Airbnb Is Food For Adventure

The traveling world used to break down between those who stuck with predictable McDonald’s for their road food and those who followed the hand-made signs to Abe’s Wiener Wonderland.

As an Abe’s person (there is such a place – honest), I’ve been thrilled to discover that I can now take the adventures from road food to an entire overnight stay.

I owe it all to my daughter, who suggested that we ditch hotel chains in favor of booking a room online in a complete stranger’s house – or even booking a stranger’s complete house – via Airbnb. Turns out all that’s required is a desire to save money, a strong sense of adventure and usually– for my budget – the willingness to test-drive extreme downsizing.

The first was a 400-square-foot beach bungalow with a kitchenette available at dramatically lower prices than other beach properties around San Diego.

“It’s charming!” I told my husband, “plus we can save on meals.”

The only catch was that it wasn’t right on the beach, the “kitchenette” was a microwave and mini-fridge, and we had to unplug the microwave every time we charged the phone.

“No worries,” he said kindly. “Next time, we’ll just look at the write-up and pictures more carefully. You don’t always know what you’re getting at a Hampton, either.”

Actually I think you do, but I didn’t want to point that out since it was I who booked the bungalow.

I was more careful on an Oregon trip– springing for an award-winning ADU in Portland. Accessory dwelling units are popular there, thanks to a housing shortage, and this tiny cottage was in the owner’s backyard. Except for the fact that it had no chicken coop, staying there seemed like a very Portland thing to do.

Five minutes in, I could see why it won a prize. The builder managed to fit a stylish living/dining area, full kitchen, bath and a half, bedroom with walk-in closet, and laundry room into a whopping 640 square feet. To do this, he built straight up and used every square inch of space. The first four steps up to the bedroom loft doubled as pull-out drawers. The top step with its hairpin turn doubled as a trip to the ER unless you hung onto the handrail. My laptop doubled as a TV because there wasn’t one.

Not so in Vancouver, where the ADU owner proudly pointed out the flat screen TV equipped with Netflix. But the bedroom closet was a hanging rod located in a crawl space, there were no drawers anywhere, and the only space for the microwave was on top of a full-size refrigerator – unfortunate since the door also stuck.

“I think I’ll just book a hotel room next time,” I told my husband after nearly pulling the microwave down on myself. But the other day, I found myself right back on Airbnb window-shopping for something cheap and countrified in Nashville, Tenn.

“Check this out!” I told my husband and noticed that “Matt and Steph” were offering a “true local experience” and a “secluded stay” in a prime location, apparently – can’t tell from the pictures – in a separate building on their property. We get a “whole driveway” to ourselves and access to the backyard.

What the heck. We booked it, and I guess we’ll soon know what a true local experience is.

Eating at Abe’s was unpredictable but never this exciting.

Copyright 2016 Pat Snyder



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