Airbnb… A budget travelers best friend?

airbnb san francisco

Last week I traveled to lovely San Francisco for the first time to spend some time with my uncle and his girlfriend and see the city and the sites.  Having limited space for us in his place he kindly booked us a room via Airbnb (Air Bed and Breakfast) just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, CA closer to where he would be.  Now, I had heard about Airbnb and have wanted to try it for sometime, but just never got around to it and since I’m a little wary of Couchsurfing I thought this was a perfect time to go for it.

If you are unfamiliar with Airbnb it’s a online service that lets ordinary people and commercial businesses rent out couches, rooms, full homes, and even exotic accommodations like castles and tree houses just like a rental home with whatever conditions they want (minimum stay, rate, etc.).  It’s a great premise to make some extra cash for an unused space and an even better way for the budget minded traveler to get a great rate, amazing hospitality, and the inside local connection with the destination your heading to.

Your probably thinking how can I trust these people aren’t axe murderers I’m staying with or renting out my space to? Airbnb makes each traveling user get verified via phone number, social media,  references, etc. and the same with those hosting.  I would always suggest choosing a host with multiple good reviews from other Airbnb travelers.

So we booked a two bedroom separate apartment attached to the second story of a home with full private bath in Mill Valley, CA for $98 bucks a night (Actual Ad Click Here).  A steal for this area.  Monica (the homes owner) contacted my uncle with the details and was very friendly, but stated she would be out of town and her husband Eugene (who we met later and seemed like a very nice guy) would be on call if we needed anything.

We arrived in the San Francisco late on a Saturday night around 10:30 pm and after grabbing a bite to eat headed to the place around 11:30pm.  Not the most ideal time to check into a bed and bath, much less someones home.  No worries though.  The door was a digital keypad with entry code. Looking good already… As we walk into the place it was just as described if not more. Two bedrooms, one very large bath with walk in shower and tub, updated, and they even had the hospitality to deck it out with stuff you find in a hotel room including soap/shampoo/coffee maker/tea/mini-fridge/wi-fi… pretty much the whole she-bang.

We ended up staying for several nights exploring all of San Francisco, Napa Valley, and surrounding area while using the rental as our home base. Eugene and Monica even had the hospitality to offer to let use the family bikes if we wanted.

Overall was Airbnb worth it? Definitely. It was a great place with friendly people and  more than described in the ad.  I would and plan to use Airbnb for many more of my trips.

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