By now you’re aware that I have been gallivanting round the world. At one point when planning my travels I thought I may need to hook up my own accommodation for the evening. Rater than couch surf I figured I’d Air bnb it. Air bnb is a travel app and online website that lets you rent out extra space to travellers or find accommodation when you’re travelling. The cost saving comes in because you ultimately stay in a privately owned space as opposed to forking out for a hotel.
According to the Financial Mail the app currently has more than one million accommodation listings in 190 countries. Whether you need a house for the whole family or just a bedroom to rest your head for the evening, this app seems to have the answers. Or does it?
You are able to search accommodation on the app according to:
Amenities – in my case you can specify WiFi
Keywords (so close to London Bridge works)
As a host using Air bnb you can make some extra cash and as a traveller you get a really unique and sometimes far more affordable experience). There are certain dangers that pop up for girls travelling on their own as well. While these are no different to those that you could encounter at say a backpackers – they’re still a worry.
On signing up to Air bnb I used a promo code that immediately gave me a R250 discount off my first booking (you can use my promo code by clicking here and also get a discount). My first gripe with the app was that many of the listings in my location searches were no where near the location I was looking for. Some hosts had basically thrown in a host of location keywords in the hope of popping up. I eventually found a spot close to where I was looking. The house had 3 rooms listed on Air bnb and seemed to have rather hands on host. All the reviews were very positive. There was a shared bathroom situation but free WiFi and a basic breakfast included. With my discount the stay would cost me R750 for the night. Not a bad price for a night in central London.
So I made the booking. The Air bnb app is easy enough to use and you need to verify your account by scanning in a passport or ID document. When booking you also need to provide a brief description of yourself. The host can then accept or deny your booking and also respond. I ended up having a really great chat with my host and was excited about the stay. However what I didn’t realize was that I made a huge error. While I was booking London accomodation I was also putting together documentation for a New York trip. I accidentally put my New York dates down for the London booking.
On realising my error I tried to change the dates in app but the room was booked for the days I needed it. I contacted my host who confirmed he actually had another room available but it wasn’t listed on Air bnb and as they handled transactions it wouldn’t be all that easy because of the swopping that would need to happen. They wanted me to then rebook but it would need to be at another spot.
The big issue here is that this happens a lot. You make a reservation error or need to change a trip but you’re stuck dealing with an app not a human. Once you’ve made a booking on Air Bnb any cancellations or changes come with a 50% cancellation charge. In my case, after a lot of backward and forward communications my host was able to organise me a full refund. Though I had to forgo the Air bnb charge – so my own stupidity lost me money.
I’m still rather intrigued by the app though. Have you used it? What did you think?
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