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I Lived in an Airbnb Over Spring Break, & Here’s How It Went

If you haven’t heard of what an Airbnb is, it’s basically an online service that connects people who are looking to rent short-term housing with hosts who have available listings. Hosts promote their spaces on the Airbnb website with photos and descriptions, including type of living space (a private room or the entire place), pricing, amenities, house rules and neighborhood.

Currently, Airbnb has over four million listings available in more than 191 countries. Guests can search through this endless database and discover a multitude of living options to choose from, which can range from a functional one-room apartment to an extravagant multi-story castle. Both hosts and guests establish profiles, ideally with reviews from previous interactions with others, and communicate through a messaging system, which is a great way to get to know who you’ll be dealing with.

Over spring break, six fellow UF students and I traveled to upstate New York for a two-day conference, but we also decided to travel and explore NYC together for a few days afterwards. A month before our trip, we booked an Airbnb for an apartment. It seemed like a good choice as it was pretty cheap compared to living in a hotel in the area. The location was great too, situated in the Upper East Side neighborhood just a few steps away from Central Park and an MTA subway stop just five blocks down our street.

In terms of living, I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I saw pictures of the space online and knew the amenities included with our stay, but I’ve never actually lived in an Airbnb space before. This all changed when we got to the apartment for the first time. Stepping out of the Uber, the first thing I noticed was the safety of the glass doorway between the outside and our apartment. After getting the key from inside a lock box, we entered the doorway and made our way into the apartment. The apartment looked just like the pictures – very clean, spacious and cozy. According to my friend, a lot of the furniture looked exactly from a Target catalog she recently read.

Right as I put my bags down, I went to observe all the rooms. The iconic green couch that we saw in the Airbnb listing pictures rested comfortably in the living room. The kitchen included everything we could need for cooking or eating-in for seven people. I walked over to the two bedrooms and each had one or two full-size beds with bath towels on top of the nearby drawers. Each room included a bathroom and inside each I noticed the already-placed bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap by the bathtub. I opened one of the closets and spied two air mattresses.

Our host was fabulous with frequent communication prior and during our stay as well. At one point, she even came in to bring some dishwashing soap for us. The Airbnb was definitely well-accommodated, and having this entire apartment to ourselves felt closer to being at home than a single hotel room could ever offer. Already, this felt like something I was happy get on board with.

Since most of our time was spent exploring the city, we were not in the apartment often except for in the early mornings and late nights. On one of the nights, we all sat in the living room together to watch Pitch Perfect 2 and an episode of Full House before going to sleep. It was nice to all come together after a long day and enjoy each other’s company.

Overall, my first experience with Airbnb was a great one. Living in an Airbnb made traveling easier, less expensive, and more fun. By the end of the trip, most of us got closer to one another and I was able to make new friends. Now I know when the next opportunity or summer internship calls me, I can trust using the Airbnb service again!

Sara is a University of Florida junior majoring in English. A South Florida native, she loves the beach and warm weather. When she’s not writing for Her Campus, she loves going on adventures with friends, reading in coffeeshops, and taking random Buzzfeed quizzes. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahan921
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