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Thread: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

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    Default AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I am considering a longer trip later this spring. Still not sure where but if I'm going to go somewhere fun to ride I may as well stay at least a couple weeks, maybe up to a month. Thinking of the PNW but maybe somewhere a bit closer to home. Not yet sure but I've always been PNW curious and I've got the time at the moment to get away.

    I've never used a service like AirBNB or anything like it at all.

    Anyone use these often? Any tips? Hints to have a good experience and avoid a bad one? Looking for safety and privacy and the idea of just renting a room in a stranger's house seems odd to all involved.

    Discuss everything if you've ever done an extended stay using a service like this. I know it can be hit or miss and I've heard some stories that make me have second thoughts.

    Thanks in advance!
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    I am considering a longer trip later this spring. Still not sure where but if I'm going to go somewhere fun to ride I may as well stay at least a couple weeks, maybe up to a month. Thinking of the PNW but maybe somewhere a bit closer to home. Not yet sure but I've always been PNW curious and I've got the time at the moment to get away.

    I've never used a service like AirBNB or anything like it at all.

    Anyone use these often? Any tips? Hints to have a good experience and avoid a bad one? Looking for safety and privacy and the idea of just renting a room in a stranger's house seems odd to all involved.

    Discuss everything if you've ever done an extended stay using a service like this. I know it can be hit or miss and I've heard some stories that make me have second thoughts.

    Thanks in advance!
    I am not sure how many of them are still the original AirBnB arrangement, i.e. a room in someone's house while they are living there. Our neighbors are renting their house on AirBnB, and it is a whole house. I don't think you would want to stay in a room in someone's house anyway given the current epidemic, even if you are vaccinated, unless it is purpose built and separate from their living quarters. Doesn't make sense to me at least. Our neighbors have a cleaning protocol set up with their management person that includes recommended cleaning products for surfaces and bathrooms. I think that's an important consideration.

    I've found VRBO to be less dodgy than AirBnB, but I really haven't had any problems with either. You want to make sure the rental is legal - that it is allowed in the building or locality where the accommodation is located. Our town here in NY has rules about rentals of a certain duration. There must be local management who either functions as the 24 hour contact for the rental or there needs to be a 24 hour contact and local management. The home is rated at a certain number of bedrooms and max occupancy is established by that rating (2 adults per bedroom.) The property must be permitted with the town as a short-term rental. Basically the town wants to be able to deal with any problems in a straightforward manner. Not just noisy people who decide to invite 250 of their closest friends but fire, flood, severe weather damage or medical emergency. Anyway, you want to know that everything is done correctly on the owner's side of things. AirBnB - AFAIK - doesn't check these things out as they view them as owner responsibilities.

    You want to know where the rental is. As in, exactly. Too many people will say "Within easy walking distance of XYZ" which is only true if you have the ability to leap over a freeway or walking 10 miles is easy for you. Google maps is great for this, and you can use street view to check out the surroundings and look at nearby businesses.

    Good (I think) if the owner is renting the property, even if they use someone local as a greeter. Most places seem to have started using keyless entry code locks. You just show up and let yourself in. And most give you a unique code number, which is good because you don't want the previous week's renter to come back to visit. I'd be leery of someone who appears to be renting a lot of properties in a particular area.

    You want to know what the cancellation policy is. Especially in the current moment.

    Look at the photos. The more photos the better. Read the reviews in detail. You can usually tell fake reviews pretty clearly. Even honest, positive reviews some times reveal negatives that wouldn't be to your liking. "Great place! We love the cold water showers! So invigorating!" Wait, what? Really bad places are bad places. If the reviews aren't all 100% great, then I wouldn't bother.

    Our rental in Hillsdale while our house was being built was originally an AirBnB rental. Originally we rented an apartment in the larger house (divided into the apartment upstairs and two store fronts downstairs - a clothing shop and a psychiatrist's office) for a couple weeks. Then we rented the apartment again later for a month when a lot of things were going to happen at the build site that likely needed our review. While we were renting for the month, the owners finished the renovation of the horse barn in the back yard and asked if we wanted to rent it. We said sure how about month to month for a year? We agreed on a price and that was that. After the first two rentals, the rest was just renting a house - no AirBnB involved. Worked out swimmingly. The owners are now good friends and neighbors one street over.
    Last edited by j44ke; 03-04-2021 at 05:31 PM.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    We have used AirBnb for a few years (not last year though), and in multiple countries with mostly positive experiences (knock on wood). As Jorn writes, read the reviews and carefully. We have also gone mostly for the "Superhost" rentals which seem to be verified in some way. Also pay attention to photos; the hosts that care will have nice and/or professional photos taken.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    One other thing - some rentals, unless they are in high tourist areas, end up renting on weekends only mostly. You can look through the reserved calendar and see when most of their reservations are. If they are mostly a weekend rental, then you may be able to talk them down on a weekly rental price. Say the rate is $50/night but their average rental is 3 nights, then the weekly price might be negotiable between $150 and $350, and a monthly price might be somewhere between $600 and $1500. By renting for a block of time, you are potentially saving them administrative, changeover and (possibly) maintenance costs. No guarantees but it worked with our Hillsdale rental and it worked with a rental we had down down in Arizona. Both of those rental owners looked at their seasonal occupancy and figured out that even by giving us a discount, they were making more money than they would normally because normally they weren't full every day every week all month.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I don't really know anything about Air B&B's, but this one is owned by Bina Bilenky (daughter of Stephen, renowned frame builder) in Pennsylvania and claims to have nice cycling and other amenities nearby.

