To airBnb or not to airBnB
December 20, 2017
When booking an AirBnB, a HomeAway, or any other rental property, it is important to have a thorough reading of the reviews. Equally important is to consider the number of reviews and the dates in which they were given. The more reviews with high marks, the better! Plus, we pay close attention to the reviews that are recent, especially the ones that were given within the last three months. We read them all, (even the older ones), but the recent reviews will let us know what it is like to rent from the host now. Second, we pay close attention to the reviews that have specific information. Reviews that are specific in describing the property, the experience of living on the property, its location, what surrounds it, specific landmarks and working with the host gives us plenty of information to make an informed decision. We understand that several reviews have been written by family and friends of the host, who can sometimes be jaded and loyal to a fault. To sift through the favoritism, we check the content of the reviews carefully. In our checking, we want to know what reviews are the same or similar and which ones are different. Are the writing styles different or the same? What content does each review have? We’ve found that asking these kind of questions are extremely helpful.
Everything was clean and in working order when we arrived. The washing machine performed beautifully, which meant we could do our own laundry. The regular run of the mill laundromats that we are accustomed to back in the U.S.A. are unicorns here. Many people who cannot afford to have a washer or dryer in their homes, drop their clothes off at a Lavendería to have them washed, dried and folded. The other option is to wash the clothes by hand and have them air dry outdoors. Vanessa and I was able to avoid doing this for the entire month of November because our AirBnB not only included a washer, but also a drying rack for our clothes. The kitchen was equipped with all of the amenities we needed, including super hot running water in the sink (which is rare in this part of the world).
The downside that posed a serious problem for us and was extremely frustrating was the WiFi. Because we are digital nomads and must have internet access to work, we are very much reliant on WiFi. It is extremely important to our processes. The WiFi in the condo was SUPER slow and at times completely unusable, which drove us insane!
The other issue was mold growth on some of our belongings. As a result, those things had to be thrown away. This felt like Montañita, Ecuador all over again. Last, the condo included a swimming pool and the deck/patio was excellent for sunbathing, grilling and relaxing. The pigeons, however, pooped on the patio deck often. The poop they left was difficult to clean and completely gross.
Overall, even with the cons, the AirBnB property was a really nice place to stay. It was a 20-30 minute walk to the Historic Center of Lima and only a 1/2 mile from two local grocery stores. We cooked our own meals and lived like local residents. The neighborhood of our AirBnB rental was safe, with 24 hour, around the clock, front desk security. The area was easy to get around and it rarely cost more that 10 soles ($3 USD) to get to most places in the city. Another upside was our AirBnB local contact, Gladys. Gladys was helpful and responsive when issues came up. She attended to them immediately for a quick resolve.
We would never book another stay here because we need reliable WiFi that we can access simultaneously. We would, however, book through AirBnB again if necessary. Next time, we will be sure to ask our host for more information (especially on WiFi reliability and usage). We would also book a shorter stay.
In addition to not wearing out our welcome, living in Lima, Perú on our own taught us a few valuable lessons:
- Reliable internet is a must for us.
- 30 days is too long to stay in one place, AirBnB or otherwise. If we’ve explored an area to the max or if we aren’t committed to a nearby work/volunteer assignment, moving on after a one or two week stay is the plan.
- We really enjoy our privacy as a couple and need it to keep our relationship thriving.
- Situations, circumstances and people are fickle. Change is inevitable. Be ready.
- We are a dynamic team together and can conquer anything thrown at us.