In my last post about Airbnb I talked about our first experience using their services when we booked a room on a recent trip to Milwaukee for a friend’s wedding. We enjoyed staying at the house and meeting its artistic host Maggie. She was fun to talk to and obviously knowledgeable about the area. It felt very different than staying at a cookie cutter hotel room and I could not find any downsides at all. Staying at someones house in our private room helped us experience the city in a more intimate setting, allowed us to use the owner’s bikes to explore different neighborhoods all while paying less for the accommodations for a much more memorable vacation overall.
A few days ago I received an email from Airbnb touting a promotion that they are running for a limited time. Usually I send these straight to the Junk folder but the Subject caught my attention: “Try one night on us – details inside!”
OK, this is from Airbnb and we like to travel, lets see what this is all about… It continued:
New year, new travel dreams? We want to make your dreams come true with one night on Airbnb – up to $300 off a stay of at least two nights for users like you who have not yet completed a booking.* Book any of the thousands of unique properties on Airbnb and we’ll cover the first night, up to $300. Just enter the code ONENIGHT when you book a stay of two nights or longer by January 17. Your trip must begin by March 31.
*Last time we booked using my wife’s Airbnb account and this email promo was sent to my account, which I haven’t used yet.
The wheels started turning immediately. My wife’s birthday is coming up and I was already thinking about doing some sort of a weekend getaway for the three of us. This offer made it all practically irresistible. We could book a Friday to Sunday stay somewhere and only pay for one night. But where?
Airbnb has a nice feature where you can enter the desired dates and the destination and once the results are pulled up you can switch to a map view. As you move around the map the system will display only those places that are available for the dates you selected showing preview pictures on the right. Slick!
Since we were going to be travelling with our son I decided to narrow down the options to display only the “Entire Place” listings. When we went to Milwaukee it was just the two of us so a private room was perfect, but I would feel bad renting a room and waking up everyone else in the middle of the night if our son starts crying!
Again, one of the coolest things about airbnb is that you get to stay in all sort of interesting places that are a 180 from a typical hotel. People are renting out souped up tree houses, Airstreams, converted barns with better furnishings and amenities than my own house and the like. While I did not find anything truly unique in the areas I was targeting, I did see a bunch when I got lost looking at the pictures of not too faraway places I would’t mind exploring some other time.
As I was looking at the available houses I thought it would be even better if we could split it with another couple. Then we could have a real birthday party and share the memories with someone else. Rental cost were already low because of the promotion but splitting that in half is even better, of course. One couple that we’ve traveled with several times before has a daughter about the same age as our son so I asked them if they would want to join… They said “Hell, yeh!” The kids can play together, adults can relax with a glass of wine, what’s not to like!
The house that we ended up getting is a 3 bedroom 2,000 sq. feet home that sits surrounded by the mountains. The way Airbnb system works is that you submit your reservation request to the owner and if they approve it after reviewing your profile your credit card gets charged and you are good to go. There is a way to submit a note to the host, which is recommended since this whole platform is built on trust. While Airbnb does a decent job “verifying” each member the fact is that these people don’t know anything about me aside what’s in my profile. If I were them I’d want to hear something directly from a person who wants to stay in my secluded mountain house. With that in mind I always add a personal note telling the host a little bit about our family and who will be staying with us at the house. After hitting the Submit button I got a text message from the owner within 30 minutes. We exchanged a few texts and she approved our reservation.
The house has all the amenities you could ask for to have a good time with or without the kids. There is a pool table in the game room and a fire pit outside. Wineries, cidery, ski resort and other entertainment is only minutes away. Here is the actual picture of the house where we’ll be staying soon:
Two nights at this place were listed at $300 plus $36 service fee. Applying the ONENIGHT coupon code brought the total down to $186! Since we will be splitting this with our friends my wife and I will be paying $93 or just $46.50 per night to stay in this place. That’s pretty sweet.
We’re all really looking forward to this trip. Nature, kids, friends, wine and no cell phone reception – is there anything better?
P.S. If you haven’t tried Airbnb I bet $25 that you’ll like it.