I’m back! My trip was amazing, and I need to live in Europe. Clearly. My heart is there. For such a short trip- the shortest amount of time I’ve ever been in Europe for- it sure gave me a LOT to process.
We all know I’m a hostel devotee. I love the social atmosphere, I love that it kind of forces you out during the day, and I even weirdly love being in the same room as randoms. It bonds you, and I feel comforted knowing if I die in my sleep I won’t need to wait for someone to smell me. So, when one of the friends I went on this trip with suggested an AirBnB I was…. meh. It was a lot more expensive than hostels we were looking at in the area, and what? we were going to stay in the same apartment? All the time? However, I don’t like to discount things before I try them, so I went along with it. We ended up in a place in Hammersmith in London. The location was good- zone 2 on the tube map. The place was nice. I’d definitely love living in that apartment. However, I couldn’t get over my nagging issues.
First off, it was kind of boring. Luckily I ended up catching up with English friends. If I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have had a night out at all. There weren’t many pubs around (super disappointed in that actually. The English are supposed to be the pub people. Have they given the title to the Irish?) and as a result I definitely spent way more time sitting at home at night than I would have otherwise. Also, since there was no mild rustling in the morning of other people we ended up sleeping in wayyyyyyy to late. I felt myself getting comfortable in the way I do when I’m at home. Instead of wanting to do things I wanted to indulge in the jetlag and cosy up. It was cold outside and UK netflix has RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Another thing that got me was the advertising vs. the real thing. We were told there was a bed and a pull out. The pull out was actually a chaise lounge. There was supposed to be a dishwasher. It was broken. The price included towels and linen. Apparently that was a typo and meant towel. There was a cleaning fee. On the intro sheet they still asked that we clean. Most of this stuff was the fault of the actual place we stayed, so okay. Fine.
I think what got me the most is the parallels I see between London and Vancouver. Vancouver is in the midst of a huge housing crisis. There’s tons of units and houses just left empty. (The city of Vancouver is doing a survey on this here. If you live here I urge you to take it.) Some of the people that do own homes or units are putting theirs on AirBnB instead of renting them because it’s a lot more profitable. Tourism is important and it does a lot to help the economy of the place, but so does having places available to rent for the people who live there. When supply is so little rent becomes astronomically unaffordable to the citizens who have to live on a meagre minimum wage. I couldn’t figure out if the place we were staying was somebody’s home, or if they had just styled it to look like it so they wouldn’t be criticized. There was a lot indicating the latter.
Would I stay in an AirBnB again? I can’t think of many reasons why I would. If I was alone or on another trip with friends I’d pick a hostel every time. If I was going with my boyfriend I can’t reason out why I’d pay the same price I would for the luxury of a hotel to stay in an apartment. The only time I can think of where an AirBnB might be my preferred option is if I was on a trip with my extended family. I understand why some people might like them, but overall the experience was pretty…. honestly quite guilt ridden. I think I could get behind it more if people used for their place when they were away instead of making it this weird backdoor hotel market. I mean, if you’re paying hotel prices then get me clean sheets every day and a chocolate on my pillow please.