Have you guys ever heard of Airbnb? I hadn't until Joanna mentioned it on her blog Cup of Jo. Airbnb is a website that makes it easy for anybody to rent a room or even an entire house while away on vacation. Wouldn't it be so much better to stay in a house than in a hotel? You'd have more space than you would in a hotel, you could stay in a non-touristy neighborhood and feel like a local, and it would probably be cheaper than staying in a hotel too. So after Joanna mentioned it, I checked it out for myself. I thought it would be a great idea for the Professor and I to rent out our apartment for the month of August since we intend on being in Miami for most of the summer. So we created an account, posted some pictures of our place (taken by a professional photographer that Airbnb sent by--for free!) and a few days after our listing went up, a lovely French couple and their toddler son found our apartment, got in touch with us and ultimately decided to stay here during their summer trip to Barcelona. Yay!
It's really a win-win for both of us. The French couple get a comfy, childproofed place and don't need to lug around a portable crib, high chair or baby bath tub. They get to see Barcelona from a non-touristy neighborhood that's great for families. And since we listed our place for only 60 USD a night, they get to save a bunch of cash over what they would have payed for a hotel. And the Professor and I get to earn some money by renting out our place instead of leaving it empty all summer.
Of course, there are risks to letting strangers stay in your home. How can you be sure that people won't steal your stuff or trash your place? What if the people you rent your place to are criminals or just crazy? We were a bit worried about these things so we decided to Skype the couple and we sent a few emails back and forth before we confirmed them and they seem like a totally normal and charming family. So we're excited to see how this goes.
We still have some questions though. If we're going to be out of town when they get here, how do we give them the key? Do our guests help themselves to our towels and linens or do we ask them to bring their own? I'm actually pretty curious about how far the respect for personal property goes. I'm totally okay with them using our pots and pans and colanders and immersion blender and everything but what if they eat everything in our pantry? Will they refill the olive oil cruet and the pepper mill before we get back? And what if they break something?
Am I overthinking things a bit? Or are there questions I haven't thought of? Have any of you ever used Airbnb either as a guest or as a host? Do you have any advice for us?