A case in Airbnb

There’s a new craze going from town to town, calling on travelers to break the mundane and deconstruct that rigid barrier between local and outsider. This movement is manifest in vehicles such as Airbnb.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept think of it as a refined, more mature approach to hosteling or couchsurfing. Which never really took off in the US so I decided to try my hand at this more popular alternative.

Maybe it’s the communal aspect or the in-house local expertise that I find more inviting but I’ve realized that hotels now feel too impersonal to me. Sure, it’s great to unwind after a day of sightseeing in a private suite but that’s not why I travel.

It’s more about sharing stories with people of other vocations and nationalities.

Airbnb allows for unprecedented twists on traditional travel. Instead of the Hilton in Marrakech, rent a Riad inside the Medina. Avoid that resort on the Mediterranean by staying in a secluded bungalow on the same beach but away from “touristopolis”. In fact, it’s easier to rent a castle than to book a room at an all-inclusive resort through their website! They’re on to something and I’m on to them.

So we decided it was time to give Airbnb a chance. Two weeks ago today Jaclyn and I found ourselves in California, at the front door of a stranger’s house that we met online. Nothing kinky, just a little getaway for my 25th birthday.

It had taken a while to narrow down our choices for accommodation. From furnished houses to empty apartments we searched until coming across the listing “Cabin in the Garden”. A 20 minute walk from the beach the cabin shares property with a communal house of four, a tree house overlooking a vegetable garden, and serves as a spiritual retreat from the Los Angeles beat.

We had several interactions with our host via email and poured through reviews left by previous guests. It was clear that this home was an open place. One that welcomes all people and strives to leave little impact on our planet. Quirky hippie vibes and a “come as you are” mentality was invite enough.

When it came down to it we found ourselves spending half the price we would have for a hotel in the area. Our host and other house guests fed us priceless information about local restaurants, helped us weigh what sights were worth seeing versus those of hype, and made us feel like a part of LA.

But if there’s still an air of awkwardness when you walk up to the front door of a stranger’s house who is about to open their world to you–just embrace it and go with the flow. Otherwise, book that hotel room that would cost twice as much.

 

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The “Cabin in the Garden” or “Cabin” in the Garden… Rustic, but very comfortable. Bordered by a fig tree and overlooking their garden.

 

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Interior of our “Cabin”. Has the feeling of an artists studio. Complete with floor pillows, books on yoga, and a loft space for the bed

 

The Pod

The Pod- Another accommodation on site. Designed by one of the residents who found inspiration in her time living off-the-grid in Latin America. Similar to the Cabin on the inside the Pod stands apart in its organic design and placement in the garden itself.

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The tree house- While it isn’t listed on Airbnb would be a great place to spend the night under the ever so cool breeze of the Pacific winds. Equipped with prayer flags, hammock, and clothesline- what more could you want?

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Ah, the bountiful Lemon tree. I’m already missing the fragrant wind that swirled around the sweet aromas of the garden. There’s no wasted space. Plants and nooks in every corner.

 

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A link in their chain of well laid garden space.

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Everything has it’s place.

How could we not walk away with a sense of peace? Overall our visit couldn’t have been better–moving with the Angelenos in their easy-going ebb and flow contradicting the norms of “big city” livin’. It’s a wonderful place.

Interested in booking the Cabin in the Garden? Here’s the link- LINK

until next time–yallah’bye

*photo credits to Jaclyn Joslin

About Nicholas Andriani

In 2012 I bought a one-way ticket to Casablanca, Morocco, sold my car, picked up an Arabic dictionary and enrolled in an archaeological field school in the Middle East. As a student of archaeology, driven by the desire to see every inch of this planet (borders and politics be damned), I set out to get to the bottom of who I am and what I want from this world. Traveling mostly on foot I hitchhiked around North Africa, hiked Spain’s Mediterranean coast , caught a plane to Egypt where I wandered across Sinai into the Middle East and settled in Jordan, living amongst Bedouin and colleagues working on an excavation. Intrigued by the crisis in Syria I began tagging along with journalists, who were anticipating the extreme force that was to come, before making my way into Palestine and Israel where I found a land cloaked in obscurity and experienced a full paradigm shift. Landlocked I caught a plane to Greece and roamed the ancient landscapes, island-hopping my way to Turkey. Experienced the best of Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul. And with one final burst of energy, found my way back home to the States.This is my story, and those to come. Posts are not sorted chronologically, rather they find their way to the blogosphere when I feel it’s high time they make their debut. Between travels i’ll be working on my first book. A memoir titled “Yallah, Bye“ in which i’ll recount my wild days abroad during the Arab spring. Finding love, loss, and culture shock a way of life, a right of passage. I’ll be diving into anthropology, foodie nonsense, history, and daily life of the worlds I had the good fortune to visit. Thanks for taking your time to visit my page and be sure to say “hello”! -Nicholas Andriani
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16 Responses to A case in Airbnb

