was given some great tips on places to visit and what times to go.
Throughout the week I didn’t get to see much of them, due to my busy schedule. But, they let me know in the beginning that I was very welcome to join them for breakfast each morning, and I was able to take them up on that offer several times.
The end of my stay
When I left, my host gave me a hug and insisted if I ever found myself in Orange County again, I’d be very welcome to stay with her. She reaffirmed that in a message on Airbnb a few days later, and also thanked me for the small box of chocolate that I’d left for her in my room (yes, I’m such a sweet person). I would gladly stay with her again in the future.
Click here if you are planning a trip to SOCAL, and would like to stay at this particular Airbnb.
And here is a $40 credit for first-time Airbnb users. If you do sign up, I’ll receive a credit as well, which I will appreciate very much. 😀
And that concludes the telling of my first Airbnb experience. I know, it’s not as if one Airbnb experience is the same as the next. But, I had no clue as to what it would be like or how it would go. So if you were curious to read about someone’s first stay at an Airbnb, here’s one for the tally books. 🙂
I’m so looking forward to my future travels, as I plan to use Airbnb on a regular basis now. Have you ever stayed at an Airbnb? How was that first experience? Do you have any questions about my visit?