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/44244953?guests=1&adults=1

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I've had mostly very positive experiences in the few AirBnBs I've used. Most important bit of advice I can offer based on my most recent experience: Get everything in "writing" (virtual or otherwise) so you have an archivable/searchable paper-trail.

    Also make sure the owner -- or their proxy -- is local in case you need service/support during your stay.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    I don't really know anything about Air B&B's, but this one is owned by Bina Bilenky (daughter of Stephen, renowned frame builder) in Pennsylvania and claims to have nice cycling and other amenities nearby.

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/44244953?guests=1&adults=1

    SPP
    Cool. They converted my Serotta to S&S couplers. Superbly I will add.

    This area interests me and is closer to where I live. It I’m honestly inclined to the PNW. I may try to rent for up to a month. Many rentals seem to have significant discounts for renters who block out that much time. But it’s also a big commitment and loss if the place sucks and I leave early.

    Many seem to be cottages or similar. Needs to have parking, be as reasonably safe and secure as possible and be able to accommodate at least one bike safely, maybe two.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I have been a guest and host on AirBnB. As guest I don't think I had any bad interactions and some really good ones. In New Zealand the host, a lawyer, saw us when we got home from a rainy ride and did our laundry. The people with lots of great ratings are usually legit. They work hard to keep those ratings which in turn keep their places rented.

    As a host there was all the same nonsense associated with any rental but most of the people that stayed there were very good. We did get one bad review for some made up nonsense or unrealistic expectations. I forget now.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    If we're talking around a week, I'd consider a cabin, like at a place like this:

    https://www.naturenooksretreat.com/

    For an entire month, I'd start to think about renting a Class B or Class C RV and driving around a bit.


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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I've used AirBnB countless times, both domestic and internationally. Unless I'm going on a work trip and the rest of the team is staying in the hotel, or the conference is held in the hotel, I'm doing AirBnB. The odds are way better that I can get something close to where I want to be.

    The few bad/weird instances I've had are at places where I was needlessly pinching pennies. If you think $20 a night to sleep in someone's house is weird... you might be right.

    Renting out a whole apartment to yourself for a month of a solo cycling vacation seems awesome. Having the ability to cook your own food is probably worth it. Sure beats walking across the hotel parking lot to Chilis.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by defspace View Post
    I've used AirBnB countless times, both domestic and internationally. Unless I'm going on a work trip and the rest of the team is staying in the hotel, or the conference is held in the hotel, I'm doing AirBnB. The odds are way better that I can get something close to where I want to be.

    The few bad/weird instances I've had are at places where I was needlessly pinching pennies. If you think $20 a night to sleep in someone's house is weird... you might be right.

    Renting out a whole apartment to yourself for a month of a solo cycling vacation seems awesome. Having the ability to cook your own food is probably worth it. Sure beats walking across the hotel parking lot to Chilis.
    Yup. This is exactly what I'm thinking. I'll only do it if it's a whole unit, not shared with anyone. Preferably an apartment/condo or a cottage type situation.

    Thanks for the answer! This is exactly the kind of first-hand experience report I'm after.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    I've had mostly very positive experiences in the few AirBnBs I've used. Most important bit of advice I can offer based on my most recent experience: Get everything in "writing" (virtual or otherwise) so you have an archivable/searchable paper-trail. Also make sure the owner -- or their proxy -- is local in case you need service/support during your stay.
    Ditto these comments, as I’ve had great experiences and others where I asked myself, “why am I here?”. I’d try the PNW when the weather breaks, as there are lots of areas to explore by bike and plenty to see on foot, car, rail and plane, as SEA has regional flights all through the West, which are reasonably priced. One of my staff members has a unit in his backyard in the Greenlake section of Seattle and I can place him in touch if you’d like. I’d imagine that it’s a renter’s market right now.
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    as SEA has regional flights all through the West, which are reasonably priced.
    People pay for flights? Huh...? Learn something new every day!

