Monday, July 31, 2017

Airbnb, is not for everybody!

I had been relying on Airbnb for my travels on many occasion simply because it is often the cheapest way to go. I had booked Airbnb in Tokyo, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia. Thank goodness they were pretty uneventful and I was generally cool with the usual dirt in the apartment or even the occasional insects (but bedbugs are a NO NO of course!). However my recent Airbnb experience with Stacci in Perth, was truly quite an eye-opener even for me.

The listing had only one photo of a small portion of the living room, but because the person who listed the apartment was quite responsive and reasonably friendly, I took my chances. The apartment looked really nice from the outside and was located in a great location, just slightly beyond the free bus zone of Perth City. There were a total of 3 rooms on the second level of the apartment of which we took one, and there were crudely partitioned areas on the first level which housed another 2 tenants. I later learnt that this apartment was rented out to an entrepreneurial Thai national who then sublet out to other Thai students and even put up rooms on Airbnb to supplement her income. Well, being open to meeting new friends, I am still cool with that.

She told us upon check-in that nothing else will be provided, except for our room and I only found out the following day, that we had to put on the bedsheets and blanket covers on our own, after discovering the sheets in the wardrobe. That was how “bochup” I was, sleeping directly on the mattress without realizing it the night before!

Friendly cockroaches were around but we are still okay with it.
We had to share the bathroom, which had a bathtub. It was late night when we checked in and Stacci said she wanted to take a hot bath which I agreed, but only on the next day. When it was light the following day, we went to the bathroom and the plan was immediately aborted. 

Hmm, the amount of hair and grime in the bathroom really puts us off.
I wonder when was the last time anyone used the tub?
The wash basin didn't look that clean either but we will survive.
I was still okay to all the above, but it got really irritating when the students (of which numbers I lost count) started having late night booze parties at the backyard, directly below our room. I mean, listening to music and having fun past midnight is understandable at times but all the way till 3am-4am for a few nights is a little too much. Spoke to them nicely the first time it happened but it fell on deaf ears (not a surprising condition with the music volume they were playing). 

We were told that we are free to use the yard. Not that we would like to anyway.

The aftermath of the late night parties.
On the last night, someone knocked loudly at my door and when I opened it, I was surprised to see an angry Caucasian lady demanding to see a particular person but I had no idea who she as referring to. It then dawned on me that she was actually the neighbor who wanted to confront the main tenant on the ruckus that she had to deal with on the many noisy nights. Thank goodness I was only there for 9 days.

Airbnb had definitely changed the way how one travels these days, offering convenience and the much relished homestay feel at a reasonable price. But I am just sharing with you that not all listings accurate, with many homeowners none the wiser about what goes on in their properties and others out to just make some quick bucks in their otherwise underutilized space. It may be cheap, but you have to deal with whatever less than pleasant stuff that gets thrown at you and you MUST always be prepared to make alternative plans. Because it is not as if you can request to check-in into another room! Sure you can raise it up to Airbnb immediately but you are still pretty on your own there and then.

But in the end, it doesn't even matter. Because we had each other for the journey!
Having said all that, I was still glad that Stacci and I got through all the insects, filth and noise together. She is a pretty tough lady alright, sleeping through all that and we still had an enjoyable Perth bonding trip since we were mostly out and about during the day! I think many would have totally freaked out at the condition of the apartment, but we took that as bonding and beyond!

The reason for my posting is really to let all potential Airbnb customers better manage their expectations. I wasn't expecting much when I booked the really cheap apartment, hence I was still kind of okay with it. Did leave a remark in my feedback that went, "Location is great and walkable. However if you are a light sleeper or a cleanliness freak, it will not be suitable for you. Remember, you get what you paid for. :) Suitable for backpackers / budget travellers."  One really needs to be mentally prepared because there is really no other room you can check into, besides the one you had booked. But if it can be solved with money, it is also not a problem. The only problem is when you have no money. Dang...
Anyway, have fun travelling everyone!

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