I stared in disbelief at the canyon surrounding us as my husband drove carefully up the winding roads. I gasped as we appeared to be feet away from the edge of the cliff. Through the canyon, the navy blue Pacific Ocean spread out before us. We turned several times into the driveway of a breathtaking modern estate. We had reached our Airbnb home for the night, a mid-century modern pool house with a stunning view of Malibu in all of its glory: the canyon and the ocean. Huge sliding doors opened to the marvelous sights, and the light entering the house was sublime. The interior was deliberately colorful and modern with thoughtful touches everywhere. I kept asking, “Is this real life?”
After our 24 hours in Malibu paradise, we drove through the city to our next Airbnb, a unique house up in the hills of Mt. Washington that featured a huge balcony set out above the trees. This house was minimal and modern but warm and cozy. Massive French doors opened out onto the balcony, which gave it a real open air feel. The location was spectacular. We were in a quiet, residential area but only five minutes from the freeway, 10 minutes from downtown, and 10 minutes from Silverlake and Echo Park.
This is why we Airbnb. The Malibu pool house was so far from our Baton Rouge life that we were in awe, and the Mt. Washington “Tree House” gave us a sense of living in a nature preserve. If you haven’t heard, Airbnb is a travel business based on homes, not hotels. The website provides travelers with the opportunity to “live like a local” during their visit and stay in a residence. People all over the world share their homes and spaces for rent on Airbnb, and options range from a single room for $75 a night to entire homes $150 and higher. The site has an easily navigable filter that helps you find the perfect place. Each home has ratings and reviews so you can decide if it will fit your trip. Many Airbnb rentals suit families well while others are more geared toward couples or singles. The website also has multiple protections in place to assure both the host and the guests are satisfied. Both hosts and guests review one another after the stay is complete which creates a culture of accountability. Airbnb is a new way to travel that guarantees experiences like no other.
When we decided to go to California for our 10th anniversary trip, we wanted an adventure. Staying in a hotel seemed too confining, and we wanted to explore the city in a different way. I started investigating Airbnb.com and soon became addicted. I set up a profile, plugged in our dates and destination, and off I went. Scanning through beautiful homes was soon my hobby of choice. Hobby or obsession; take your pick. A few nights my husband had to literally close my computer to help me finally go to bed. Airbnb.com is so user-friendly and easy to navigate that I actually enjoyed the process. Here are ten simple steps to Airbnbing:
- Go to Airbnb.com and create a profile.
- Choose your destination and dates.
- Filter price point and neighborhood.
- Scan through interesting Airbnb’s and add favorites to your wishlist.
- Choose your first choice and request your dates from the host.
- Once approved, book your Airbnb and pay for your stay via Paypal.
- Communicate with your host about check-in and instructions.
- Travel to your destination and your interesting temporary home.
- Follow host’s directions to get your keys.
- Enjoy your Airbnb!
Our experiences at both houses were remarkable. Both hosts communicated regularly with me prior to arrival and during our stay. The directions and instructions they provided were clear. When we entered both houses, wine and chocolate were waiting for us. We felt comfortable immediately. Another bonus of Airbnb is the host’s guides. Each host provided an annotated guide of their favorite spots in the neighborhood which steers you toward local favorites and away from tourist traps.
All in all, I am pro Airbnb. After our initial adventure, I don’t think we will stay in a hotel again if a quality Airbnb is available.