Friday, 26 June 2015

My AirBnB Experience in United States of America

With the price of hostel going up sky rocket crazy in USA, I checked out AirBnB just for fun and surprisingly it could be equal or cheaper than a hostel in certain towns in the states. USA can be huge and hostels are not everywhere and even at big cities like New York, sometimes competitiveness rise the prices and allows for locals to share a couch space for a fee a fraction of a hostel dorm.  

So my first experience with AirBnB was in the states in Atlanta where there was no hostels available. No harm trying I guess and proceeded to register an account and book the first AirBnB stay. It was my first time and I had no idea how the AirBnB system works. Apparently you have to book them online only but a booking is not automatically confirmed. One had to wait for the owner to reply to the booking. It’s like sending an email to someone asking them if you can stay at their place for a fee and they would decide if you are welcome or not regardless of the money.  
The single bed in a shared room I booked for USD 35 in Atlanta was slightly out of town but still reachable by tubes and busses. This was the second hidden pitfall of AirBnB … the place are peoples house and they can be really really far from city centre sometimes. In less than half an hour I had a reply from the owner Tim whom had accepted my booking request. Lockbox code was 1234 he said. Just let yourself in pick a made bed and make yourself at home.
I never saw Tim the owner or any other representative the whole 4 days I was there. Even Happy whom tag along with me for the AirBnB experience find it a wondrous experience. We met different people going in and out of the place, travellers of different sorts using the AirBnB instead of a hotel but never the owner. Tim the owner wasted no space as well. He had beds everywhere in the house. Everywhere he could place a bed he had them, in rooms, in living rooms, study room, and even in common corridor separated skilfully with a curtain.
My next AirBnB experience was in Knoxville. Again a place in USA without a hostel. Mily was a student in the University of Knoxville. She was renting a portion of space upstairs a house from an owner and using AirBnB to lower her rent, apart from meeting cool people from everywhere. She actually picked me up from the bus stop. I later realized it was really far from the city centre …. A good 2 hours walk which was not doable on your first touchdown in the middle of the night.
I stayed in her erm …. Living room / study room / kitchen …. It was a one bedroom studio kinda set up so I was in the common area. She told me that sometimes she actually let out her own bed instead to couples or more people and she herself sleep at the foldable single spring-bed which I occupied in the living room while they were here.
Last AirBnB stay was actually in Philadelphia. I tend to stay in hostels if there is one since it is usually more nearer to the city centre. Also most people rent AirBnB as a whole unit for family getaways like a mini villa but I was using the more unorthodox method on AirBnB where people rent out a couch or a bed or a floor space. After travelling so long, I have a little fear of the awkward silence …. Rather silence than awkward silence.
Philly AirBnB was like a Hostel. Same trick with the electronic keypad lock number which was email the day before I checked in. Never saw the owners and the whole house was set up exactly how a typical hostel would. Only different was there was no reception and you won’t find them in any of the usual hostelworld or hostelbookers website.
I find the AirBnB experience a magical one …. a network places of safe zone where the more adventurous off the beaten track travellers can utilized. It was also like a check point where locals could use to stave off the big cooperation network of hotels or hostels and a place where travellers could support the local economy instead of a businessman.

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