It was 8 months after my husband’s death that I decided to share my home with Airbnb guests. I’d never done anything like this before. I’d had lots of advice from my friend in Barry who’s been letting rooms in her house for 4 years. She explained that it was a great way to meet new interesting people from around the world. I decided to take the plunge. I started by taking photographs of the rooms I wanted to share, my attic room and my purple lizard room. I was worried that I wouldn’t get any bookings as none of my rooms have en-suite bathrooms. I haven’t found that’s stopped people wanting to stay with me but it was certainly something I had to get used to, sharing my bathroom with strangers, fortunately there are 2 toilets in my house.
With my rooms published, I sat back and waited with trepidation. The good thing about Airbnb is that you can chose to accept guests or not. You can look at their reviews, you can check their profiles and decide if you want to let people stay with you. You have complete control.
My first enquiry which led to a booking almost put me off Airbnb completely. A young woman from London wanted to stay with me during the day only enroute to Amsterdam. It did sound fishy, she wanted to pay for the night but only wanted a place to rest for a few hours. I was keen to get started so I said yes. She arrived with her boyfriend at 11.00 am, declined my offer of tea on arrival and just wanted to see the room. My guests “stayed” for 6 hours. I didn’t ask what they were doing in the bedroom for that long but no doubt sex was included.
I remember going to my friend Anabel’s arty party that night and found myself the centre of attention when describing the sex exploits of my Airbnb guests staying in my Purple Lizard lounge !
That was not what I’d expected from Airbnb, luckily it was a one off and despite my misgivings I kept my rooms listed. I’m so glad I did because I’ve had some wonderful guests, some I’d even consider friends because we shared so many wonderful stories.
Here’s just a few guests who’ve joined me over the last 6 months, Jeremy, the Anglican bishop who stayed for one night whilst on a diocesan training course in Ipswich, Matthew, the speech and language student therapist from Norwich University, young Dietrich, the kindergarten chef from Berlin who’d never visited the UK before, Ajay on a BT work placement who flew straight from Mumbai to my place, what a culture shock that must have been, a jazz pianist and his wife picking his daughter up from university in Ipswich, the lead singer from Carole King, the musical Beautiful plus her little tour dog, 2 archaeologists on a local dig near Freston and last week, a tattoo artist from the Netherlands.
Give it a Try
If you have a spare bedroom, consider listing your place on Airbnb. Here’s why, you’ll have social contact, conversation and an income. The rental income is an added bonus and for many this will be important. Living as a single person, my income has been reduced but my bills remain the same. In fact, my car insurance is higher now than when my husband was on the policy. This makes no sense to me.
Take the plunge, find out more about Airbnb. The first time is scary but worth doing.