For my birthday, Ryan and I decided to take a weekend trip to one of our favorite Florida towns: St. Augustine! I’ll be sharing more about our trip in next week’s post, but I wanted to fill y’all in on the details of our very first stay in an AirBNB.
I should explaining that we know lots of people who have stayed in AirBNBs, and I’ve always heard great things about it. I also combed through all the possible listings in St. Augustine to find one that seemed best suited for us and that had good reviews (AirBNB has what are known as Superhosts which are essentially people who are supposed be really great to rent from). We selected a studio apartment near the Historic District, and the best part was that we were able to take Goose & Poppy with us!
(Their paws kept slipping on the floors. They’re used to the carpet we have!)
When I booked the apartment, the owner filled me in on a few details about the property, including the fact that a hippie artist lived on the first floor of the building (our apartment was on the 3rd). I thought, “okay, no big deal! We can handle one hippie!”
Well… what the owner of the home FAILED to mention was that there were actually homeless people (or basically homeless) people living ALL OVER THE PROPERTY! Oh yeah, I’m talking at least four homeless people, and they slept in different shacks and huts all over the property. One of them slept outside all night for the entire weekend we were there! Every time that we went downstairs, we had to walk past them, which made me slightly uncomfortable. One time, we were leaving to go downtown, and someone started whistling right in my ear when I stepped off the stairs onto the first floor! I whirled around to realize it was one of the homeless people, emerging from some spot on the property.
(In the back middle of this photo, there is a small “hut” where I’m fairly certain I spotted someone sleeping several times.)
While I have no prejudice against homeless people, it was less than ideal to have at least four of them basically camping out all over the property. I think that if the owner was aware of it, she should have warned us! If I had been traveling alone or maybe just with another woman, I think it would’ve made me even more nervous.
In addition to that, the exterior of the building was very rundown. We were told we would be able to use any of the outdoor furniture, but it was all either too dilapidated to use or it was occupied by one of the transients!
(Looking down from the third floor. On the right hand side, you can see one of the men sitting in a chair. He never moved from that chair that I saw. In the back, there was another little shack where I think a couple of them must’ve slept).
Other than all that, the actually apartment itself was very comfortable. We didn’t actually spend that much time there, other than sleeping or showering. I will say that the next time we rent an AirBNB (and yes, we will give it another shot), we will probably take our own towels and linens. I just think it would make us feel a little more comfortable. Not that the ones provided didn’t seem clean… I just think it would feel a little more sanitary if I knew that the linens we were using were cleaning. We will also be sure to ask the property host what the neighbors all around the place are like (and if anyone else will be living on the property).
Overall, it was an interesting experience for our first try of AirBNB. I have looked at the reviews that have been posted recently about that property, and it looks as if people have really started to complain about the homeless people squatting there recently, so I’m thinking maybe the owner hasn’t been on the property in a while… hopefully she’ll pay attention to the comments and see if some changes can be made.