6 Countries and 5 AirBnB reviews

Have you been considering using an Airbnb for the first time but you’re on the fence about using a strangers home? Uncertain if it is for you? Well here are 5 reviews with pictures from 6 countries to hopefully help you narrow in on your decision.

From us in New York: 1 week stay…”This home was obviously very recently renovated and updated. It was very nice and well kept. We arrived late but the keys were waiting. The communication was fantastic. Our family of 4 stayed comfortably for a week and would recommend it happily.”

From them: “all good.”

From us in Bali, Indonesia: We stayed 2 weeks…”This is a great weekend getaway home. I would not recommend more than a 3 day stay though. When we arrived the driver was at the airport promptly and easy to find. He was friendly. Upon arriving at the villa Made met us at the top of the hill and escorted our family down to the villa carrying our things on her scooter. She was warm and welcoming.
As for the house there is a 1 foot gap between the top of the wall and the ceiling that leads to the outside. Due to this fact there were many many ants and spiders inside the house. We sprayed and kept all food outside but the 1foot ceiling to roof gap allowed for both bugs and reptiles to enter abundantly. At one point we cohabited with a foot and a half long lizard. This is not an insurmountable problem if you are comfortable with nature. For the most part they ignore you if you can ignore them. It’s only worth noting so that you know what to expect.
The wifi was spotty at best. The ceiling gap mentioned earlier also made it impossible for the single air conditioner to cool the top floor it was located on much less the lower level. Additionally, the staff turns off the ac daily when they come to clean so you start from square one to cool the house every time you come home. The water and power both alternated which was working and we constantly had to go next door to flip a water or circuit switch. At one point mom took a shower in the kid’s bathroom and was shocked by the shower handles. It is also worth noting that the following day we read a review on this very matter stating that a local blogger was killed by electrocution in her shower. As for the kitchen: the fridge worked but could barely keep things cool, the water dispenser didn’t come with potable water and the kitchen was closer to a traditional Balinese kitchen then the western look presented in photos. The rooms were nice and roomy but the 3 beds only came with 2 bedspreads and were not laundered in our 10 day stay. Additionally, there were only 2 towels provided to our family of 4 for both swimming and showering and those were not laundered either. We were able to get a ride to town and buy some additional towels at a reasonable price.
For the most part the host answered efficiently and was kind when she did it but hours (almost a full day) with out water or power and no communication was too much for our family of 4.
The homes location is its saving grace. It is within a 50,000 ($4.12 USD) Rupi ride to the center of town. Great taxis drivers wait at the corner of the street to bring you in and out of town. There are many diners, spas and cafes on the strip between you and taxis. That is also where we laundered our clothes. The villa itself is within 200 feet of a reasonable cafe and a fantastic artist.
It is worth mentioning that when we finally left it was after a ten day stay but we left three days early willing to incur the cost loss. We ended up paying the same amount a night for a compound twice the size that had; an upgraded outdoor kitchen, 2 very separate and very air conditioned rooms with reliable internet, a cook and a hands on daily staff. At the second home we were greeted by a team for the house (driver included) and 2 scooters.
All in all the issues at this villa were resolved one by one. The host did give what I believe was her best effort. The pool was a plus. The home is a more traditional Balinese home and I would only recommend it for a maximum of three days and an awareness of what you were getting yourself in to.”

From them: None

From us in Bali Indonesia: We stayed a little over a month… “Sandy was an incredible host and responded to her messages within the hour every time we sent them. There were two or three very minimal problems over our month-long stay that she addressed immediately and to satisfaction. She allowed us to check in four days early in order to accommodate our schedule. Her team on site was amazing and available daily. We had two scooters available to us at check-in and her staff was available to us daily to clean and answer questions. The pool was a nice bonus. The security and seclusion was nice. It was a little tricky directing a taxi to the residence as there is no sign. We just instructed them that it was directly across the street from the soccer field and cemetery. That seemed to help. The house staff took our children to the temple one day of the week and even brought them ‘costumes’ that fit them. We highly recommend Sandy and her get away!! Thank you Sandy, Wyan and Made!!”

From them: “Ariel was a great communicator through the whole experience. It was a joy to have such a positive guest. The whole family treated my staff with dignity and respect. Thank you all the family. I would highly recommend Ariel and family, especially for long term stays.”

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From us in Singapore: We stayed 1 week… “This home was amazing! A home away from home that we were lucky to find. Lots of small little touches and extras to make it feel like our very own. We loved the decor and we loved the charm. The communication was spot on and they were always available to resolve any issues we stumbled upon or answer any questions we had. The home was within walking distance to the metro and multiple eateries. We landed late and entrance was easy. Definitely a high recommend.”

