After spending three years being paid to stay in hotels and B&B's across Scotland, I find it very difficult to book into one and call it a 'holiday'. This means I tend to check out how clean the toilets are, look under the beds, and ask for random things for my room in order to see how up to speed the owners/managers are. Basically, I can't relax because I feel like I should be looking at stuff and going 'Oooh, look! that's the 100th bit of identical IKEA furniture I've seen this week...'
After a while, it's just not fun anymore and the barriers between working and enjoying are too blurred. Plus, now I have the added bonus of LT inspecting everything in his line of vision and telling me how he thinks it could be improved. If he worked for VisitScotland, there would be very few 5 Star accommodation or visitor attractions, I can tell you that for free.
Because of my reluctance to stay in hotels and other serviced accommodation, the expansion of Airbnb has been my saviour. Also: I don't much like other people, so I love being able to opt for 'full property' to ensure that I have no random folks in the room next to me. I'd love it more if I could choose 'full property...and also no neighbours', but I feel this a touch unreasonable. Even for me.
Over the past two years, I've used Airbnb for pretty much every accommodation need I've had. This has included an apartment in Lisbon, Madrid, London and Istanbul, a cottage in East Nashville, and a gorgeous townhouse in Savannah. The only one we've had any problems is was Istanbul, but more because LT got eaten alive while we stayed there. Every other property was clean, well maintained and excellent value for money. We've also had some fantastic hosts, who have met us on site and kindly offered to show us around.
Airbnb appeals to me from a budgeting perspective as there are only two of us travelling and we don't spend a lot of time indoors. This means we need one bedroom and studios are ideally priced and often very well situated. The fact that the site offers you countless photos (seriously, some of them are taken from every. single. angle) and ensures that you really don't have much to be left to the imagination when you arrive.
Location and Range:
You check your chosen location, have a look at the size options (bedrooms, etc), choose your price range and that all important 'whole property' box and BOOM, you have a list of suitable options. Choose which one is closest to the pub (that's my criteria, anyway), and then fire off an email to the webnet thing and wait for the response that says: 'Why, certainly, Suzanne, we'd love to have you stay for 3 nights and, did you know that there's a new (insert off licence name here) just around the corner?? Deal. Done.
I know that the company has had some negative press and, from my trip to Istanbul, what with the bitey monsters in the flat (which caused LT to sleep fully dressed with his head covered in one of my scarves....seriously, it was quite the sight), we also had very noisy neighbours. But, we DID book an apartment in a city centre tower block and, well...these things happen, don't they? most of the negative stories about Airbnb have been about the neighbours complaining about noisy guests, as opposed to our situation. However, we were quiet as a mouse. Or two mice, rather.
I realise that there are many different experiences, and that everyone is looking for different things in different accommodation, but I highly recommend the site for its ease of use and the fantastic hosts that we've met on our travels, so far. Fingers crossed 2016 will bring us more Airbnb successes.
Have you tried Airbnb and, if so, how positive or negative have your experiences been?