When I first started planning this trip I knew I didn’t want to stay in hotels. I don’t mind short stays in hotels for mini vacays as long as there’s a fridge and microwave or hotplate so I looked into AirBnB. The first time I heard about the website was through a website called User Testing. It’s a good way to make a few extra dollars by reviewing websites and AirBnB just happened to be the first website I reviewed. There are many other websites similar to AirBnB that I have learned about since starting this trip that I haven’t looked into yet. There are two that keep getting mentioned in the FB groups I have joined, VRBO and Housesitting. I’ve also heard about couch surfing, which sounds like exactly what it is, and I’m not interested in shared space such as a hostel.
My biggest determinant on selecting a place was internet because I have to work. I didn’t consider other amenities so when I stay in Italy I won’t have a kitchen. I originally thought I would want to stay with a host but I had to consider some factors.
- When I have class will it be quiet? Will I be too loud? Will someone knock on my room door? Even when I worked from home I’d still have people pop up at my house. Their reason, “I knew you were here, I saw your car.” Umm, yeah, but I’m working.
- Jayla doesn’t like to wear clothes. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be, she’d be, or the host would be with her running around in shorts and a bonnet.
- And of course the overall compatibility.
Well, I’m only a week into my first AirBnB and so far it’s been great. When I was telling my friends about my plans all of a sudden there was a new hashtag trend #Airbnbwhileblack and I got all the text and forwarded articles. Here’s my thing, if you don’t want me in your home, that’s fine. My money can go elsewhere. I’ve only had one person decline me and I assumed it was because I had a child because they had listed that the home was not child friendly. I did go back and check the calendar availability a few weeks later and saw that the same days I had requested still had not been booked. Could it be because I’m black? I really don’t care. My money’s still green.
Since I’ve been here I have only had one major issue but my host solved it as soon as I hit her on whatsapp. I blew out the socket and I had no internet access, no way to text (because my TMobile hotspot isn’t working here), and a class in four hours. I quickly told Jayla to get dressed, we went down the street where I knew I could get access to wifi and I sent her a message. Then we found a tech store and I bought a new converter for only 3 Euros!! We went back to the restaurant and I saw the host had already responded. We ran back to the apartment, found the fuse box…nothing! At the time I was trying really hard not to go into panic mode. I was trying to figure out where I would be able to work just in case. My host said she’d be on her way. Twenty minutes later, all was well. Crisis abated.
Not only is my host great, she’s also a teacher, she speaks English, and she’s from Canada. She also offered to show us around this weekend.
First week in Madrid…success!!
Some places have an additional fee for more than one person. Since my one person is a child, I’ve asked for the extra fee to be waived, even in hotels kids stay free.