3 Lessons I Learnt From My First Airbnb Stay With Strangers

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Still can’t fathom the idea of staying in someone else’s house when you’re on holiday – while they’res till around? Well, here’s what happened when I did!

If there’s one thing I suck at in life, it’s taking risks – which is why I book hotels every time I travel as I know notable hotel chains have a standard to upkeep and I won’t end up being disappointed. Even when I did venture away from hotels and into Airbnb properties before, I always had the property to myself, without needing to interact with other guests or hosts beyond our phone screens. I put this up to my fear of staying in a stranger’s house given all the horror stories I’ve read online.

That said, I urgently needed a place to stay in San Diego for my Comic-Con trip back in July, and there were no private property listings available. Hence I basically had no choice but to overcome my fears and book a room in Michael Burkart and Valeria Pasquetto’s home (yes, I took the risk despite knowing I was travelling solo).

Photo: Airbnb

Located just right opposite the Martin Luther King Jr Freeway, Mike and Valerie’s place is a two-storey property just a 10-minute drive from the San Diego city centre. Not only was it easy to find via GPS, it also looked exactly like how it did in pictures! Something I worried would be the opposite. Upon arriving, Mike’s house cat greeted me by following me wherever I went; it even sat by my side when I had my meals in their well-decorated kitchen. I’ve always wanted to own a cat, so the company made me really happy.

My room was spacious and clean, and the bathroom was everything a girl could ask for. They even provided me with fresh towels, shampoo and body wash! The soft mattress and duvet covers made me want to stay in bed most of the days due to jet lag but alas! I had things to do and see. One afternoon I was unwell and I couldn’t stop thanking God for allowing me to be sick in such a nice environment.

Photo: Airbnb

In all, it’s crazy to think I ever doubted this whole Airbnb process as I made new friends along the way and a place to call home whenever I return to the city.  So for those of you who’re also afraid of taking the risk, take it from a sceptic like me when I say it’s absolutely worth a try.

During my stay, I had the opportunity to speak to Mike and Valerie about their experience as Airbnb hosts and it was brought to my attention that there are still guests who cross the line despite given clear instructions to not do so. So from one Airbnb user to another, flip through to read some of my personal tips on how you can be an A+ guest the next time you’re booking an Airbnb stay with hosts.

Some of these might seem like no-brainer advices, but just as much as we want our hosts to warm and friendly people, hosts on Airbnb would also like their potential guests to adhere to their house rules and treat them with respect. It’s a two-way street and it definitely takes two to tango.

 1. Your Airbnb is NOT a hotel

Unlike hotels, your Airbnb hosts are just regular people who don’t have the luxury of on-call maids. So even if you’ve paid a cleaning fee, bear in mind that you should at least check out without making a huge mess out of someone else’s home. Besides that, it’s good to also remember that you shouldn’t get too comfortable either. This means no walking around with only your lingerie on when there are kids in the house and no having guests around whilst blasting the music on high volume at 3 am.

Be considerate of your hosts and treat their space with care. They’re opening up their lives and welcoming you into their homes, so the least you can do is clean up after yourself and not act like a slob. Remember, they’re allowed to leave you a bad review too and reviews like that will hurt your chances of booking other Airbnb properties in the future.

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