My first experience with Airbnb was actually very close to my home town of Savannah, Georgia. I was spending a month in the low country, in order to hang out with my family before going off to South America. I ended up near Hilton Head in an area called Okatie, South Carolina, an area I had never heard of it before now. My host owned a house in a new residential area behind the University of South Carolina along University Parkway.
The weather, even in September was still quite hot, in the high 80s, but the humidity was between 70 and 100%, which spikes the heat index to a very uncomfortable level. Regardless of how uncomfortable it was for me to return to this type of weather after being away so many years in California, many who live here loves it.
My AirBnB host was a lady about twelve years my senior, with a very youthful spirit. She is an artist, art educator, and a yoga instructor. Which was the draw for me. This AirBnB experience was the first for both of us and it turned out to be quite the experience. We were both stepping out of our comfort zones to experience new things and new people. She seems to have been looking for like minded company, and I was looking for the peace and calm of what she posted as a "Zen House", so I could get some work done.
I believe we both got what we were initially looking for. We are also got something that we didn't anticipate. There are often things that you don't think of , but when you find yourself in particular situations, you wish you had thought to ask. So one of the major lessons for both of us was not to assume anything. She had A/C listed as an amenity, therefor I thought it would be available to keep me comfortable, especially in an area of the country with such high temperatures and humidity.
Instead, the temp in the house never was below 82 degrees, often times never lower than 85 degrees. One night, I returned to the house almost midnight, and my host was working, the AC was off and she had cracked my window in the bedroom, so I just opened them both and pulled back the curtains, as to try to cool it off. It was warmer in the house than it was outside, and it was still quite humid outside, even at 1:20 am.
These conditions were pretty tough for me, but it could have been devastating for someone with Asthma, or any other upper respiratory condition. The host says that the AC makes her sick, but I think it is more financial than anything else. Sleeping under a ceiling fan causes problems for me from headaches to mucus buildup. So even though I like her as a person as a host she did not comply with what she stated as an amenity for my stay.
The next issue was that she didn't want to give me a key to the house, she would rather leave the side door unlocked for me to enter. I am scheduled to stay here for solid month with the door unlocked. Well that is not safe at all, a female entering a house at night where the doors were not locked. Then came the issue of the things that I brought to the house, two computers, and over $40,000 in camera equipment. I realized that I had a great deal to lose in this situation. She is worried about my having a key and I am now concerned about my things being gone when I returned to a house that has been left unlock, in that situation homeowners insurance will not pay.
This was the next question, if something did happen to my things while in her house what recourse did I have. Well I know I can always sue her homeowners insurance, but that is not a nice way of doing things. I did hear from her that there was some insurance for the host through AirBnB, but not for the guest. She did eventually give me a key to the house, but that should have never been an issue.
This was not a good experience for me, but I did not want to give her a bad rating as she was just starting out as a host.,I am hoping that she learned from those mistakes.
I have not used AirBnB since September 2013. I am not saying that I would never use the service again, but I will never again stay in a house with someone, I would rent the entire place or not at all.