My First Airbnb Stay

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I’ve heard about Airbnb for years, but I never thought I’d stay in one. I strongly prefer hotels, not just for my elite status recognition and points earning, but also for the convenience and anonymity. The thought of staying in a stranger’s spare room never appealed.

And then I found myself with an overnight in McMinnville where $125 for the Red Lion Inn at the edge of town was my best option. Hmmmm. Maybe this was a good chance to check out Airbnb.

Sure enough, there was a nice looking suite of rooms located a few blocks from downtown for $95. After the $11 service fee and the $25 discount for my first stay, it wound up being $81. Cheap enough that it was worth trying, and if nothing else, it would be an interesting experience no?

My host contacted me a few hours after I reserved the room to set up a “check in” time and answer any questions. This was one part I wasn’t crazy about. It makes sense that my hosts would need to know when to expect me, but having a set time definitely limited the possible spontaneity of my trip.

Checking in was a non-event. One of my hosts was there to greet me and even carried my bag up the stairs. It turned out I had the entire top floor to myself.

A charming bedroom.

McMinnville OR Airbnb bedroom

An amazing large bathroom with two skylights.

McMinnville OR Airbnb bathroom

And a little study/work area with a mini-fridge stocked with complementary water and beer.

McMinnville OR Airbnb den

Even a little nook if I wanted to read and look out on the backyard.

McMinnville OR Airbnb reading nook

Because I went for an early dinner and then crashed early, I think I missed out on the true Airbnb experience which is getting to know your hosts. By the time I had caught up on work email and conference calls in the morning, they had already left for work, but left me a sweet note.

I had a great stay and would definitely try it again when staying in small towns, but for me Airbnb won’t be a top option. I’m too spoiled by not having to pack a hairdryer, shampoo, conditioner and other amenities I take for granted. And even though they had offered me the use of their coffee pot, I wasn’t going to wander down in my PJs to grab an early morning cup.

If you’re interested in trying Airbnb for the first time, please use my link and we’ll both get $25 towards our next stay.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel


  1. David

    June 9, 2015 at 1:47 am

    “but having a set time definitely limited the possible spontaneity of my trip.” Lol

  2. Bill

    June 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Not sure $81 in such a small town was such a great deal

    • Keri Anderson

      June 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      That’s what I would have thought, but everything else for my dates, airbnb or hotel website was $100+ 🙁

  3. Bethany

    June 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I don’t think a set time is a bad thing. It’s not a hotel…you are going to a persons home so there is no res. desk and some of these people leave work etc to greet you so I undetstand why a set time is needed. If it saves you money…just have to suck it up 🙂 I have used Airbnb a few times now and it has saved me quite a bit..especially in Stockholm where hotels cost alot!

  4. HC

    June 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Airbnb becomes valuable in a few unique circumstances, like if you want a place that has two bedrooms. Few hotels offer two bedroom suites, and when they do the price is often exorbitant. Airbnb can also be useful if you want a place with a kitchen, even if to just save a little money breakfast each day.

    On the other hand, the idea of having to be vetted by hosts is uncomfortable. Or if you only need a place for one or two nights during a busy season, hosts may turn you down simply because they’re holding out for someone on a longer trip. Getting rejected by host after host is frustrating at best and demoralizing at worst. Booking Airbnb also runs the risk that the host cancels on you last-minute and leaves you scrambling for a place to stay, even though you’re paying the full-cost upfront.

    IMO Airbnb has some positives and definitely some negatives, but having to meet at a pre-set time is hardly the worst of them.

  5. John

    August 7, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Airbnb in my opinion and experience is a HORRIBLE choice. I made the mistake of booking with them. My experience: their customer service is arrogant and they are in my example untrustworthy. I was planning a South American vacation in June and heard about Airbnb. I went to their website and thought it was a cool concept. I could save money and try something new. What a mistake. After booking and paying for my room some 35 days in advance I thought everything was set and cool. At the last minute, practically on the eve of my departure, they suspended my account and canceled my paid reservation without explanation. I only found out through a private message from my chosen host as I was packing to leave. When I tried to correct Airbnb over the matter they demanded a copy of my passport, access to my Face Book and Google accounts and reconfirmation of my cell number. I didn’t want a last-minute derailment of my plans so I unwisely complied. After all that, they wrote that my already 30 days ahead paid reservation was illegitimate and that my account was suspended. Attempts to receive a reason were ignored and I was repeatedly told that they didn’t have to give an explanation and were not liable in any way for the mess. Subsequently I had to revoke their permissions, change passwords and accept their corporate hubris / insulting customer service as the “final word”. I am now very committed to telling the world of my wretched experience in hopes of sparing other trusting travelers a similar big steaming pile or Airbnb treatment. The good news is, my money was refunded (they had no choice really), I didn’t add to their profits and my host of choice understood and received me with a nice welcome. Beware of Airbnb. They might jerk you around as you’re in departure as well. I am glad to say that already 4 other friends have now dumped their plans to use Airbnb and I will continue on a righteous mission to share my experience honestly as a cautionary tale regarding Airbnb. The exponential result should make it worthwhile. Choose wisely and seek accommodations elsewhere.

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