My Experience with AirBNB

In the past few months a lot of people have asked me about my personal experiences with AirBNB.
I have used AirBNB in Los Angeles and Seattle to date.  As a single white female  I am pretty careful about what types of bookings I make in Los Angeles.

As most people know, Los Angeles is a huge sprawling city with lots of great neighborhoods and many pockets of seedy neighborhoods that are part of the landscape of a crazy urban wasteland.

I normally look for listings that have a separate entrance or studio on the property.  I do not book listings where it is a private room inside the home of a stranger.   I am no longer a college student and do not feel comfortable just crashing in a bedroom in a random  house.   I have to have my own entrance and bathroom.   I am not an expert on Los Angeles but I do try to find locations that are safe.

The first place I booked was a studio attached to a house in Mt. Washington.  The listing said it was in a great hipster safe neighborhood and that there was stairs.  When I arrived in the dark at 9 PM, I realized it was 65 unlit stairs going up the side of a steep hill and I could not even see the house from the street or the house numbers.   Note, this was in Mt. Washington, a steep hillside neighborhood built into the hills of north LA.  All the houses are build about 20-50 feet up on the hill and the street was down below in like the "valley"    I almost entered the wrong house, but the darkness, dogs barking and fear of being shot kept me from doing that!    I had to call the host to find the house and it took a while because my GPS was not working.   Eventually I found the place, it was a cute little studio tucked up in the hill, but it was a nightmare trying to navigate the stairs in the dark.   I was afraid I would fall on my face.  The windows did not all have coverings and I had to hang blankets on the windows.

The couple were married and appeared nice enough but they never officially welcomed me.  My gut feeling was off a bit and I felt like they were watching me.  The other downside was that the nearest store was located in the ghetto gang neighborhood down the hill or she said I could get back on the freeway and drive to Pasadena. (really?)  The host directed me to the nearest grocery store, I was the only white person in the store and the offerings catered to a Mexican housewife.  That night I ended up eating cheese and chips because I could not find any salads or fresh deli food.

The second play I stayed in Los Angeles was in Silverlake, a north suburb of Los Angeles near Los Feliz.  It is considered a hipster neighborhood.  There was a single gal that had a studio off of her house for rent.  Once again I went to the wrong door in the dark, but luckily she was home and stood outside to meet me.  She lived on a regular residential street.  The unit was clean and felt safe.  It was easy to get in and out of, however once I got in there, I realized that it was a converted garage with NO insulation.  If a car was driving by or a person walking by and talking it felt like they were in the room with you.  This is not good for someone like me who can't sleep with a lot of noise.  Even with my fan on and my earplugs it was too loud.  So each night I was there I dragged the blankets into the bathroom and slept on the bathroom floor, because the bathroom was part of the original house so it had insulation and was quiet.  If I would of known I was paying $85 a night plus fees to sleep in a garage I would of not done it!

My most amazing experience with AirBNB was in Seattle.  I rented an entire house in the Portage Bay neighborhood in Montlake.  It is an upscale neighborhood adjacent to the University of Washington.  The house was a mid century modern house with views of the water on Portage Bay.  There was 3 large bedrooms with down comforters, two main updated bathrooms and over 2,500 square feet.  For around $300 a night we had pleanty of room for my family and my parents.  I was also able to invite about 20 people over for a meal.   The house was gorgeous and well worth it!

With AirBNB you never know what you are going to get!  ha ha! 

I love the option to have AirBNB but I have to say you get what you pay for!  What I learned from my experience is that I need to do a bit more research on the neighborhoods - because you don't want to end up staying in a place where you don't feel safe leaving the house at night.   It will be difficult to avoid the converted garage though.   Its not everyday I sleep in a garage or on a bathroom floor..but i try to be flexible.  (:


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