  1. janstring says:

    Hi there Nicholas,
    I’ve used AirBnB 3 times now – twice in Australia and once in Switzerland. All my experiences have been interesting and in Oz you can get a lot for your buck, if you can book a little in advance in places like Sydney.

    • I believe it, from what I hear on the financial woes of travel in Oz. Great way to adapt though and I will certainly be using AirBnB when I make it there. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. I adore AirBnB and find that as long as you take your time and do some research the places you can snag are sometimes as good as (if not better) than some 3, 4 or 5 star hotels. This is especially true in terms of price/quality and location. I’ve stayed in some beautiful apartments in Istanbul, Reykjavik, Berlin, Paris and LA. AirBnB has yet to disappoint…and so I keep my fingers crossed!

    • You’re absolutely right. Beyond the financial benefit you get to have this incredible one-on-one experience with a local. You can attempt to instigate that on the streets but it doesn’t always work! I’m looking forward to using AirBnB abroad!

  3. Reblogged this on TravelBloggers.on.WordPress and commented:
    A first-time Airbnb’er recounts his experience.

  4. Lol – “nothing kinky”
    I had a great experience with Airbnb with an apartment in Miami. It was perfect for our group of 4 and way cheaper than a hotel. Like you, I spent wayyyy too long choosing our ‘perfect’ host, but it turned out to definitely be worth it.

    • Haha, well done. Entirely worth it. I’m happy to see this trend pick up as i’m not getting any younger and hostels are beginning to lose their appeal. Glad your time in Miami went over well. Seems like a great place to rent from AirBnB for sure. Over a hotel any day ;)

  5. I read your wonderful account of your 25th birthday cabin from my Airbnb room in Budapest. I’ve been accommodating myself this way in Slovenia and Croatia for the last few weeks as I celebrate my 70th birthday. Hosts have called taxis, pointed out must-sees, picked me up from airports, train stations and bus stops, added in breakfast or Turkish coffee or cakes or a small bottle of plum liquor. I found my Warsaw apartment for two months via this “mature version of couch-surfing”. All planned at home in Australia.

    • Haha, incredible. What a wonderful way to celebrate your 70th and happy birthday. I trust Budapest treated you kindly? Would love to visit one day. You seem to have found the right hosts. Very generous. I’m going to have to peruse Morsels and Scraps in hopes of reading about your experience!

  6. We’ve used airbnb too, three times on our trip to Europe last September. We like to cook our own food so we book apartments. We stayed in the most beautiful place in Bruges which was beautifully fitted out and the owners, who lived next door were lovely. The second place was in Brussels, right in the centre of the city. While the attention to detail left a little to be desired, the location was marvellous. The third place was in Cologne and was just a couple of blocks from the Cathedral and the train station. It was also very comfortable and immaculate. I agree, the most important thing is to do your research thoroughly before booking. We will definitely be using airbnb again.

    • You have certainly reaped the benefits of AirBnB like a true supporter. I would love to see some of these apartments you’ve rented. Reviews like that which you’ve wrote are why I finally gave in to seeing what this was all about. What a wonderful way to see the world. Now that I’m in tune with this trend I feel like I may be cooking more of my own meals as well-though i’m a sucker for unique street food!

  7. damn! that’s some dank sheet ! I am so grateful to have been blessed with seeing your blog! Love the cabin and a garden….i wish i was there right now. Minneapolis is so boring, although I am attached to my awesome eleven year old boy here, so there’s that. holla# nice to meet you/take care –
    jason

  8. Pingback: Home Away From Home | Adventures of The SIA Brat

  9. I am going to try airbnb sometime, but haven’t had luck finding a place where I want to stay yet. I do like staying in guesthouses, or renting apartments/houses when I travel with my family. I agree with you — it’s much more personal and authentic than staying in hotels and gets you away from the tourist areas.

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