Strangers with Cottages

I’m always on the hunt for great travel deals—from dining or spa packages to under-the-radar vacation destinations. So when I heard there was a website for finding the comfort of home in cities across the world for bargain prices, I was hooked!

Airbnb coins itself as “a community marketplace for unique spaces,” but more literally it’s what would happen if Facebook, Craigslist and TripAdvisor had a baby. Sounds scary awesome, right?! Basically, homeowners list spare bedrooms or their entire house on the site for vacationers to “rent” or use. But unlike a typical rental, there is no limitations on how long you must stay; instead it’s a nightly rate — AND more importantly — the homeowner will likely be there the whole time. The houses are not set up like typical Bed and Breakfasts so you could be sharing one bathroom with an entire household of strangers, and often the rooms are filled with knick knacks, decorative items and even household pets that belong to the family that resides there.

The listings are pretty comprehensive, with tons of photos of the property, extensive bios and descriptions of what you can expect in terms of amenities and décor as well as reviews from previous renters. And in order to request the rental, you need to set up a profile of yourself that gives the owner a good sense of your personality, needs, expectations. Point is, it’s pretty legit and I’m kinda obsessed. BUT just as Facebook can incite rabid voyeurism, so too can airbnb. A simple search for just about any destination reveals a wealth of valid (and in some cases amazing) vacation options.  But for every 10 normals, there’s always one crazy (I think there might be statistical data to support this theory for the human race) and below I’ve collected a few of my favorites.

  • Ted H. and his “Tree House”—This guy describes his kitchen as “chill space” (he looks to be about 75) and shows a photo of a “zebra bus” on the property. Oh yea, and he built a giant tree house for his guests. Stoner, much?
  • Nickesh V. and his Car (??)—Yes, his car, which he says you can stay in until he needs to use it to drive somewhere. Rules: “You can’t be a creeper, and you can’t do the dirty.”
  • Dan C. in Austin—This guy uses his extensive collection of Harry Potter books (English & Spanish) to lure in guests. Nuff said.
  • Barrie & Tod in their “off-grid” house—Ok, this place looks sick, but something about being “off-grid” with complete strangers brings up visions of Reese Witherspoon in Fear. Also, which one’s Barrie and which one’s Tod?

Regardless of these nutcases, I’m sold on airbnb for affordable travel and the guarantee of meeting some very interesting people!

Posted by Ariel

One response to “Strangers with Cottages

  1. Kevin Feltner

    Have you used Airbnb? If so, tell me more.

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