Airbnb: Saving Money and Making Friends

I’ve been meaning to write this post since we returned from LA, and now that our next trip has been rapidly thrust upon us I feel the immediate need to actually get it done, otherwise if I don’t write it now it will just fade away into the past and never be shared. So it’s time to finally give my take on the Airbnb experience.

LA was a blast, but a much different experience than last time we were there. In our post about finding budget accommodations in Los Angeles I wrote about the excellent resource that is Airbnb. This most recent trip was our second excursion to Los Angeles, but our first time ever using Airbnb for our accommodations. I was excited to try it out, but little did I know quite how spectacular of a choice it was to ‘Airbnb it.’ (<- Let’s make that a thing, like ‘Googling’, k?)

Craftsman Home

After flying into town and getting our rental car, me and Marla headed over to our first night’s stay. We showed up early, but were still welcomed in and given the tour of what would be our home base for the next 24 hours; a room on the second level of a beautiful craftsman home.

Before entry we were asked to remove our shoes and leave them outside, but once inside it was quite apparent why. The house was a custom built, wood furnished, minimalist dream.

The beautiful simplicity of the home was only outshined by the gorgeous detail that went into every last part of it. The entire home screamed whispered tranquility, all the way out to the koi pond in the backyard. It felt like a home ripped from the pages of a magazine.

Much of our first day in LA was filled with watching our first TV taping so we didn’t spend all that much time at the house, or getting to know our hosts extremely well, but we were greeted in the morning with a nice, finely chopped fruit dish along with some yogurt and tea. Quite the perfect match for the home.

Although we were very happy with this location, we only booked it for one night because of an unavailable day with the other place that we booked for the remainder of the trip. After that first night we were quite content to simply stay in the beautiful craftsman home, however, at no fault of our first hosts, shortly upon beginning the next phase of our trip we knew that the second home was definitely the right decision.

Home Sweet Home

So off we went, first to checkout the flower district (have I mentioned that Marla loves flowers?) and then to our second stay. Upon our arrival, just up the road in Culver City, we were greeted by Donna and her husband Matt who were just about to sit down to eat lunch.

As Marla commented on the lovely smell of the meal, we were promptly offered to sit down and eat it with them. We graciously declined as we had just came from our own lunch at Philippe’s (home of the french dip) and proceeded to our room to leave them to enjoy their lunch without our intrusion.

Shortly after unpacking we were greeted once again by Donna. We got to chatting about her recent trip to India (she had returned only days earlier) and got to see some of the things that she brought home. After being at Donna and Matt’s house for just a little over an hour, I already knew that I loved the Airbnb experience. It already proved to offer greater rewards than any hotel.

I find this really tough to put into words, and is part of why it’s taken me so long to write this post, but the time we spent with Donna and Matt was nothing less than extraordinary.

They are two of the nicest, sincerely genuine people you will ever meet and made us feel right at home from the moment we stepped foot in their house.

We weren’t guests, intruding on their territory, we were potential new friends, welcomed with open arms.

I’m happy to say that we went to LA to see some Hollywood magic and enjoy some warmer weather, but left having also made two new friends.

I know that probably sounds cheesy, but I’m struggling to convey exactly how wonderful our time was with them. By the end of the trip it was truly sad to leave them behind.

Above and Beyond

While they guarantee breakfast every morning (just no meat, it’s a vegetarian home) we mutually enjoyed one another’s company so much that we actually spent an evening out together and sat down to a meal at a local restaurant.

During our time in their home we learned all about their kids who are away at school, were treated to Donna’s famous black bean recipe, and got to hear all about the amazing experiences that they have had, first with couchsurfing, and now with Airbnb.

I know that some people post their space on Airbnb solely to make extra money, that’s a given. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I can honestly say that’s probably the furthest thing from Donna and Matt’s minds. They’re simply amazing people who genuinely enjoy meeting new people and hosting travelers.

Sadly no words can do justice to our experience. I’m simply grateful to Airbnb for providing the means for us to have such a wonderful experience and grateful to Donna and Matt for being such wonderful hosts.

Couchsurfing has been out of our comfort zone (although less so after discussing it in depth with Donna) but simply the premium nature of Airbnb (pay vs. free) gave us peace of mind to try something new and now having done it, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

I went to LA expecting to have a fun trip like normal and left itching to go right back, not only to spend more time on the west coast, but to spend more time with our new friends.

When we will go back to LA isn’t certain as of yet, but who we will visit definitely is. Be back soon Donna and Matt, thank you so much for helping make our trip such a wonderful one. And next time we’ll be sure to be around on a Saturday to go cycling with you guys. 🙂

Have you ever booked a place with Airbnb before? If so did you have a similar experience? If you’ve not yet used Airbnb, what are you waiting for?! Drop us a line in the comments.