By now, my guess is that most people know what Air BnB is about. If not, I will give you a quick synopsis. When I am explaining it to people, I say it is like Uber for apartments and houses. People put their own personal living areas up for rent for a daily rate. You can pick from a “private room” or the “entire home.” There are places for rent nearly any place in the world you would possibly want to visit (over 190 countries). The best part is they are so much cheaper than hotels, and you get a more livable arrangement with a kitchen and a living room instead of getting your standard hotel room with just 2 beds and a shower.
I have been hosting my apartment on Air BnB in downtown Dallas since last March and it has been a fantastic experience for myself and my two other roommates. We are three 25 year old guys that live in a three bedroom apartment that in the middle of all the nightlife in Dallas. We are walking distance from everything that you can possibly need as far as, food, groceries, museums, and bars. We have decided to rent out my master bedroom to guests as a “private room,” which works out great for us as I can stay on a spare mattress we have in another room or stay at my girlfriend’s apartment (thanks Amy!). We have the perfect location for any traveler visiting the city. The only problem with downtown Dallas is there are only a handful of hotels in the area that are not exorbitantly priced. This is fine for the business traveler with a company card—not your everyday vacationer that is trying to see the world as affordably as possible. Air BnB does a fantastic job of creating an affordable travel option for people in a more desirable location than they would ordinarily be able to utilize.
We have been hosting guests for 7 months now and have had 40 different groups of people come through our apartment. It has been quite the eclectic group from all six inhabited continents, (sorry Antarctica) and approximately 20 different countries. The country with the most representation has definitely been Australia, while the rest have been scattered throughout the globe, with only 7 groups of travelers hailing from America. It has definitely been an international experience, and with that comes sharing stories about each other’s cultures and countries that they come from. It has truly been a fascinating experience to learn a little bit about how each individual country views the world or views America.
Some guests treat their stay like a hotel where they drop off their belongings, see what they want to see and leave quietly. Others come with the intent of being social, asking us what they should do while they are on their stay, and some even become fast friends, joining us in whatever we are doing for the weekend.
The first reaction people have when I tell them I am hosting on Air BnB is “you let strangers come into your house??!” Honestly, yes, we let complete strangers into our house and hope that they are normal people just like us. For us, 97.5% of the time they have been. We have been lucky enough to have had zero problems with our guests and 39 out of 40 were overwhelmingly enjoyable experiences. Xi Chen was a little different and made for an awkward two days, and he might have left a review saying “we were easy on the eyes.” But that’s okay, two awkward days never hurt anybody. Our most recent guests, a couple from Tasmania, Australia, were fantastic and when they left after two days we felt like we made lifelong friends.
The whole experience has been extremely positive for everyone involved. We have met a lot of interesting and fun people, we have provided an affordable place to stay, and we have made enough money to pay for all of our utilities for the calendar year. We are all young working professionals starting off our careers, and an extra couple hundred dollars makes a difference to us each month.
Unfortunately, we have recently taken down our listing due to a new clause in our new lease that we just signed. It is common for apartments now to put clauses in their leases stating that if their apartment is used for Air BnB, the tenant can be evicted. There is also a legal issue going on in San Francisco right now trying to outlaw the service from their city, citing rising prices in homes as the issue. I am surprised to hear the website can cause home prices to rise that much or cause enough problems to where it is completely eliminated. I think it is sad when people take what is such a great utility for so many people and decide that it is not allowed. They are limiting life experiences for hosts and travelers alike, as they disallow people from meeting and staying in each other’s place of living. I don’t understand the motive of the anti-innovation crowd. Are hotels lobbying to keep their monopoly as taxi cab companies are with Uber? I think it is incredibly sad when large companies are able to benefit from a capitalistic system so greatly they favor it, however when capitalism creates competition those same corporate benefactors move heaven and earth to squash the capitalistic system.
Not everything created in this world is great, but Air BnB is. It provides a cheap way for people to obtain a vacation rental and get much more value from what they would at a hotel. It also puts people from different parts of the globe in contact and allows them to discuss issues about each other’s societies- all while providing people like myself a little extra spending money on the weekends. It is an all-around fantastic experience and I highly recommend it to any traveler, or any person with a spare bedroom.
Viva Air BnB!
The featured image was made and produced by Rachel Botsman in 2014