Having stayed in four-and five-star luxury hotels for the last 35 years, the thought of staying in something other than what I was accustomed to made me a little apprehensive. As a travel blogger I know I have to be open to experiencing new travel trends. On my recent Miami to Maine solo driving adventure I decided to veer away from luxury hotels and give Airbnb a try. I was not sorry I did!
I decided to use Airbnb for my Palm Beach lodging arrangements to save some money because this posh destination was one of the priciest places I would be visiting (I figured I could spend the extra money saved elsewhere... on shopping!). I Googled their website, signed up with a username and password and then proceeded to view the many inviting properties from which to choose. The Airbnb website is extremely user-friendly. Once you've signed up all you have to do is click on the city where you will be traveling and view the wonderful photos of all the options in the various price ranges to be selected.
I set my target lodging budget for no more than $150 per night for something that afforded me complete privacy. At the time there was nothing I was comfortable with on Palm Beach island but I did find a charming cottage located behind a classic Floridian home in a West Palm Beach neighborhood experiencing revitalization. The pictures were great and the price was right at $120.
The property was advertised as being one bedroom, one bath with a sitting area and a kitchenette plus an enclosed courtyard pool with an entertaining area. In addition, the property was professionally decorated by the owner who is an interior designer. After I decided this is where I wanted to stay, I had to make a formal request through Airbnb's private email system directly to the owner. After several emails back and forth asking me about myself and the purpose of my visit to the area, the host accepted my reservation. Just like most booking sites, a deposit is required and you get a confirmation number. The whole process is quick and easy once the owner accepts your reservation.
I arrived late, around 10:30 pm, tired and hungry, and was greeted with a warm welcome by the owner. Graciously, I was offered some fruit, cheese, crackers and hot tea to quell my hunger, something that was not a part of the contract. When I first approached the cottage, I fell in love with the whole setting. The courtyard pool area was beautiful, filled with tropical plants and different seating areas.
My next pleasant surprise was the interior of the cottage. As described, it was tastefully decorated with a cozy bedroom sitting area, a large bath with a tub/shower and a kitchenette stocked with beautiful china and kitchen accessories. I was relieved and excited; the cottage was much nicer than I had expected. Besides the tasteful decor, one of the features the owner pointed out was the well designed lighting details throughout that created a warm and restful feeling in the evening.
Within a half an hour I was in bed, and what a fabulous bed it was: high count luxury linens, four wonderful pillows, a down comforter and a top-notch mattress made for a highly restful night. On top of the great bed the room had a ceiling fan, something I have at home that I go to sleep with every night. To say the least I was delighted with my Airbnb lodging arrangements!
Some quick facts about Airbnb for those of you that have never used this booking site:
- Lodging options are available in 34,000 cities and 190 countries
- Website is easy to use with great photos
- There are many diverse lodging types available; apartments, villas, tree houses, castles, urban farms, yachts and more with a wide range of price points
- Each property has a detailed description of its amenities, a star rating and former visitor reviews
- Shared or private rooms plus entire places are offered with map locations
- Host approved bookings within 24 hours or instant bookings are available
- Payment details and confirmation numbers are given via Airbnb's secure website
- Airbnb's app is available to "keep you in the know while you are on the go"
The featured video below will help you find out what Airbnb is all about. Solo travelers now have another lodging option available to use when deciding where to stay on their next trip. My first Airbnb experience was luxurious and memorable while still being affordable. Without a doubt, I know I will use this service on my future travels.