Back then, choosing accommodation when traveling means 2 things: Hotel or Hostel. We can either pay for comfort or sacrifice it for the sake of lower budget. But nowadays, it isn’t that simple. We have soo many options, ranging from seven-star hotel to someone else’s couch, literally. But marking itself as a whole new type of accommodation, here comes Airbnb.
Founded in 2008 and less than a decade later, Airbnb has gained popularity both among travelers and non-travelers wise. There are lots of reviews, from the good to the bad. But it’s easier to speak in the first person, from having the experience yourself. And I can say, Airbnb is not for everyone, to say the least. These are things you should know and expect before booking your first Airbnb!
No *Guarantee Booking* Even When Available
It’s basically not a hotel, put that in mind. Their rule is that once we know that the room/house/property is available on the date we want, then we need to contact the host for their approval and once they approve then we all good to continue with the payment process. Airbnb does have a rule for the maximum time that the host needs to reply back but the waiting game is still there.
Both places I stayed in Copenhagen and Oslo was actually not my first option, surprisingly. My first attempt to book the listing in Copenhagen, the host told me that she forgot to change the available date on the site as those dates her parents are coming to stay over hence it won’t be possible to have a guest. In Oslo, the guest told me that she on that period only accept 2 nights or more as she needed the money for her college. She can let me stay for 1 night but with a higher rate.
To be honest, I totally have no hard feeling with them. I understand their reasons and it technically their homes so I respect their decision. And all the communication was done in a friendly manner. It’s like asking your friend if you could stay over on their place. I think that is the first and foremost important thing is to understand, follow the how-to guide and you’ll good to go.
They do also have what they called “Instant Book” where we can book the listing without the need to wait for host approval. But from many reviews, I found this not always the case. There have been cases where at the end the host can still cancel the booking.
Second tips, communication! It’s not just during the booking process, you will still have to communicate with the host afterward even until you leave. When will you arrive, is he/she available on that time, the direction to the place, if she/he is not in town who you will meet, what can you use and what can’t, which part is restricted to the guest. then if you are “checking out”, can you put your key in the mailbox, and the question list goes on and on. So far, all the host I ever communicate with was really helpful but never passed the line of being awkwardly too “helpful” if you know what I meant.
I didn’t buy any local number in Oslo, so I imagine it will become quite a bit of a trouble meeting my host. But Karen, my host, helped me with the direction and what tram to use from the Central Station (where there is still public wifi) and she gives me the estimation time of the ride and I updated here when I was leaving. Other then the first awkward handshake or hug thing which we ended up laughing together because of, it’s a smooth process altogether.
Welcome to *Someone’s* Home
Now, you have secured your booking, safely made it to the place, the next thing to know is that you will be staying at someone place. Welcome (to someone) home! Please leave the mentality of “I pay, my room, my rules!” at your own place. It’s basically someone property that you are staying at, it could be their spare apartment but it can also be their own room that they are renting. Basically on the bottom line, manners and common sense people. Manners and common sense.
One of the benefits is the homey vibe, well, depending on what type of Airbnb listing that you choose. But generally, it will feel like home because it is someone’s home, duh! I have a moment of mental breakdown in Stockholm. I was staying in the hotel room, alone, kinda scared of going alone for the first time, and ended up bawling my eyes out. But I never have that kind of breakdown during my stay in Copenhagen and Oslo. I think the reason why is that the places that I was staying felt like “home”. So even tho I was alone it didn’t felt like I was in an alien place.
Rent The Place, Not The People
Next thing to know, is to keep your expectation low especially about the people you will be meeting, more specific, the host. And I meant it in a good way. I found if you want to socialize and meet new people, then hostels is probably a good idea. I didn’t actually find Airbnb is the right place for that sole purpose. Some of the hosts are renting their place to get extra money and some of them have the 9-5 job like you and me. So don’t expect them to act like your own personal tour guide.
My host in Copenhagen, Anna, was really helpful tho we never met even until I leave her place. She was working out of the town and her schedule and mine didn’t cross. Did I found it bugging me? Not really. I didn’t expect my host to show me around the town, bringing me to the latest, coolest hang out place. If they do then great, it will be an awesome experience, but don’t expect them to do so. Karen for an instant, work several shifts and at that time continuing her study if I am not mistaken. So for her to spare her time during works to picked me up is already something I really appreciate.
So, you think it’s better to book via Airbnb?
Now before I answer that, there are some questions you need to answer yourself first:
Do you like your privacy? Do you prefer to pay more than to share a room? You like meeting lots of new people? You bring lots of valuable stuff when traveling? Do you mind making your own bed? Do you mind cleaning up after your own mess?
If your answer is mostly yes then I don’t think Airbnb is the perfect choice for you. Hotel or even a hostel will be a better option.
Is it cheaper tho?
It could be. tho I found Airbnb sits in the middle between not so expensive and no that cheap either. If you are really going on a budget, I assume you are prepared to “suffer” a bit when it comes to accommodation. But in certain countries, example Nordic, when everything is generally expensive, Airbnb can be your best option. Just like I did! I definitely won’t be able to find places that central with that kind of price if I went with a hotel and I might not be able to get the certain level of privacy that I need if I went with a hostel.
And also, if you are the first-timer like me, they still have their coupon for new user. You can use ours if you like, click here and it will redirect you to sign up on their site. I did use it myself tho to saved me some bucks. It might come in handy later on. 😊
That’s all the things I think you better know what you put yourself into. What do you think? Do you agree or is there any particular point that you disagree? Or is there any that I missed? Feel free to let me know in the comments or even reach out to us through our social media below! And until next time, see ya!
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