This blog is about my first-time experience using the home-sharing premise known as Airbnb.  This is not a shill piece for Airbnb.  As seeing incredible wildlife requires quite a bit of travel I thought that I would share this experience for anyone interested in potentially using Airbnb as an option. Airbnb, if you are reading this and want me to write a shill piece for you I am in!

What Is Airbnb?

For those of you that don’t know what Airbnb is, it is a home-sharing platform that creates a market for people with unused open space in their dwellings (say, a spare bedroom or guesthouse) with other people that are looking for a place to crash.  Hey, isn’t that pretty much a hotel?  Yes, kind of, except that instead of staying in a hotel you are staying in someone’s home.

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Why Would A Traveler Use It?

Airbnb provides an incredible amount of options in terms of locations and price range. Plus, there is some adventure and uniqueness to the experience in staying at someone’s home that you don’t get from many hotels.  Hey, this is a nature based adventure blog.  Why can’t all of life be a fun adventure?

Why Would Someone Want Strangers In Their House?

Because the hosts get paid (I can think of other reasons to have strangers in your house – it involves cases of Red-Bull, baby-oil, and a chainsaw, but this isn’t that kind of blog).  Think about it, how many people have a room or even a guest house that they don’t use that often.  Why not make some money off of the unused space?  I mean, all of those 1990s WWE videotapes, Kung fu equipment, and vintage pornography can be moved out of the spare bedroom and stored in the basement, right?  Airbnb turns people with unused space into mini-entrepreneurs.  Make money, money, money!

How It Works From A User’s Perspective

You create a profile as you would on most other social media sites.  They ask for information regarding name, sex, birth date, email, phone, preferred language (it is wise to make sure that your hosts speak the same language as you), currency that you will be paying with, where you live, and a description about yourself.

Only a level 10 wankster would write a description like that

Now here is where it gets interesting.  Obviously, any jabroni can slap together a phony-jabroni profile, arrive at a host’s house, and eat their livers.  To combat rampant liver eating Airbnb puts in some confidence building steps:  you have to load a selfie, you have to validate that selfie with a government ID (passport, driver’s license, national ID, or visa), and then you have to link it to a social media site (Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn). The trifecta of profile picture validation gives some level of confidence that you are a you. Of course, you can still show up at the host’s swag-pad and be Hannibal, but there is at least some level of validation.

That is my Airbnb profile pic. So handsome! I’ve made the weird-beard not only famous, but socially acceptable

Yeah, but how do you know that the hosts aren’t a coven of witches who need your blood to cast their fertility spells?  First, maybe that is what I am looking for.  Second, hosts get feedback from travelers that stay at their swag-pads.  Hosts with good feedback are likely not a coven of witches (not that there is anything wrong with that).  Thus, confidence in the hosts is established.

214 reviews and a 4.5 star rating (out of 5) for this host – you can be reasonably assured that these people aren’t a coven of blood thirsty witches and likely provide a great experience to their travelers


You punch in the wheres, whens, and whos and the site kicks out options in the area that you are looking to beach yourself.

Airbnb search

The site kicks back options in that given area at that given time.

Various swag-pads that are generated by the traveler’s search criteria

Airbnb also provides an interactive map to pick places based on locale:

Look at yinzers getting into the Airbnb action!

Then, you pick your spot.  For me, I only needed to spend one night in Jupiter, Florida (to go cage-diving with some really beautiful sharks, which ended up being cancelled).  For one night, all I really needed was a secure room and a clean bed free of monsters lurking under it.  Why pay all of the extra money for a hotel if I can get the same thing for a much cheaper price?  Boom, Airbnb came through with exactly what I was looking for.  This was the spot that I was interested in:

5 stars and 35 reviews, these people clearly were not a witch coven (sadly), but they likely had a great scene going on.  I mean, the place looks cozy enough

Now, before I booked anything I had to get the lowdown on their pet situation.  I, the original Mr. Homeboy – all other Mr. Homeboys are imposters, have an allergy to fur bearing mammals as well as an unrelated allergy to responsibility.  Airbnb gives you the capacity to holler at your would-be hosts to ask questions.  My would-be hosts were super responsive and confirmed the lack of pets (they couldn’t help with my aversion to responsibility).  For me, their responsiveness gave me some confidence that these people were treating this whole thing seriously. It is all about building that confidence between hosts and travelers.

Time to pull the trigger on this deal.

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When you select a place that you want to stay it is not yet a done deal.  The hosts have to approve your selection.  This gives the host the option of saying “nah” if they are not going to be available on the dates of your choosing or they think that you look an old fashioned murderer.  I clearly look like someone who might have consumed human flesh at some point in my life (I haven’t) AND I had no feedback since this was my first time trying Airbnb.  I am sure my approval was a dicey conversation for my would-be hosts.  Luckily, they took pity on me and approved my request.  Now it was on like le Donkey Kong.

NOTE:  What I didn’t know is that money changes hands at the time of the host’s approval.  Hosts establish their own cancellation/refund policies.  So, be mindful of these policies when booking (they will posted on the host’s main page).

The Actual Experience

My hosts and I worked out the mechanics of my arrival prior to me showing up (using the Airbnb messaging system).  I let them know what time I’d be around (it was a later flight so I’d be getting there around 10:30pm) and they gave me the scoop on how to get into their house if they were asleep when I got there (they had a lock-box with a key in it – brilliant!).  However, they were awake when I arrived.

I’d imagine that most people that open their homes to strangers in this capacity are generally going to be chill people.  This husband and wife team were just that – super relaxed, easy to talk to, and helpful.  They really didn’t ask me a lot of questions about what I was doing there (you never know how people are going to respond when you tell them that you are there to cage-dive with sharks).  Their main concern was that I was comfortable in their home.  Now that is how you host to the maximum!

They showed me to the kitchen first. I generally rock a hungry look about my face, neck, and belly so I appreciate them picking up on this and directing me straight to the kitchen.  The refrigerator had a guest shelf just for me (I loaded it up with the tater tots that fill my pockets).  Also, they had an entire breakfast spread laid out consisting of Pop-Tarts and other breakfast-bars.  That was a nice surprise as I had a tight schedule in the morning and didn’t know how I would squeeze in a meal.  Like I said, hosting to the maximum!

The bedroom was as advertised – a clean room with a lockable door and a giant cozy bed:

My first action to ensure that there were no monsters under the bed. There were not. Then, I installed myself as the new monster under the bed

Sensing that I was a filthy ape, the hosts left out some towels for me to try and clean up some of my obvious grime layers.

I would soil these towels as I am critically filthy with filth

I even had my own bathroom.  The hosts are real people that have real jobs to go to in the morning.  Having your own bathroom is key as you won’t interfere with their morning rituals as they prepare for work.  Keep that in mind if you ever peruse Airbnb.

The shower curtain definitely made me feel pretty

The cherry on the Airbnb sundae, the hosts had Netflix.  It was definitely nice to sprawl out in the cozy bed after a long day of travel and zone out with some TV of my choosing.

I watched 2.5 minutes of Stranger Things and immediately slipped into a black dreamless sleep

My Thoughts

Overall, a great experience – the room was comfy, having my own bathroom was great, the hosts were super nice, and the breakfast snacks were great.  It was totally worth the $60ish I paid instead paying full price at a hotel.  I understand that all Airbnb experiences are not the same, but my one experience was great!  5 stars, would do again.

Let me know if you have any questions about my experience.