My Airbnb Experience

I was just in Montreal for a few days for Çingleton. More about that later. This post is about Airbnb.

By the time I received my invitation for Çingleton, the lovely Hotel Nelligan was booked up.  Looking for a place to stay, I decided to try out Airbnb.  

I love the Airbnb concept.  In a nutshell, it’s a way to connect travellers with individuals who have accommodations they’d like to rent out.  Anyone can list their home, apartment, or any other space, and folks looking for a place to stay can browse, reserve and pay for their reservation all through the site.

It was all very straightforward, and the host whose loft apartment I stayed in was wonderful.  But there were a few unanticipated aspects of the Airbnb experience that I wanted to mention.

On the one hand, it’s great that the place is yours and yours alone, for the duration of your stay. But this does mean you’re on your own.  Nobody comes in and moves your stuff, but nobody comes in and tidies the place up every day either.  

Staying in a city whose native language you don't speak, in a residential setting, you’re much more likely to encounter people who don’t speak your language than at a hotel.  This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but in cases where you’re renting a unit in a building where other people live (which seems common), you’re likely to run across people waiting for the elevator or in the parking garage, and they may be curious about who you are.

Some residents in condo buildings aren’t happy about having units in the building rented out.  I can understand this.  But it made me a little uncomfortable thinking that I may not be welcome by the people I’d meet in the building. 

Another aspect of Airbnb is the non-professional nature of the thing.  I expect that checking the reviews of the host before making a reservation would go a long way towards ensuring you don’t have any trouble, but just before leaving, I read about the number of Airbnb hosts who have cancelled reservations at the last minute, and boy, would that have been inconvenient.  Didn’t happen to me, but I did end up worrying about it.

I think that’s the most significant difference in booking Airbnb vs booking a traditional hotel.  With a hotel, you know what to expect, which contributes to peace of mind.

In the end it turned out wonderfully, and while these were things that were on my mind, I will use Airbnb again.