When we went on our amazing bucket list trip to Omaha to see Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger we knew we wanted to go about a year in advance for the actual Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting (See Part 1 and Part 2 of my once in a lifetime experience if you are interested). So we looked early and found a place to rent on Airbnb for a good price. I have never tried staying with an Airbnb and thought it would be great to see what the fuss is about. I have stayed with VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner) in both Canada and the United States but never an Airbnb.
If you haven't heard of Airbnb, you have probably been living under a rock!
As Kyle mentioned in his previous post about Airbnb versus Flipkey, Airbnb is like the Uber but for vacation properties. The great thing is that you usually have access to a kitchen, which is not the case for staying in hotels. The social sharing sites have revolutionized how people vacation…and hotels etc. may one day be a thing of the past. The key with Airbnb is that you leave reviews for the places you stay, so everyone will be accountable. Of course, there are Airbnb horror stories, but those are few and far between.
Using Airbnb was easy. You just head to Airbnb and start searching. You don't need to sign up for an account if you're just searching. The graphics and website layout are easy to use and appealing to the eye. You can filter by where you want to go, whether you want the ‘entire apartment' or to just ‘share a room', and the dates you are interested in. You can also (more importantly) filter by price.
The prices seen are per night and it is you can see a summary of the cost with the breakdown of the cleaning fees (determined by the owner) and the Airbnb service fee that are added to produce the total cost.
Once you book, you will submit a booking request and the owner will review. Once they approve you, you will receive additional information from the owner of the Airbnb property and will be able to message them. They can give you additional directions, or provide you information about the place you are visiting. They can be as involved or (not involved) as you want them to be.
The place we booked was very close to the Century Link Plaza and also close to Warren Buffett's home (well driving distance, under 5 minutes) on Farnam street. It was a very nice suite with a kitchen and a bedroom.
The Airbnb Space
Contrary to what you might believe, most Airbnb do not serve you breakfast! It's not really like a bed and breakfast, even though that's ingrained in the name. You do however, get a nice space to yourself (if you are choosing that option) and a place to cook to save money on food while traveling.
Checking in was easy. We just showed up at the Airbnb place and the owners gave us the keys and showed us how to use the locks etc. They also provided some great recommendations for food in the area and where to go grocery shopping. It was nice to have a friendly face when we arrived to check in.
The Airbnb we stayed at was very clean. There was even body wash, shampoo, and conditioner to use. Fresh white towels and fresh white linens on the bed. Not only that, but there was a basket full of amenities (more shampoo, condition, and body lotion) if you might have forgotten something.
Once You're Done, Leave a Review
Once you've finished your rental, the owner reviews your stay and you review the owner's Airbnb rental. That way both are accountable because no one will want to rent to you if you are not a good tenant and no one will want to rent from a bad Airbnb host. You can rate things (out of five stars) such as communication, cleanliness, accuracy, location, value, and check in.
All in all, I think it was a great experience. I thought it was much more clean than the stay I had with VRBO.com in Kauai, there wasn't gritty sand on the floor and dirty pans (yeah, gross right?). I would definitely stay again if I ended up going to Omaha. Check out how you can make a $200 bonus if you're interested in renting out space for Airbnb one day.
Readers, have you used an Airbnb? What has your experience been?