    Anyway, I kind of expect to drive if this happens. But a potential conflict for spring has arisen so I’m not sure when this may happen.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I think a month in the PNW sounds amazing. May can be spectacular (June is often called June'uary), and word is that this spring is going to be relatively dry due to our La Nina winter. Snopack this year is massive, so some of the high alpine isn't going to open up until later in the year. That means roads like the North Cascades Highway or Mt Baker Highway won't be fully open until late spring/early summer.

    Are you looking for the urban experience (Seatlle/Portand), mid-size town experience (Bend/Bellingham), or rural experience (Mazama/Oakridge)? Greenlake is an awesome spot, but between potholes, and the traffic, riding in Seattle feels a little too combative to me. If you're looking for long days and lightly traveled roads, I'm thinking the smaller towns are a better bet.
    Jason Babcock

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I have used air bnb a number of times of the past 6 or so years (London, Paris, Austin, SF, LA, Portland, PEC). All experiences and places have been great. Key is to read reviews, really look at the pics and ask questions before booking.

    Best places we stayed included a really nice new build barn(purpose built Airbnb unit that was ever used as an Airbnb unit) near the speedvagen shop and an amazing apartment in the Marais District in Paris (could tell a real person lived there and she would move out when people rented her place). In both instances, it was nice to have kitchens and be able to spread out more than staying at a hotel.

    I foresee us only using air bnb type platforms going forward as our need / desire for space has increased with 2 young kids and not wanting to be in elevators with people.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    I've mostly had good experiences renting on airbnb, even the time I just rented a room. My general experience has been that you get what you pay for, just like with everything else. The one time I had a bad experience it was because I was part of a large group booking a house for a weekend only a few days before and trying to spend as little as possible. We ended up in this run down mansion near Niagara Falls that looked significantly better in the pictures and may have been haunted.

    The other mediocre experience I had was a trip to Tucson. The house itself was fine but we didn't know that it was right across the street from a music venue that could have used better sound proofing. More diligent streetview recon would have been a good idea.

    In general I'd say book early, read the reviews, and do your research on the location.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjbabcock View Post
    I think a month in the PNW sounds amazing. May can be spectacular (June is often called June'uary), and word is that this spring is going to be relatively dry due to our La Nina winter. Snopack this year is massive, so some of the high alpine isn't going to open up until later in the year. That means roads like the North Cascades Highway or Mt Baker Highway won't be fully open until late spring/early summer.

    Are you looking for the urban experience (Seatlle/Portand), mid-size town experience (Bend/Bellingham), or rural experience (Mazama/Oakridge)? Greenlake is an awesome spot, but between potholes, and the traffic, riding in Seattle feels a little too combative to me. If you're looking for long days and lightly traveled roads, I'm thinking the smaller towns are a better bet.
    Eugene has my attention to be honest. Not huge. Not tiny. Just the right size I think.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    Eugene has my attention to be honest. Not huge. Not tiny. Just the right size I think.
    If you end up in Eugene, drop me a line. I'm about 30 miles south of town. We've got acreage you're welcome to camp on (or a barn/hayloft to sleep in), lots of good food growing (and being laid, if you're an egg eater), and an endless system of good roads, gravel and otherwise, to ride.

    Eugene is nice if you're into small cities. It's just the right amount of sleepy for my speed, though I don't go there more than once a month or so.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    Eugene has my attention to be honest. Not huge. Not tiny. Just the right size I think.
    If you do Eugene (or Bend), look into when the Old McKenzie Highway opens up. At least when I lived up there, there were a few weeks you could ride it before it opened to cars, which was amazing. But with the snow this year, it may be pretty late before it's rideable.

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    Default Re: AirBNB or similar - Thoughts?

    Mostly good-to-great experiences. In my experience, the quality and quantity of photos speaks volumes. Where there are lots of detailed photos you're more likely to get what you want. On the other hand, a place that only posts two wide angle photos + beware! Our summer rental in Cape Cod was like that: the photo of the living room was nice, all the other rooms were frozen in time 1962!....not in a good way.

    Something to consider that I stumbled upon when staying in Jorn's hometown a couple of weeks ago: there are real estate agents controlling the AirBnBs now. They buy and renovate properties and then post them online. You rent, you're happy and then there's the conversation, "next time call me directly at the office and we can shave a few bucks off." So you might want to poke around and find a real estate agent operating like this.

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