Why Airbnb?

Last summer we took an amazing vacation to Pacific Palisades/Malibu and used Airbnb for the first time to stay on a bluff in a private apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We were definitely spoiled...

The first thing we did when we came home was to list a room in our little suburban King City neighborhood to see if anyone would bite. We offered a clean room, good hospitality and a great neighborhood for $50 a night. We were booked every weekend almost immediately! During that experience we had people staying with us from China, India, Canada, England and a few just passing through from the US. We loved having chats and getting to know the cultures of these different people through the stories they would share and our interactions with them. It did a positive thing to restore our faith in humanity.

When we sold that house and started building our new house, I dreamt of the day I could list the home on Airbnb and see how many bookings we could get. We had already made reservations for our Europe trip and started saving for it from our paychecks. We thought, "If we can just get $2,000 total from Airbnb rentals, I think we can make this 7 week trip to Europe work, combined with our savings." Well, I can tell you that we greatly surpassed that goal and now our entire trip is funded by our Airbnb rental bookings. Which, when you think about it, if we rented our home out for the whole summer, we'd have to stay someplace else, right? Well, why not go to Europe!?!

Since we believe in Airbnb and love Airbnb, we knew we wanted to stay in as many Airbnb places on this trip as we could. However, we also know that the ease and convenience of hotels can be equally wonderful and sometimes it is really nice to have full and complete privacy. But when you really challenge yourself, if you keep an open mind you can stay just about anywhere with a clean bed, clean towels, a good location and good hospitality. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting outside of our comfort zones to allow ourselves to experience something that is out of the ordinary to our everyday American lifestyles.

The Airbnb house we are staying in right now (check it out, here!) is perfect for London. So yes, you could stay in an expensive hotel or B&B. If you're not really on a budget or the amount of money you spend in London isn't a great deal of importance to you, by all means, book a B&B somewhere in Kensington, South Kensington, Chelsea, Belgravia or Bloomsbury. You'll spend between $200 - $300 a night; the price rises for rooms in standard hotel chains like Hiltons, Marriotts, etc. However, if you're on a budget like we are and are of flexible and open mind enough, booking a room on Airbnb allows you the freedom to experience so much of what London has to offer because it is expensive. E-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e.

Right now the British pound is at a solid low against the US Dollar at $1.55 USD for every $1 GBP. That means that for everything you buy in London, you're spending 1.5x that amount in USD. Things add up very quickly here and your credit card statement will remind you of that as soon as you log on to give things a look. It's pretty unrealistic to expect that you can live off of $100 a day for two people, but it is possible.

However, when you're not dumping most of your budget on hotel rooms, you can use what you would have spent at a B&B or a major chain and enjoy more of what London has to offer, even if they do cost you just as much.

Last night when we arrived home, Lior was waiting for us and offered us some beverages while we had a long chat in his living room. We learned that he is a sculptor in London and has been featured in several galleries; he is from Israel and has lived in London only 15 years so far; he has a 40 minute commute by train to work each day, and he has lived in this flat for 12 years and recently gave it a complete remodeling overhaul which is what you see on the photos. We told him about Portland and the show "Portlandia," (he immediately bookmarked it on his must-watch list), we introduced him to Steven Smith tea from Portland which we brought for him a a hosting gift, and we shared stories with him of what we had seen and experienced so far in London and heard some of his take on London living as well.

I am so thankful that we have gotten the experience to meet someone local, live in their home temporarily, stay in a "neighborhood" where kids play in the park outside and people just hang out together rather than being in the throes of tourists and just get a little glimpse of London living through Airbnb. I think what really works with Airbnb is that the hosts who use it, believe in it and strive to be great hosts, and the guests who stay with it, believe in it, because they trust that the hosts they're staying with will be making them feel at home.

For the rest of our trip, we're staying in a vineyard farm in Freiburg, Germany, a lake front apartment in Lake Como, and a tuscan villa in Chianti. All places where hotels don't really exist so if you want to experience the true heart of the country, you need to use Airbnb.

If you're interested in giving Airbnb a try, you can receive $25 off your first booking by using my referral code here: www.airbnb.co.uk/c/mlove58?s=8

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