If you’ve been reading our blog for more than the past few months or so (and if you’ve only been reading it for a couple of months, hello and welcome!), you’ll know that I’ve never been a fan of Airbnb.
I know that’s an unpopular opinion. I mean, there are more than 7 million Airbnb units in over 100,000 cities around the world. Before COVID, it was estimated that Airbnb had clients who stayed in over 2,000,000 units every night (and some of them were really cool experiences). So my opinion may have been in the minority.
I had stayed in one Airbnb for one night back in 2016 (it was the night before we flew to Cuba on a sports team’s charter plane out of Miami), and it wasn’t a bad experience. But I just could never get over the various stories I heard about them:
- Some owners have been caught using hidden cameras
- Depending on where it is, the Airbnb unit could be illegal
- All the other things, big and small, that you have to worry about when you’re staying in a stranger’s house
- Or what if you get a host who’s a nightmare unto themselves, like this woman was?
- Plus, of course, there was the time the FBI had to become involved in that one Airbnb rental
- And that whole, “During COVID, why not do this for your past Airbnb host?” campaign that I thought was just…weird.
Obviously, most of those things were/are situations that don’t happen all or even most of the time. So they’ve been less of an issue in my head as much as I just don’t feel comfortable staying in a person’s house. True, many are investment homes and the hosts don’t even live there. But, I dunno, I just like staying in hotels. To me, they scream out, “YOU’RE ON VACATION!” Whereas if I’m in someone’s house, well, I live in a house. So staying in a house just isn’t as big of a deal to me as being in a hotel.
So why did my opinion of Airbnb change? Coronavirus, of course.
Again, if you’ve been reading our blog for the past few months, you’ll know that Joe and I are #promedicine #proscience #listentotheexperts kinds of people. Save for going to work, we’ve “hunkered down” a lot since March – multiple travels were cancelled, we stopped going out to eat unless it’s was truly outdoor dining, I cut our food shopping from 2-3 times a week to once every 2 weeks, etc. We wanted to avoid people as much as we could, especially in indoor situations. Since you never know who may have the virus, and some self people refuse to wear masks or wear them incorrectly, it was better for us, who are at a higher risk of complications from COVID, to avoid others.
Fast forward to August, when were felt the world had a better understanding of how the virus was transmitted, and the hospitals weren’t overwhelmed anymore, we decided to take a chance and take our first trip since COVID hit. We really didn’t want to stay in a hotel though – too much “peopleing” for our tastes. So we teamed up with some trusted friends of ours and got an Airbnb for our stay in Helen, GA. I guess you could say that my uncomfortableness with COVID was more important to me than my uncomfortableness of staying in an Airbnb. 😉
Thankfully, it turned out to be an excellent experience. The cabin owners followed Airbnb’s protocols for COVID cleanliness. It was just the 4 of us. It had a full kitchen so it was a place where we could cook meals if the restaurant situation didn’t work out in terms of indoors vs. outdoors, or how close together tables were. And it was a log cabin (here’s our review of it), so in my mind, it was visually very different from a typical home.
So yeah it worked out well.
Our success with the cabin in Helen GA led up to us renting from Airbnb again, this time in a cabin in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN region. You can read about our experience in this post.
So am I an Airbnb convert? Pretty much. Am I going to rent Airbnb exclusively from now on? Nope ;-). Besides Joe’s hobby of collecting hotel points up the ying yang, renting the cabins was an excellent way to ease back into vacations in a world with COVID, but I still like hotels more. That being said, I won’t ever say, “Definitely not” to an Airbnb anymore. I guess there’s something to be said about that, right?
Feature Photo: Needpix.com
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary