Tag Archives: Hotels

I Spent Six Nights at AirBnBs and This Is What I Learned

I am a Luddite Lite when it comes to advances in technology and the digital economy: I embrace some of it and am confused or skeptical about the rest.

I am a dedicated Facebook poster but use Twitter occasionally. I don’t really understand SnapChat, Instagram and Reddit, and therefore don’t use them.

I am fine with ordering stuff online but I don’t get the attraction of Uber. What is wrong with hailing a cab?

So it was with a bit of trepidation that my wife coaxed me into using Airbnb for the first time — for six nights in a row.

For those unfamiliar with Airbnb, it is a digital service in which you book a stay at a stranger’s home.

You can arrange for one or multiple nights and you pay a charge that varies by location, amenities, etc.

You show up and then hope you do not wake up in a bathtub full of ice and missing a kidney!

Haha! Just kidding (mostly) about that last part.

Really, it’s more like a one-night stand minus the sex.

My argument against staying at Airbnbs was: What’s wrong with staying at hotels? You know, those places with fresh towels, privacy and a bathroom you don’t have to share with other guests?

But being the adventurous sort (read: Meg convinced me this would be a good idea), I agreed.

It was a little weird.

In five of the six places we stayed, the hosts were there to greet us and engage us in happy conversation. It was like we had a babysitter.

I felt a little creepy like we were peeking at how people live, how they decorate and what they stock in their refrigerators and pantries.

It’s roughly the equivalent of a party guest snooping in your medicine cabinet but in this case there is some expectation that, as an Airbnb host, parts of your life will be on display.

As a dutiful guest, you make sure you clean your dishes, tidy the bed and leave things in good order.

There is an incentive to make sure you do: You write a review about where you stayed and the hosts review you – all of which is shared on the website.

It is a bit like having your school report card made public.

The hosts were warm, engaging and very accommodating.

But when I told a friend about our trip, he was stunned that most of the hosts were there during our stays. He thought they cleared out in advance of our arrival.

When I told him they wanted to engage us in conversation, he said: “No way. I don’t like people. I don’t want to talk to them. This is not a making friends tour.”

To some degree, I have to agree. The benefit of a hotel is you don’t have to worry about being social, you can come and go and not fear disturbing other guests and the mess you leave is the responsibility of housekeeping.

I would score the Airbnb experience as different but as with any trip away, I’ve got to say there’s no place like home.


My Travel Travails With a Teenage Daughter

Traveling with a teenage daughter is an experience.

Traveling with me is no picnic either.

I am no world-class traveler by any measure, and I get so nervous and anxious going through TSA security at the airports that on a recent trip I was stressing over my belt, shoes, jacket and my quart bag of three ounces of liquids, that I forgot to remove my laptop from my backpack.

Consequently, my bag was placed to the side after being scanned and then it had to go through a complete bag check.

At least we were early for this flight.

But now I had to wait for security to empty my bag and swipe test the contents since I was obviously trying to hide something in my aging laptop.

This was all very embarrassing but the TSA agent was quick and did not judge.

I did not have to submit to a body search, although I did have clean underwear on.

My daughter handles this much better than me, but dealing with all the items and paraphernalia that she packs for her hair and hygiene is astounding. She avoids the carry-on 3 ounce rule by checking her suitcase with all that stuff in it.

Speaking of that, our hotel bathroom sink and shower was strewn with all of her stuff.

My black bag of personal bathroom items was neatly confined to one corner of the sink and I used the soap and shampoo provided by the hotel to save on what I needed to bring.

Maybe I should book my own room next time, even on a different floor maybe?

The rest of the room also belonged to her: suitcase open on the floor, clothes flopping out, desk covered with her stuff, etc.

I felt sorry for the maid service.

I, in turn, hung my shirts, and kept the rest of my clothes in drawers or in my closed suitcase on a table.

Catching our flight home was an adventure.

It was an early flight, but it took her so long to pack that I blame her for missing our flight by one minute.

She blames me.

Here’s how it went.

Drive to airport.

Dad misses drop-off sign and takes the car rental into the employee only area.

Daughter did point this out (to her credit) but you know how Dads are — don’t question us!

Had to turn around and head back to drop-off.

Five minutes lost.

Check her bag, then onto crowded security check, 15 minutes until last call for flight.

Get through that, run to the gate while holding my pants up, as I did not have time to put my damn belt back on.

I can see the plane through the windows.

My daughter literally got there a minute after the posted gate close time.  Door was closed and we were not allowed through.

Missed the flight.

At least her bag will get there on time.

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