The Air BnB Experience – Homestays

Hi all. It’s taken an age but finally I’m getting around to writing about Air Bnb. In the last two trips I’ve used Air BnB five times, twice for homestays and three times to rent apartments. They have been quite different experiences.

I’m not sure what took me so long to finally use Air BnB. It’s really a great idea. I should say though that principally I didn’t use it to get cheaper accommodation. From what I saw searching places there is a little bit of money to be saved, but the reasons for going for it over a hotel or even hostel do not revolve around saving a few bucks.

To get an apartment to yourself in a large city, in a decent area, gives you a fair bit of freedom. You also lose things like housekeeping and local knowledge. Any issues you have can take a while to resolve too. But you have a great deal of freedom.

Rooftops and mountains in Cuenca,

The homestay option, where one rents a room in a house or apartment, well that I think actually has more upside. Yea, I use hip words! You get access to local knowledge and you get to meet people as well. People who actually live in the city you’re visiting. Any problems or issues, you won’t be left alone.

I stayed in two places last year in Ecuador (Cuenca) and Argentina (Salta) and enjoyed both experiences with great hosts. Access to the kitchen is great but I still had my own room to disappear to when I needed and of course – access to wifi!

View from apartment in Cuenca.

In Cuenca I stayed with Pilar, who is a old hand at Air BnB, she’s been doing it for years and has met many people and made many friends through this. Her family I think has two or three places, and although the rooms are not expensive, they are often full and I think she does all right out of the deal. The room there was clean and had a really large, comfortable bed. On top of that there were other rooms she was renting out which meant there were people to chat with. It seemed quite a few long-termers.

View from my window in Salta.

In Salta I stayed with Ignacio. He had recently started renting two rooms out to people via Air BnB. He was using the income to pay off his student loan. The location was five minutes’ walk from the town centre. I had a small room, good wifi and an air conditioner – which was handy as it was pretty warm whilst I was there.

Lift in the apartment building in Salta.

Ignacio had a number of friends who visited over the four nights I stayed there. All were friendly and I got to meet locals and drink the brew most popular in Argentina – a sort of tea infusion called ‘matte’. I showed him some Australian Rules Football which he was amazed at and we chatted quite a bit. I had all the facilities I could need – wifi, kitchen, laundry. So it was in a way a highlight of staying in Salta.

I am often told by people that they have heard horror stories arising from Air BnB stays. In fact, it’s usually the owners who have the troubles. Air BnB will have a notice on the website if the owner has cancelled on someone and say how many days in advance that happens. It’s good – I certainly wouldn’t want to stay somewhere that might cancel on me at the last minute. You’d be pretty screwed, not sure how long it would take to get your money back.

You review the place on their website after a stay. There are a number of checks an balances. But if you are really disatisfied with your stay, I’m not sure there’s any recompense available to you.

But Air BnB is the single biggest change to accommodation for travellers that there has been… well for many a year I’d say. Next time I’ll talk about the apartments I’ve rented through Air Bnb. Thanks for reading, May the Journey Never End!

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