From them: “Ariel and her family have been very pleasant guests to host. She has been very easy to communicate with despite that we were both traveling before her arrival. We are still trying to figure out some technicalities in regards to payment for their extra night stay, however, this seems to be a challenge from Airbnb’s system side. I absolutely got a good, trustworthy and friendly vibe from Ariel and her family and we would be more than happy to host them again in the future!”

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From us in Osaka Japan: We stayed 1 week “We loved our week long stay here. We are a family of 4 (a 5 and 6 year old.) We were able to walk with packs on our backs from the train station to the apartment. When we got lost the host responded immediately and with GREAT directions. We met a local shop keeper while we were lost and we’re able to dine at his restaurant (Italian) also within walking distance. The home was cozy and stayed a consistent temperature despite only having one Ac in one room. The washer is also a dryer so you can dry indoors (huge plus!) The toiletries and utensils were all available for use. We had zero complaints and would stay again.” 

From them: None

All in all we have learned to:

  • Try NEVER to stay longer than a week. Refunds are IMPOSSIBLE and timely contact with AirBNB is futile which means that you relinquish your deposit no matter what. I recommend arranging a week and if it is successful then attempting to extend. Worst case scenario there isn’t time available at your current location but there will be a SURPLUS of others in your surrounding region.
  • All most each home is well organized, has the essential toiletries and the host is courteous as well as prompt with communications .
  • If the post isn’t listed in English DON’T DO IT! Although they try the ads are tricky to navigate and very rarely present as described.

I have yet to leave a review of our current accommodations but you’ll find my primary arrival email below to give you an idea of our situation. The on site staff (our host lives in Russia) has done a phenomenal job ATTEMPTING to resolve our issues but since it’s neither the man on site’s home nor is it his primary language (his is Russian) we have struggled here too.

Email: “Hi. We are checked in and while the home is lovely I have some significant issues that I feel need to be addressed. 1. Your add advertises “free internet IN THE APARTMENT.” And also as “great WIFI.” We just had to pay for it and then found out that it is awful!! It has low bandwidth and shares among 7 BUILDINGS! My boyfriend works from his computer and can not continue his work from here with the low bandwidth. 2. Your add does denote that we have to pay for WATER and ELECTRICITY but ONLY In the fine print of the “house rules,” hidden after a sentence written in Russian AND in a very incomplete and confusing manner, “….At us don’t smoke. Are in addition paid electricity 5 baht for kilowatt and water 50 baht for kilowatt.” This was only made clear after having payed you completely for a full month. 3. There is no drinking water available. Not even to tide us over until we get to the store. 4. There are NO toiletries, none. Including the fact that there is NO TOILET PAPER! Not a roll, again, not enough to get us to the store. Your listing feels incomplete at best and deceitful at worst. I’m happy to take this up Airbnb but wanted to first give you the opportunity to acknowledge the issues and make them right. We suggest that we receive a full and immediate refund and we will leave promptly if there isn’t another mutually achievable agreement. Please let me know with haste how you wish to proceed. Very respectfully, Ariel” *Note worth mentioning: We did not receive a refund or cancellation. We were able to go find a local SIM at the grocery store and use strict data but not inexpensively or with any sort of ease.*

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So, is AirBnB worth it? Absolutely hands down and no doubt about it in our humble opinion. First off it is extremely affordable. It covers more of the utilities and essentials than a hotel and you can put a family in an entire home with their own rooms etc. for a fraction of the price. With your own kitchen you can either hit the local grocery store or have Amazon Prime Grocery delivery for FREE which is what we did for our homes in the states. If you have a hankering for room service just call your local delivery service (whose menu will be far more encompassing than the small hotel menu)  Being a family of four on the go consistently and living out of backpacks it has been invaluable to rent a home with a washing machine and not have to pay the exuberant washing charges at a hotel or laundry mat. There is never any “hotel noise” from the random party down the hall or at the pool. You can filter your search meticulously to show you all your desires and then some to “personalize” your “hotel” choice. We particularly love the idea that we are helping a “John Doe” or “Jane Smith” with their bills as opposed to a “Mr. Marriot.” More importantly we have found that it is by far one of the best ways to embed with the local culture and become part of the environment that we are trying to explore.  That being said you do lose some of the hotel perks such as built in childcare and hotel points as Airbnb doesn’t {yet} have a frequent flyer program of any kind but for the most part we find our Airbnb to have much more space, better toiletries and bedding and of course location location location. More than once we have found ourselves at a beachfront property because of the filter and map option on Airbnb.

I hope this helps shed a little light on AirBnB use if you were on the fence. If you are deciding to give it a try go ahead and use this link so we can BOTH benefit, youhttp://www.airbnb.com/c/ariels1925. We are of course open to answering questions based on experience if you have them. Just leave your questions in the comment section or email them to alphasoscarmike@gmail.com. We LOVE hearing from you and heeding your guidance. Thanks for sharing the journey with us!

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