I’m staying in an Airbnb while I’m in Europe. I genuinely love the application and it’s community. I was an early adopter of Airbnb. Thanks to Airbnb I saved 60,000 dollars in one year. That cushion allowed me to quit a corporate job and pursue a startup without any anxiety.
My love for the application is pretty deep. It’s responsible for my marriage in some ways. I would only rent if I had another place to stay that allowed me to turn a profit. That usually meant I would rent while I traveled or if a friend has a place to crash. Alex was fascinated by my side hustle immediately. We’d only been on a couple dates when he offered to let me stay in his apartment while he traveled if we split the profits from my Airbnb. Naturally I said yes. I never moved out. And yes now we are married.
So yeah I really love Airbnb. But you do need to be aware of the community’s idiosyncratic norms. You are staying in someone’s home. That’s part of the charm. But also can can occasionally turn out in unexpected ways.
Since I arrived I’d been struggling with allergies. I broke out in hives. I had to figure out acquiring hydrocortisone in a foreign language. I was popping Benadryl like candy so I could barely stay awake. I was getting a little desperate to be honest. So I went on a long walk. Everything cleared up. I returned to the apartment and immediately started breaking out in hives again.
I texted my host to ask if he has any ideas. It turns out the host of my Airbnb loves scented candles. And he’s got great taste. The apartment has tons of candles and diffusers. But he’d put them into a cabinet so I didn’t know they were there. Alas I am extremely allergic to the chemicals that are often used in scented candles. Limonene in particular. So my body was going haywire over these candles but I had no idea they were there.
Thankfully we figured it out and moved them outside. But it’s a good reminder that context matters. At an Airbnb you are in a home furnished by a person with different needs and tolerances from you. And that’s ok. We figured it out. But me being upfront about my allergies from the start might have saved me a day of misery. Lesson learned.