AirBnB & VRBO

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Sep 3, 2017
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An Elliot's Forum member responding to complaint about AirBnB noted that only complaints turn up here. So I thought I'd share my experiences about both. All have been positive!

I first booked with VRBO on my second trip to Prague, in 2007. Before doing so, I, of course, checked the references listed. I also noted that area on the map where the apartment was located AND pulled up either MapQuest (or GoogleEarth if it was up and running then) to see the general area and get an idea of whether it would be noisy or quiet. As I recall, the listing mentioned that it was near the Chodov station so I also checked that out and found that there was a shopping center right there at the station, but not too close. The
apartment was in a huge Soviet-era housing complex, but adjacent to a woodland park. It was wonderful, small, compact, and included everything we needed. And the host was lovely.

I've used AirBnB for years. The first person I rented from was a woman who, in addition to providing a generous room using a shared bath, became a friend who offered dinner as well as breakfast on successive stays, and who invited me to dine with her and friends as I was passing through the area another time. I've stayed at the home of an AirBnB host in New Rochelle who had to be away when I was scheduled to come, at the vacation home of an AirBnB host in Manchester, VT whose grace and flexibility offered a haven during a difficult family emergency, rented another vacation home in Manchester, VT for a family member's graduation, and found housing through AirBnb in Middlbury, VT and Pawtucket, RI for a grandchild's hockey games. My most recent AirBnB rental two weeks ago in Falmouth, MA on short notice was lovely and relaxing.

From 2012 to the present, I've had nothing but good experiences. I read reviews, correspond with the host prior to booking if I have any questions, and look at the area where an AirBnB listing is on Mapquest or GoogleEarth prior to booking. I am also somewhat flexible in my expectations. Some AirBnB offerings have exceeded my expectations. Others were a little less than I'd hoped for, but clean and comfortable. From my perspective, if one wants to have good experiences traveling it helps to really research before booking, be it a hotel, or AirBnB property, or through VRBO, AND to not be upset if arrangements are not quite what one hoped for.

For instance, I managed to lock the key into the Pawtucket, RI AirBnB rental and the host wasn't available to let me in for HOURS after I'd learned of my mistake. I found a library in Providence and went there to relax and read (bought a book or two from their book-sale cart) and went out to supper. Coming home from Amsterdam at the time of the 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland, takeoff for our Lufthansa flight was delayed four hours, resulting in my missing my scheduled flight home to BTV from IAD. I found a place to take a nap (on the floor) awaiting a later flight from IAD and got home later than expected. On a trip to Halifax with two other couples, my husband and I found we were occupying the bedroom of the owner of the ad hoc B&B, and that she was sleeping on a couch in the living room we all passed through when we returned at night (the owner's plans to stay at her daughter's in the duplex below hadn't worked out). Our other Halifax Eastern Shore rental for our three couples had such funky home renovations that the wife of one couple kept saying, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" as we perused the three bedrooms we'd rented. We stayed anyway and had a wonderful time, including being regaled with magic tricks by our host, Fritz.

We are so very fortunate to live at a time when air travel is somewhat affordable, when trains are another alternative, where we have cell phones to communicate with those expecting us, and when there are alternatives to expensive hotels, like AirBnB and VRBO. Gratitude and a sense of adventure can go a long way ---- not that a number of complaints on Elliot's Forum about these services aren't reasonable and legitimate.

I suspect there are others who have had similar good experiences. Or maybe just "good enough" experiences that didn't end up marring their vacation.